Sun and Inspiration


Truth is, I haven’t been inspired to write anything for a while now.  Not sure if it was a lack of adventure in the winter time, endless days of no sun or a combination of both.  Combination of both.  I cannot say that I did a whole lot of adventuring lately.  Anyways today is the first day in a long time that I have felt like writing anything.

I woke up Saturday morning and the sun was shining bright through my apartment warming the floors and my inner sense of peace.   I did my usual routine of dusting the sleep out of my eyes, washing dishes and putting the kettle on to brew coffee in the french press.  I did some yoga while waiting for the kettle to whistle (dudes I am stiff!)  I also flipped through a couple of pages of the latest Patagonia catalog.  Inspiration can always be found in there and this time it lit a little bit of a fire inside of me.  Sometimes I rip out a few pages and put them on my fridge.  When I lose inspiration I have a couple of reminders staring me in the face of what I love about my life and what I aspire to.  ūüėÄ

 

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I started back rock climbing a couple of months ago.  Starting back out was humbling as all get out.  My arms were like wet noodles and muscles that I had forgotten existed were screaming at me, but over time I have been getting a little stronger and stronger and that has been feeling real good.  Friday my friend Jon and I climbed outside for the first time this year and it was awesome!  The sun was warm, the rock was dry and it was quiet.  I LOVE climbing outside as you get to pick your own route and you can climb the same area a million different ways.  Just now as I type, I checked in with my buddy Dave and he sent me a photo of him and a few others gearing up to climb at the New River Gorge in West Virginia.  I couldn’t make it this weekend due to prior obligations but I am sooooooo jealous right now!  It is cool though because next weekend we are heading down to the Red River Gorge, KY!

By no means am I good climber right now.  I am weak, stiff and I get pumped (pumped is when your forearms burn out) so easy.  Most of all my breathing is total crap as I climb.  I get anxious and my breathing becomes erratic.  Shane the manager at Cleveland Rock Gym was helping me with this one particular bouldering problem a few weeks back and as soon as I got off the wall his advice for me was not foot placement nor hand placement but he said, “You have to breathe Lori.”  Since then I have been trying to do just that.

I miss climbing in California.  The weather is almost always perfect and you can climb outside all year long.  The climbing gyms open up at 6:30am so you can get your climb on before work which I totally love because I am waaaay better in the mornings than in the evenings.  My energy is full throttle when I wake up most mornings and I usually pewter out about 5pm.

You don’t have to climb rocks or backpack through the woods.  Just being out in nature will erase tension and worries.

This weekend in Cleveland was just awesome.  Bright sun, warm temps and endless things to do outside.  I was fortunate enough to hang out with new friend I met through my backpacking group.  ūüôā  Luda and her husband came to an event a couple of weeks ago and her and I were able to connect and get together for some girl talk and coffee on Sunday.  She is a pretty cool person and I looking forward to hanging out and having new fun workout friend!

Friday my best friend Sara and I went to the listen to the Cleveland Orchestra and hung out again Sunday morning with her 2 girls at the beach and playground!  Saturday my niece Kelly and I went for a bike ride/jog in the park.  We hiked up to a spot where we could watch the planes fly over really low upon landing.  Kelly thought is was super cool and I NEVER EVER get tired of it!  I also hung out with my awesome folks too.  All in all this weekend was pretty darn awesome!

Life seems fuller right now and it feels good.  There are some things on the horizon that are going to be challenging but beneficial.  It feels good to put words on the page again.  Inspiration is blooming!

Life is not black and white.  We have to constantly move forward and explore aspects of our lives that may seem scary.  I believe that is how we set an example of love, adventure and continuous learning.  Sometimes things ARE meant to come to an end.  Not because you didn’t try hard enough, just simply because things have run their course.  I don’t have a desire to be stagnant/complacent.  Not at the expense of myself or the people I love, it wouldn’t do anyone any good in the long run.  Love yourself first… get to know yourself.

~Lori

“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

 

California…2006…getting there.


(a multi-part series)

Let me dive right in…but let’s back up a few years…lol

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( not my photo, gauleyrafting.net)

It was early fall, I was laying across the side of the raft, my face toward the warm sun, drifting through a calm section of the Upper Gauley (a river that boasts class V+ rapids in the fall), staring up at the lush green mountains and listening to the water lap across the side of the raft as it carried my friends and I down the river. ¬†I thought to myself, how does one make a living being out here all the time. ¬†How can I do this? ¬†It was the late 90’s and I barely had any college under my belt. ¬†I had zero clue as to what I wanted to do with my life. ¬†All I knew was that I wanted to work outside on the water and among the trees and mountains. ¬†My friends and I had been rafting the Upper Gauley for years. ¬† ¬†Each year I asked myself the same question. ¬†I come from a town where you go to college, get a degree, settle down and have a family. ¬†I didn’t know of a family that did anything super adventurous. ¬†The guidance counselor at my high school was pretty much worthless in helping a student recognize, let alone follow through on a dream that deferred from the small town norm so I was on my own to figure it out and find a way.

It took many years of monumental mistakes, wrong turns, changing majors several times and chasing after a career I had absolutely zero desire to pursue in order to make the decision to just follow my own path.

The year that I decided to change my life was 2006. ¬†It was a beautiful February day. ¬†I was sitting in math class at the local community college attempting nursing school for the ump-teenth time. ¬†Staring out the window I could see big beautiful snow flakes falling¬†outside in the courtyard. ¬†Snow flakes so big and fluffy that they need their own zip code. ¬†These flakes fell so slow like they were in slow motion and were dancing their way down from the sky. ¬† I thought to myself, I don’t want to be in an effing classroom. ¬†I don’t want to be a nurse, I don’t want to live out my life in Ohio without experiencing something bigger first. ¬†I had dreams damn it and I¬†needed to make them happen! ¬†So I promptly stood up and started walking out of the classroom. ¬†The professor stopped me and asked, “Where are you going? ¬†We have a quiz at the end of class.” ¬†I responded, “I understand. ¬†Good luck everyone.” ¬†And with that I walked straight to the registrars office and withdrew from all my classes. ¬†I¬†NEVER EVER¬†felt so free in my entire life. ¬†I drove home and immediately started planning my move out west to become a whitewater rafting guide.

I wanted to go somewhere I had never been before. ¬†I wanted to experience new attitudes, people, places, natural areas and different ways of living. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I love my mid-west values of hard work and family but my ideals never aligned with the closed mindedness of small town USA. ¬†I craved new ideas and fresh faces.

As I was searching the internet I came across a rafting company in Colorado. ¬†I have always wanted to live in Colorado. ¬†Everything about the place is exciting and beautiful to me. ¬†Huge mountains, rushing rivers and cute mountain men! ¬†Sign me up! ¬†The whitewater training school I found was ¬†DVORAK’S RAFTING. ¬†This place sounded very intense to me. ¬†Just what I wanted! ¬†But then thoughts from years ago started drifting in and out of my head of conversations I had with my neighbor David ¬†when I was living in Columbus attending Ohio State. ¬†David was an older gentleman who traveled a lot. ¬†When he was gone my sister and I would cat sit for him and in turn he would bring us home little gifts. ¬†I remember telling him how I always wanted to live in California. ¬†I dreamed of Yosemite, Joshua Tree and the Pacific Ocean. ¬†He said he was leaving on a trip there soon and I was so envious. ¬†Upon his return he brought me back postcards that showed different parts of the state. ¬†Little did I know but the seed was planted.

My guide school search continued until I found a great friendly company on the Kings River near Sequoia National Park. ¬†Zephyr Whitewater. ¬†California won out in the end. ¬†I saved money to pay for guide school and two months later with only belongings that could fit in the trunk of my car and $500 I set off for the mountains out west. ¬†My dreams of living on the river among the trees were becoming a reality!!! ¬†The sun would shine upon my face everyday and my “office view” would be amazing. ¬†I had never in my life felt so sure of anything, ever.

My family threw me a going away party and gave me gifts including $300 in BP gas card money. ¬†(little did any of us know that there aren’t any BP gas stations west of Indiana…at least not then…hahaha)

Finally the day after I turned 29 I packed up the last of my things into my car. ¬†I had said good bye to everyone. ¬†My mom and I had a moment before she left for work so it was my dad who was the last one to see me get on the road. ¬†I get my adventurous spirit from him I guess. ¬†When I wake up in the wee hours of the morning and take off on a random road trips, that is my dad. ¬†I remember not being able to let go of him. ¬†Crying and crying because I would miss him so much and desperately wanting him to go on that cross country adventure with me… ¬†after all I am my father’s daughter when it comes to road tripping, among other things. ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†My fearlessness and take no bull attitude comes from my mother and her mother, Italians…

Finally my dad crying and chuckling said, “You can’t leave if you don’t let go.” ¬†So I let go…

~Lori

“Give what you have. ¬†To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

 

Woke up and drove to New York… :D


 

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View from the upper falls area

 

Duuuudes… ¬†you ever have one of those mornings when you feel an overwhelming desire to get the heck out of town or you may just lose your mind?!?!?! ¬†That is¬†exactly how I felt Saturday morning. ¬†I was suppose to go snowshoeing with friends and was really looking forward to it as I have never been snowshoeing before. ¬†However, when I opened my eyes I knew I had to pack up a few things and hop in my car. ¬†It was a loooong week at work and some personal stuff was just brewing up inside me and that my friends makes for a great “get the heck out of dodge and drive to somewhere beautiful” kind of a much needed day! ¬†So I pack a bunch of warm clothes, a thermos of hot coffee, some snacks, loaded up on gas and hit the highway. ¬†I am not going to lie…. the weather was somewhat crappy but I didn’t care.

I knew exactly where I wanted to go. ¬†I friend had told me about a place called “The Grand Canyon of the East” about a year ago. ¬†I googled it and found it to be located in Letchworth State Park in Castile, NY. ¬†So dudes, I plugged it into the map app on my phone, hit the open road and let my car take me there.

There is something about a road trip that gets me so totally excited and I feel so at peace and free. ¬†I remember when I was moving from Venice Beach, CA up to San Francisco, I felt this feeling of relief knowing that I get to move someplace new and exciting…again! ¬†Having the freedom to travel whenever I want to is so….sacred to me. ¬†Sacred is the only word that I can think of to describe the feeling. ¬†Although Cleveland is my home base for now, I would never rule out moving someplace new again. ¬†ūüėČ

First I entered Pennsylvania (very short drive through this part of PA) then onto to New York. ¬†The drive to New York wasn’t that bad. ¬†I hit a few snow squalls heading of out Cleveland and in PA as well but I never thought to turn around. ¬†It turned out to be a pretty decent drive for the most part. ¬†I just took my time and wasn’t in any kind of hurry ūüôā

I love driving along long stretches of land and looking out over the farms with really old barns and old houses with high pitched roofs.  Everything looks really pretty when it is snow covered.  Like a moment from a postcard from 60-70 years ago.  The landscapes seem to stand still in time when they are blanketed with snow.

After driving 4.5 hours and plenty of beautiful farms, I finally arrived at Letchworth State Park.

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It. Was. Cold….very cold! ¬†I arrived and checked into the ranger’s station only to find out that that part of the park was closed due to the weather. ¬†A lot of roads in the park were closed because they were not passable. ¬†I also inquired to see if I could get a cabin for the night. ¬†I had this idea in my head that I was going to take a nice warm shower, read, write, relax and meditate until my heart’s content. ¬†That didn’t happen! ¬†I figured no one would be wanting to spend the night in a sub zero temps out in a state park, even if it was¬†in a¬†cabin. ¬†Wellll I forgot that it was Valentine’s Day weekend. ¬†Bummer because there was not single cabin available. ¬†So what’s a lady to do? ¬†I put on my winter gear and went for a hike around that part of the park. ¬†It was breathtaking! ¬†The following description is from the New York State Park website,

“Letchworth State Park, renowned as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs–as high as 600 feet in some places–surrounded by lush forests. Hikers can choose among 66 miles of hiking trails. Trails are also available for horseback riding, biking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Letchworth offers nature, history and performing arts programs, guided walks, tours, a summer lecture series, whitewater rafting, kayaking,¬†a pool for swimming and¬†hot air ballooning.” ¬†It was also named by USA Today, ¬†America’s favorite state park 2015.

 

I cannot wait to go back in the late spring or early summer! ¬†I want to hike for a couple of days and tent camp. ¬†I don’t know if there is much backpacking in the park but I will have to find out for sure. ¬†Wikipedia does a great job of explaining the history and formation of the canals and waterfalls within and around¬†Letchworth State Park. ¬† I tell you guys it’s worth the read ūüôā

I hiked around and soaked up the scenery for while before heading back to Ohio. ¬†The skies were so blue with wispy clouds spread out over the horizon. ¬†The sun was bright and I could not have asked for a better day. ¬†Even if it was insanely cold out! ¬†The cool (pun intended!) part was the contrast of the blue sky against the evergreen trees. The trees just POPPED against the blue. ¬†Very cool ūüôā ¬†Also the water below that was flowing through the canyon was a greenish blue color. ¬†The color of VERY VERY VERY cold water. ¬†Brrrr…. ¬†I had this thought that what if the cliff gave way and I slid hundreds of feet to the bottom of the canyon!? ¬†Morbid I know but seriously…lol! ¬†As I drove out of the park the wind picked just enough to blow some snow of the evergreen branches and they kissed my car gently as if to say, “Thank you for wandering around and see you soon.”

I stopped in a little town (the name of it has slipped my mind) to have dinner which was much needed after eating only a few snacks over the course of 8 hours.  I thought about staying in that little town but I really wanted to be in a cabin surrounded by snow and trees.  A small town hotel would not have had the same effect!

Well folks that is it for now! ¬†I hope you had a good start to the week and I will check in again very soon. ¬†I have to tell you about Sunday’s mini-road trip!

Oh and my friend Pete just posted a trip to the Wind River Range in Wyoming in August!  So stoked!!!

Happy road trippin’ ;D

 

~Lori

“Give what you have. ¬†To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

I wish I could describe the clouds

I wish I could describe to you in detail the clouds that were hanging in the sky on Tuesday…  I was driving home from work and could not stop staring up at the crazy eclectic clouds.  It was one of those afternoons where the sky was a bright radiant blue and the sunshine was floating between clouds casting highlights and shadows.  There were clouds of all shapes, sizes, colors and fluffiness…(that’s right..fluffiness!)  There were massive walls of clouds next to wispy ones, storybook clouds intermingling with gray one’s saturated with precipitation.  All the while the sky was a radiant beautiful blue.  I am not a very good flier but when I am up above the clouds I become very calm.  I really love flying through them… how cool is that?!    All the Gods were doing there finest work that afternoon and put on the most beautiful display.  People love posting pictures of rainbows, and yes they are very pretty, but I absolutely love clouds.

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This is a picture of some very interesting clouds that I took while traveling by train through Utah.  I forget what kind they are.

 

(a quick shout out to my friend Howdy‚Ķ)¬† I always used to call up my friend Kevin a.k.a. ‚ÄúHowdy‚ÄĚ and ask him about the clouds I have seen because he went to school and became a meteorologist.¬† He would always have the correct answer and an explanation of why they looked the way they did!¬† Smile¬† Now my old friend is among them up in heaven‚Ķ

This is a short and sweet post tonight..

Peace, love and lots of warm sunshine,

~Lori

‚ÄúGive what you have.¬† To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.‚ÄĚ

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow