28 February, 2016

Balancing Act

There's a very good reason why this is going up on Sunday, which is still technically within my week!  I wanted to try something new with this post by making a video about me talking while hiking through glorious Umstead Park in Raleigh.  So this morning I finally found some free time to get down to the park and take a trip around the Sycamore Loop trail.

Fig 1: A trail sign

Well the hike was lovely but the video I recorded on the trek turned out looking like a hot mess.  I guess that's misleading actually.  The hot mess was indeed myself on the video and if I had tried to edit it down to something palatable, well it would've been a jump cut after every 2 words.  Technically speaking though, the video quality was great!  Good job GoPro!  Please just PayPal me our sponsorship money, thanks.

Anyway down to brass tacks.  Tax?  Whatever.  There were two things I wanted to talk about on the hike, and one was how I need to find a better balance between my indoor and outdoor selves.  I'm a nerd, that much should be evident by now.  I like binging movies, TV shows, and video games.  Some days when I'm not working, I don't even go outside the house.  More recently I've been in conflict between my indoor half, who just wants to stay in and chill out, and my outdoor half, who wants to sell all of my belongings and move into a log cabin and be a lumberjack.  Aside from not having enough flannel to be a lumberjack, neither of those options are viable, so I need to find that sweet spot.  How am I going to figure out where that is?  No idea, but at least I'm worrying about it!

Now let's talk about Gravity Falls, my new favorite show of all time.  That's right, sorry Scrubs your reign has ended.  The show follows a set of twins, Dipper and Mabel, as they travel to the remote town of Gravity Falls to visit their Great Uncle for the summer.  However the town has a strange attraction for the supernatural and generally crazy so weird things constantly happen.  Dipper takes it upon himself, as the curious sibling, the figure out what's behind the madness while Mabel, the ball of pure energy that she is, pushes him along while wreaking some havoc of her own.

Aside from being a fantastic show, what really stuck out to me was the dynamic between the twins since they did such a great job of supporting each other throughout the whole series.  The point here is, sharing adventures is the best part of having them, so find that Dipper or Mabel counterpart in your life.  Oh and of course, don't shake hands with any one-eyed triangles.

Take it easy,

20 February, 2016

Dealing With Injuries

As I sit typing this post, I have a bag of ice tied to my knee. It would appear as though even I am subject to feel the effects of atrophy and age. A month or so I began jogging in order to get back into shape (from a conditioning point of view). On Wednesday, when I had energy to spare I jogged much longer and further than I have all year. After seeking advice from a sports trainer, I believe I am suffering from tendonitis in my right knee.

I had wanted to write about injuries for a while since I think they are an interesting subject. Obviously we should be trying to prevent and avoid them as much as possible. Unfortunately we are frail creatures and injuries are inevitable to some degree. There are many intangibles that we have no control over that can lead to minor or even serious injuries. Like this past April when I was kayaking at the USNWC, when a wave knocked me back underwater and up against a rather large rock right after a successful roll attempt. I ended up bruising and scraping my hand up pretty badly.

Since then I have lost count of the number of people who asked, "Who did you hit?" It got to the point I wanted nothing more than to respond, "The last moron who asked me that question!" Having to repetitively answer questions regarding how I sustained injuries had been my biggest incentive growing up to avoid them at all costs. Over the past year I have realized these questions can be a great springboard for telling someone about an activity you are passionate about. It’s not lost on me that to many people, someone pointing at a purple hand that's covered in blood is probably not the most enticing advertisement, but for some the passion of others who do something despite inherent risks can be extremely appealing.

So I plan to, and hope everyone, continues to prevent and avoid injuries as best I can. I have used the scars on the back of my hand as a reminder of what can happen when I get complacent. But when life gives me no other options, I plan to use my injuries as a platform to promote my passions instead of a reason to hate a complete stranger for showing concern.

12 February, 2016

Why Worry?

This week has been crazy for me.  Topsy-turvy is the descriptor I would use.  It all started out with a job interview for a company in Seattle and then a 2nd, both of which went exceedingly well!  Moving to Seattle is a goal for me, and a big one since moving cross country is no joke.  But then I freaked out.  What if it didn't work out?  What if I couldn't afford the cost of living?  You see, I worry about stuff like that constantly and it hasn't been until recently that I became well versed in squelching the anxiety.  Anyway, this week wasn't my best.

Let's talk about climbing gyms for a bit.  There is a huge stigma, at least where I live, about utilizing the incredible recording convenience that is a GoPro camera in the gym.  So my plans for recording some videos of my leading have been thwarted, for now.  However I did go climbing tonight and I can show you this potato-quality picture of my friend Wayne absolutely crushing it:

Is there a main point behind this rambling?  Probably not, sometimes I just like to share for better or worse.  But if I had to choose a main takeaway?  Don't sweat it.  Whatever it is that's bugging you, just drop it for a day and come back.  This has been an interesting session with Evan, now back to this Fireball whiskey.

Drink up!

04 February, 2016

The Boulderer's Dilemma

When Evan and I decided to start this blog, one of the easiest decisions for us was to name it “Creeks & Crags”. The name embodied the cores of our values and was a great showcase of our passions within the outdoors. Ever since we began uploading the earliest of our content I feel like we have certainly lived up to the “Creeks” aspect of our name. Unfortunately, I deserted Evan when it came to the “Crags” aspect. That is, until last week.

Two weekends ago, a guy named Mike came into our store and asked me if we sold climbing gear. After the unpleasant task of informing him of our complete lack of such gear, we sparked up a conversation about our own experiences in climbing. We ended up exchanging numbers and hitting up the climbing wall at UNCG later that week. This was pretty much my first time on a climbing wall. My hand and forearm muscles were quick to remind me of that fact! I was only able to send a couple routes before a desperate dyno sent me hurtling off the wall. (*Dyno: A move where the climber typically has both feet come off the wall to reach a hold that would otherwise be unreachable.)

It felt great to be back on the wall. I've climbed maybe once every year or so since I was 13. What felt even more amazing was the chance to Top Rope again! When I have gone climbing in the past couple of years, I have mainly stuck to bouldering since I have been forced to go solo. It is also a style of climbing that has meshed with my physical conditioning. Even in the peak of my fitness playing soccer and running track, I was a sprinter and lacked any motivation for endurance running. Like my father always says, “If you have to cross the finish line more than once, you’re running the race wrong.”

One of the greatest hurdles I faced when tackling the Wall was having confidence in the rope being there to catch me if/when I fell. I have never been overly scared of heights, but I do respect them. I ended up becoming sluggish in some of my movements as I made my ascents and ended up wasting a lot of energy being indecisive. It was a great workout and Mike and I plan to make it back to UNCG wall within the week.