I love running, really I do. There was a time when I equated it with asthma, shin splints, heart pain, tunnel vision... a means of torture administered by my soccer coach...but over the years, I learned to love it. I became an ultra runner in 2006, and it changed me in many ways. I entered a new world that I can never forget. Once an ultra runner, always an ultra runner...I guess.
So, don't misunderstand what I am about to say, but this year my goal is to do a little less running and a lot more hiking/camping. I still have the goal of finishing another 100 miler...some day...but for now, my focus has changed (probably because I've gotten lazy over the last month, have hardly ran at all, and have totally been taken captive by the whiles of the holidays: eating junk food, laying around with the family watching movies, eating more junk food...)
The last few times I forced myself to get out on the trail, I found myself hiking instead of running. During my last hike, I got to thinking, "I really like hiking." I like camping, too...and fishing. I like all that stuff. I like them in a different way than running, but I do like them very much. And it seems like hiking, camping, and fishing lend themselves more to family involvement. So, with that being said, here are some pictures of some of the outdoor activities (besides running) that brought me a whole lot of enjoyment in 2014. Take a look, and I think you'll see just how much fun I've had (sort of):
At the beginning of the year, Zachary and I had some father/son time around his birthday. It was what he wanted. I'm not sure how much I influenced that desire, but I was more than willing to give him this birthday present! We headed out Sunday night after church, the truck already being all loaded. We slept for awhile in the back of the truck, and then early in the morning we set up camp, gathered firewood, cooked up a good meal over the fire...and nearly froze to death (seriously, it got below zero, and we were not prepared for it.) Good times!
A couple months later, Braeden decided he wanted the same thing for his birthday. Again, ready to sacrifice, I loaded up the truck and prepared for our great adventure. The temperature got very low again, but we handled it. Oh, and there was that little spell of sickness that I had. It caused me to vomit uncontrollably for much of the night. I'm not talking about a little spewing out of the mouth, either. I'm talking about veins popping out of the head, blood vessels literally bursting in my eyeballs, you know, the "touch me and you die!" kind of sickness... but for some reason, I have nearly forgotten about all the discomforts of that trip and have many more memories in my head of the time that we...well, at least I, enjoyed. For example, this little hiking trip we took around the lake provided me with my favorite picture of all times.
Later in the year, we took a family camping trip (it included a cabin...so, I'm not actually sure if it really counts as camping) at Toronto Lake. We had a blast as a family. We did a little conoeing, some swimming, the kids took their bikes and rode them around...Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the bike accident...
5-10 minutes into the trip, Braeden rode his bike down a hill, lost control and made about a 30 foot jump off of a bridge into a grassy field where he landed on his face...yeah, good times! (poor guy.)
There were a couple other outdoor adventures with the family. They always make good memories. This next year, if all goes as I hope it will, there will be many more. I'd like to try more shelter building with the boys. I'd like for us to do some "survival" camping (although, with my track record, I'm not sure that's a great idea).
I'd like to succeed in starting fires with sticks. I like to do more boiling our drinking water straight out of the lake, eating more edible plants, using more mullein leaves as toilet paper... yeah, this is going to be a great year for outdoor adventures!
Happy New Year!