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  1. Condensed Vacation

    Sep 23, 2008

    It really doesn't do my vacation weekend any justice to have to condense it down to one blog post, but alas I have to. Last week I went to my hometown of Orland and it's neighbor, Bucksport to visit family, staying from Thursday through Monday. I was a little apprehensive about the idea of trying to adhere to a weight loss plan while on vacation. I really didn't need to be though. I've learned enough in the past few months about balance and lifestyle that things really weren't that different after all. As I said in my last post, I wasn't concerned about finding workouts since I have feet and there's pavement in Bucksport too, just like here. So this is how I managed to get a solid workout in on a trip over the long weekend.

    I've gotten to a point where I know I can afford to take 1-2 days of rest a week. It's actually advised. So Thursday itself went down as a rest day. I was going to have plenty to do over the weekend anyway. I was planning to go caching, and to focus on the more physically challenging and beautiful caches of the area. But what to do Friday morning? I figured a run would suffice and plotted this route as I had stayed at my grandmother's house that night. It's an interesting run. While mild, there are some hills and it never really seemed all that flat at any one point. The terrain seemed to constantly change. It proved good for the resistance as I had only for the most part run on flat terrain. Quiet road too. Oh yeah, I'm also doing longer routes now. Where 3 miles was a challenge a few months ago, I'm now running 4 - 4.5 miles regularly. This run would set the tone for the weekend.

    That brings us to Saturday, the grandest day of my trip, and a day that totally changed my perspective. A little history : I was a lazy kid. I would much rather have chatted on the phone, eaten, or watched satellite tv than climb a mountain. As it so happens there is a decent sized mountain only 2 miles from where I grew up. Of course I never took advantage of this mountain as a child. I was too busy doing absolutely nothing. Saturday was my chance to prove to myself that I had changed. I'm no longer the lethargic oaf I once was.

    There are 2 geocaches on Great Pond Mountain in East Orland and Saturday I summited the peak and found both. It's one of the two proudest achievements of my weight loss effort so far, the other being last weekend's 5K. GCJXV3 - Salmon 'R Us is located along a trail just off of the main route to the Great Pond summit. It lies along a trail called Mossy Rocks Trail that's appropriately named. There is something about the lush green color of mosses first thing in the morning. I don't think that color is present anywhere else and shouldn't be replicated anyway. The cache was a simple hide and not really the main focus of this trek so I had to get on my way. Bigger fish needed frying and so I got back on the main trail promptly.

    GCGD3V - I'm Fond of Great Pond is at the summit. Unreal. That's really the only way to describe it. I was so proud of having climbed what is a relatively steep trail and at no time did I really feel taxed. I was certainly getting a workout, but it was never more than I could handle. Now I know why Eric has had me doing squats for the last 3 months. I decided to head for the top before making my way to the cache. I summited the mountain at 7:49 AM feeling immensely satisfied by my effort. I took in the sights of fog on the surrounding ponds, the new Penobscot Narrows Crossing in the distance, and hawks practicing aerials just overhead. After savoring the sights I pressed on to the cache, finding it not so different from others. It's a regular sized container with the ordinary swag and pencil. Somehow it felt more special than that. Maybe it's because in 5 years this cache has only seen a few dozen visitors. Only a few put in the effort to come up here to this one. Maybe it's too much effort for some, but I feel that the effort itself is just as much the reward.

    While Saturday provided the greatest sense of personal achievement, Sunday was a great day of personal growth as well. Fitness and wellness has much to do with your mental health as well as your physiology. I spent a portion of my day Sunday connecting with my father. He's a long time outdoorsman and as long as I remember he's been involved in hunting, fishing, boating, and ATV riding. He tried to share all these things with me as a kid, but again, I was too lazy to take advantage of the things he knew. I decided to reconnect on Sunday by taking him out for his first geocaching outing. He's super familiar with the area and knew of the remote pond where I told him there was a geocache stashed. GC13QYB - Hothole Pond Cache is a traditional cache that has seen only a little action in the year it's been there, likely due to the difficulty of the terrain and accessibility issues. Again, the effort proved to be the reward. A rough haul, we had to portage over several beaver dams that my dad didn't remember being there. It should be said that the last time he was in here was 20 years ago. We paddled just over 3 miles round trip and saw probably one of the most majestic things I've ever seen. A gaggle of 18 Canadian geese came into Hothole to rest for the night as we were paddling out. They were only 20 feet overhead and the impact of the sheer size of the birds was only surpassed by the impressive sound their wings made so closely above. We got soaked and bonds were made. I love my father very much and was happy to finally spend this time with him I should have been spending all the while.

    I returned on Monday feeling refreshed, and satisfied that even though I was away from home, I managed to adhere to a plan that allowed me to challenge myself physically. I feel rested even though I worked hard. My father said it's the best time he's had in years. I was overjoyed, and felt exactly the same way.

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