sneaking a walk

I got prepared for my 12:40 class at 11:55 and decided to go for it. I walked around one of the loops on campus that skirts the river, goes through piney woods, and comes back out near the gym across the street from my office. sept 13 trail

It took 30 minutes so I made it to class only just on time, but now I’ve done my walk for the day. The woods were all green and gold on this sunny hot day, the sunlight bouncing off of leaves of all shapes and sizes. sept 13 woods

The trail goes along a river. I heard a lot of raucous blue jays in the woods, but mostly it was just quiet and peaceful. sept 13 river

 

It can be done…

with a little planning. Instead of launching into my day as usual I have to pause and ask myself when I can fit in a walk. If I just vaguely plan to and hope I’ll find a good time it will not happen, usually. Tuesday was really busy but I did manage a campus walk. It was only a 16 minute walk around a block at the edge of campus, but at least I got out there and walked. Then yesterday morning before leaving for the day I stopped and scheduled in a walk. It also has the benefit of giving me a treat to look forward to. The benefit of planning was that I ran back upstairs to grab a pair of comfy old walking pants to change into so I wouldn’t have to walk in my work clothes. We decided on the “kip trail” which was just perfect. It was a 30-minute walk on a wood chip trail through the woods. Here is the start of it:sept 12 walk start

And here is the trail–inviting, isn’t it!?sept 12 kip trail walk

It was a really nice day for walking in the woods–75 degrees, partly cloudy, and calm. There were hardly any bugs. Jogging students passed us a few times. So far, so good!

 

 

 

yesterday the office won–renewed determination for today

Well, I can count the excuses, I mean, the reasons for not walking yesterday: it was chilly and rainy when I got home at 5:30 pm, gloomy, damp and cloudy outside. There was housework to do, beet soup to make, kittens to pet, supper to eat, and saxophone to practice. I had gotten up at 5:00 am not to walk but to prepare for classes, and got to the office by 6:00 am clutching my coffee travel mug and a breakfast sandwich from Stewart’s. I worked without pause until class got out at 2:20, and then could have gone for a walk–but instead I got another cup of coffee and relaxed (collapsed) in the comfy chair in my office. office

Here is the office, where I am again today getting ready for my 12:40 class. I’m pretty much ready for class now, after having gotten here at 7:30. So I am going out for a walk, just around the campus. I’ll time it– my high-tech way to measure a mile is to estimate 20-minutes for a mile. So here I go, let’s see how long a walk around this lovely (rainy) campus takes me. I’ll report back tomorrow!

 

 

off-road walking

On Friday after a horseback riding lesson my husband and I went on a short 30-minute walk in our own hayfield/cow pasture. The guy who leases the land has a herd of beef cows and a bull in the field, and they were spooked by us, so we didn’t go as far as we had planned. sept 7 endless field

We left the cows alone and walked across the street to a hay field owned by our neighbor.  In this field we saw lots of monarch butterflies, and in the scrubby ex-pasture next to it there were big patches of beautiful goldenrod, buzzing with honey bees. A gorgeous day! On Saturday we went to Sackets Harbor to cheer on my brother-in-law on his impressive triathalon. Swimming a mile, biking 25 miles, running 6 miles, for four hours or so on a breezy cool day. We whooped and hollered enthusiastically from the sidelines. We all went for pizza and ice cream afterward, but he was the only one who actually earned it! After we got home I went out with my nippers and spent two blissful hours in our woods working on walking/snowshoeing trails. Sept 8 trail work

Then yesterday I took a woods walk scouting out other places where older trails needed to be “refreshed”, and really just enjoying the woods. sept 9 woods walk dead elm

This is a tall dead elm tree that marks the start of one of the woods trails. It goes up a sharp incline where there are lots of apple trees and blackberry patches. I saw a big black and yellow orb-weaver spider sitting in the center of its web which was stretched across the trail, in time to go around it. Later I passed next to or under many apple trees, the ground covered with drops. Great for squirrels, chipmunks, deer and other critters. Plenty of apples still on the branch too for me to sample. dropped apples

Today I had to get to work early, so no time for a sunrise walk, although I did see the beginnings of the sunrise on the way in to town! It’s supposed to rain hard later, so we will see if I can fit a walk in.

 

 

 

beating the heat

It’s always easier to be motivated and determined when you first start something, but I will still take credit for walking last night AND this morning. I bring my phone along to take pictures. Here is the one from last night.sunset sep 5

It was still about 80 degrees but better than the 93 earlier that afternoon. That’s very hot for our area. Adventures last night included seeing a bat, picking apples from trees near the road–one sour and one sweet. Also, we were stared down by a big black angus bull in a pasture by the road, with nothing between us and him but an old sagging fence. We kept our eyes down and tried not to look threatening as we hurried past. The view from this spot is fantastic. Here’s a picture of the view and part of the pasture. No, we didn’t try to get a picture of the bull! pasture and long view sep 5This morning, because I don’t have class until 12:40, I felt a little more relaxed about rushing off to the office, so we took the same walk, a mile mostly uphill, and then of course the easier mile downhill. My husband came along and I asked him to take a picture of me for this blog! walking down the roadAs you can see, we don’t exactly live in a crowded area. And not much traffic: this morning we were passed by two pickups and one car. The grasshoppers and crickets were buzzing and chipping away, but we didn’t hear many birds. At about 6:30 am and already 75 degrees outside! But the woods on either side of us breathed out cool, scented air.

 

 

 

When work gets in the way

or is it just not setting priorities? In my particular job I work flexible but very long hours during the teaching semester, and then lurch into the wonderful but disorienting long breaks in summer and winter. It takes some time to adjust each way, into and out of the semester. There’s no excuse for not exercising during those breaks, but it can be a real challenge scheduling even meals during the semester. I think it’s about two things that are related: one, setting the right priorities and 2. over-commitment, otherwise known as busyness, that national epidemic! Anyway, my goal is to put walking as high on my list of priorities as, say, coffee. Just as a day without coffee is inconceivable, I want a day without walking to be unthinkable. I am definitely not there yet, but that’s the goal!

It is hot today and I would have loved to walk early, but I didn’t get my grading or class prep done yesterday, so I got up early but not to walk. My plan is to walk this evening at sunset instead. Meanwhile, since a blog post without a photo is not as fun, here is a picture of me walking through a field on the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, where we go in June each summer to hike.

Bruce Trip 2017 172.JPG

an idea…

The idea started last night as I lay in bed and thought to myself, it’s going to be too hot to walk tomorrow, unless I do it very early in the morning. I then thought, I’ll make a new blog called “sunrise chaser” and walk as often as I can at sunrise for a year. As I always do with my grand new plans and schemes,  I texted the idea to my sister, an avid hiker, who lives five hours away. She responded “we can do it together!” I thought about it more as I walked the mile up our road and back this morning, and decided “sunrise chaser” or “dawn chaser” was too restrictive–I just want to get into a habit of walking every day, whenever and wherever I can, long or short, fast or slow doesn’t matter. Also, it’s too poetic–I want this to be a plain old prosaic, ho-hum kind of habit and a ho-hum kind of blog.  cropped-sep-4-sunriseThis morning at 6:30 I snuck out quietly to keep the cats from following me. I was lucky to see a gorgeous sunrise at the top of the hill.

sep 4 sunrise looking north

Looking north over pastures. Part of the time I listened to “Two Steps from Hell” music on my phone with earphones. Part of the time I enjoyed the sounds of birds and frogs and grasshoppers. A school bus passed me, taking kids to the first day of school. I surprised a long-haired Siamese cat on mouse-hunting rounds. I smelled the punky cidery scent of wild apples that lay in carpets under trees, some eaten by deer, some picked by me for applesauce, but many rotting fragrantly and turning eventually into dirt again. My long, long shadow marched ahead of me on the road as I walked back home, the sun already hot on my back. Good start to the day!

walking!

eat healthy food, get enough sleep, move! Why is it so complicated to do these three supposedly simple things!? The simplest exercise I can think of is to put on walking shoes and head out my front door. So I’m going to do that, as often as possible, and write about it on my walking blog. Simple, right? We will see!