Monday, October 21, 2019

Gourmet Health & Hiking Poles Weekend Retreat at Point Reyes

The Point Reyes website is limited in space so I’m posting info here for anyone who is interested in this weekend event, which is only offered once per year.

Location:  Clem Miller Environmental Education Center – we are SO lucky to have access to this amazing facility.  If you read the description of our location, you know we are OFF the grid at CMEE.  There is ZERO cell reception.  There is no electricity in the cabins.  There are 5 cabins on the property and one large bathhouse.  Each cabin sleeps about 20 and we will be 3 to 5 per cabin, depending on your selection.  Point Reyes provides 2 excellent/experienced facilitators for our weekend and s/he can assist with cabin selection.

Retreat Description:  Are you getting older? We hope so. But how to age as gracefully as possible?  You love the outdoors!

If you’ve ever considered consulting with a fitness coach or personal trainer, this is an excellent way to get started in understanding how to weave fitness into your life so that you can continue to enjoy your outdoor activities.  This retreat is designed so that each participant can connect with nature, rejuvenate and experience a variety of classes and activities specifically designed to help you maintain your ability to enjoy the outdoors.

Together we’ll enjoy Point Reyes and learn transformative skills focused on improving and maintaining your skeletal structure and quality of life.

The weekend will include structured classes, group movement and exercise sessions as well as a variety of health and wellness discussions. Participants may enjoy all or some of the activities.
Learn and practice skills and progressive routines to enhance your health as well as optimize, personalize and PROGRAM your fitness.

Expert instruction will help you improve your ability to hike efficiently and comfortably using poles. A variety of top quality poles will be provided – learn which model fits you best and will enable you to achieve your hiking goals.

Weekend rate includes two nights’ accommodations and most (healthy and delicious) meals.

Hikes: Saturday’s short hike is part of the hiking poles training. Sunday’s hikes: 2 levels will be offered (easy/gentle and stronger/exercise) so you can practice skills and experience the magic of Point Reyes.

From prior participants:
“I went from never having used poles to feeling confident. The food was amazing as were so many other aspects of the weekend.” Jaime
“Activities from day one that provide guidance on how to get the most out of the weekend. Jayah puts a lot of thought into her teaching methods to achieve individualized goals.” Julie
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your 1000% effort to teach us, care for us and inspire us to be fitter and healthier. I know you made each of our lives better in so many ways.” Clarice
“Exceptional training in a natural environment.” Carol

10:30 a.m. Friday, August 23, 2019 to about 4 pm on Sunday, August 25, 2019

Most retreats at Point Reyes run well over $400 and do not include the food.  This one is $315 (members) or $345 (non-members) and includes most of the food – see note at end of this post to see how you can experience a truly magical culinary experience as well as the training and camaraderie of this retreat.

Schedule:

Activities and times are approximate and subject to change due to weather or whim.

Friday:
• 10:30 to 11 Arrive at the Clem Miller Educational Center at Point Reyes National Seashore
• 11 to 12:30 Unload car, sign in with facilitator, get parking pass and repark car in nearby lot. Select cabin, arrange bedding. Settle in, lunch on your own.
• 1:00 Fitness for the Trail class
Six key elements determine your ability to maintain physical fitness. This interactive session progressively helps you create a more structurally-solid foundation. Individualized movements focus on improving joint health, balance, posture, endurance, flexibility and strength.
This is a combination lecture and participation which will give us a common language for the weekend and give you tools for establishing a healthy exercise routine. Participants will be able to assess their level in each category and learn movements and exercises in each that will help facilitate optimal physical health. Extremely easy, low to medium level of exertion.
• 4:45 Dinner Prep
• 5:30 Dinner (Discussion: individuals’ intros, issues, interests and goals)
• 7:00 Hiking Poles lecture, anatomy discussion and pole fitting (gearing up – variety of quality poles provided). Learn which poles fit you best and will help you achieve your goals.
• 8:15 Qi Gong guided meditation for organ health and relaxation with Master May Chen

Saturday:
• 7 to 8:30 Morning movements, Tai Chi & Breakfast (discussion: outline of the day)
• 8:45 Hiking pole training session and short hike (< 2 miles): Beginner to experienced hikers learn techniques which help improve performance on the trail. Optimal use of poles on uphill will improve your power, endurance and spine function; on the downhill, you’ll develop skills for improving confidence and saving your knees.
• 12:30 Lunch (Discussions: personal care tips, metabolism)
• 2:00 Strength & Balance session with bands (provided)
• 4:30 Dinner Prep
• 5:30 Dinner (Discussions: Gear, Trail Tips, what’s in your pack?)
• 7:00 “My Feet!” Session on feet including blister prevention followed by Qi Gong Meditation with Master May

Sunday:
• 7 to 8:30 Morning movements, Tai Chi & Breakfast
• 8:30 Practice Pole Hikes: Weather Permitting – Enjoy nature and experience the magic of Point Reyes. Two levels offered (Easy, gentle, nature hike or more energetic exercise training hike).
• 11:45 Stretches, Recovery strategies, including Foam Roller session
• 12:45 Lunch (Discussions: nutrition, wellness, fitting it all in)
• 2:15 Pack & Clean up
• 3:30 Farewell & Feedback gathering

Facility: – See description on the Point Reyes website   Scroll down to read about the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center.  There are 5 separate cabins, each of which sleeps over 20 and our retreat will be under 20 people total, so it’s 3 to 4 people per cabin.  We have LOTS of space!

Food

Our system is UNIQUE (and, if I do say so myself, brilliant) at Point Reyes, but it requires a little up-front coordination which, in the long run, will save you a BUNCH of time and trouble.

Meals are coordinated ahead of time via a website that makes the food for the weekend easy, creative and fun. Rather than having to prepare all your meals for the whole weekend, you will be able to bring 2 to 3 items plus a few staples. This easy and well-organized website will enable us to see what everyone is bringing as our culinary experience unfolds.

Our focus is on healthy, nutritious, yummy meals that connect us as we share stories and enjoy health-related discussions. You will be able to contribute in a way that you’re comfortable, whether it’s a main dish, side dishes, snacks or staples (which will be listed so all you have to do is sign up for that item).

A full-service, commercial kitchen is provided.

Participants will need to advise the instructor of any food allergies or limitations.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS: Instructor will want to reach out to you 2-3 weeks before the class so you can get the custom and updated list of what to bring as well as prepare your food contributions. WHEN YOU REGISTER, you will want to ask the field seminar office for the instructor’s email so that you can reach out and receive the info you will need in order to participate in this retreat. The sooner you reach out to the instructor, the easier it will be for you to prepare.

What to Bring:

Point Reyes Health & Hiking Poles Weekend Retreat  Instructor’s Custom List of What to Bring

This is significantly more comprehensive than the “standard” what to bring on the Point Reyes site.  I suggest you START A PILE.  In the past, participants were “sure it was there,” and left home without something really basic.  If you are lacking anything, let instructor know as Jayah has extra of almost everything. When in doubt, pack extra.

  • Variable, layered clothing:
  • Your food contributions (via the sign-up genius website)
  • Your own cloth napkins (no paper please)
  • Toiletries (including soap)
  • Ear plugs (in case of snorers)
  • Hat and sun protection.
  • Good quality hiking shoes (with tread).
  • Your favorite face and body lotion (for one of our health discussions)
  • WARM sleeping bag or linens & pillows (linens not provided for bunkbeds, basic foam mattress only)
  • Any other linens, air mattress, foam mattress pad, etc. for your comfort (this is “glamping”). Instructor is seriously “princess and the pea” and has multilayer air mattress, foam pads, comfy sheets, tons of pillows and a teddy bear
  • Towels
  • Shower shoes
  • Flashlight, headlamp, lantern
  • Your favorite mug for Golden Milk (morning drink which will be provided), tea & coffee
  • Yoga mat
  • Extra pad(s) for under the mat (something to protect your knees)
  • A rag to wipe off your poles if they get dirty or wet
  • Rain gear, if necessary.
  • Fanny Pack OR Day pack with chest strap (or add bandana or something to TIE straps); water bottle(s) – note there is excellent filtered water at Clem Miller Environmental Education Center.

Optional Items:

  • Your favorite small piece of exercise equipment. Be creative, as we’ll be sharing our success stories.
  • Yoga strap (or terrycloth bathrobe belt)

Instructor has extra and you may request one especially if you’re an early responder:

  • Chair for outdoor seating (lawn or camp chair)
  • Foam roller
  • Fingerless bike gloves

** Hiking poles?  I have lots.  Bring your own or let me know if you’d like to borrow a pair/be fitted.  When you email me about this, please include your height.

To Register, click here

 

 

Article on using POLES for Hiking & Walking

May 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Poles, Poles for Hiking

April 2018_Pole Walking Article

This is an article that appeared in a local paper.  The writer told me that it was one of the “most fun” articles she’d ever written.

Just click on the link and Enjoy!

Winter Hiking

November 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Nature, Pole Tips

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday we did our first hike on Mt. Tamalpais since the rain last week.  The Fungus is AMONG US, the newts are crawling and the colors are RICH

As always, click on any photo to enlarge, click the back button to return to post.  The black mushrooms were a stunning discovery and a first for us.  The newt’s eyes are visible on a larger version.  Notice the pole tip for scale on the Chantrelle photo.  Enjoy and we hope to see you OTT (on the trail).

 

This lovely forest scene was taken

after we did our big climb.  There

are several trails on The Mountain

that I call “Just Show Up” trails.

It does not matter how fast we go,

we just DO IT.    Small steps, poles

pushing.  I estimate 25 to 35% assist

with my poles.  When I don’t hike with

poles, my legs COMPLAIN – a LOT.

Happy Trails!

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One more thing:  We LOVE comments on the blog!

Stay Cool, Gear Up

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Gear

Travelling thru Zion National Park, I saw this hat in the visitor center.  It’s yet another way to stay cool in the desert or on hot hikes:

Use the link above to search for your size and color (I love the green).
As always, anything you order via links from this blog help support quality posts. I do not take advertising, but use affiliate links (which cost you nothing). If you subscribe, you may not be able to click thru, so please go to the blog and click from there.

Shoe Insole Helps Your FEET!

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness & Health, Gear, Uncommon Sense

My Feet, My Feet!

Hikers have FEET!  I have not used commercial insoles that come in the shoes for YEARS.  I’ve tried every insole I could find and, as I get older, my feet seem to need more help.  FINALLY, I found an insole that makes a huge difference.  I’ve been telling my hiking buddies about it and have enough people who have thanked me and raved about it, I feel I can recommend to my AdventureBuddies here:

Use the link above to search for your size. You want PowerStep Pinnacle Max. I tried the regular, but LOVE the Max.
As always, anything you order via links from this blog help support quality posts. I do not take advertising, but use affiliate links (which cost you nothing). If you subscribe, you may not be able to click thru, so please go to the blog and click from there.

Compression and Ice Speed Healing

July 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Trail Tips, Uncommon Sense

Is this news to anyone?  Ice reduces inflammation. Why take drugs and make your kidneys and liver pay for (otherwise untreated) knee pain?  I believe that everyone should have a good ice pack at the ready!

Remember the adage:  RICE?  Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  I’ve talked on this blog about the importance of compression and I carry a compression bandage in my hiking pack – always.  I’ve helped many a hiker with this simple, essential piece of gear.  But when I get home, it’s ice for my knee.  When I ice, I don’t hurt.  When I don’t, I often am uncomfortable the next day.  I have to remember to ice because I don’t hurt until the next day.

I’ve looked long and hard and have tried many ice packs.  I got this one recently and LOVE it.  It’s great for knees, wrists, elbows, ankles, feet (plantar fasciitis), even a shoulder.  When I first pull it out of the freezer, it’s a bit hard, but it softens quickly and stays cold longer than most.  This particular pack comes with 2 ice packs and one compression sleeve (which has a good wide compression strap.   It’s less than $3 for an additional pack making this a really good value.

Under the ice pack link is a link for a Velcro compression bandage (2 pack – one for your pack, one for home).   Compress an injury quickly (and lightly – not too tightly) to prevent swelling, reduce pain, provide support.

Lastly, don’t forget the compression bandage is in your pack – USE IT. If you can get an injury cleaned and compressed, it can make a HUGE difference. Check with your favorite medical professional or even search around the web if you’re not familiar with the benefits and methods of compression. Most medical kits I’ve looked at do not have this most essential item.

As always, order from the links on this blog.  It supports the blog and costs you nothing.  Anything you purchase after clicking thru from the blog results in a (very teeny tiny) commission – it’s called affiliate marketing and it helps support providing quality info to people who love being outside!  Thanks Hikers & Walkers!

Holiday Gift Guide Top Pick

November 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Gear, Miscellaneous, Uncommon Sense

Our Top Outdoor Gift Idea is a HEADLAMP.  See link at bottom of this post which will take you directly to our favorite source.  Why a headlamp?   Because we care….PLUS:620621_torc_spot_headlamp_web

For those of us who use poles, it’s a no-brainer.  Put in your pack even if you know  you’ll be done before dark.  Stuff happens OTT (on the trail). Explore caves, tunnels, enjoy!  Why this model?  Black Diamond Spot is lightweight, waterproof and has great features.   The red light is used at night so we don’t blind our buddies or lose our night vision.  It comes in great colors – get a bright one for yourself and your favorite hiking buddy.
But also use for:

  • Travel ~ If you’re in a hotel room and want to continue reading while your partner wants the light out – BINGO! The aim-hinge helps your neck and posture.   (So does putting your book on a pillow)
  • Safety ~ for those of us in earthquake land, we know to keep a pair of sturdy shoes under our bed, at the ready. A pair of socks goes in one and the headlamp (when not in the hiking pack) goes in   the other.  That way we have our hands available.
  • Neck Health!  Reading with a headlamp is SO much better for your neck, eyes and shoulders (for so many reasons).

As we get older (beats the alternative), we need ways to stay safe.  Once you get accustomed to using a headlamp, you’ll never go back.  But – please – use it.

Note:  when in your pack – LOCK IT  so you don’t end up with a dead battery/useless headlamp.  So read the instructions and use in health!

Custom Directions:

I find the directions a little murky, so here’s a recap:  Open with the little lever on the side &  install batteries (included).   Then give yourself a tutorial:

  • One press for strong spot. One press for off
  • 2 quick presses for double (reading) light
  • 3 quick presses for flashing lights
  • Press and hold (about 2 seconds) for red (night) light

Keep pressing (4 to 6 seconds) to lock – again – VERY IMPORTANT to keep light from accidentally going on and draining the battery – blue lock light will come on.  Press and hold (4 to 6 seconds) to unlock.

Notice battery monitor – cool huh?

Once on, if you press and hold, all lights will dim.

Power tap on side will alternate between custom dimmed setting and full strength.

This really is the coolest headlamp – now practice, have fun and please USE IT.   Aim it vs. straining your neck.  If reluctant, try reading with it and we hope you think it’s the best reading lamp ever!

Holiday Gift Guide #4 – Do you have knees?

November 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Fitness & Health, Gear

Hikers have knees.  We love our poles and they help save our knees – BUT – knees can still ache the next day after a tough hike.  When I ICE, I don’t hurt.  When I don’t ice, my knees are often quite vocal the next day.  Hit me over the head with a sledgehammer!

The problem is that they don’t hurt that day or evening, just the next day.  But NEVER when I ice.  I recently ordered a bunch of ice packs and this is the one I likeI don’t put it on bare skin.  I wrap it around really snugly and it provides some compression as well.  It’s EXCELLENT and so reasonably priced.

I can even put it in my cooler between 2 ice packs and have ice right after my hike.  Why make your kidneys pay (ibuprophen, NSAIDS, etc.) when applying ice directly helps?   Note:  You may not think you need ice because you don’t SEE swelling.  But if you have discomfort – ICE, ICE, ICE!

Also, in our opinion, EVERYONE should have a good ice pack in the freezer, ready to go.  I’ve used this on elbows, ankles, knees, shoulders….stuff happens!

Hiking Guidelines

November 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Trail Tips, Uncommon Sense

BUDDY HIKES:  As people join our energetic hiking-for-exercise group, it’s helpful to communicate how we are VERY different from other groups.  I know this list seems like a LOT, but every single one of these guidelines has emerged from some issue or concern.

Our primary goal when hiking is safety, followed by exercise, and we hope for everyone to have a good time.  Since that’s different for everyone, please read before you join us:

Our prime directive is exercise – that’s why the Morning Hikers Buddy Hikes were formed.  Secondarily, we love nature.  That we can get great exercise – outside – and connect with our buddies is wonderful, but the social is an ancillary benefit of being outside exercising.

Chatter:   Many people go into nature for the serenity.  4+ hours of competing conversations is not serene. We are a “small” group by design.  Large groups of 16 to 20 can have 8 to 9 different, competing conversations.  It can get loud, when some of us want to hear the birds, the frogs, the burbling water, even the wind in the groaning trees.

  • Some hikers are sound sensitive; some are hard of hearing.  One hiker I knew got migraines from the loud voices and stopped hiking with us.
  • Our hiking group is not the usual – show up, hike, social/chatty hiking group; hence these guidelines.
  • Quiet zones are where we walk in complete silence (except for trail hazard warnings).  They include early starts in places like Muir Woods where people go for serenity,  morning walks through campgrounds where people might be sleeping or waking, places where hazards are present so everyone can hear the warnings, as well as along streams, entering non-system trails or anytime a hiker requests “radio silence.”
  • Be aware of your surroundings and, if in doubt,  listen.  Remember Shinrin Yoku!
  • Please do not wait for the leader to call a quiet zone.
  • Repartee and wit welcome.  No whining.  NO drama.
  • Consider this guideline:  If you find you’ve been discussing the same topic for over 15 minutes consider that there are other hikers around you who are hearing your conversation.  On one hike the subject of death came up.  2 hikers were talking loudly for over an hour about death and dying.  While this can be an important topic, it was not an inclusive experience and – enough already.  It was difficult to get far enough away from the voices to have the nature experience and catharsis that being on the trail brings.
  • Inclusion:  If a hiker or the hike coordinator requests a check-in, please honor that.  Some hikes start on a fire road or wide trail.  This is an excellent time to hear from one hiker at a time.  When one person is talking, others are actively listening.  Starting a separate conversation during this time is divisive, disrespectful and against the “friend code.”

Trail Hazards & Conditions:  We call warnings – “Low Branch,” “Poison Oak in the Trail,” “NEWT!” We ask the last person on the trail to acknowledge this so we know everyone has heard it.   This means that conversations must take second place to trail awareness.   Please be aware and ON so that everyone is safe and has a good time, even if part of that time is quiet.  If anyone steps on a newt – the consequences are too severe to put in writing.

Confirm:  Trail head locations and start times can change due to weather or whim.  We ask that you reply to the hike coordinator to let him/her know of your intention to join us.

RSVP:  If it’s a meet-up hike, keep your status current.  Always check the hike listing the night before or morning of in case of changes.  Changes can occur due to weather or whim.

Plus One:  Please do not extend an invitation to someone  without first checking with the hike coordinator.  If you do bring a buddy, please make sure s/he reads these guidelines before joining us.

OTT:  We start walking at the posted start time – it’s our OTT (on the trail) time.  If you have a specific time you must finish by, let the hike leader know before the hike starts.

Stopping:  We plan our gear adjustment stops/pauses collectively to minimize non-hiking time.  When hiking in rain – many more stops!  If you are stopping for photos, it is up to you to catch up with the group.

Biology breaks:  call your need (for this or any other reason to pause or stop), we’ll either wait or continue more slowly (if it’s a trail without an intersection).  Please do not walk ahead of the group for a biology break and then expect everyone to wait for you.

Trail Etiquette: 

  • Wait at intersections and bridges.
  • If there’s a substantial spacing in the group, it’s important to make sure the last person is with the group.  If you’re in the lead, occasionally look back.
  • If you’re lagging, try to keep up, even if/especially if, it means less talking, more walking.  It might surprise you how much more expeditiously you can hike if you focus on the trail instead of chatting with your buddies.   But, if you’re having trouble, let the leader or another hiker know.
  • If your plan is to go at your own pace, let the leader know at the start.  Do not leave the hike without informing the leader.
  • Please do not stop in the middle of the trail causing everyone behind you to stop.  Pull off to the side so those who like to keep moving (even if more slowly so you can catch up) can do so.
  • If you have your cell on (for GPS, work or medical reasons), try to turn it low or vibrate.  If you get a call while hiking, please hang back away from the group to have your conversation.
  • Carry a map.  You are ultimately responsible for yourself.

Perfume:  don’t wear it.

No Cussing:  Profanity isn’t pretty.

Ill?:  Do not show up with an active cold.    It is a myth that we are not contagious towards the end of a cold – we are contagious until we are well.   Particles from a sneeze can travel up to 25′.

Pole Etiquette:  make sure your pole tips are under your control and not aiming at other hikers.  Make your intentions clear as hikers pass you.  Practice active pole etiquette.

Hike Descriptions:   We try to accurately describe the hikes so that hikers can decide if they’d like to join us for that hike.  If you confirm your intention to join us, please plan to join us for the stated hike.  This helps prevent schisms and extra conversation on the trail.  However, sometimes people need to shorten the hike for all kinds of reasons.   If you need to peel off, inform the hike coordinator as soon as possible.   Hiking back alone, especially if your reason is a medical one, may be contraindicated.

Know your average hiking pace so if a hike is listed as 2.4 mph you know you are comfortable with that pace.  2.4 average means that we’ll be pushing on flat and easy sections up to 3 mph to achieve the average.

Car Pooling: 

  • Not everyone is comfortable car-pooling.  Do not offer someone else’s car or coordinate for someone else.
  • Car poolers:  Be early.  Consider tolls, parking fees and gas contributions.  Bring extra shoes for wearing in the car after the hike (or some protection for muddy boots on floor mats).  Err on the side of overly gracious.

Hike Ratings (when we use them):  Hike ratings consist of a number-letter code where the number is the distance and the letter is the amount of uphill climbing.  Most of our morning hikes tend to be 2-B/C.

Length (miles)

1: Up to 5
2: 5 – 10
3: 10 – 15
4: 15 – 20

Elevation Gain (feet)

A: under 1,000
B: 1,000 to 2,000
C: 2,000 to 3,000
D: 3,000 to 4,000

Hiking & Ticks

May 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Trail Tips

this is not the first post on this blog about ticks .

Last week, after a magical morning hike on Mt. Diablo, I announced a tick check before we got into our cars.  We also did 2 or 3 tick checks while out OTT (on the trail).  Even with the post-hike tick check, I found a tick at my hairline about 30 minutes after getting into the car.  I did not have anyone check my hairline and this was a huge mistake.  A hiking buddy recently sent this link regarding tick removal out to our hiking group.  It’s a one-minute video that’s well-worth watching.

Let’s be safe outside!

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