Volksmarch: Lake Highlands

Less than a week until school begins. How should I celebrate? By re-walking my original first walk.

I don’t remember how I found out about volksmarching. I don’t remember how I found out about this particular volksmarch. I do remember Sweetie and I being totally lost and some kind folks at the Starbucks walking us through the steps to walk a volksmarch.

I grew up in citrus country. As a result, I can't stand most bottled OJ. Except this one.

Fueling Up

Four years later, we can fill out the paperwork on our own. We’re also much better at reading the directions than we used to be. We have an official walking backpack with all the gear we normally need: sun and bug repellant, a hand towel, spare pens, band-aids, snack bars, and water.

This walk was memorable for several reasons.

  1. We encountered our first Little Free Library. As a reading teacher, I’d heard of them but I’d never seen one before.
  2. I had my first sports injury. I pulled a tendon and was on a cane for several weeks. (A very dramatic injury for the first weeks of school.)
  3. Less than a month later, the Starbucks management decided that they would no longer host the walk box. I hope it wasn’t because of anything we did!

Thanks, Lake Highlands, for hosting us for so long! Thanks for starting us on the walking path!

Little Free Libraies are run by readers for readers.

My First Little Free Library

Laid Up

So I’m laid up ion the couch with an upper respiratory infection. Light glares into my eyes, causing more weeping. My glasses weigh heavily upon my face. For brief moments, I can breathe easily through a single nostril before the congestion reappears. Sneezing leads to the usage of much Puffs Plus. Post-nasal drip abounds. So I visit Facebook because I can control the amount of light emitted by the computer screen and I’m bored. Today marks day 3 of being sick.

None of my friends are fulfilling their purpose of living interesting lives on Facebook to keep me amused. I delve into my groups. I’ve recently joined the AVA (American Volksmarching Association) group. In this group, I can live vicariously through the pics of other volksmarchers who are visiting exotic realms such Las Vegas, Florida, and Hawaii.

I learn that there is a Fitbit group for Volksmarchers. I join the group even though it’s now been two days since I last did any walking beyond the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and couch. (I love my Fitbit!)

And from John McClellan of Florida, this interesting post appears:

Avid Volkssporters — this year’s AVA Convention is fast approaching, what Issues should we be talking about there, and what Ideas do you have to reverse the current decline in clubs and events?? GO!

Quite frankly, this has laid heavily on my mind for the past year or so. Volksmarching has added so much to my life. I’d love to share this sport with others. But what can we do about the volksmarching image? Is there even a volksmarching image in the mind of the average American? Is this a sport which doesn’t really exist yet?

I’d love to attend the AVA convention but it’s held during the school year. I know that is one issue I have with AVA: the idea that volksmarching is limited to the retired and the elderly. I’d like to see more families embrace the sport. I love meeting young families (some members in strollers) on a volksmarch. I love seeing checkpoints which are dog-friendly.

And then I run into the digital divide. Many of our elders are uncomfortable with technology and our clubs are reluctant to invest in technology because they don’t wish to turn off the members who are less comfortable with technology. On the other hand, many of the younger set can’t function without technology. They just don’t do paper. Clubs without a strong electronic presence can’t lure this demographic in. Who do we turn off: those uncomfortable with technology or those who require technology?

All of these profound conundrums run through my head as I wait for the antibiotics to kick in. And I kick myself because it’s a beautiful day for a walk and I’m laid up in bed.

The IditaWalk 2015

This is the third year I have participated in the IditaWalk. From February 1st to March 31st, I promise to walk for at least 30 minutes a day for a minimum of 1034 minutes, matching the distance of the Iditarod, 1034 miles.

The IditaWalk benefits Bronson Camp in Nome, Alaska, but it also benefits me. Iditawalk 2012 is the challenge which helped me achieve my second fitness goal that I had ever set in my life. The first fitness goal I ever set was back in high school when I wanted to lose weight for my senior pictures. I lost 30 pounds and kept it off until I began working as a teacher. The stress and time required of teachers was too much and I gained 60 pounds my first two years of teaching.

Last year my fitness goal was to complete the IditaWalk as quickly as possible. This year I’m not into speed. I’m into stress reduction.

And I will complete the IditaWalk 2015!

The Big Blue Cache

It was one of those ho-hum kind of days. I really wasn’t in the mood to do any of the piles of housework I had to do. Nor was I in the mood for a movie or to play on the computer. So I did what I always do: I headed over to Half Price Books.

Construction rerouted me and I ended up at a stoplight not on my normal route. Construction also meant that the light was out of sync. As long as I was bored, I decided to check my geocaching app. What’s nearby?

Lo and behold, on the other side of the light was a geocache! The hint: “look for the blue.”

I ended up behind a doctor’s office near the trash next to the bright blue recycling bin. Hanging on for dear life, was a blue cache filled with trinkets.

The whimsical cache brightened my day. After all, my favorite color was blue and I believe deeply in recycling. I felt lucky to be living in such a wonderful day and age. GPS, geocaches, and books have all brought life to my life. My ho-hum day became my lucky day as my attitude changed. I replaced the cache and proceeded on my errands with a happier outlook on life.

Found near my house.

The Big Blue Cache

AVA Walk & a Car Show: Emory

It all started with a car show….

“Doing anything Saturday?” I asked my husband, casually.

After years of experience, my husband is naturally wary. He shook his head and responded, “Why?”

“There’s an antique car show going on and I thought you might be interested.”

He perked up. He loves antique cars.

“Really?”

“And it’s not all that far away!”

The wariness returned. “How far?”

“It’s in Emory.”

“Where’s that?” he asked.

“Just the other side of Dallas.”

And thus, my husband joined his first AVA walk.

"There are no cars here," my husband noticed.

The walk began at the library.

"Are you sure this is the place?"

The Alpha and the Omega of the Emory County Walk

"This better not be the car show!"

You never know what you’ll see on a walk.

My husband searches for the car show.

This was the most dangerous walk we’ve ever been on. We actually walked the highway at some points.

I just looked at the pretty paint jobs.

Victor and Ed have found the car show!

ZZ Top should have been driving this beauty!

A Model A

Earthcache Day 2014

Symbol for an EarthCache

Earthcaches feature geology. There is usually no physical cache. Instead, the cacher is asked to answer a series of questions about a geological formation. The coordinates of the cache lead to an example of the geological formation in question.

Earthcache Day is usually in August, a blazingly hot month in Texas. To log our find for Earthcache Day 2014, Sweetieheart and I left home at 6:30AM; we left the site by 10:30AM when temperatures were already in the high 90s.

We had to find examples of North Texas fossils and answer some questions about the bed where we found these fossils. We made our find!

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A Favorite Walk: Waxahachie

I first walked Waxahachie three years ago. Since then, I have returned in the summer and the fall.

We finally found the faces in the carving! For further information, check out the legend of the courthouse.

Ellis County Courthouse

The 5k is a lovely walk through neighborhoods lined with houses from the early 20th century and historic markers. Volksmarchers pass by the Catfish Plantation, a notoriously haunted restaurant, before looping through the SAGU,  Southwestern Assemblies of God University, campus.

I may return someday just to do the prayer walk.

Prayer Walk Marker on the SAGU Campus

Waxahachie residents take pride in their homes. Their homes are decorated seasonally. Today, the day after Thanksgiving, residents were out taking down the fall decorations and putting up the Christmas decorations. Children and adults raked fallen leaves.  A friendly cat asked for a petting (while a not-so-friendly cat huddled next to a house).

This is not the offical founding year of the campus

SAGU: 1901 AD

The walk begins and ends at the police station. Be sure to identify that you’re a walker to the nice admitting officer.

The gargoyle is on the corner of the building.

Gargoyle at the Fire Station

Geocaching Adventure: Emory

It’s a Twofer!

I dragged Sweetieheart and my husband to the Emory, Rains County, AVA walk. I used the same bait for both: an antique car show. For Sweetieheart, I added the lure of new geocaches.

There were three geocaches on the route we’d be walking. Of the three, we were only able to log one cache.

However, I got my husband to walk and Sweetieheart and I earned another Texas county for geocaching.

Sweetieheart Signs the Log

Sweetieheart Signs the Log

Navajo Chant

Happily may I walk.
Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may I walk.
Happily, with abundant showers, may I walk.
Happily, with abundant plants, may I walk.
Happily, on a trail of pollen, may I walk.
Happily may I walk.
Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk.

-Navajo Chant

Library Break

It was a dark and stormy night…

Not really…

It was kind of the exact opposite. It was a bright and sunny afternoon and Sweetieheart and I were headed to the library. Unfortunately, we’d read the wrong time (library hours vary) and had about 45 minutes to kill. So I pulled out the cell phone and opened up the geocaching app.

Well, what do you know? There’s a cache located less than a mile away. I thought I’d found all the caches in the area but I guess I was wrong. We parked next to a cache we’d found in summer 2014 and began our hike to this place:

 

The Community Garden

The Community Garden

We’d discovered our community garden! I’d read about it our newsletter but I’d never actually set eyes on it. Plots are available for members of the community who have more free time than I.

Community members can garden in a plot for themselves or charity.

A Garden Plot

And planted somewhere in the garden is a lovely cache, just waiting to be discovered.

Our neighbors have a plot!

Our Neighbors