Crystal Canyon

A few weeks ago, I was working on my usual Halloween reading: ghost stories of Texas. I love ghost stories and I know many of the local ones. However, in Paranormal Texas, I found a tale I hadn’t heard of before and it was located just a few miles from my home!

Sweetieheart looks over the sign at the entry.

Crystal Canyon is being preserved as a natural area for its geology in the hills of Arlington. It’s a half-mile walk around on a nice trail lined with benches and informative signs. It’s also one of the newest parks in Arlington, having opened in 2012.

As a preserved natural area, there are no geocaches permitted within the park. However, there are a couple just outside the park.

The walk is appropriate for children, strollers, and pets (pick up after your pet!), as well as joggers and walkers. Water is located at the entry/exit to the park. The trail loops around a wooded area with plenty of shade which means it could be walked throughout the year with extra caution during the hottest parts of the year.. Warning signs include snakes (Duh! It’s the Metroplex!) and poison ivy (Gotta love Texas!) and scorpions (Closed-toe shoes recommended).

There were signs of fireworks and people who left the trail, but overall, the park was clean with little trash.

Carvings in Sandstone

I’d like to figure out a earthcache for the park because it deserves to be visited more often. It’s a lovely gem.

Walking across Texas

I’m so proud of my gals! As a team of eight, we walked across Texas (830 miles) in only six weeks!  Snce we still have two weeks left in the program, I’ve told my team that we’re now stuck at the Louisiana border and need to walk back to the Metroplex, three hundred miles away. Having seen what they’re capable of, I think we’re going to make it.

To form your own team, go to Walk across Texas, a free program offered by TAMU, Texas A&M University as a way to make Texans healthier.

Our Goal: 830 miles in two months  (east to west Texas)

Feet Treats

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a class on how to make foot scrubs. This is the result.

Aura Cacia gave us the gift jars. Cool!

My Foot Scrub

  • 4 ounces sugar – we were given a raw, more natural sugar than granular
  • Any light carrier oil – we were presented with almond oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil (I selected almond oil)
  • Approximately 30 drops of essential oil, total – we had the choice of lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, lime, and vanilla


  1. Add carrier oil to sugar until it reaches the desired consistency. (Hard to define since it depends on the sugar type, the oil type, and the weather.)
  2. Add the essential oils by the drop until the smell of the oils overpower the smell of the sugar. (I blended lemongrass, lime, and peppermint.)

A Proverb

Stolen off of Facebook

Proverbs are proverbs because so many find them true.

A New Favorite Geocache: George Mason

Symbol for the Virtual, or Ghost, Cache

I was looking to score new states, not to raise my number of finds (which is good because I really didn’t geocache much this summer–I’ve begun looking at quality rather than quantity).

Sweetieheart and I were in Washington, DC, for the fourth of July. On the third we decided to do the National Mall volksmarch. It was a good walk but we’d already seen most of the sites on previous tours. (We did get to see the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial which hadn’t been open the last time we’d been in DC.)

MLK and I share the same birthday.

As we walked, I’d occasionally look for a geoache. However, the many muggles kept us from making the attempt. Too many people hang around the National Mall on July 3rd!

Then we discovered a little memorial dedicated to George Mason. It was rather neglected with grass growing where it shouldn’t and the flowerbed appeared a bit dry. It also contained a nice bench to sit and enjoy the day and the view. Finally, it contained a geocache… one which wasn’t bothered by muggles.

I wish more people would visit this lovely little memorial. It’s just across the street from the cherry trees. It’s truly a lovely place.

The man who wrote the Virginia Bill of Rights deserves more recognition.

Walk across Texas

I am so excited!

Many years ago, I participated in my district’s Walk across Texas challenge. Schools across the district formed teams of eight members. Each team member pledged to walk 13 miles a week for two months. Supposedly that all added up to the miles needed to have walked across the state of Texas had we been participating in a relay race.

My school won. Heck! My school kicked butt! We completed our challenge with three weeks to spare. (To be fair, we had ringers. Three of our teammates were preparing for a marathon and totally carried the rest of us.) But that was my introduction to team walking.

Since then, I’ve continued to receive email from TAMU about other challenges. I decided I wanted to do it again but….

… school’s starting… and…

… maybe I won’t have the time… and…

… maybe I won’t have the energy… and…

… what if no one joins me (I need a team of eight!)… and…

… do I really need the stress… and…

… what if I’ve misread the situation… and…

I created an E-vite for those I thought might want to participate. Then I didn’t send it because all those doubts kept creeping in. Then I added names to the list and counted and came up with six–not enough for a team. And I continued to not send the invitation.

Finally, on Friday, after everyone had left the building, I sent the invitation. To my surprise, by the time I reached home, I’d already had my first positive response. By lunchtime, everyone had replied “yes.”

I still needed two team members. They came up with the names–both of whom accepted! In less than an hour, we had a team. Now they’re talking team shirts and regular walking parties.

We’re going to walk across Texas!

Our Goal:830 miles in two months (east to west Texas)

The Long Walk: AVA: The National Zoo with the Embassy Option

Sweetie and I have been in training for our trip to Washington, DC, for months. We have walked 10k and 5k treks for months now. We were up to 5 miles a day. We were ready for the challenges offered by DC.

My kitty thinks she can beat a lion. She's seen them on TV. Lions aren't that big.

The short walk (5k) offers a chance at see the National Zoo (from the outside). The long walk includes many embassies and a chance to see the National Cathedral (10k). It begins at a McDonald’s near a Metro station (the best way to get around DC). And, somehow, the long walk manages to be all uphill!.

See the bison in the poster? That's not Buddy.

It passes through some historical and yuppie neighborhoods. It deliberately takes the walkers past several embassies. (The Chinese embassy was the scariest with its armed guards.) Did I mention it’s all uphill?

By the time we made it to the National Cathedral, we were worn out. Sweetieheart had enough energy to hunt for the infamous Darth Vader gargoyle. He never found it. I think it was covered by scaffolding; the National Cathedral is still being repaired after the 2011 earthquake.

We hunted for Darth Vader for about 30 minutes.

We were worn out! But then the magic happened. Right next to the Washington National Cathedral is a bit of parkland which is some of the only old growth forest left in DC. Two cottontails led the way.

The bunnies disappeared before I could photograph them.

From the Cathedral, we were led into a historic neighborhood which featured several Victorian homes.


Admiral Peary‘s former house featured a Free Library!

This was placed right in front of the Peary home.

And somehow, the end of the walk was still uphill. We were exhausted and triumphant over all the sights we’d managed to see. We probably wouldn’t have seen 90% of them if it hadn’t been for the AVA.

Review: Fitbit

One year ago, I bought a Fitbit. A friend had one and told me about it. I researched and found the cheapest one, the Fitbit Zip, at Best Buy.

I paid less than $75 at Best Buy.

My Fitbit One

Mine is pink. I attach it to my bra. (TMI?) I’ve had friends who say that they lost their Fitbits in the laundry so I bought a color which would stand out.

My favorite feature is probably that it let me know (via email) when it is low on battery. It has been known to throw false negatives, usually when I’m wearing extra thick sweaters or multiple layers of clothing.

I also like that, in addition to counting steps, the Fitbit will monitor my active minutes. I use those minutes while I’m competing in the IditaWalk.

The online tool allows me to keep track of several things: heart rate, sleeping, journals, etc. Food and water intake are interesting but I have a problem with food diary programs: we eat at home a lot. Tonight, for example, we had baked chicken thighs, roasted potatoes, and kernal corn. I have no idea how many calories are in that and, at this stage in my health plan, I’m not interested in learning.

My Fitbit is synced to the free app on my iPhone and iPad. Synchronizing is tricky at times and Bluetooth must be activated in order for the synchronization to occur. Each synchronization goes straight to my Fitbit account which awards badges for distances walked and personal records (nine miles in a single day is my record).

I’ve participated in several Fitbit challenges with my Fitbit friends. I have no idea who some of these people are but we challenge ourselves to improve and we’re able to message each other encouraging words.

I love my Fitbit.

Geocaching Accomplishments

I haven’t been devoting as much time this summer to geocaching. During my normal summers, I take time out to go on “geocaching adventures.” I may go to a small town and cache a town out or I may make a special trip to find one special cache. (I maintain a watchlist of interesting-looking geocaches on Sweetieheart usually accompanies me.

This was found on the Santa Fe Trail in Oklahoma, a geocaching trail maintained by DAR!

Sweetieheart holds a cache in Oklahoma.

This summer, though, I’ve been devoted to teacher-training and catching up on neglected housework. You see, my husband started a new job and we’re in the middle of new house routines as we get used to his new hours.

I’ve earned a few souvenirs, all of them accidentally. However, in my travels I’ve been devoted adding more geocaching states to my list.

Before this summer, I had found caches in the following states.

  • Texas (duh!)
  • California (Sweetieheart hails from San Francisco)
  • the District of Columbia — My husband says DC doesn’t count because it’s not a state.
  • New Mexico
  • Colorado
  • Oklahoma (my mother lives in a tri-state area — Texas, New Mexico, and Olkahoma

This summer, I’ve added the following states.

  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Virginia

This weekend I’ll be adding on at least one other new state: Minnesota. My sister-in-law is marrying in Bemidji. I’d like to get some other areas — maybe even cross the Canadian border!– but I doubt that I’ll have the time with our time crunch and the wedding festivities.


This morning I walked the mall. Don’t hate! It reached 104F in DFW with an ozone alert. Mall walking makes a lot of (health) sense. As I walked, I had some realizations.

  • I’m able to walk farther than I have been able to since I was a kid.
  • I’m walking faster than I used to walk.

When I first began walking, I was lucky to walk two miles a day. (I think I actually began with a goal of 1/5 miles three times a week). I used to walk a 5k and pass out for the rest of the weekend. I could walk 10,000 steps and barely make three miles. June-July 2015,while I was in Washington, I had my first (documented) 25,000 step day. I walked a couple of seven-mile days. I even had one day with 11 miles of walking! And today I walked the mall. I’m about where I’m supposed to be (10,000 steps = five miles). In the mall, I can walk a 17-minute mile. These mark accomplishments. I’m only 5’3″. My strides are naturally shorter than an average person’s stride. I’m proud of myself. I paid less than $75 at Best Buy.