"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Experiences

Today was all about new experiences.

It was sunny and I decided it was time to give my bike some play time. I went in to the local bike shop to ask for a trail recommendation.  I explained that I have a hybrid and don't really do mountain-biking.  I prefer paved road or packed dirt.  (The rocks and roots in the trail still scare the snot out of me.)  I asked for something relatively flat and scenic.

He suggested the Whitefish trail.  It's good for beginners, he said.

I followed his directions to the trailhead and excitedly got on my bike.  Within a few yards it became clear that I was, in fact, on a single track mountain biking trail.  I'd never done this by myself before - only ever with Oldman, who is much more experienced and was always great about helping me along. There were plenty of rocks, switchbacks, and narrow, scary parts with a sheer drop on one side of the trail.  How this is for beginners was beyond me!

A shot from the (very narrow) trail.

After the first half mile, I had already gone up several little inclines that left me breathless and scared out of my mind that I might fall over my handlebars and down the mountain at the next rock or bend in the path.  I considered turning around.  But then I remembered that there was an overlook only two miles in to the trail.  I challenged myself to get there without dying.

And I did.

View from the overlook

My baby blue enjoying the view

Not only did I get there, but I did it without dismounting from my bike even once!  This meant that many times I could be heard muttering "Ohgod ohgod ohgod" under my breath or straight up yelling "I'm going to die!" to no one in particular.

At the top, I took the opportunity to meditate on an outcropping of rock.  While my eyes were closed, I heard four-footed steps approaching and a sniffing noise.  I opened my eyes to a golden retriever nearly knocking me over.

"Gus!" his owner yelled from the ledge above me.  "I'm sorry," he said in my direction, "Gus come back here!"

"It's alright," I laughed and pet Gus for a bit.

"That's such a great place to meditate!" he shouted to me.  "It would make a great picture.  You look so peaceful in the background from up here.  Do you want me to take a picture of you?"

I felt a little silly posing for a meditation picture, but when you travel alone you gotta take advantage of when other people can take photos for you.  "Sure," I replied and walked up to give my camera to him.

Although I had given myself full permission to walk my bike back down the mountain, I ended up riding the whole way back as well, for a total of four miles!  Sure I probably rode it slower than any human has ever ridden that trail but hey, at least I know my brakes work well, and I did it by myself!!

When I got back to the house, Emily invited me to go "folfing," or frisbee golfing.  Since it was a day for new experiences, I said, "Sure!"  I ate a quick sandwich and was back out the door and into the woods.

Folfing was a blast!  I was happy to see that the frisbee throws I learned and practiced back in my Ultimate days came in handy, and I did pretty well for my first time, I think!

Emily taking the "bonus shot" - trying to get the
disc through the hole in the satellite dish.
(It's really hard.)

My turn

Another hole

To top off an excellent day of new experiences, I went to a local meditation group I had seen advertised on a message board in a coffee shop.  We sat for 45 minutes (35 minutes longer than I'm used to!), then listened to a teaching podcast and talked about it a bit together.  There were only five of us, so it was really lovely and intimate.  I found myself wishing I could return next week.

I'm enjoying riding this wave of positive energy I've had lately, and hope it continues.  Only one and a half days left before I can get back on the road!

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  1. That's Great !
    I've ridden (and run) that trail many times to that very outlook. It sure is beautiful. I think someone told me it was Beaver Lake, but i'm not sure they were right.
    If you take Hwy 93 about another 2.5 miles out of town to Twin Bridges Rd, you can only take a left, then it winds around for only 3/4 mile until you get to Whitefish Pottery-before the bridge/creek (where i worked when i moved out there) It might be a cool thing for you to see-Possibly see a black bear or cougar over that way too. Plus-they're Super friendly. Joe's the production potter& a Great conversationalist. THey'll give ya a tour of the place,& be sure to ask about the wood kiln.-I'd recommend going between 1&3-That's when Tom (the owner) is in town at the gallery, and just makes for a better experience of the place.
    That Disc-golf course is No Joke either. One of the most heavily wooded courses i've ever played. THe satalite "bonus hole" is a new addition-looks cool. My Personal Best: -6
    Glad you're soakin' it up while you're in it ! Have fun !
    oh, that reminds me- I think you should try hitting up Hot Springs on your way out of WF, if you can. it's about 30 minutes west off 93 at the South end of Flathead Lake. TINY town, ask for Leroy's place-He's a pistol of an old indian man, only charges $5 per person to soak as long as you want (honor system/drop-box style). They are Wonderful Healing Waters ) !

    1. Oh Travis you've done it again! Thank you thank you for these excellent recommendations. (I'm going to the crepe place for lunch today, by the way.)

      I was secretly afraid you might read this entry and know the Whitefish trail and out me for what an easy trail it actually is! Haha. I know it probably truly is for beginners, but it felt like quite an accomplishment for me. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

      Yeah that disc golf course would have been a tick paradise back east - good thing there are very few of the little blood suckers here. But I still spent a good part of the rest of the day pulling prickers off my pants from all of my wayward throws. -6! That's crazy good!

      Hot Springs is the name of the town? I'll definitely be driving through that area. Is it near Polson?