Category Archives: Comfort Zone

Three Levels of Fun

The Fun Scale, or Three Levels of Fun concept has been around the outside community for a long time. I first heard about the three levels of fun on The Dirtbag Diaries.

Level One Fun

Just a fun activity, you are having a good time doing it, no worries, like skiing, or running in the mountains. Just a cool day in the outdoors, normal fun stuff.Level One Fun

Having fun at the Black Hills 100K

Level Two Fun

Level Two Fun is being over your head and miserable. It really sucks being in the middle of it, but once it’s over (and didn’t turn into Level 3 Fun) it turns into a good story to be told. You kind of forget how badly it sucked.

My finish of the Wild Oak Trail 108 miler would be a good definition of Level Two Fun. An excerpt from my blog when the fun was Level Two teetering toward Level Three:

“Of course, I am getting colder and colder.  I slip chemical handwarmers into my gloves, as I can’t feel my thumbs.  But now my thighs are getting cold. My thighs never get cold, I can feel the cold on the outside. I’m getting genuinely concerned for my well being.”

“Everything hurt, mostly due I believe, to the calorie deficit, and the tense body contracted against the cold.  I was so punch drunk from the sleep deprivation. I felt awful.”

Level Two Fun

But spoiler alert, Level Two Fun led to this..eventually: ” I felt more beat up mentally than physically. Jill mentioned “it was all between my ears” and perhaps, 95% of this event was for me. I’ve had several private mental reviews of the weekend so far. It’s amazing what you can do and what you perceive you CANNOT do. “

Level Three Fun

It’s not fun when it’s happening, you still aren’t laughing about it afterwards, and it’s still miserable to discuss. Level Three fun could possibly involve search and rescue, or becoming the subject for a case study. You don’t want to go there!

You think you can’t encounter Level Three Fun in your backyard? Think again. My Type Three Fun happened  in my local state park:

“The mud on the trail was shoe sucking awful, so I decided to go off-piste. I follow a creek bed downhill. But my path is short lived, as the creek goes off a precipice.

 

I scrambled around the drop off and crawl back up the creek bank. This is fun until some logs are blocking the creek, and I have to hike through the greenery beside the creek.

Stinging Nettles

 I’m hiking through these plants, and realize my legs are on fire with little tiny stinging bites-all over! I realize I am covered in tiny bites! It feels like I am being bit by tiny bugs over and over again! It hurts enough that I want to cry!

Multi Flora Rose

I go up in the woods to escape the nettles. Now I am running into multi flora rose. This is where it all starts going south. I run into groves of multi flora rose bushes. Multi-flora rose is an invasive species, a perennial shrub.  It can grown into impenetrable walls. Ask me. I tried to go through them.

I would follow a deer trail, which would then go through a thicket. Then I would try to find another way. I was frustrated and irritated. I was lost, yet I wasn’t. I was between the lake and the bridle trail. I was trying to get back to the trail, mud or not!! It was truly hideous. I was so irritated at myself, for getting stuck in this mess, for not bringing the compass (if I had the compass I could at least tell if I was wandering in circles). I tried to pretend this was good training for Barkley, good heat training. My legs were getting shredded. I had blood all over my legs.

 

I finally made it back to my vehicle. The legs are still warm and inflamed. It’s lucky I’m still on an antibiotic due to my teeth!”

That my friends, is Level Three Fun. It is now amusing to reread, a few years later, but it was never fun.

Do you have any Level Three Fun you are willing to share?

Planning Your Next Adventure

Planning my adventure

For some of us, it is the winter season in the United States. If you are not a skier, this may be considered the “off season”.
This is a good time to start dreaming and plan your next adventure.

Brainstorm

Now is the time to write stuff down! Everything you can think of that you would like to do.  Take an art class? Ride a Ferris Wheel? White water rafting? Visit a new park or city? Bike tour? Run a race? Here’s a cool list or try this list for some ideas.

Big Adventures

Is this the year of big adventures? Will you travel to another country..or another state? Make a list of what NEW things you could encounter in a different town or city to try.

Small Adventures

Is this not the time for a big long epic wildlife safari? Then it’s micro adventure time.  But there still needs to be a bit of planning for these. Life does get in the way, let’s make sure adventure time happens too.

Life Moves Pretty Fast

 

My 2018 List

My 2018 is going to be split between hiking and biking. I want to log more miles on the Buckeye Trail, and I want to take several biking tours.
Our big vacation this year will be visit the Caribbean island of Grenada, where lots of adventure will occur.

I also have to look at my work schedule weekends. For example, the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure 2018 occurs over my work weekend-scratch that possibility.

Ohio to Erie Trail

I meant to ride the Ohio to Erie Trail  this past fall. I let life get in the way. I am not going to let this happen again! I’m going to ride from Cincinnati to Cleveland, or vice versa. This will happen in the first six months of 2018!

Other bike tour possibilities: Erie Canalway Trail; Katy Trail 237 miles. Shorter, but farther away.

Other Outside the Comfort Zone Adventures

Polar Bear Plunge? Karaoke? Karaoke after a polar bear plunge?

Keep your List Handy

Keep your 2018 Adventure List out in the open where you can see it. Then it won’t be suddenly August and you haven’t clicked off any fun or maybe “not so fun” adventures off the list!

adventure list

 

 

Holiday Comfort Zone Challenge: Christmas Movies

Christmas Movie Challenge

I’ve been stuck in a rut with Christmas movies.  This means I  have not watched a new Christmas movie since “Home Alone” and “Die Hard”aka 40 years ago. I’ve never fully watched “Elf”, “A Christmas Story.” Or even National Lampoon’s “Holiday Vacation”.

Why Bah Humbug

Working retail, I kind of hate the Christmas season. It’s shoved down our  throats from Halloween on. If you only visit stores, your exposure is rather small. But spending ten hours in a store? You become rather immune, then rather allergic to the whole concept. You can’t wait for all the noise, all the fan fare, to just GO AWAY.

Challenge

Christmas Movies

My Holiday Challenge is “to watch a holiday movie or “special” that I haven’t seen, every day, until Christmas.” The impetus came from a flyer I picked up shopping at Kohls, which advertised a different holiday movie every day. I don’t plan on blogging on each one; maybe just a weekly recap, on what I watched, on what I thought, and my rating on the candy cane enjoyment factor.

candycanerating

So, on Dancer! “On, Donner! On, Blitzen! On, Chewy! On, Tavo! C’mon, Becto” **

**Probably need to be old to understand this…

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone Go Mushroom Hunting

Go Mushroom Hunting

I have wanting to learn more about mushrooms and how to properly identify the edible ones. I found via the Wilderness Center that there was a mushroom hunting class to be held in Northern Ohio.

It has been a dry (about drought like conditions) in Ohio for the month of October. There was one night of rain, so we were hopeful that some mushrooms would pop up.

There were about 14 hopeful mushroom hunters that showed up at West Branch State Park. We went on a two hour slow hike, finding mushrooms and having Don King identify them for us.

The following four pictures are puffballs. I did not realize the same mushroom could look so different!

It was a beautiful afternoon to spend in the woods. In Ohio, most state parks permit mushroom hunting, but it is suggested you check out your own area to hunt.

Don brought along two other varieties that we did not find today. I don’t remember what the white mushroom is:

but this is chicken of the woods. This mushroom had a bright yellow underside. Chicken of the woods has either a yellow or a white underside.

More pictures from our hunt. Note, these are not edible at all, they just came out as cool pictures.

Don also cooked up a tasting of the mushrooms on a portable grill right at the park, but we left since we still had a good drive home.

Overall, my husband and I really enjoyed our mushroom hunt by Don King. He offers more mushroom hunts and even an overnight mushroom hunting weekend.

Interested in mushroom  hunting? Find a reputable hunter in your area. The internet is your friend here.You may have a mushroom society in your state. There could be mushroom hunting groups in your backyard!

Do you eat wild mushrooms? Do you have a mushroom identification book to recommend?

Save

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Seize the Day and Make Memories

Wine country is burning. I know, there are many more problems in the great world today, but still, wine country is burning. This is sad and personal to me. Signorello Estate  and Pine Ridge Winery has burned.

My husband and I have spent two vacations in Napa tasting wines. We don’t go too often, in 2010 and 2015. I had already broached the subject of a wine vacation for our thirtieth wedding anniversary in 2020 and he was on board with this idea.

Signorello Estate and Enoteca

I found this cool experience on line. It seemed a little pricey, but what the hey. A five course wine and food experience, paired with Signorello Estate wines. It was a two hour lunch.

We enjoyed this so much, we repeated the experience five years later.

In 2010, one didn’t just pull out their camera or phone and film their meals.

 

It appears I didn’t snap photos at lunch in 2015 either! It was a lovely time there. Great views from the pool area.

Napa burning just makes me sad. Go for that experience NOW. Kayak down that river. Go zipline. Visit that expensive restaurant, drink that nice glass of wine. You don’t know that it will be there tomorrow.

Pine Ridge Winery

Carpe diem. I think I am going to go buy a Stag’s Leap or Stags’ Leap wine today in honor of wine country.

The New Biker Experience at Camp Tuscazoar

New biker

 

I bought a new bike! Meet Hellga, from Specialized.

Hellga

I’d been curious about fat bikes. Or rather “fat tire bikes” for some time. I wanted a bike to ride in the winter, on my back roads around here, when my hybrid bike is up on the trainer. I had done some reading, and decided to just bite the bullet, and buy a bike.

The fat tire experience is different than my hybrid bike. The tires do “float” over objects,  like gravel. I would have never even thought about taking my hybrid into one of our pastures to ride there.

I was excited to be off work Monday and I headed to Camp Tuscazoar at 8 am! I’ve blogged about many experiences at Camp Tuscazoar. There has been many improvements to the trails there over the last few years.

East Side Trails

East Side Trails Camp Tuscazoar

On the East Side of the camp, there are newly built mountain bike trails. These are for the beginner rider. I helped out in the spring doing some trail maintenance.

 

Skills and Thrills

The trails are very well marked and signed. I was going to stay away from the “Skills and Thrills” until I read the description. It was for the youth and total beginner! That’s me!

You start off with a downhill (gulp) but it levels out. The trail is wide and there are no big ups or downs.

At the skills section, you can ignore all the skills and just ride through. Or you can practice going over a log; rocks; hopping off a bridge, both wide and narrow; biking on a log. I did just the very basic skills. I hopped off the little bridge, rode the bridge with the little hill. I did not try anything like biking on a log or trying to go over two logs at the same time.

This route is about 0.6 miles long. I think I rode it about five times before I ventured to the next upgrade, Hilltop Trail.

Hilltop Trail

This had many more ups and downs than the Skills Trail! I used my brake quite a bit on this. I am a total newby mountain biker.

I rode this trail again, then decided to add the North Slope. This trail had big switchbacks and berms!  There was much braking on this trail. I had to hop off Hellga and push her in a few places. I don’t have gearing quite mastered yet for this new bike.

After this, I rode the Skills Trail again and called it a day. I was tired! Hopefully I won’t be too sore tomorrow. These are excellent mountain bike trails for a newby!

Try Five New Things This Summer

Try something different in July!

Paint Your Nails

Paint Your Nails a Color You Normally Would Not. Try…blue? Green?   paint your nailsIf you are a guy, paint your toenails. I dare you.

Eat a Vegetable You Hate

Eat a vegetable you hate. See if you still hate it. Maybe you don’t!!

Read a Book

Books on my Reading List

Read a book in a different genre that you normally select. Read a mystery? Read a romance? Read a non fiction book?

Drive a different route to work

new route

Drive to work-or drive home-on a route you normally don’t drive if you can. So it takes you longer. Big deal. See some landscape that you normally don’t see.

Go out of town

happiness

Go out of your town and spend a day in a town that you really haven’t visited in your state. (We’re visiting Dayton!)

Do something different for the fleeting month of July and report back here!