Psychoadaptation VI: Walking

What’s your favorite activity? I like to do so many things! If you were to ask me what my favorite activity is, though, I’d say it’s walking. Each of us has a favorite, and it’s our job to find it. How will you know? You know it when you can’t live without it. I can live without many things, but walking isn’t one of them. Everyone walks every day, but for me walking is more special. When I walk I see the world. I can walk for hours without stopping. Each step is an adventure talking me closer to the unknown. I love feeling lost, feeling new, and walking lets me feel lost and new at the same time. Today I walked the cliff walk in Newport, RI again, perhaps for the last time before leaving the Ocean State. It was a glorious walk, as all of my weekly walks have been for the last 18 months. Today I saw birds surfing. They were close to First Beach, riding waves. I wandered to myself, do they have to be there or do they actually enjoy going up and down those waves, particularly the ones about to break. Looked like fun to me!

Walking provides lots of adventures, and no two are exactly the same. I love walking more than any other activity. It started when I was a child in Washington, DC, and I’d walk from my apartment in McLean Gardens to the public pool in Georgetown. As I got older, I increased the length of my walks, walking home from my job at Pier 1 Imports in Georgetown to my home in North Arlington, quite a distance; I’m not talking about Rosslyn friends. I’d walk for an hour plus. It was fun. From that point, I increased the length of my walks, going all over DC. One, two, three hours was nothing for me. Even at my older age, I still walked long distances. For instance, every time I visit a new city, I find the longest possible safe walk and do it. Walking gives me time to think. It also gives me a supreme workout, and it’s free. I see the beauty of each city I visit. Whether Paris, Santiago, Salta, or Portland, I get to know the city intimately. There is no other way to know a place well than to know it one step at a time!

As a public health professional, I am interested in promoting health. These days, the leading causes of death and disease are preventable. Thankfully, we’ve eradicated most contagious diseases. However, it’s the lifestyle diseases that are our next challenge. I walk, and that helps me. Perhaps others would like walking too. Others may however prefer more vigorous activities. I spoke to a friend today about my son. I thanked him for always being good to Alex, especially when Alex lacked motivation or was sad or angry. My friend told me, “I just want him to find something he loves to do.” I love to walk. As my friend suggested, each of us must find something we love to do, something we’d do rather than eat, sleep, or virtually anything else. I have mine. I also like skiing, playing tennis, and practicing martial arts. What’s your passion? Find it and you will find peace, mental health, and physical well being.

Ski blog 1

Ski season is here and I’m happy. For me, though, season started a few weeks ago when my son and I went to Killington and Okemo for some early season skiing. We had a great time. Not much was open at the time, but enough was open for me.

Here are my early season observations. First, though, I’m a new blue trail skier. I’m comfortable with steeper slopes, but I’m slow. I am a heavy carver and that makes me slow. I guess that’s not unusual when one is still afraid of getting hurt. Speed is dangerous and accidents do hurt. Indeed, the first weekend skiing I had an accident. Mind you, it wasn’t my fault; I’m too cautious. Some snowboarder took me out on Great Northern at Killington. I was meandering my way down when this snowboarder to my left got up and skied across the trail rather than down it. He moved directly into my path. I thought I’d be able to get across his port side, but his heavy body knocked me out of one of my skis and onto my left shoulder. It was painful and remains so almost three weeks later! There was no break, as confirmed by an X-ray, but it still hurts. I can’t even do push-ups, my favorite exercise. Oh well, I’ll recover.

Nevertheless, skiing has been awesome this season so far. We’ve been four times with more to come before the new year. Okemo is definitely my favorite resort east. It’s far less crowded than Killington, and it offers plenty of options for skiers of my level. Now, good skiers tell me that Killington is the place to be and that Okemo is better for snowboarders. Perhaps, but what do I know…

Here’s what I do know, though. As an intermediate, Okemo is the best resort. It offers plenty of challenge and nice and long trails. Okemo isn’t cheap, and tickets cost around $80, but it is well worth it. You can go to Liftopia.com and get cheaper tickets some times, but not always. You can also buy multiple day tickets to save money, but regardless of how you do it, Okemo for my money is the best resort for intermediates. If you do go to Killington, however, I suggest sticking to blue trails instead of greens, unless you arrive early. The greens are over skied and skied by novice skiers. They become icy and with all the novices, they are dangerous. My experience on Great Northern tells me to stay away and ski blue at Killington!

Other than those Vermont resorts, we’ve skied Pats Peak. It’s a small resort with some steep runs and some nice mogul trails. It’s small, so the runs aren’t long with the exception of a couple of longer green trails. I love this resort but there’s not much to do in Henniker, NH. Get in, ski, and get out. The food is good though, but it’s quite expensive. I recommend bringing your own meals but have fun while you are there.

That’s it for this first early season report. Enjoy your skiing and be careful! Don’t have accidents like I did.