November 6, 2011

Intense work outs that don't make magazines

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Climbing Jamaican waterfalls
I was actually pretty young when my parents took me on our Jamaica trip, so I don't actually remember doing this very vividly, but I do faintly remember. Maybe I'm just pretty low-energy, but I would say that this was definitely an energy-exerting experience. It was also a lot of fun and thrilling to be walking up a waterfall through rushing waters. The guides made us hold hands most of the way up, which I think made balance difficult. My mom actually slipped and dropped me at one point - which maybe made the scene feel more intense than it actually was, for me at least. If you're looking for a work out while still having fun and splashing around in the tropics, I would advise you to venture here. 

Kayaking trip with little sister

I thought I would be a nice big sister and make use of the kayaks my mom impulsively bought a few Summers ago, that spend the majority of Summer days sitting in the garage, hiding from the homeowner association that says we're not supposed to have boats. I offered to take one of my little sisters and her friend on a kayaking trip at a nearby lake. It made for good bonding time and also a crazy arm work out. This may be because I have spaghetti arms, but both my little sister and her friend (who are both probably stronger than I am) said that they thought it was hard on their arm muscles, too. If you're looking for a way to work out your arms without the use of a personal trainer, a gym, weights, bench presses or any of those fancy work out machines, I think kayaking may be your answer. 

Trail maintenance and gibbon 
observation in the Thai rainforest

This was no easy task. The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (GRP) had us volunteers working from 6:30am to around 3:00pm everyday. Work involved walking for miles and miles through rain forest terrain and doing maintenance work like clearing and sweeping trials and tracking wild gibbons. Walking through rain forests wasn't simply walking either, it was keeping up with our quick-paced guides, crawling under and over thick tree trunks that had fallen on the trail, crawling under massive spider webs housing spiders the size of my hand, stepping along stones to cross small streams, and climbing up and down steep, rocks and dirt cliffs. It was like pacing through an obstacle course all day for two weeks. We were all tired and sweating but after a while, we got so used to it. Though the motive behind volunteering with the GRP was not to get a good work out, it still did just that. All the work was well worth it in the end. As you can see in the photograph, our gibbon tracking was a success.

Climbing Lake Michigan sand dunes

Towards the end of the Summer, my boyfriend and I planned a camping trip on a site near Lake Michigan. We definitley miscalculated the distance between our camp site and the beach while looking over the maps, so we decided we would just walk over the dunes instead of drive. The man at the camp convenience store tried to warn us subtly that it would be an intense treck, but we didn't take his warnings very seriously. We didn't realize that when we reached the edge of the dunes along our campsite, we were literally miles from the beach. We climbed up this initial mound of sand, which I think must be the steepest I've ever climbed. We figured the beach would be just over the top. We finally got up there to see no beach anywhere, just vast amounts of hot desert sand. This sand wasn't just flat, either. It was up and down and burning hot. On the way down one slope, I started getting burned and actually lost a flip flop. Eventually we reached a point where we could see the blue water in the distance and we kept going. When we finally arrived, we were gasping for water. I think we got Pepsi. It was the best Pepsi I've ever had. I think climbing dunes is probably the number one most intense work out I've done. If you're going to do this, I'd suggest wearing shoes with straps. 

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Getting lost in Washington DC

I took one of my little sisters on an overnight trip to Washington DC. Everything was going well. We visited the zoo and got kiddie food and everything was good. Then we started walking around town. I looked over the map before we headed out but of course didn't bring it. I knew our hotel was on C Street. Little did I know, there are actually four different C Streets in down town DC, and that we had actually wandered very, very far from our hotel. It started getting late and we started getting tired and decided to head back. Soon enough, we found C street. It looked a little different, but it was certainly C Street because the sign said so. We literally walked up and down this whole street maybe three to five times. The hotel seemed to have literally disappeared. At this point, we got a little panicked and headed toward the more populated part of town to be safer. We must have spent hours walking all over town trying to find our hotel. Eventually, we spotted a normal looking couple that kindheartedly guided us back to where we wanted to go. Thank God for nice people. All that walking, though (and increased heart rate from panic) probably made for a decent cardio work out, I would say, but If you're going to walk all around DC for some exercise, at least bring a map.


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