Tag Archives: bicycles

Tiny Adventures: Urban Hiking, Sweater Cutting, and Rifle Shooting

Tiny adventures are adventures close to home, not requiring a lot of time or travel. Maybe something you haven’t done before, something that scares you a little, or just something that feels a bit adventurous, even just a little bit. Adventure, big or small, is good for the soul.

Here are three of my most recent tiny adventures:

Hiking: Pike Island, Minneapolis

Biking to Pike Island

Biking to Pike Island

I have been meaning to check out this hike for a while, mostly because the directions start with “take the light rail to the Fort Snelling station.” Pike Island piqued my curiosity, but I never made it down there, until last winter. It’s a great place in the city to go cross-country skiing.

Seth and I decided to go see what it was like when the river wasn’t frozen and the island wasn’t covered in snow.

 

No Bicycles

No Bicycles

We skipped the light rail and hopped on our bikes instead. Seth knew a secret bike path that I had no idea existed. It took us on mostly trails, through a beautiful wooded area, and it was mostly downhill. Score.

From there we locked up our bikes and crossed the bridge to the island on foot. No bikes allowed. A trail runs along the outside of the island, and that’s where we had skied in the winter, but this time we decided to follow deer trails instead. It was early enough in the season that we didn’t have to worry about poison ivy or ticks.

Following deer trails.

Following deer trails.

Lots of leaves were just starting to bud, and we saw at least two separate groups of deer and a wild turkey. I was hoping for a fox sighting, but alas, not this time.

Pike Island

It wasn’t a strenuous day, but it was fun to get out of the house and spend some time biking and hiking around with my husband. A lovely way to spend a lovely afternoon.

 

Cutting:

I took scissors to my hand-knit sweater

I took scissors to my hand-knit sweater

There’s this thing in knitting called steeking. If you knit, say, a sweater, and you want to make it into a cardigan, you can cut your knitting right up the front, where you want it to open. The necessary preparations will protect your sweater from unraveling into tiny little bits.

A sweater is a lot of work. Many hours with a knitting needle. So, finishing all of that work and then taking scissors to it feels quite adventurous indeed.

I did the research, made the necessary preparations, and… made the cut. And it was ok. Nothing bad happened. And now, my sweater turned cardigan is nearly complete.

 

Shooting:

A friend invited Seth and I to a gun range and we took him up on the offer (he had some new scopes for his rifles that he needed to adjust). Seth had shot before, but I never had. My first time maybe even holding a gun. I was nervous about it, mostly because I wasn’t sure what to expect, and guns are very powerful things.

I was happy to see the rules and precautions taken at the range. Our friend walked us through the safety protocols, how to load the gun, and how to aim and shoot. Once I got used to the kick from firing, I had fun seeing how close together I could get the holes on my target. For my first time shooting, I did pretty well.

That's me.

That’s me.

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Three successful tiny adventures for my spring so far. I’m always curious to hear what you’ve been up to. Any ideas for tiny adventures you can lend?

 

I Did That! A Reverse Bucket List

Last week, Katie of Adventure Inspired wrote up her reverse bucket list, a list that looks back at things she *has* accomplished, instead of only looking forward. I loved the idea so much that I decided to write up one of my own. What a great way to reflect on the awesome things that I’ve done, and create a nice springboard from which to do even *more* awesome stuff! Here’s mine:

  • Climb: When I was a kid I could always be found up in the sycamore tree in our backyard. There was a perfect spot to hang out and read a book, or look out around the neighborhood. Now I’m climbing rock (and plastic) instead. Climbing is fun, it’s challenging, and it keeps me growing as a person. It takes me to beautiful places, both locally and around the country, and I’ve met some great people. Climbing has changed me for the better.

  • Play in a professional orchestra: I studied bassoon seriously for a good portion of my life. I’ve performed with full orchestras, chamber groups, and in solo recitals, and worked freelance on a semi-professional level for several years. One of the high points was playing a few concerts with the Akron Symphony Orchestra in Akron, OH. I got to play some of my favorite repertoire with a fantastic group of musicians. It was magical.
  • Get paid to travel: While playing bassoon, I got paid to play in orchestras in the Cayman Islands and Monterrey, Mexico. All travel expenses included.
  • Move across the country on my own: I moved to Minnesota, leaving friends and family behind, and not knowing a soul in my new home. It was scary, but I did it, and now I feel that I could move anywhere and be ok (although Minnesota is pretty rad, so no immediate plans).
  • IMG_1292Build my own bicycle: With some help, I took my dad’s old steel ten-speed, stripped it down to the frame, repainted it, and rebuilt it as a single speed. I love this bike, and I love it even more knowing that I built it myself. I now can do most repairs on my own when I need to. Fun fact: my bike was recently used in a Columbia Sportswear photo shoot.
  • Take a trapeze lesson: I had a day on my own in L.A. a few years back, and decided to take a flying trapeze lesson on the Santa Monica Pier. Lots of fun.
IMG_2019

She flies through the air….

  • Learn to garden: My mom has a green thumb, which I did not inherit. But, the past few years I’ve been experimenting with growing my own vegetables. There have been successes and miserable failures, but each year I learn a little bit more. Last year I started some seeds indoors and grew my own seedlings to plant outside! It’s great fun, and I have big plans, already, for the upcoming season.
  • Climb a mountain: Actually climb, with ropes and equipment. I climbed the Grand Teton with my husband this past summer and it was so very, very cool. Definitely one of my life’s highlights to date.
Nearing the summit of the Grand Teton. Photo: Greg Duncan

Nearing the summit of the Grand Teton. Photo: Greg Duncan

  • _MG_0392

    My hand-knit hiking sweater

    Knit a sweater: I learned to knit about five years ago from a good friend, and before I knew it I was beyond hats and on to knitting socks that I actually wear on my feet. I’ve knit myself a hiking sweater and a vest that I wear constantly, and right now I’m in the midst of knitting a kick-ass sweater for my husband. I’m ridiculously proud to be able to say that I knit things like sweaters.

  • Drive a Tractor: I was on a farm, there was a tractor, and I ended up driving it. True story
  • Be physically strong: After four years of climbing and two years of consistent kettlebell training, I can say that I am strong. I can snatch a 16kg kettlebell and climbed across the ceiling again last night at the gym. I’ve learned to do pull-ups this year, and am working up to 3000 pull-ups with my husband.  Ladies, if you’ve never done any strength training, I highly recommend it. The feeling of strength is empowering (and you don’t have the testosterone in your body to get bulky).
  • Bike through Yellowstone: Seth and I rented bikes and rode 34 miles round trip to Old Faithful and back to our car. We cautiously passed a herd of buffalo standing at the side of the road, complete with frolicking baby buffalo.

    2010-10-28_16-10-08_275

    A cold ride through the plains of Yellowstone.

  • Overcome my fear of flying: I once got to a flight gate, turned around, and went back home, because I couldn’t will myself to get on the airplane. While I still have to use some tricks, I can fly when I need to and not have it completely ruin my day. I love to travel, so it’s something I’m glad I’ve been able to deal with!
  • IMG_1039Learn to Cross-Country Ski: Minnesota has taught me that when the winters are long and cold, it’s best not to stay locked indoors. When I get out and enjoy the snow, my sanity remains intact.
  • Write on the interwebs: This blog is small, and it has a only a modest amount of readers, but I know that some of my posts have had positive effects on people. Whether it’s inspiration, or just creating stoke for their own adventures, I love to be able to connect with people, even if in a small way. Here are some of my favorite posts.
  • 2012_11_06_02324Find a fairy tale relationship: A little sap to throw in here…. I got married in my 30s, so I went through enough relationships that didn’t quite work to realize what a gem I have now (turns out love is *not* all you need. Sorry, Beatles). My husband is the kind of man I’ve always dreamed of having in my life, and I am thankful for him every day. Not only do I have a great man in my life, but together we make a great team. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
  • Learn to play in the outdoors: I have *always* wanted to go camping and hiking and frolic in the great outdoors. But, for some reason, it just never quite happened. I blame the many hours a day chained to a practice room in my former life, but the truth is I just never made it happen. In the past few years, I’ve camped and hiked more than I had probably in my entire life before that, and I love it. Love it, love it, love it.

That was a fun exercise! Thanks to Katie for the idea. What’s on *your* reverse bucket list?

 

Tiny Adventures: Conrad

See that tree hanging over the falls? That’s Conrad.

We came across Conrad one day a few weeks ago. We had decided to take the bikes out with no particular destination in mind. We rode along the river and decided to check out the Lock & Dam on the Mississippi River near Fort Snelling. We rode down the ramp, locked up our bikes, and took a look around. Turns out it’s pretty cool down there. Continue reading

Car Free Musings

I’ve experienced some really beautiful moments while walking. Or riding my bicycle. Or looking out the window of a bus.

Three years ago, the engine in my car died a sudden, violent death. A spark plug basically exploded and took its surroundings with it. It was a cold, winter day, I was two miles from my destination, and I somehow was able to limp the car there and avoid making the walk in -20F temps. It never ran again. RIP, Saturn Wagon.

I didn’t look for another car right away. I decided to challenge myself and see what it would take to get around town without my own vehicle. I’d go two months, just as an experiment.

Three years later I still haven’t bought a car. Full disclosure: I share a car with my (now) husband, although at the beginning of the experiment, we had just started dating, so that hasn’t always been the case. Continue reading

The Return of Tiny Adventures: Slushy Biking

Last year I tried a little experiment with what I called “Tiny Adventures.” The idea was that opportunity for adventure is all around us, every day, and that it doesn’t have to be some giant, grandiose thing.

The experiment was a success! Each little adventure made me feel energized and excited. It was a perfect wintertime goal, because with the lack of sunlight and cold temps it can be easy for the winter blues to set in. Overall, I felt more spontaneous and brave, and ended up doing some pretty fun things.

My tiny adventures were mostly new things I hadn’t done before, or things that took me a bit out of my comfort zone (or both). They were in town, not involving any major travel. Things like: taking a different way home; riding my bike in the snow; trying a new recipe; first time ice climbing; watching my first broomball game on a -10F night; taking a breakdancing lesson. Nothing mind-blowing, but that’s why they’re called “Tiny.” Continue reading

Tiny Adventures: All Around Us

In January, I embarked on a mission to have at least one tiny adventure a week, with the idea that not all adventures have to be big or epic. Opportunities for adventure are all around us, big or small, every day.

Well, I made it about six weeks before realizing that the whole weekly thing was just a bit too much. But, even though my tiny adventure posts have been less frequent, I’ve still been doing them, and I’ve found that my awareness of tiny adventure potential has increased. The more I embark on little adventures, the more they seem to just pop up.

Here are some of the ways I’ve been inserting tiny adventures into my life: Continue reading

Tiny Adventures: Bus/Bike Combo

After taking a couple of weeks off,  I have a tiny adventure to report. The exact sort of tiny adventure that I had in mind when I started this little experiment.

Last week I needed to get across town to the climbing gym, but didn’t have a car to do so. I bike around town quite a bit for transport, but there’s something about that commute to the gym that has never felt quite right. The ride is about 10 miles, and there’s a section that is on a bad road. It’s busy, filled with potholes, and has poor visibility.I’ve tried to find ways around it, but there’s really no easy way that I’ve come up with where I don’t feel uneasy in some way. Taking the bus over there requires a transfer, a lot of time, and nearly a mile of walking at the end, so that’s not a good solution either. I’ve tried to figure this commute out for a long time and have never come up with something that felt straightforward and safe.

I took another look at bus route maps, and I realized that there is a bus line that begins close-ish to my house and drops me off close-ish to the gym. Straight shot. No transfers; bus time is only about 30 min. Bike to the stop, bike to the gym. 3 miles of biking total. Brilliant. I decided to try it out.

Enter… tiny adventure.

Continue reading