Monday, March 7, 2011

Scaling up and scaling back

I spent the weekend up in northern Minnesota on the North Shore of Lake Superior at an environmental learning center called Wolf Ridge (WRELC). The north woods features our only “mountains,” beautiful deep lakes and mixed forests of deciduous and coniferous trees. A great place for some early morning hiking each morning.

Here is a lovely archway of balsam firs on Saturday morning.
built a number of stairs and walkways to ease the erosion
and make it more accessible to all hikers.
The path below is sanded to make navigating the ice easy.
Early morning sunrise over Wolf Lake.

Sunday morning we had a gentle and light snow.
Even though we are approaching 80 inches of snow in Minnesota, it is still beautiful.
Below are some of our Minnesota mountains.
Good thing I have on my YakTrax.
They make it easy to see the trail and the way back with the falling snow.

Over the years I have taken groups of college students to WRELC many times. It is a great place to experience outdoor learning in a pristine environment. What could be better? Well, a lot, especially if all the times you took students you were obese like me and in poor shape. Despite my love of the place, I truthfully always dreaded the fact that I would be hiking up the hills and all THOSE stairs with my students. Now that I walk most days between 4-7 miles and have lost weight, I was curious as to how my body would respond to the challenge of the hills and stair climbs.

You already know from seeing the pictures above that I went on two early morning hikes so you know that I was successful. I won’t say I skipped up the trails, it was snowy after all, but it was easier than I ever imagined it could be. A breeze. Fun. Exhilarating. Another tangible reminder to me of how far I have come.

Scaling those hills and stairs was an achievement for me that even 6 months ago would have been tough and draining. They are also a reminder to me of how much more I am able to do physically. I am becoming physically fit. It will be a while until I am really fit, but I am well on my way. I am actually enjoying this journey; enjoying finding out more about myself and what I am capable of.

Scaling those hills has recommitted me to scaling back and staying the course. This was just what I needed. I am only 1/3 of the way to my fitness goals and I could see myself beginning to waiver in my resolve to be strong. But, not any more. At least not for today. What about you? What new NSVs or physical activities have recommitted you to moving forward in your own getting healthy goals?

Make it a strong day everyone! TTFN, Michele


  1. What beautiful scenery, Michele. I'm about the same place - 1/3 of the way there at a time I thought I'd be much farther. Glad you found some inspiration to help you keep going.

  2. awesome pics Michele! It looks like Wolf Ridge is pretty in the snow but would be equally as pretty in the summer as well! Great job on the hiking and I love the recognition that you are getting to a new level of fitness. Cool feeling huh?

  3. What a great way to see and feel your amazing progress, Michele. Love the analogy.

  4. Lovely place and what a great achievement. I love doing things I couldn't do before. It is such a validation!

  5. Beautiful pictures, Michele, and a great description of your morning walk. I almost felt like I was there with you. In fact, I would LOVE to have been there with you. You're doing so well with your program and reading your blog is helping me with my resolve to continue walking. I want to hike the Colorado Rockies this summer. Would you care to join me for some hikes at altitude? You would be most welcome company.


  6. Absolutely beautiful! I can go to the grocery store without ending in a miserable, sweaty heap, suffering from a terrible back ache. This is a huge accomplishment and 35 minutes on the treadmill is a piece of cake!

  7. Gorgeous scenery, Michele. You walk 4-7 miles per day - if I wore a hat it would be off to you. To me that is a wonderful accomplishment. I'll think of you when I'm feeling weak.

  8. Wow...what gorgeous pictures. You live in a beautiful part of the world!!! Have a great week.