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  1. Here be a thread where anybody with RVing, vandwelling and/or camping experience can share their RV travel experience and tips; and anybody with related questions can poll the community. I couldn't find a pre-existing thread like this after a quick search; if one exists, somebody let me know, please. First, my background: I've been living with my husband in a bumper pull camper since we were married in 2016. He had been traveling full time for at least a couple years before that. A lot of that time we were "dry camping" (no power, water, or sewer hookups). We've also "mooch-docked" (camping on a relative's property, using their utilities), and we have experience in state parks and other established campgrounds where full- or semi-utility hookups were available to us. We started out in a 13' fiberglass Casita pulled by a Chevy Astro van. Both had quite a few modifications done by my husband (the van had a front-bumper winch, a battery bank, solar panels, and a TV). We've upsized and changed tow vehicles - currently we're in a 24' Coleman 202RD bumper pull, using an older diesel Dodge dually to take our house with us. We've abandoned the solar charging system for now. Anything I share is "how we do/did it", never "how it should be done". Like anything in life, it's trial and error, and you base future decisions on current needs and past experience. Please feel welcome to share any RVing, camping, or traveling experiences you might have - whether you've gone tent camping once, or are a full-timer, or somewhere in between. One individual's experience will never cover everything there is to know about the lifestyle. Also, please don't think this thread is limited to people with campers or motorhomes or caravans. If you have car-, van-, or tent-dwelling experience, that's valuable knowledge, too. Anybody with tiny or small living experience please chime in, too. Hopefully there's some valuable info exchanged here!
  2. So for the next 2 weeks(9/11 - 9/25) I will be leaving sunny wonderful Florida to spend time at my cabins in Wisconsin. Highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. It is going to be quite the change. Goals for the challenge Workout of some sort daily 10k steps daily Eat whole foods(mostly paleo with limited dairy and maybe one whole grain serving daily). Two travel days are cheatish days(morning food and some beer). Also some freeze dried camping food reviews for content. I may choose to have whiskey once while up at the cabins but other than that strict. Daily hobby 50XP of Duolingo daily Read 10ish pages Post a picture of dinner Examples of WODs Ruck Run Circuit training Weight lifting Hobbies Minis Content creation(youtube videos and launch channel) Fishing Model rockets Building things(fish tank stand) Board games Currently also running a PvP warm up for Rucktober. I need to market Rucktober and get some sign ups. The PvP for the warm up is here if anyone is interested.
  3. Hello. I am Stronkey Kong. I've been on NF over seven years -- it's getting close to 8 now. I'm still fat and making the best of it. Some days I'm not sure if I can even. I'm kind of winnowing down to what matters and that's having good health, a calm mind, good relationships with others, and being able to enjoy life better. Lately I've been really committing myself to practicing Buddhism, and studying through the Tibetan Gelug lineage (same as the Dalai Lama). So meditation and study has become a real focal point. I'm also no longer worried about losing weight or getting ripped/buff/jacked... or stronk even, I just want to have the flexibility, stability, and stamina to move through daily life with less effort and be able to endure through my meditation practice comfortably and not have a shitty back or diabetes and whatnot in a few years if it can be helped. Just so I can even. During the holidays I made a wishlist for this year to work on. Every challenge since I've come back to it and picked out a few things to work, made some amendments, etc. Then I make a challenge of it. Here is said list (with updates and shit): Goals: Shop and cook/prep smarter: Something that's bothering me is that I keep having to throw away good food at the end of every week. This is usually because I bought too much of something because I thought I needed it or wanted it when I didn't really need or want it at all. Then I'm hungry, I look in the fridge at all the things I don't want, and I'm like "Fuck it, I'm having pizza." I've actually been pretty good about not eating fuck loads of pizza lately, but this general area of picking foods better and wasting less needs work. Here's an example: I had three yellow squashes that are on the verge of going bad cuz they've sat all week. There are fresh carrots and celery that I snack on with PB. There's lettuce and tomatoes for quick salads. And while yellow squash in pasta or soup is fine, I'm not thrilled about mushy, bland summer squashes and didn't make any soup that called for them. So why the hell did I buy them? ... because I thought I needed another vegetable. Basically I need to be more mindful of why I'm buying something. I need to ask myself, before I put it in the cart: Do I really need it? -- Is it going in a recipe that I plan to make? Will it be harmful to my diet to not eat this, and is there no other substitute for it? Do I want it? -- If it's not part of a bigger tastier recipe, will I eat it on it's own? Is it good? If I buy this do I have something to pair it with that is good? If I have to buy another thing to make this thing edible is it worth it? Also: Do I need to buy/make that much of it? How long will it hold up in the fridge and can I freeze it for later? Daily Movement: Work on one of the following for at least 20 min daily Ruck: Walk with backpack with 25 lbs. weight Yoga: Go back and re-read/study Yoga for the Inflexible Male and work on the poses and routines therein. Qigong: For when yoga gets boring and I still want to work on being flowey and breathing and stuff. Quarterstaff: Not sure yet, but if I start working on this again it will be acceptable movement Write Get crackin' on that novel. I was supposed to come up with 5000 words last challenge to get to the end of part 1. FFS, why not try to finish the thing? Do at least one 15 min writing sprint daily Study: All my Buddhist classwork, readings, and language study, also taking breaks to read other things. I typically do some Tibetan study in the morning, and study a text at night. Then lighter filler material when I'm bored on the weekends. Tibetan Main goal: Memorize writing and reading the conjunct characters -- I can do this before the end of this challenge. Stretch goal: transcribe and memorize the Prajana Paramita Sutra in Tibetan -- I might be able to start this before the end of this challenge. Nagarjuna: Mulamadhyamakakarika -- keep going Lighter stuff: take a break from study and read for recreation, but keep reading things People: I have to start peopling again. What? How? I'm getting my first covid shot on Wed. May 5. We're getting toward the end of all the hardest social distancing stuff. I haven't been totally cut off from family and work, but I haven't been meeting new people, or only rarely. And by the end of this challenge, my Buddhist Center will likely open back up so I can hang out with those people and attend classes in person. I'm not sure what the goals should be, but something to do with getting out of the house and peopling again. Idk. Meetups? Dating? Going to new shops/restaurants? Learn a couple Dad jokes? I've got until I get my second shot (+ 10 days I think) to figure out a plan for how to people again. Oh! And now I'm sober... how do I even? Camping: I am going camping sometime around the end of this challenge. At least an overnight trip. My zero week goal will be to research and make arrangements for said trip... i.e. pick a park and site, and purchase passes/reservations as needed... Probably gonna hike in somewhere on the Tecumseh trail and do it backwoods style but car camping will remain an option. However, I am on night shift and will likely be getting somewhere in the evening and staying up all night meditating and reading. Could be weird, but it's still time outdoors.
  4. So what's going on now. I just got back from a monk challenge and the bottom dropped out of that. I did however learn that if we call it 'roadwork' instead of 'running' or 'jogging' it makes it permissible to do cardio once in a while. This summer, I had/have been looking for jobs in data analysis, and relearning some programming, and thinking about getting back into biology. I applied and interviewed for a job recently as a data analyst for a nonprofit that does clinical trial research... but didn't get it. That got me down a little bit, and I started thinking about things. 1) The main reason I want(ed) to switch back to this type of work is the money. Really. That's it. Granted I like the work of programming and analysis, and there's some value in the biological research (if it went that way) but I'd do (almost) anything else in a heartbeat. 2) Why do I want more money? Simply to pay down/off my debts and buy a home. And to make ends meet where I live. 3) If I do buy a home, no matter where it is I'd be doing the homestead thing, urban or rural. Then earlier this week I found out about USDA rural home loans. This might start sounding like an ad. They are no money down, they give them to people with bad to mediocre credit, and they are insured by the government (this, I believe, negates the need to purchase mortgage insurance. The only catch is you can't use them for city properties... though many single family homes (even within city limits) qualify... in case you're interested. Those of you who have been following the Brogo saga for a while might remember a few years ago I had this idea of starting a farm/homestead kind of thing. I was raised out in the country. I like being outdoors. I like gardening. I like building things with my hands. I'd like to get a piece of land (5-10 acres) and just live off of it as much as possible (gardening, hunting/fishing, farming etc), take care of it, and do it all off the grid with as few external inputs and leave as small a footprint as possible. Basically, having some land will give me resources to take control of my environment and rebuild my life. Right now, the way I live is the exact opposite. I'm in the city, surrounded by man made noise, and I'm completely dependent on my ability to make money to buy stuff or services. And I'm flushing my money down the toilet with each months rent. I'm lazing around staring at screens. Blah, yadda, etc. These USDA loans might make it possible to change all this. Here's how: A little ways south of here (Indy) are some really pretty farm and country lands. I've been looking and I can find 5-10 acre properties that are cheap... mostly wooded lots etc. I can get a mortgage for one and since I'm willing to rough it for a while and build, I can live on it either in a tiny house, or possibly a yurt (google it)... for a start at least. I'd either expand or just save up and plan out building a more permanent structure. The mortgage would probably be less than the rent I'm paying now. With no utilities comes no bills. If I can grow my own food I save on groceries (one of my biggest monthly expenses). So the move should cut down on my living costs. Anyway. I need to get to sleep. My challenge will be focused figuring this out, and researching and preparing myself for a home brosteading lifestyle. Goals: Work Exercise Cooking Camping Finance/Research
  5. Ivysley begins her journey toward Glacier This September I am going to be vacationing in Glacier National Park for a week. There will be A LOT of hiking involved. My goal is to lose at least 30 pounds before vacation. Springtime is a messy time in Minnesota, so I will be focusing more on indoor activities. I haven't been working out all winter so will be easing into it. I enjoy yoga, so figured that would be a good respawn point. I'm usually more of an adventurer, however, I thought this challenge reflected the druids characteristics. 1) Intermittent fasting 16/8 fast. Eventually I would like to work up to 24, maybe even an occassional-36 hour fast. I will begin with not eating a morning meal. 2) Yoga 3x/ per week My yoga of choice is DirtyYoga.co It's a straight forward vinyasa style. 3) NF bodyweight workout 2x/per week last summer I won a year's membership to a kick boxing gym. Unfortunately this fall my work got insanely busy and I did not go for two months and was sick most of December. Since then I've been held back in returning. It's an intense workout and I don't feel like I'm anyway prepared to try it. The plan is the workout 2x per week, so I have a chance at making through the warm-up. 4) Headspace 2x per week. I've tried Headspace in the past and found very relaxing and clearing.
  6. So, let's get out into the woods! I have been doing challenges with the assassins for over a year, and my fitness goals are still more assassin-y than anything else, but with the weather warming up (please?) I am increasingly fixated on hiking/camping. I live in a relatively rural area in central Massachusetts, in a sort-of communal-ish house (a poly/queer extended family), on 18 acres of mostly wild land. I am self-employed and work from home when not travelling, so I get to spend a lot of time wandering around in the woods behind my house with my dog. I've gone on occasional day-hikes at the nearby mountain (well, barely a mountain) but I've gotten the urge to do some more long-distance hiking. My life won't presently accomodate more than a few days, but that is a good place to start. First adventure is the Midstate Trail, because there is a trailhead right down the road from my house. No dog on the longer hikes, unfortunately. She loves running around in the woods, but she punks out after a few hours. THE PLAN Conditioning! Wear a ~35lb pack on my daily dog walks, total of ~4hr/week. I've been doing this for a few days, with no trouble, but it is only about a half hour walk. Get my camping gear sorted! I've got a cheap camp hammock and tarp, which I like very much. Backyard testing last night shows my current insulation is comfortable to around 30F, but needs some modification for comfort and ease of setup. (I make/modify most of my gear. I am cheap.) Overall, I have a fair idea of what I'd need to pack for the trip, but I need to actually get stuff together. Test run! What kind of miles can I reasonably do on a trail? I have no idea. So I plan to start with a 2-day trip, just go as far as seems reasonable, camp wherever I end up, and then come home. Calibration! This should happen next Tuesday/Wednesday, depending on weather and life. Do this thing! Plan and execute a 4-5 day hike along the Midstate trail, out and back. I'm aiming for something around May 7, but we'll see. ALSO, I will be maintaining baseline healthy habits: Yoga every morning. About 20 minutes of Ashtanga. Take my vitamins/etc morning and night. Strength training three times a week. I'd been doing the "Starting Strength" barbell program, but I may do abbreviated home workouts for a while. It isn't my #1 priority right now. "Healthy adult meals" - 3/day. For a while now I've been making these sort of standardized meals, with roughly 1c veggies, 1/2c meat/egg, and 1/2c starch/legume/fruit. Often pre-packed into little 2c containers, but sometimes ad hoc. Sometimes just one is enough, sometimes I'll have two. Three portions like this is only about half my total food intake. The rest is just "eat when hungry". On a longer hike, however, I'll eat whatever is convenient, tasty, and full of calories.
  7. it's august! it's hectic! I'm going to have a big august that will need to be weekifIed, and can only be unified by the training I have to do for the 8K I am signing up for on the VERY LAST DAY OF THE CHALLENGE! GOALS! * Do the Hal Hidgon Running Thing - which also includes getting the movements in on the other days, too. I'm following the HH 8K Novice program which I've done a few times before and like a lot. I'm already on week 7, what is this magicalness? out of a total of 8 weeks.... so this week I will do 7, next week 6, the following week 7, and then I'll have 8 the last week of the challenge / week of the 8K, right on schedule. the 8K is 9/9/17. * GET THE PROTEINS. this is going to be tricky because I'm going to be on the road for all of or partial weeks 1-3. so.... this will take some work. I'm aiming for 120 g ish or as much as I can get over 100 without being a disaster pants. Simultaneously, STICK TO THE BUDGETS. hit up that calorie budget yo. you know what works good for you. try to do your very best because YOU KNOW THAT THERE WILL BE SLIPPAGE WITH ALL THE TRAVEL. * WRITE THE THINGS DOWN and plan the things. This is super critical! I need to do this to meet goal #1, so it's kinda cheating. I'm ok with that. As my tkd instructor says - if you're not cheating you're not trying. Bonus planning points for reading up about strength training and prepping for convos with my dojo owner about deadlifting, because I'd like to give that a shot next month. ALSO, I didn't write ANYTHING down in my hobobujo last challenge and that bums me out. Here's my epic schedule: Week 1: PREP FOR BEACH / GO TO OHIO Week 2: BEACH BODY BEACH PARTY PLUS BONUS ECLIPSE Week 3: BUSINESS BODY BUSINESS TRIP Week 4: OH MY GOSH IT'S SEPTEMBER ok in? IN.
  8. I don’t have a lot of plot exposition this time around, as I’m just mildly adjusting my last challenge, The Secret Life, which I feel really speaks to my overarching goals at the moment. I really want to travel more (by ‘more’ I think I mean ‘all the time’) and showcase my travel writing and photography more, so this challenge is designed for those things. Also, my December is going to be nuts so a simple challenge is best I also have a big trip coming in late spring that I’ll talk about more next challenge, but this challenge will begin to lay the groundwork. (And the financing.) To the Goals: PUT OUT THE MAGAZINE: I had a really hard time with this last time around; I’m not sure if it’s that I never seem to have a large block of time to get editing/writing done, or if I just have terminal ADD, but I only got it done once. So editing/writing is a big priority this time. Goal: “publish” something once a week, and post to my blog twice. Travel Journal: work on an ebook. I have like 3-ebooks half written (all about travel, go figure) so I need to work on those. Sell the Piano: Travel may be the only thing you buy that makes you richer, but it still costs money. I need to find ways to make extra cash to pay for it. I used to have a little ebay business where I sold second-hand clothes and old props and whatever, so I am going to start that again and funnel all the money into my travel fund. I’ll also be looking into other ways to generate income (sell my plasma? dog walking? ladies wrestling?) that also goes to the travel kitty. Get it? It's a travel kitty. Bake the Cake: Last challenge I attempted to eat a different foreign cuisine every week, which was frighteningly easy, because I love to eat out. However, I spend a fortune eating out in general, probably 6-7 times a week. So this challenge I am limiting meals out to two per week (meals that someone else pays for, like when I’m traveling for work, do not count against this), and making myself cook/eat at home. Still going to attempt to eat as much ethnic cuisine as possible. This will make it easier for me to control my intake, as restaurants (especially Tex-Mex, my favorite) tend to go overboard with the food, and work on my nutrition. Adventure Waits for no one: Again, aiming for one adventure a week. Can be a band, a hike, camping, kayaking, becoming a hermit in a mountain fastness, something. Ungoverned Afganistan: My domestic rangering is in severe disarray. One whole section of our house is basically unusable due to mess (I live in one of those sprawling split-ranch houses, it’s way to big and falling apart around us). I need to work on cleaning the patio, den, and my office daily and get it under control. Test the Body and Mind: Workouts. I’ll list these later so they don’t bore everyone, because they haven’t changed a ton. Just harder I’m also going to add one brain puzzle per day to my regimen, because lately I feel like I’m getting stupider. I think it’s just a combination of too much on my mind and a lot of distraction, but I gotta work on it. By the way, in case it seems weird that I have so much travel stuff on a site devoted to workout challenges, I have to say that my whole “get in shape” journey was started because I got so out of condition that traveling was becoming difficult. One of the reasons I finally snapped to and started getting stuff under control was watching my parents age badly and realizing that if I wanted to continue traveling as I got older, I needed to maintain the machine. So the two things go very much hand-in-hand in my book. So that’s it! Join me on my very Mitty challenge if you’d be so kind.
  9. Hello! I'm looking for recommendations for a hiking pack designed as a baby carrier. We will be doing more outdoor activities in the spring with my son (who will be 1 in March) and would love to get one with a sun/rain cover to bring him with us on adventures. I am 5'2" and my husband is 6'6" so it needs to be pretty flexible. TIA!!!
  10. This time around, like so many of my other challenges, I started out with one idea and it morphed into something totally other. I was planning to do a "Spartan Race" challenge because I'm attempting one in December (full disclosure: I'm probably going to die) and while I was looking for some good movie quotes I stumbled across "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" which I hadn't seen before, watched it, and I sort of latched on to it instead. It really seemed to speak to where I'm at right now. So instead of Gerard Butler's abs you get to look at Ben Stiller for a month. I am so sorry. On the bright side, there will be tacos. Anywaaaaay.... I did a lot of interesting stuff at the beginning of the year when I took a work break, to try to widen my horizons and sort of chase my dreams of traveling more and showcasing my travel photography and writing. I did a few things, but when I went back to work (sooner than planned, actually) those things kind of went on the back burner and I got sucked into day-to-day boringness again. Like Walter, I became a little gray piece of paper. (this is not technically accurate because I don't work in an office, but you get the idea.) So I want to revive some of those goals and start writing, adventuring, etc again. I really feel like I'm missing out on my last chance to be this person I want to be by getting bogged down in minutia. I'm getting really old - and I need to take the proverbial leap of faith. Fortunately I'm coming into a slower season for my job and I am going to work diligently at managing my time and not wasting hours futzing on the internets* obsessing over weird stuff, so I have more time for adventures. Also the weather is changing for the better finally (summer was like hell's vestibule this year) so I can re-incorporate some of the stuff I did for "Escape of the Zoo Human" like camping and suchlike without an oxygen tank and weapons-grade insect repellent. But enough plot exposition. To the GOALS! PUT OUT THE MAGAZINE: In the movie Walter works at LIFE magazine, just as it is supposedly shutting down. Ironically, the very "digital revolution" that wiped out the magazine enables goons like me to share their work online easily and reach an audience. So my goal is to work on my podcasts, photography, videos etc at least four days a week, and "publish" something once a week. TRAVEL JOURNAL: Walter has a travel journal in the film that serves as a talisman of his dreams. There's a great sequence where he looks at the journal and then the next time you see it he's writing in it in the Himalayas. It sort of symbolizes the moment Walter starts living his adventures for real, instead of just dreaming about them. I don't plan to go to Ungoverned Afganistan and the lower Himalayas**, but I my goal is to post to my travel blog 4 times a week. It can just be a "photo of the day" or something similar. SELL THE PIANO: Almost at the end of the film, Walter has to sell his mom's piano, which has been bogging everyone physically, emotionally, and financially down, all through the movie. It's a good symbol of letting go of "stuff". Goal: I want to streamline my possessions and get rid of 20% of my stuff. I plan to do this on a room-by-room basis, to make it more manageable. THE WORLD ON YOUR PLATE: There's a lot of food references in SLOWM, including a scene where Cheryl is bringing some sort of tasty noodle lunch back to the office, a bit where Walter almost chokes on some horrible dried-fish snack in a Greenland dive bar, and of course the recurring appearances of his mom's warlord-approved clementine cake. (bonus points for anyone who knows "Cake or Death") I am lucky that I live in a very "International" sort of city (albeit in the suburbs) and I have access to all kinds of ethnic restaurants, music, art etc. I used to have a "foreign food Friday" routine where I dragged one of my friends to a different foreign cuisine every week, to experiment. (I would pay for their meal in case it was disgusting). I want to re-instate that and also start going more musical, artsy things as well. This is especially good for me because the time is going to change soon and it will get dark at 6pm, at which point I will want to hibernate until spring, like a bear. I need serious motivation to get out of the house in winter. Goal: 2x a week. (Fortunately ethnic food is usually cheap) ADVENTURE WAITS FOR NO ONE: Goal: one small adventure a week - camping, kayaking, museum, rock climbing gym, attend a lecture, get waterboarded, something. Moment of serious: I had a lot of shocks in the last 12 months. I had a serious bike accident, I had a serious car accident, a giant tree fell almost on my house, my father died unexpectedly, I had two close friends lose best friends/spouses to illness... I don't know how many times the universe is going to warn me that life has a timer before I fucking get the message but it's the truth. I'm 48 years old, which means my life is more than half over by any rational statistical reckoning. Two-thirds, really. I NEED to have a midlife crisis. Because time runs out. Okay, enough serious. Look at this kitten until you feel better. TEST YOUR LIMITS: You thought I was going to get through this entire post without talking about Crossfit, didn't you? You did. hahahahaha, you sweet, foolish person. I will be preparing for my Spartan Race (December 4th! whooot!) so I will be training like a madwoman for that, and I'm toying with getting into adventure racing (where you run, kayak, parachute, whatever). There will be pullups, there will be ring work, there will be deadlifting and handstands, and I will babble about it constantly, because RANGERING, BITCHES. Ummmm okay I think that's it. I don't know how these things always get so long. I may have used up all my Walter Mitty pictures so it's back to cat gif's shortly, I'm afraid. Probably this is better for everyone. *not including NF, obviously. I mean, be reasonable. **never say never, though
  11. So hey, Im a day late but here goes. Im HappyCat, a long time divorced 40 something empty nester still trying to figure life out and get a handle on this health and fitness thing so i can have a lot more energy to enjoy all the things i used to enjoy when I was younger and fitter and not feel like im barely surviving. Im interested in camping, hiking, 4x4 touring and lately been looking into geocaching but not really sure how to get started with it. I foster cats for a local shelter and spend a lot of time in my yard (i grow organic fruit and vegetables), i also juggle a full time job, a couple of part time ones, ageing parents, fledgeling adult children and a severely neglected group of friends. Im tired, Im grumpy, i feel far too old, get off my lawn. Challenge 3 - Takng It Up A Notch Basic challenge framework is staying the same as before. Moving on from Rebels now that Ive had a successful challenge, since my interest lies in hiking, camping, rucking, off roading etc Im thinking Adventurers will be a good fit for me. Flu hit me hard in the off week and im still trying to shake it off (I dont get truly sick very often, when I do Im a very angry, frustrated patient) Main Quest: To create and entrench self care routines for body, mind and spirit Mini 1: Cardio - 45 min daily/10,000 steps, with 2 rest days available each week to be used if needed. Time to take the cardio up a small notch. Mini 2: Eat a healthy, low carb, minimally processed diet, not less than 1200 calories and not exceeding 1500 calories in any given day, with 2 cheat meals available each week to be used if needed. This is workng for me, not changing anythig this challenge Mini 3: Journal - thoughts, feelings, dreams, whatever 10 min once a day before bed Continuing from last challenge, been very slack with this while Ive been sick Mini 4: Go Hiking (3 hrs minimum) twice, bonus piints for an overnight camp Potentially got a lot going on this challenge so not sure I will be able to get away, but at least if I can get out and get a couple of half decent hikes in its a win. Mini 5: Unpack 1 box of crap from my junk/storage/pantry room each week Emptying my spare room to get it ready to rent out meant having to really confront the amount of junk and crap Ive stored away over the last 10 years. Now that its condensed into my tiny pantry room, I cant move in there and the landlord will pitch an absolute fit. It has to be addressed and dealt with once and for all. hoarding is bad m'kay Life Quest: Lose 4 clothing sizes and self loathing, gain energy, charisma and inner peace - to make this more concrete and measureable, I'd like to lose 2kg per challenge ( averaged out at half a kg per week i think this is reasonable) This was workable last challenge so going to continue it this challenge without adjustment. Accountabilibuddies - Walking to Mordor and Back Again Continues from previous quests Epic Quest: This one is a 3 parter: Continues from previous quests 1. Pay down my credit card - Ongoing * Take card out of wallet and stash somewhere I will forget about DONE * Set up automatic transfer on paydays to transfer $50 to the credit card account DONE * Hide the account from view online DONE I believe this will take approximately 1.5 years 1 year and 4 months to go 2. Save a $5000 emergency fund - Ongoing * Set up an automatic transfer on paydays to transfer $50 to the emergency account until credit card is paid off DONE * then increase transfer to $100. * Hide account from online view DONE I believe this will take approximately 2.6 years 2 years and 7.5 months to go *had to dip into this for vet fees, time increased by 1.5 months* 3. Save $30,000 towards a home deposit & stamp duty - Ongoing * Set up an automatic transfer on paydays to transfer $50 to the home deposit account until Emergency Account is up to $5000 DONE * then increase the transfer to $150 * Hide account from online view DONE I believe this will take approximately 6.6 years 6 years and 5 months to go
  12. Getting geared up for the coming 4 week challenge! I roped my boyfriend into joining me, so while my long term personal goals are more Warrior guild (and I'll still be tracking my own battle log and goals separately), we've teamed up in the Adventurer's guild for this one. The theme? The Long Dark! Basically, we want to set goals to help us become better survivors and put our survival skills to the test (by camping out overnight at a camp site that has flushing potties is totally HARD CORE). I'll post the specific goals and challenges once we get closer to the start date. But they're probably going to be super easy HARD CORE.
  13. Well, here we are at a new challenge, and I for one am really glad because my last challenge was a complete disaster, despite having one of my better themes of all time. Sigh. So glad to be restarting. I like the slightly longer challenges so I’m going to start with zero week, which will give me a 5-week span this time. My challenge this time will be all about spending more time in the Great Outdoors, or as I’m calling it: ESCAPE OF THE ZOO HUMAN There’s a quote by Erwan LeCorre, the Movnat guy, where he talks about modern humans being comparable to animals in zoos; we don’t live in our proper environment, but an indoor, artificial simulacrum of it. I don’t agree with all his theories, and I’m entirely too lazy to do his actual workouts, but I do think he hits the nail on the head in that department: we, as humans, spend entirely too much time indoors. So my goal this challenge is to spend as much time outside as humanly (har) possible. Fresh air, real sunlight, toasted marshmallows - what’s not to like? Especially right now, when the weather is still nice and it hasn’t gotten too hot yet. I’m going to break it down into sections: Take the inside, outside: I do a lot of things indoors that can just as easily be done outside, and probably be more enjoyable to boot. Yoga: I have a perfectly nice grassy yard where I can take my yoga mat and do my stretches outside. I think I’m going to start working on a handstand, which is best done outside to avoid broken lamps and things. Meals: Outside at the patio table as often as possible. We cook outside on the grill a lot starting this time of year too, to avoid heating up the house. Bonus: grilled meat is good meat. Working: My internet reaches the patio, as does the phone, so I can work outside at the table as long as it’s not raining. I’m actually typing this up at my patio table now, impatiently waiting for the new forum to open. I like to take my work to the occasional coffee shop or whatever, and I can pick ones that have a patio (preferably shady) to keep that outdoors, too. Hopefully this will encourage me to get up and move around more. Get out, and Stay out: I got a nice 4-person tent off my last job (it was prop swag that couldn’t be returned) and I already have a two-man tent that I’ve had for ages, so I want to go camping at LEAST three times over the course of this challenge. It doesn’t have to be on the wild slopes of Everest - there’s a very nice campground at Stone Mountain Park, less than 20 minutes from my house - and it can be for a single overnight. Again, this is the perfect time of year for it, before it’s hot as a cob, as the Mantis likes to say. I also want to add more walking to my workout routine, so I am going to aim for a one-hour nature hike at least once a week. Fortunately I don’t have to go far to get some nature; Atlanta is good that way. It’s not all visually dramatic, but it is woodsy. This will help with some long-term travel goals as well; I have two lengthy backpacking trips on my wish list for the next 12 months. Gather ‘round the campfire: I have a fire pit (one of the semi-portable ones you buy at home depot, not something fancy and built in) in the backyard, and I don’t use it nearly enough, especially since I’m supposed to be all Paleo and watching a campfire is supposed to be very primal and promotes quality sleep. So I’m aiming to have an evening fire at least 4 nights a week. My yard backs up on woods and there’s always a ton of pinecones and sticks around, so there’s no excuse. Bonus: toasted marshmallows. I know you were thinking s’mores, but I’m allergic to chocolate so those are out. So that’s it! Hopefully not too boring. I’ll be doing my same circuit training workout 3 times a week - that has to be done indoors, tragically - and continuing with my cycling which is obviously outdoors. I was at the gym for the first time in a month yesterday, and I’m sure I’ll be paying for it later today. Planning to ride my bike later today, just a couple laps at Stone Mountain which is super hilly (but also very nature-y; bonus points) Grading: For every “indoor” activity I move outdoors, 1 point. For each nightly campfire, 1 point. For each overnight camping, 5 points. If I get at least 50 points, I get to buy myself a treat. I don’t know what yet. Maybe just getting to reboot is treat enough. This might also be a good place to mention that I signed up for my first triathalon on Saturday. It's June 6th and is a 200 meter swim, 10 mile bike, and 3 mile run (in my case, walk). I have no idea how I'm going to manage this...
  14. “Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.†- Duke Leto Atreides / Frank Herbert (Dune) For some time now I've been out of the fight. Assorted excuses and... well... whatever. No excuses are valid. I'm back. A bit late. Too late to have any lofty goals for the first challenge but here I am, stepping back into the ring. One of my resolutions this year is to not consider any resolutions until the 1st of Feb anyway so that works I've been trying to imagine my ideal self at "level 50". Every time I try, the image swirls and morphs. It take aspects of all sorts of paragons of my goals and ideas but never quite settles in any one form. With some contemplation and reflection I've moved my viewpoint through the swirling mists and myriad forms to cut through to the core. Me at level 50: I'll be fit. Nothing amazing but fit... fitter than I've ever been before. Slim enough to fit into off the rack M-L clothing, tough enough to run a 5k in less than 25 minutes, barefoot. Strong enough to do a dozen pull ups. Agile enough to kip-up. My fitness training will be based on the primal blueprint and will incorporate as much wilderness fitness as possible (trail running, hiking, generally running about, lifting stuff and climbing stuff in the outdoors). I'll be working, either in outdoor pursuits and/or in some kind of skills development / training / teaching position. I'll have a black belt in Karate and probably in Kobudo too. Maybe be approaching black belt in another art such as Jujutsu or another grappling art. I'll be practicing and teaching HEMA in my spare time. I'll read more actual books and get more actual sleep. I'll be eating healthily, have a dog that my wife and I take long walks with on a daily basis and we'll be secure enough to occasionally go on holiday (something we've never been able to do). The dog will also accompany me on my solo excursions up into the hills or forests of wherever I live, for camping, bushcraft and general time to be among the green places. In short, I'll be in tune with and shaped by my environment. Like a Fremen... but in much wetter weather. The description is by no means exhaustive and will doubtless change from time to time. So, on the the last week or so of the existing challenge: Simple goals just to ease back into things... 1: Get to bed before 1:30AM every weeknight. 2: Eat some kind of breakfast every weekday morning. That's it. There's no XP or anything here, just a step onto the path of the Irish Fremen. to be continued.
  15. Hi everyone! I'm going camping at the end of June, and I will be using a two-burner propane stove and living out of a cooler. Any suggestions for staying healthy and Paleo-ish while on a camping trip? Also, it's a family reunion trip, so we'll be doing group meals. (Pressure!!), so group-friendly would be awesome. I will, of course, be making allowances for S'Mores...
  16. OK, I admit this is a bit of a weird one.... Firstly, I'm not into Furry thing. I'm not passing any judgement on those who are but this 6WC is just me indulging my nostalgia and my imagination as a way to motivate and structure my training. Right then... I used to love the TMNT roleplaying game as a kid. Long before any cartoon or films appeared, there were the comics and the RPG. It was visceral. It was funny. It was well written (admittedly as a counter to the increasingly gritty and cynical media of the 80's). It was also one of my first introductions to roleplaying games (after d&d). So I have a soft spot for it. The increasing news of the latest reboot from Michael Bay (about which I still have mixed feelings) has kept me in a nostalgic mood when it comes to the subject. The RPG was called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness. It featured the eponymous turtles as examples but you were encouraged to create your own bizarre, original, funny, tragic and/or heroic mutant animal characters. It was great craic and I remember fondly not only playing but indulging my creative side by generating countless oddball characters (some of which might make an appearance in this 6WC) So, this is my "TMNT part 3: Other Strangeness" challenge (with Firefly sidequest). So, this is following a "mutant animal" theme - concepts and goals will be epitomized by the characteristics of certain animals, which will be anthropomorphized for the purposes of mimicking their qualities. These mutant animals might be well known characters (e.g. Master Splinter embodying discipline or Raphael embodying Sai training... or berserker rage ) or they might be "new" characters (such as a mutant Gorilla representing "beast mode strength training" or a mutant Wolverine representing endurance and outdoor activities) Some of the new characters will need names - please feel free to suggest some as they appear. These mutant/anthropomorphized animals will be my... Spirit Guides, I guess. They will inspire my training and workouts. Along with the other goals. (Don't worry if I start reporting on their antics as thought they were real people - I'm not writing or running any RPGs right now and my storytelling reserve tends to start leaking after a while) onto the specifics... The Turtles and the Newt: Martial Arts. The Turtles rock when it comes to weapons! In my case, Donatello and Raphael - as my oriental weapons training concentrates on Sai and Bo. I might play with swords and nunchaku a bit too... but we'll see Embodying the karate practice is... The Karate Newt!! (sorry the gif sucks. best I could do on short notice ) Karate every Wednesday. Helping with the juniors class as and when needed. Time is short but I should be able to make enough of it to practice my katas (armed and unarmed) at least twice a week outside of my regular classes. +1 STR, +1 DEX, +1STA, +1 WIS NB the Karate Newt needs a name... he's a slightly manic, hyperactive, mutant newt version of Master Ken. distinctly less cool than any of the turtles but doesn't realize it. Splinter's Discipline. This is about diet and routine. I'll keep a food diary. This is my first time trying to keep a food diary (despite having meant to for ages!) so I'll cut myself some slack here and concentrate mainly on keeping it up to date on Mondays - Fridays. In theory, this should help me maintain a fairly low carb/low grain paleo-esque diet... It will also help me make sure my caloric intake is about right. Treat day at the weekend is planned. +2 Wis, +2 CON Cheetahs, Tigers and Gorillas! Oh my..?! Exercise: Cardio, Strength and some Animal-Flow. Tiger Strength training: Twice a week. Embodied by Rugshasa, the mutant Tiger! (Whose name derived from some d&d players wanting to open a shop. They had recently skinned a bunch of Rakshasa so I suggested calling the place Rugshasas) Bodyweight or Kettlebells, some machines <spit!> because I have limited access to free weights. The Lat-Pull-Down machine and the Chest Press machine will supplement push ups, pull ups (well, hanging shrugs at this stage), kettlebell stuff and squats/lunges. Intensity is the key here! This is BEAST MODE. When I'm not going TIGER, I'm going SILVERBACK! Cheetah Cardio training: Interval sprints twice a week (on non-tiger days). My gym time is too short for longer/slower cardio So Cheetah Style Sprints it is! I typically go easy for 60 seconds and hard for 30. Each session I will max out the speed on treadmill at least once. By the end of the challenge, I want to be maxing it out the treadmill more than once and bringing my "rest" time down to 45 seconds. Doing an image search for anthropomorphized cheetahs started getting disturbing results so I'll just use a pretty picture of a normal one.... Animal-Flow: uhm, yeah. Thanks Kishi, for the idea. Now I've gotta actually learn some of this stuff!! Well, I guess I'll start by introducing some of the moves into my warm ups and my non-Tiger days in the gym. The first six of these will be a nice start I think (the more locomotive movements are tricky considering the tiny size of the gym) Getting tired of searching for anthropomorphic animals. That last search has left me scarred... So here's "a chameleon that looks like you owe him an explanation for what you just did". NB the cheetah, the silverback and the chameleon all need names +2 STR, +1 DEX, +1STA Wolves and Wolverines. Some kind of hiking / camping event. Well, that's nice and vague... And that's how it'll remain until I can organize it but at some point over the next six weeks, I'm taking to the hills for a nice long walk and an overnighter. Just for the hell of it. well, and the exercise and the "getting away from technology for an evening" thing. My inspiration for this is "minimalist survival". As embodied by the fuzzy little fellow above. Don't let his "cutesy Snake Pliskin teddy bear look" fool you. This is Caesar, a mutant wolverine of terrifying stature (3'7") who had a train load of guns and explosives. He's a weirdo survivalist embodied in the form of an Ewok from Hell! +1 WIS, +1 STA And of course there's the Firefly themed sidequest... Hitch a Ride! Part of the course I'm on includes securing a couple of days a week work placement over the winter months. The sooner I sort it out, the better my options will be. So I'm gonna do my damnedest(?) to sort the gorram business out sooner rather than later! +1 CHA
  17. A Meetup.com group for those in their 20s & 30s who enjoy outdoor sports and fitness in the Quinte Area (Brighton-Belleville-Picton-Napanee area). If there are any fellow rebels in the area and looking to meet new people to explore the outdoors with, and drink beer, please check it out! http://www.meetup.com/Quinte-Outdoor-Fitness-and-Social-Club-20s-30s/
  18. Hey fellow rebels. I've been super mega busy lately, things should calm down Wednesday but for now I'm just going to get this challenge up. So last challenge was a rousing success for me. Things were totally freaking unbelievably insane from travelling nonstop for work and some other things. INSANE I TELL YOU. But I used my training program to stay focused and grounded during stressful times. I also think I actually really started my health journey last challenge, even though I've been trying (and moderately succeeding) to do these challenges for over 6 months now. I learned I had to be doing this from a place of self love, and that I have to always remember how good I feel when I treat myself right. I've just got to do it. And making myself do it during the flurry of travel really kept me sane and destressed me. It also helped pull me out of the depression I was kind of sinking into. All in all, I feel great. And I want to keep this momentum going. I'm going to seroiusly switch up something huge in my life for this challenge. Two things in fact, both food related. I'm going to officially stop counting calories. Completley and totally stop. This is crazy for me. I've never not counted calories. I'm kind of really freaking out about it.... Previously I've counted them but set a ridiculously high limit for myself, just to make sure I'm not completely out of control, but when I have it down to a number based system I end up hurting myself. I'm like "oh this pizza only has 1200 calories in it. If that's all I eat all day it's fine" Nope... not OK. I'd rather just judge my food on what it is. And that brings me to the other thing I'm switching up. I'm going to grade myself for my food intake based purely on whether it was "healthy" or not. I know when I'm being healthy, and I know when I'm not. I can spot a healthy meal from a mile away, I can feel it in my stomach almost instantly, I can usually smell it. I know gluten and dairy are no nos for my tummy, and I know I'm trying to avoid soy. I know when I'm BSing myself, and can now be honest with myself and admit it. I don't need to micrcomanage my diet any more (or at least I hope so!) and am just going to try to eat the healthiest I can possibly eat this challenge. No stressing about calories, and no micromanaging every single meal. I'm also going to be listening to my body more when it comes to exercising. I'm cutting my strength training down to 2 days a week, and replacing the third with a wild card. Every week I'll see how I'm feeling and pick whatever exercise I want to do that weekend. It could be another strength session, but it could also be pilates. Or hiking. Or even a meditation session if I feel so inclined. So here's the spreadsheet: Quick explanations: Move pretty self explanatory Strength 2x/week Yoga 2x/week Zombies, Run! 2x/week Random! 1x/week Stay Moving I sit at my desk all day, and do watch a fair amount of TV. I want to stop sitting so much basically. So I've set an alarm on my phone to remind me to walk around and do little desk exercises throughout the day, I'm in the office an average of 3.5 days a week, so I'll try to complete all my deskercise goals that many days a week. I've also purchased a mini elliptical stepper thingy that I will be using 100% of the time during TV commercials and if I'm watching Netflix I'll set a timer to make sure I'm doing it for 5 minutes every 15 minutes (which is the average commercial set up I think). . I watch TV probably most days so I put I need to do this 5 days a week. I might adjust this when I have more time to think about how to actually grade this... maybe deduct points for whenever I watch TV and don't do it? We'll see... I'm going to grade this like I grade eating out. Start at 100% and dock points when I don't do what I plan on doing. Take Care I need to take better care of myself externally. And have more me-time. Nightly Routine: Wash my face, floss, brush my teeth and moisturize every weeknight Weekly Routine: Relax, take a bath, light a candle. Face mask. Monthly Routine: Add a hair mask, a foot mask and a bath bomb to one weekly routine a month. Live it up. Eat Healthy Self explanatory, eat healthy every day. Also stop eating out so much. Eating healthy is positive points I earn, eating out are negative points I dock from a starting 100% when I do it. Keep Clean Staying in line with my listen to my body/intuition goals, I'm going to clean every day... but I'm going to pick what I'm going to do the day of depending on the state of my apartment. Grading Based completely on level of effort, numbers based solely on excel's rounding to the nearest 0.25 calculation (using the MROUND() function if anyone was interested): >87% = A >62% = B >37% = C >12% = D <12%= F Possible points and point types are in the spreadsheet. Sorry this is so all over the place and not at all organized. I swear it makes sense in my head. I'm so excited to be a normal person again on Wednesday and be able to hang out with you nerds via the interwebs again. I also am going to get back to keeping my battle log up to date, because I mega slacked on that last challenge and it makes me sad. So that's that. *Edited to fix spreadsheet errors, update TV stepper grading info and to add grading percentage numbers to letters info (and more gifage because that was seriously lackingand not up to my usual standards)*
  19. Does anyone have any experience or tips for coordinating weekend camping adventures? Or how to make the most of a 2 to 3 day adventure time limit? Coordinating work schedules for bf and me (and possibly our friends) is hard but we both like doing fun outdoorsy things and want to make the most of the nicer weather when we can. Specific request for Jersey rebels - what are your favorite campsites? Preferably ones that don't ban alcohol (bf's request)
  20. Hi there! My name is Wren. I’m 25 and married with pets. I live in the desert of the Southwestern US, and am in school full-time working toward a BS in Elementary Education. I'm training with the rangers this challenge because it seemed to fit best with my goals. I’ve been on NF since the end of August this year, and completed about half of my goals in the last challenge. Hence, level 1.5 instead of 2! However, in that time I did manage to lose and keep off about 5lbs and 5% body fat. So that’s something. Anyway, I’m back again with some new goals and new ideas for my crazy busy schedule. This time around I want to make my goals more well-rounded in the direction of a healthy, balanced life. Instead of only focusing on exercise related things. I’m also changing the way I grade myself. I’m setting the exact numbers out now and will be grading based on total points at the end. Something new with this will be bonus points - real life extra credit! I will keep tally on this post for easy reference. One thing I am keeping from last time is prizes for myself. I didn’t earn any last time, and that’s ok. I like having a tangible reward for completing specific goals. Measurements related progress and/or reward are just too subtle to motivate me well. I’m also trying to focus more on habit-building, rather than measurements. I’ll be working these things into my schedule before the official start of the challenge to make sure they are do-able. (Separate tally sheet for that here.) If they need tweaking, they shall be tweaked! Motivation The zombie apocalypse! Ok, maybe not literally, but I am obsessed with zombie movies and tv, as well as camping and bushcraft type stuff. So it fits! I mainly just want to get stronger, and feel better. I can tell a huge difference in my energy levels and mood when I eat right and exercise often. I also want to tackle the Continental Divide Trail one day, bow-hunt, and generally be up for intense physical activity. Challenge I'm a Zombie Outbreak Survivor this challenge. Our group spreadsheet is here. Diet I was doing great in this department, at first… Then I fell off the paleo wagon completely and have not managed to really get back on since. So I’m going to start with something that is not too strict, and that I hope is manageable with my limited free time to plan and cook. I chose to set this goal up by meal, because I’m bad about skipping meals. So it should have the added bonus of encouraging me to start eating enough, as well as eat right. 2 paleo meals per day [+ 3 CON, + 1 CHA] 1 - 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 1/2, 0/2, 3/2 (14/14) 2 - 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2 (14/14) 3 - 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2 (14/14) 4 - 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2 (14/14) 5 - 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2 (14/14) 6 - 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2 (14/14) Bonus points for remembering to log food for each day in my battle log! Awarded weekly. BP – 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1 (6/6) 75-84/84 = A 67-74/84 = B 58-66/84 = C 50-65/84 = D <50/84 = F Prize: Any outcome within an A range gets me a potato ricer. Flexibility I love me some pilates and yoga, even if I’ve been flaking out on it a lot lately. Time to change that! This time I’m including at-home routines, as long as they reach at least an hour in length, in case I just can’t get to scheduled classes. 2 stretching routines per week [+ 2 DEX, + 1 STA, + 1 CHA] 1 – 1/2 2 – 2/2 3 – 2/2 4 – 2/2 5 – 2/2 6 – 2/2 Bonus points for walking to and from class! Or the equivalent distance if doing them at home, for each routine, awarded weekly. BP – 0/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1 (6/6) 11-12/12 = A 9-10/12 = B 7-8/12 = C 5-6/12 = D >5/12 = F Prize: Any outcome within an A range earns me a new fancy, full-support sports bra. Strength This is a difficult area for me, so I’m going to be pretty loose with it. A workout = a run of a mile or more, a 3-circuit BBWW, or an equivalent combination of other things yet to be determined. 2 workouts per week [+ 2 STR, + 1 STA, + 1 CHA] 1 – 1/2 2 – 2/2 3 – 2/2 4 – 2/2 5 – 2/2 6 – 2/2 Bonus points for remembering to walk the dog too! At least 5/7 days per week, awarded weekly. making time for homework and keeping up with my study schedule. (Mental strength!!!) At least an hour per day and 4/7 days per week, awarded weekly. BP – 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1 (6/6) 11-12/12 = A 9-10/12 = B 7-8/12 = C 5-6/12 = D >5/12 = F Prize: Any outcome within an A range and I will buy myself an NF t-shirt. Life Goal I did pretty well in this category last time, when my goal was selling and/or getting rid of stuff. To the point where I don’t think I have enough stuff left to repeat it over a six-week time period again. So I’m going to go in a different direction. I’m going to go with house chores and maintenance, woohoo! It really needs to be done, and is the only “extra†thing I want to think about making room for right now. Especially with finals' cram-time and Thanksgiving falling into this challenge. It's going to sound like a lot, I know, but most of this stuff I’m actually pretty good about. I’d just like to get some structure in there and make sure not to forget anything. 1 vacuuming, mopping, laundry cycle, appliance dusting, bathroom/kitchen scrubbing, and garden check per week (7 items total, hypothetically 1 each day) [+ 2 WIS, + 1 CON] 1 – 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 0/1, 2/1 (7/7) 2 – 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1 (7/7) 3 – 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1 (7/7) 4 – 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1 (7/7) 5 – 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1 (7/7) 6 – 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1 (7/7) Bonus points for remembering to completely dump the litter boxes each week! BP – 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1, 1/1 (6/6) 37-42/42 = A 33-36/42 = B 29-32/42 = C 25-28/42 = D <25/42 = F Prize: Any outcome within an A range and I’ll buy myself this camp water filter. Grand Prize Lastly, if I manage to pull off an overall A from the final tally, I will get a NF hoodie. I’ve been chasing this hoodie since last challenge. I’m determined to earn the damned thing eventually! 135-150/150 = A 120-134/150 = B 105-119/150 = C 90-104/150 = D <90/150 = F Looking forward to meeting the rangers and watching everyone's progress over the next few weeks!
  21. So I haven't been camping, climbing (bouldering) or long-distance hiking in a few years and it's something I've been meaning to get back into. I plan on doing several hiking/bouldering trips before it starts snowing up here in New England, but I've decided to plan a multi-day excursion to Maine for next summer. I will keep this thread open until then with my planning processes and whatnot, but initially what I'm looking for is some feedback from anyone who has done it. I've actually never been hiking/backpacking in Maine, so I don't know what it's like exactly, but I've been all over Mass, NH, Vermont and upstate NY, so I have a general idea. My plan, currently, is to do part of the 100-mile wilderness section of the AP (http://www.bootprints.com/2013/life-list-the-hundred-mile-wilderness/). Has anyone been in this area/have any suggestions or ideas in general that I should consider/work into my prep/time out there?
  22. I found a really good walking stick; but that's not what this is all about. Before I get started with the story I'm going to explain why the following was a big deal for me. It may sound like a sob story at first but you'll just have to bear with me. I was born with a genetic disorder known as Marfan Syndrome. Now, if you Google this condition you're going to get a lot of pictures of very deformed individuals. I, however have a mild case of the disease in comparison to the advanced cases you are likely to see. I have multiple skeletal deformities which have caused scoliosis and hip dysfunction. These are the important things to remember about my condition. Everything else would just be adding to the pity pile. I decided I wanted to go backpacking. Yeah. Now knowing that I have scoliosis and hip problems you're probably wondering why I would ever want to hike for days with a heavy backpack. The answer starts with a video game and Nerd Fitness. I was a lot like Steve whenever he came to the wonderful affinity that eventually led him to creating this community. My game of choice, however, was Skyrim. Hopefully anyone reading this is familiar with Skryim or has invested hundreds of hours into the game since it has been released. If you have, you know how easy this is to do. The game is incredibly immersive, and very modable. I downloaded mods that enhanced the immersion of the game even higher. Backpacks, camping, basic needs, anything that made me feel like I was there, or being that character. Something to take me away from the life I was living. The fact that I needed pain killers just to make it through a work day (I work as a retail manager so I walk briskly on concrete floors all day). I had always been an outdoorsmen so these types of mods appealed to me. I loved to camp and practice survival skills, but my conditions 'prevented' me from putting everything together. I stumbled upon Nerd Fitness whenever I had had enough. I had been broken. I just recovered from a kidney stone and I was in more pain physically than just about any other time in my life. I was smoking heavily and basically living on energy drinks and Aleve. I read some of the articles and my first reaction was basically; “Holy **** this guy is awesome!†So I continued reading, found the basic body weight exercises and got motivated. It sucked. The first week of doing these circuits was very painful, but I had the willpower to push hard. I felt worse than I did before I started, but there was a feeling right after the workout that told me it would all work out in the end. So I pushed even harder. I tracked my progress, how many reps I did, how long it took me. I also started eating better. I cut the energy drinks out and only drank water, milk, and green tea. I cut out crap food and replaced it with more nutritious filling foods like almonds and dried fruit for snacks. I also quit smoking after a few weeks, which was obviously the best cardio exercise I could have possibly done. Eventually I started to feel good, and then I felt a lot better. I had more energy, I felt stronger and more in control. I wasn't having migraines and my kidneys were operating as designed. My lower back felt better, with the exception of a few flare-ups. I eventually found a way to stabilize my hip using exercises several times a day. So one night playing Skyrim I was unpacking my tent, setting up my camp fire. And then it hit me. Like getting Fus Ro Dah'd off the Throat of the World. I could be doing this for real. I had the skills, I had a lot of the equipment. I just needed a proper pack, and I would be set! Now, don't assume that I just jumped into this without doing any research. I spent hours researching backpacking in general, and where to backpack. I spend a good deal of money updating my equipment, too, which has an interesting motivational effect. It's harder to not do something whenever you're spending a ton of money on it. At least it is for me. Right, so I had my gear, had my route, just needed to work out the logistics. This is actually where my first 'beast mode' moment comes. I know; logistics and 'beast mode' don't always go together. Originally I was going to have my girlfriend follow me to where I was going to get off the trail, park my car, then have her drive me to where I was going to get on the trail, then just hike to my car. Well, due to travel time and when she got off work I wouldn't hit the trial until evening and have three hours to hike six miles to the shelter area, set up camp, and cook dinner before nightfall. I wasn't so sure about that. So then I had two options. I could drive out solo and park where I was going to start, hike six miles, camp, then hike six miles back. That didn't sound like it would be worth it to me. I wanted something I would be proud of doing. My other option would be to park at the end, hike eleven miles, camp, then hike the eleven miles back. That sounded more like an accomplishment. I pulled up the elevation profile for that section of the trail and it didn't seem so bad (elevation profiles don't really tell you a whole lot about a trail unless you really know what you're looking for). I made the plans for the weekend, reserved my site at the shelter area and waited. When I got to the trailhead I parked, got my gear out, put my pack on (which took forever to adjust to my oddly shaped long thin torso) and turned on my camera to take pictures of the signs at the trailhead. Long story short the card was junk and I left my camera in my trunk. I figured I would be thankful without the weight. And so I started off. The first thing I noticed was that the trail was very eroded and the rocks had my ankles sore after a few miles. I was feeling pretty good, regardless. The ridge in the morning was beautiful and I got to explore some awesome rock formations. I tracked my pace at about two miles per hours which was pretty fast for a beginner backpacker. The thirty pounds on my back started to dig in after about five miles, and I found myself desperate to see the next mile marker. It felt damn good to reach the half-way point. Here, I knew that it wouldn't matter if I turned back or pressed on. It was the same distance, and if I was going to hike six miles I would rather be victorious at the end. I had lunch and kept moving. The last four miles were the hardest. My feet were starting to get sore, I knew I had blisters but I didn't want to stop long enough to mend them. I figured I would have plenty of time to deal with them whenever I got to camp. They weren’t going anywhere. The trail grew more varied, and going downhill was almost as bad as going uphill because I had the weight of the backpack trying to push me faster down the hill. I was still in high hopes. I was accomplishing something. The more suck I drug myself through, the bigger my smile would be at the end. At two points the trail was so steep it zig-zagged up the ridge. I was fairly beat by the time I made it to the shelter area, but I spent some time checking out my surroundings. I even made it there two hours before I thought I would (which I later realized wasn't really a good thing). No one was in the lean-to like shelters but it was early yet. I found the tent site fireplace and set up my Hennessy Hammock near it but far enough away to avoid sparks and a particularly nasty looking dead limb on one of the trees. I had run out of water, and the pump at the shelter site didn't work or the water level was too low, so I hiked about a mile back to get water from a stream. My blisters were very apparent at this point and it was a challenge to get back up the hill to camp. I set about purifying the water and getting dinner ready while I looked at my feet. One foot had three blisters the size of quarters and the other had two smaller blisters. It was bad. I knew then that I should have worn different boots or different socks. My first aid kit was well stocked with everything but foot care. My best solution was band-aids and duct tape. For the next few hours I ate, nursed my fire, and just kind of hung out, reflecting on what I'd done. I was beat, but I felt good. I was doing this. The next morning I rolled out of my hammock later than I wanted to. The night was full of broken sleep. The widowmaker I purposely avoided fell in the middle of the night, so I woke up every time there was a gust of wind after that. When I put my feet in my boots and stood I almost went to my knees. The blisters on my feet felt worse than before. I wasn't sure if I could go on, but as I was pondering this I was putting fresh bandages and tape on my blisters, slipping on fresh socks and putting my boots on. For me the trick to staying motivated is momentum. It makes the world go round after all. If I stay moving it is easier to stay moving. I hurried up with breakfast, repacked my bag and headed out. My feet were feeling better, but that could have been a bit of mind over matter. Being that my return trip would be a mirror of my first trip I knew what to expect. Dispite my feet being in the condition they were in I felt good. I felt at once worn out and worn in. I was tired, but my body was starting to understand what was expected of it. Again, the final four miles were the hardest, but I pushed through them, taking breaks every mile to have a drink, or just take a breather. Never more than five or ten minutes. It was all about momentum. I found a walking stick that made the climbs and descents a bit easier. When I saw my ridiculously yellow car parked in the nearest spot to the trail-head I found a bit more energy to push harder. When I eased my pack into my trunk it felt like I was letting go a thousand pounds from my shoulders. It was more than my gear (which I have since shaved a few pounds from) I was shrugging off years of thinking I was too broken to do anything. Years of excuses and justifications. I sat down on my bumper and pulled my boots off to rest in the sun for a bit. I found who I was out there. No longer would my life be defined by the deformities that make my body different. The things that are different about me would henceforth become my armor, a shield to protect me from the hardships in life. You could say that the ridge reforged me into a new man, but I'd like to take the credit for that. I'm proud of the 22 miles I did during those two days, and there is no one that would take that from me. I plan on working my way up to doing all 70 miles of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in a five day trip. It's going to be hard, but if I just maintain momentum I'll be fine. Those miles taught me a lot; what I needed to do differently, and what I needed to invest in (better boots and socks mainly). I'll be stronger next time, better prepared. I hope to do a weekend on the trail before winter hits, and I hike a few miles with my gear on days that I'm not doing strength training. I guess what I want people to take from this is that sometimes things have to be broken in order to be rebuilt, and that most of the time YOU have to be the one that does the rebuilding. You'll thank yourself for it afterward.
  23. One of my dreams has been to start an outdoorsy lifestyle, learning survival skills and doing lots of hiking, camping, backpacking. I know that such things require equipment, and I have none. What equipment do I need for these pursuits, classified in "essential," "nice to have," and "worthless," (or arranged in a priority list format)? What attributes should I look for in this equipment, or what brands should I purchase? I'm only looking at doing weekend trips for now, with a max duration of a week when I'm on a break. The only things I know I'll need are a survival knife (well, that's a "want") and a backpack, but I don't know what qualities to look for in a backpack. Thanks for the help!
  24. Is anyone else going to Pennsic? For those not in the know it is an SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms) Event. It is their biggest event all year. It means that you go and dress up in medieval clothes and do many fun things such as beat people with sticks while wearing armor, or throw axes at tree stumps, or take classes on history or sewing or chainmaile or.... SO MANY THINGS! I'm going to try to get in my bodyweight circuits while there, particularly during first week. During second week, I won't have so much free space within the bounds of my camp to work out. I was thinking of going up to Runestone hill to get in my workout time. Anyone else want to join? We can mutually pick a date/time.
  25. Is anyone else going to Pennsic? For those not in the know it is an SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms) Event. It is their biggest event all year. It means that you go and dress up in medieval clothes and do many fun things such as beat people with sticks while wearing armor, or throw axes at tree stumps, or take classes on history or sewing or chainmaile or.... SO MANY THINGS! I'm going to try to get in my bodyweight circuits while there, particularly during first week. During second week, I won't have so much free space within the bounds of my camp to work out. I was thinking of going up to Runestone hill to get in my workout time. Anyone else want to join? We can mutually pick a date/time.
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