Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Tai Chi Senior Capstone Project



Colby-Sawyer College (CSC) is a dynamic and innovative liberal arts and sciences college located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. (http://colby-sawyer.edu/).

I was a guest of a friend who was a community member of the Dan and Kathleen Hogan Sports Center.  We were there for a physical workout of running, rowing machine, bicycle machine, weights, and one-on-one basketball.

On the reception desk I saw the below sign by senior students seeking older adults to participate in a Tai Chi study.  The students were looking for participants to engage in research looking at the effects of Tai Chi on center of balance and fall confidence in senior adults.  Given my mantra of, Never say, “I wish I had …”, I provided my wife’s and my email address to them. A week later we received an invite to participate in this six-week study.

As the three students readily stated in the evaluation form we completed, they were not certified in Tai Chi.  One of the students had taken Tai Chi lessons in the summer and prepared a proposal that would provide an opportunity for them to demonstrate to their faculty capstone committee, the application of their four years of academic study at CSC.

So, what is Tai Chi? Originating in ancient China, Tai Chi is one of the most effective exercises for health of mind and body. Although an art with great depth of knowledge and skill, it can be easy to learn and soon delivers its health benefits.

During the first class we were asked to demonstrate certain metrics for the students to measure (stand on one foot, rise from a chair, walk a circle), as well as complete a background form.  The students stated at the end of the six weeks they were to again measure the metrics and do an analysis of change from week one to week six.

The below video was taken at the beginning of week three.  The video here in no way is connected to the student capstone, but the theme of this motivation blog, Never say, “I wish I had …”, hopefully will encourage this reader to try something they have never tried before.  My wife and I now, never have to say, "I wish I had experienced Tai Chi".

And yes, this video is at normal speed.  Tai Chi moves are slow motion and low impact.

Oh, one more thing.  I give my permission to the students to use this blog and video, and any follow-up post and video I do, in their capstone as they deem appropriate.

Here are the references used by wife and me as we researched Tai Chi to practice during days we could not participate at the college.

 Tai Chi for Beginners Video | Dr Paul Lam | Free Lesson and Introduction
 Learn Tai Chi 8 forms for beginners (English version) - Hong Kong Jackysum5
 What is Tai Chi

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Four 60+years young friends winter hike to AMC's Lonesome Lake Hut


What does it feel like for four friends, all 60+years young in good physical condition to do a winter hike into Lonesome Lake Hut? 




Grab your favorite beverage, relax, and enjoy the hike as Lennie, Joe, John and Steve hike from Lafayette Camp Ground uphill through woods to the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC)  Lonesome Lake Hut.  The temperature is in single digits, windy, and deep packed snow. 


If you read about the Lonesome Lake Hut references you will see it is promoted as an easy hike for families.  Well, I must admit it was a very challenging hike for us. The first hour was up – up – and up and we frequently paused to experience the Franconia Notch views, or as one of my companions suggested, “the views are an excuse to catch our breath". We added a stop to put hand-warmers in our gloves and mittens. The trail crisscrossed up the steep mountain through the trees and rocks, with the trampled trail sometime 1-foot in width embedded into the side of the hill.  When you stepped off the trail, you could sink up to your thigh – and we quickly learned to stay on the snow packed trail. 

How do we dress?

This winter weather demands we dress appropriately for very cold weather.  We also need to decide, cross country skis, snowshoes, or micro spikes?  Given we are hiking uphill through the woods, that means XC skis are out.  If we were the first hikers through 3 feet of snow, snowshoes would be our choice to keep us on top of the snow.  However, we are not the first hikers on this trail, and the last week has resulted in hard-packed snow.  Do we wear only insulated boots or micro spikes.  Given rain last week on top of snow, and we would be in single digit cold, we made micro spikes on our boots our choice.

 Although Lonesome Lake Hut in the winter is self-service with sleeping accommodations, we planned only a day hike. Our uphill trip took just over one and a half hours to the hut.  Our return downhill hike on the same trail was one and a quarter hours.

The below video is a celebration of Lennie’s retirement.




About Lonesome Lake Hut

Lonesome Lake Hut’s elevation is 2,760 feet with the 12 acre Lonesome Lake in its front yard.  The hut is on the Appalacian Trail.  The view from the hut provides spectacular views of the Franconia Ridge across pristine glacial Lonesome Lake and the nearby 4,000-foot peaks, including Cannon Mountain.


Lonesome Lake Hut is a 1.6 mile hike starting at Lafayette parking area ascending 950 feet. This is the westernmost hut of the eight AMC wilderness huts on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

The below New Hampshire State Parks map is most interesting.  You can see our trail in blue from Lafayette camp ground up to Lonesome Trail Hut (green).  But this map has more ... you can identify the Franconia Ridge 4,000+ footers (Mt Layfayette, Mt Lincoln, Little Haystack, Mt Liberty) as you climb and descend Lonesome Lake Trail.  Also, you can identify the Cannon Balls and Cannon Mt mountains looking north from the porch of Lonesome Lake Hut






References


++++++++++++++++++

" Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"


    Steve's 5th book, Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II, is now available   

    Outdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book motivates friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. 

    Steve’s books are available as an e-Book at Kindle and hard copy at Amazon.com  

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018

    ORFS Winter Hike at Colby-Sawyer College's Kelsey Field Trail


    The Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) group meets every Tuesday year-round at 10 am.  In the summer we kayak/canoe, swim and hike.  In the fall we hike, and in the winter we snowshoe and cross-country ski.  Our trips are from 1-1/2 to 2 hours, followed by lunch.

    Directions and location are available for our Tuesday 10 am outings via email and the monthly New London Chapin Senior Center Courier newsletter. To learn more and join, contact the Chapin Senior Center at 357 pleasant Street, PO Box 1263, New London, New Hampshire 03752 or go to their web site at http://www.coachapincenter.org


    ORFS is a very informal group and participation is for all outdoor enthusiasts wanting guaranteed good exercise with a friendly fun group.

    Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, provided our weekly Tuesday 10 am winter hike. Hiking the Kelsey Field trail was a first time experience for our ORFS hiking group.

    Jim was our leader and hike organizer.  Leading 20+ ORFS was a responsibility he readily accepted.  In fact, he first hiked the trail last October to be sure of its locations and turns, and level of difficulty.  The second time he hiked the trail was after a snow and ice storm.  He used emails to notify all ORFS to bring their micro spikes or crampons, snowshoes, and trekking poles ... he expected the trail to be mixed ice with snow.

    The sky was cloudless with the temperature in the low twenties.  A beautiful New Hampshire day for a winter hike.



    The trail was designed and constructed by Professor Leon Milan, Environmental Services, and his students.  It was built to be used as an outdoor classroom and a cross country track for the Athletic Department.  

    The Kelsey Trail had to meet the specifications for cross country track.  It was first opened to the public during Homecoming Weekend, October 2017.

    Colby-Sawyer College Event Services office was happy to have ORFS use the trail and also have a delicious lunch in the dining hall.  The entire outing was enjoyed by all. 



    DIRECTIONS to Kelsey Field Trail:  from New London on Main Street, turn onto Seamans Rd. at 1st Baptist Church.  Continue behind CSC and turn right at Mercer Field take the first left and drive to the far parking area.  Trailhead is across Seamans Rd.  For lunch walk up the path behind Danforth Hall and Lawson Hall.  Lunch will be at the CSC Cafeteria, Building 20, Ware Student Center. If you have a handicapped sticker you can drive to the Cafeteria and park in appropriate spaces.  Lunch will be the Student Buffet.
    Colby-Sawyer College
    http://colby-sawyer.edu/

    More Blog Posts on Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS)
    1. ORFS Winter Hike Put Safety First: Kidder-Cleveland-Clough Trail
    2. Christmas Caroling with the ORFS
    http://outdooradventurers.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-outdoor-recreation-for-seniors-orfs.html
    3. Radio Interview with Pearl Monroe - September 6, 2017 
    http://outdooradventurers.blogspot.com/2017/09/ 
    ++++++++++++++++++

    " Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"


      Steve's 5th book, Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II, is now available   

      Outdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book motivates friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. 

      Steve’s books are available as an e-Book at Kindle and hard copy at Amazon.com  

      Saturday, January 13, 2018

      ORFS Winter Hike Put Safety First: Kidder-Cleveland-Clough Trail


      Last Tuesday at the Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) annual meeting an emphasis was placed on the closeness of the ORFS group and the importance and caring they have on watching for each other’s physical being.  No doubt, they are a family.
      Bill and Kathy, our leaders for the meeting, had several items on the agenda that brought fourth this family and caring feeling. Kathy reminded us, “Safety first”. If local schools and the Chapin Center are closed, then there will be no “Every Tuesday at 10 am” outing.  Safety first.
      The below video shares the ORFS pre-meeting 2-mile snowshoe hike in 20 degrees F temperatures in 2 feet of snow.  The ORFS were the first on this trail after the snow, making an endurance challenge for all of us. Enjoy the ORFS 10 am Kidder-Cleveland-Clough Trail hike.

      Other key safety items on the agenda were:
      ·      Being prepared with proper equipment for the trail

      ·      Buddy system (For example, do not hike or paddle alone, keep an eye on the first and last person in the group, when coming to a fork in the trail, make sure all in the group know which trail to take).

      ·      If you have a cell phone have it fully charged before you start – and keep it on.

      ·      If an accident does happen (e.g. sprained ankle), be sure to report it later to the COA.
      As I prepared the above video of the ORFS latest winter hike, all of Kathy and Bill’s attentions came to mind, and I wanted this blog to emphasize winter cautions and gear necessary for a safe and fun hike.  As the saying goes, “you can never be overdressed or too prepared.”

      A quick primer:
      ·      Never hike alone.

      ·      Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

      ·      Dress appropriately – cotton is the worst fabric for cold, wet weather. Cotton can kill when wet – meaning it soaks up moisture, stays wet, and takes a long, bone-chilling time to dry.  Dress in layers so you can take off or put on as you need. Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers hold body heat. Wear a hat (even carry a spare), proper insulted shoes (no sneakers!), and gloves (maybe bring a spare pair).

      ·      Bring water and light snacks.

      ·      A contractor trash bag (not for trash, but for wearing as emergency rain gear).

      ·      Whistle

      ·      Map/compass

      ·      Flashlight (extra batteries or 2nd flashlight)
      Here are some key winter gear descriptions:

      ·      Microspikes (some call them crampons) are best worn on fairly level hiking trails covered with packed snow or ice. They provide that little bit of extra traction that you need when your boot treads stop giving you good grips.

      ·      Gaiter: a covering worn over the lower part of the leg to keep the legs and ankles dry when hiking

      ·      Snowshoes: usually lightweight platform for the foot that is designed to enable a person to walk on soft snow without sinking.

      ·      Trekking Poles: I'm a big fan of trekking poles for hiking because they help reduce the strain on my knees when I walk, they improve my balance when I'm hiking over rough ground or crossing streams, and they are useful for establishing a good walking rhythm when synchronizing with your arms. And they exercise your arms and shoulders.
      The above are certainly not all inclusive concerns. Learn more hiking “musts” from the below references:
      ·        Hiking: Winter Conditions Gear Checklist https://www.outdoors.org/trip-ideas-tips-resources/gear-advice/winter-gear-guide
      ·        Recommended Winter Day Hiking Gear List https://sectionhiker.com/winter-day-hiking-gear-list/
      ·        Hike Safe Card http://www.hikesafe.com/

      ·        Why Cotton Kills – A technical explanation https://gizmodo.com/why-cotton-kills-a-technical-explanation-1688286083
      ·        When do you need snowshoes? Gaiters? Crampons? A winter traction primer 
             https://www.outdoors.org/articles/amc-outdoors/when-do-you-need-snowshoes-gaiters-crampons-a-winter-traction-primer

      ·        Chapin Center Council on Aging http://www.coachapincenter.org/index.htm 
      More Blog Posts on Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS)

      Christmas Caroling with the ORFS
      http://outdooradventurers.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-outdoor-recreation-for-seniors-orfs.html

      Radio Interview with Pearl Monroe - September 6, 2017 
      http://outdooradventurers.blogspot.com/2017/09/
      ++++++++++++++++++

      " Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

        Steve's 5th book, Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II, is now available   

        Outdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book motivates friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. 

        Steve’s books are available as an e-Book at Kindle and hard copy at Amazon.com 

        Sunday, January 7, 2018

        New London, NH Conservation Commission web site.


        A friend just shared the below New London, NH Conservation Commission web site. It is a wealth of information for day hikes in the New London, New Hampshire area.  What most excited me was the spreadsheet titled, Individual Trail Links.  Each of the 29 trails listed in the spreadsheet has a link to specific descriptions and directions.  Wow!

        http://www.nl-nhcc.com/trails/nlcctrails.htm


        Individual Trail Links


        1. Bunker Loop  11. Kidder-Cleveland-Clough 21. Philbrick-Cricenti Bog
        2. Clark Lookout 12. Knights Hill Nature Park 22. Phillips Memorial Preserve
        3. Clark Pond 13. Langenau Forest Spur 23. Pleasant Lake High
        4. Cocoa's Path (SRKG) 14. Little Sunapee Associates 24. Shepard Spring
        5. Cook Trails 15. Low Plain 25. Webb Forest
        6. Cordingley 16. Lyon Brook 26. Wolf Tree (SRKG)
        7. Dura Crockett 17. Messer Pond 27. SRKG Trails 5
        8. Great Brook (SRKG) 18. Morgan Hill 28. SRKG Trails 6
        9. Kidder 19. Morgan Hill Loop 29. SRKG Trails 7
        10. Kidder Brook 20. Morgan Pond

        The below is a screen print to further entice you to go to this most informative and instructive web site.



        ++++++++++++++++++
        "Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
          Steve's 5th book, Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II, is now available   

          Outdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send Steve an email send Steve an email  and we can work out the logistics.

          Order books at:

          Saturday, December 30, 2017

          Outdoor Recreation for Seniors



          The Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) group meets every Tuesday year-round at 10 am.  In the summer we kayak/canoe and swim, in the fall we hike, and in the winter, we snowshoe and cross-country ski. Our trips are from 1 1/2 to 2 hours, followed by lunch.


          Directions and location are available for our Tuesday 10 am outings via email and the monthly New London Chapin Senior Center Courier newsletter.  To learn more and join, contact the Chapin Senior Center at 37 pleasant Street, PO Box 1263, New London, NH 03257 or go to their web site at http://www.coachapincenter.org

          This is a very informal group and participation is for all outdoor enthusiasts wanting guaranteed good exercise with a friendly fun group. 

          Today's blog shares our Tuesday 10 am December 19th annual Christmas caroling caravan to two senior residences followed by the ORFS annual Christmas lunch with a Yankee swap at Flying Goose Brew Pub and Grille, New London. Kathy and Bill are our leaders and imaginative organizers for this very festive time. We wear our most lighthearted regalia for this entertaining event!  Hats and props provided. No singing ability or books required just sing along with the gang!



          -----------------------
          ORFS Christmas Caroling Itinerary 

          Meet at Bittersweet residence on Pleasant Street, New London.  Once we organize we perform skits and singing for a half hour, then socialize with residents over the sweet treats buffet that they provide. Afterward, we head to Lyon Brook condominium community (http://www.lyonbrook.com/) and repeat the same show.

          Thereafter, we go to Flying Goose Brew Pub and Grille for a meal followed by our traditional Yankee Swap.  For those that do not know, in a Yankee Swap each participant brings a wrapped, unmarked gift and places it in a designated area. Participants are given numbers as they arrive, and their names or number are randomly drawn, and they select an unwrap gift from the pile in that order — with a twist. In the end, the gift you are holding is the present you take home.  Watch out for lucky number 1 who gets final pick of everything!

          Enjoy the below video of our most rewarding and festive day as ORFS entertain and share their spirit of the season. Merry cheers and a Healthy 2018 to all!

          ++++++++++++++++++

          Click WTPL 107.7 FM to see videos and learn more about Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) from Steve's September 2017 radio interview. 


          ++++++++++++++++++


          "Everyone must do something.  I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"


            Steve's 5th book, Outdoor Play Fun 4 4 Seasons Volume II, is now available   



            Outdoor Play Volume II has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send Steve an email at steve@outdoorsteve.com and we can work out the logistics.

            Steve’s latest book, Outdoor Play "Fun 4 4 Seasons" is available as an e-Book at Kindle and hard copy at Amazon.com