When it is time for the Season to Change in August it is always bittersweet for me. Summer is drawing to a close, things should be starting to cool down and Fall, one of my favorite seasons, is close at hand. It also means that Summer is almost over and the long daylight hours will become shorter and shorter. I’ve had a good month to see Summer off, filled with moments that I wanted to soak up while I still could, the moments I will crave in the Winter.
I camped this month. It was such an amazing weekend spent with my horse and my friend. I got to sleep in my trailer and enjoy the outdoors to the fullest. One day we went up to the mountains of the Grayson Highlands, a park that is too cold and too covered in snow to get to in the Winter. We were treated with an amazing break from the heat & humidity along with multiple sightings of the wild ponies.
We went to a doggie play day (aka…cookout with friends). Summer allows the canines to play and enjoy the outdoors without the humans tripping over them in the confines of a house. It was a lovely afternoon/evening/night filled with good company and perhaps a bit too much to drink on my part.
Sadly the end of August also brings with it a late rising sun and the end of my weekday, pre-work rides. I adore my morning rides and I am sad to see them come to an end. I love the quiet of the mornings. The fresh start in the saddle as the sun rises over our neighborhood. It is the perfect opening to a day and it sets a peaceful mood that carries me through. There are few things sweeter than enjoying my cup of coffee in the saddle as the motion and rhythm of my horse flows beneath me.
On the morning that I deemed was the last time I’d set the alarm early enough to ride before work, I traded out my saddle for some peppermints. I brought Tucker out and let him graze while I drank my coffee, occasionally offering him one of the candies in my pocket. I wanted to share space with him. Send gratitude to him. Reflect on what we did together this Summer. Observe how things were different than previous years and acknowledge what worked while letting go of what didn’t. It was a lovely time and put me in a good place to start looking towards the Fall.
I watched the birds this month. Well, I watch the birds every month. This month, however, I paid special attention to the ones I won’t be seeing after their late Summer/early Fall migration, particularly the Hummingbirds since they are a favorite of mine.
I got to go to a horsemanship clinic! It was with one of my all time favorite instructors and the focus was on trails and obstacles. I came home with a bit of new knowledge and a few fun pictures of new friends.
I spent a lot of time working on my fitness this month. I am training for MY version of a “dri tri”. Also known as a dry triathlon. There are several versions of this floating around out there in the fitness industry but I decided to model mine after The Whitewater Center’s version. Essentially you replace the swimming portion of a traditional triathlon with a paddle (kayak or stand up paddle board) for 1.25 miles followed by a 15K mountain bike course finishing with a 5K run. Theirs is “virtual” but you do have to complete their designated course on their property within the 4 week time frame of the event. I do not have a mountain bike nor do I really know anything about how to participate in that sport. What I DO have, however, is a stationary bike. So I decided this would be a fun milestone to hit on my own. I am changing it a little because I am going to start with the run and then paddle. Both these activities can be done at the park not far from the house, so I will knock those two out and then get a bit of a break on the drive home, which feels a little like cheating, but I have to go with what I got, and complete the biking portion on the stationary bike. It’s probably a little silly, but it has given me a goal to hit and I’ve been spending time racking up miles across those three activities which has been fun.
I ended the month in the most spectacular fashion with a little hiking get-away. It was perfection complete with a friend of mine and our canine companions. We got a little hike in Friday afternoon, but then Saturday brought with it lots of rain. I thought this would be a disappointment but it ended up giving us some much needed downtime and a chance to read and listen to the creek/waterfall that ran through the front yard of the cabin. Things cleared up in the afternoon so we were still able to get in some miles. We hit another section of trail on the way home that brought you to a lovely waterfall. The entire weekend was beautiful.
Happy Trails All!