I Have Scoliosis , but Scoliosis Does Not Have Me

Scoliosis may be a foreign term to some people, but for those of us who live with it know it all to well. Usually, if severe, scoliosis is diagnosed at a young age and treated for many years using back braces and physical therapy. You know? The back braces that Hollywood describes as this:

Can we take a moment to thank modern science for eliminating the use of this hideous device… R.I.P.

Today back braces are far more comfortable and concealable under most clothing so people being treated can live a somewhat normal life and participate in almost all activities. My experience was a blessing in disguise. I was extremely young when diagnosed, so my ignorance at age 8 made the situation seem minuscule from my perspective. I just felt like any normal kid. I was in gymnastics, spirit club, gym class, and even had the opportunity to try out for my middle school cheer team. I didn’t make the team but I never blamed scoliosis for my failures because I never felt like it hindered me. The back braces, doctors appointments, & therapy appointments, were just part of it. My parents never let their fear or concern interrupt my life and the value of that is tremendous! So tremendous that I am living my adventurous life today because of them. Yes I do have scoliosis, but scoliosis does not have me.

I underwent the full scoliosis correction surgery on November 6th 2000. I was so excited to NEVER have to wear a back brace again! I was not scared or nervous I just knew it had to be done. 12 hours of surgery, 14 doctors and nurses, 3 days in ICU, and 7 hospital days later I was home. I was home and 3 inches taller with pants that suddenly became high waters. With a curved spine you lose a few inches off your height. So I went into surgery 5’1″ and came home one week later 5’3″. Pants were a problem that got resolved ASAP.

At age 12 I had endured five years of treatments and after 8 weeks of recovery I was finally done. Not one time have I ever felt limited in my abilities or disabled. I can still ride rollercoasters, zip line, climb mountains, surf, and even give birth. My mindset has never changed throughout this journey. I will always have scoliosis but scoliosis will never have me. Since I was so young at the time my surgery took place, my growth spurts did cause my back to regress and I now live with a 52 degree curve. My hips are unaligned, ribs are shifted, and my lungs only have 80% of their function. I know all of this medically sounds painful and negative, but I choose to see it differently. For every extra step my left leg has to make to compensate for my right leg is a reminder that I have the ability to climb any mountain God blesses me with. Most people don’t get the opportunity to feel the earth below their feet like I do. When I am fatigued and have to take breaks to catch my breath, I know that every breath I take in is precious. I get to take it all in, never taking for granted the ability to be adventurous. I can backpack through some of the most beautiful places on earth, and not hesitate. Life is a gift & I will always be grateful that I have this crooked back to carry the weight of what life may bring. I will continue to follow my dreams, live courageously, and thank God for every step I make on this earth.

This is not a reminder of what I CANT do, but what I Still CAN DO!

Caitie.

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Broken Arrow Day Hike

It’s always nice to be able to go do a hike in the evening after work and school, but if you live in the city like I do, it can be tough without traveling long distances. One of the best benefits of living in NE OKLAHOMA, is the access to several lakes, hiking trails, mountains, and green country! The popular ones including Turkey Mountain and Redbud are relatively close in distance if you live in Tulsa or Catoosa area. One best kept secret in Green Country is located in Broken Arrow, Ok! Ray Harral Nature park. Located off 121st behind Spring Creek Elementary has an easy hike with lots of wildlife. In the 3 mile loop you can track across 3 different trails and see an amazing bridge built by the Boy Scouts of America that has been a popular feature in several photographers portfolios.

One of the best things about this trail is the history! In 1909 the residents within the community used this 40 acres as the primary water source. Since the park is fed by a natural spring it served many people for several years and some of the remnants still remain there today. It’s a beautiful place to find peace and quiet after the hustle of a busy day. Get some fresh air with the family and pack a simple picnic to enjoy yourself and kids! Print out a Nature scavenger hunt, Nature bingo or even go geocaching. The nature center has an observation deck open to the public during office hours and also has fun family events that are affordable. You can enjoy learning about several different animals, and insects within the nature center. Ray Harral Nature Center also has a room available to rent hourly for Birthday parties, group events, or other gatherings. Don’t let the mundane daily tasks wear you out! Go out for some adventure time even during the week and blow off some steam and let Nature ease the soul. Find out more at Broken Arrow’s resident page!

Adirondack Adventure

Our Adirondack Adventure video link

Stay tuned for incredible blog posts that will go into more depth about all of our amazing adventures in the Adirondacks! Including how we made this entire trip possible on a small budget.

Think Outside-Inflatable Kayak Review

We have been fortunate to experience some great adventures this year! We've hiked, road tripped, & white water kayaked. One of the best items we purchased was the K2 Explorer tandem inflatable kayak. It gets overlooked a lot in the kayaking world, but it's been our only kayak to date and we love it! After a dozen or more uses I feel like an honest review may help answer some questions regarding if it's a good deal or not.

PROS

  • It's affordable – with a price tag of $95 or less you get 2 paddles, air pump, tandem kayak, and carrying bag. Any budget can handle the K2
  • Compact storage- once deflated it can easily fit in your trunk, garage, and truck bed without taking up much space. With about 25 pounds of weight, once zipped up, makes it's manageable for any kayaker.
  • Quick Inflate– with the duel air pump included you can inflate the K2 in as little as 15 minutes.
  • Adjustable Seats– the K2 Kayak does come with 2 adjustable seats. You can easily increase or decrease your back support & remove altogether if you choose to.
  • Controlled Steering – in the K2 you can easily control your pace and direction. It comes with attachable rear fin for speed maintenance and directional control.
  • Stability– the K2 inflatable kayak has great stability! In the 12 times we have floated we haven't tipped once! This makes it safe for kids and families knowing that your personal belonging and children wont be in the water unexpectedly.
  • Durability- This is the part that shocked me! It is actually VERY durable. We have kayaked over trees, rocks and other different debris and not once has it failed us. I have complete confidence that the straps and air valves will stay intact for many more excursions.
  • Spacious – With the K2 there is a 400 LB weight limit so you can easily have 2 people or an Ice chest inside your Kayak! There is plenty of space for all of your personal belongings and it has leg room as well.

CONS

  • It is difficult to strap down if you inflate before traveling. I only recommend inflating onsite.
  • Cleaning up your kayaks can be challenging while deflated so you need to have cleaning wipes and towels ready before deflation.
  • They are lightweight so when you get to a stopping point on the water you have to make sure your kayak doesn't get swept away. Have something to tie your inflatable kayak with or carry it out of the water completely.

The K2 Explorer is a great alternative to traditional kayaks. It makes a great gift for any outdoor lover. It also serves as an emergency vessel for larger boats that may have a failure of some sort. Overall I HIGHLY recommend the K2! It's great for beginners, as well as a backup for a more experienced kayakers. Perfect to have at your lake house or beach house, for extras as well!

Click Here to pick up yours today with FREE 2 Day shipping.

Think Outside: A Guide To Oklahoma Zip Lining

Zip lining has to be one of the greatest adventures! Nothing says thrilling like being attached to a pulley, hundreds of feet in the air, on a cable that can be over a mile in length. Zip lining is an attraction that many people have experienced throughout the world.

Before it became used by adrenaline junkies, zip lining was actually used quite often as a way to transport items or traveling. According to Oahu Zip lines, zip lining was used for centuries to cross rivers and travel over steep mountains. Many would transport food and water back to their homes using the pulleys for safer & more effective transportation. Eventually as technology became more advanced, a lot of the zip line systems were replaced with bridges. In the early 1970's, zip lining went recreational with the first ever thrill zip line. The idea was launched by scientists and ecologists using the zip lines as a way to study in the jungle. They researched animals, wildlife, and various plants by the pulley technology. A few of these scientists became the catalyst of turning this system that was used to study into a worldwide thrill business! Now with over 200 hundred recreational zip lines in North America, its one of the leading thrill rides amongst adventurers.

One of the best attractions Oklahoma has to offer is Post Oak Canapy Tours (Zip Lining)! Located just northwest of Tulsa in the beautiful Osage Hills is Post Oak Lodge & Retreat. 


Surrounded by the rolling Osage hills, POSTOAK Lodge & Retreat sits on 1,000 acres just 10 minutes from downtown Tulsa. From weekend getaways to group events, POSTOAK provides banquet space, comfortable accommodations with spacious common areas and leisure activities. The lodge offers beautiful rooms, 5 star outdoor scenery and a world class pool! A great place to take the family or have a romantic getaway. You will also have access to one of the largest zip lines in the state. 

POSTOAK Zip Line Canopy Tours takes thrill seekers soaring above the treetops along a network of more than 3,865 feet of cable line — that is longer than 10 football fields! Zip from platform to platform and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Oklahoma’s magnificent Osage Hills and downtown Tulsa. Daredevil or not, this will be an amazing, fun and rewarding ride!


Post Oak offers several different zip times and offers private tours for corporate parties or large groups. Don't wait another minute! Call today to set up your trip of a lifetime. Click here For all the info! 

Another zip lining tour offered in Oklahoma is located in the beautiful Arbuckle Mountains! Air Donkey Zip Lines offers Davis, Ok a 2 hour canopy tour, with one cable stretching 1800 feet long! This makes Air Donkey Zip Line the longest one in Oklahoma. Located just 2 hours south of Oklahoma City and 3 hours from Tulsa, location makes this a great getaway for any thrill seeker. Click here to plan your next Adventure in southern Oklahoma.

A third zip line for all the Oklahomans and visitors is home to Beavers Bend State Park. The Rugaro Adventures offers a one of a kind experience with 6 zip lines traveling at speeds between 35 mph and 65 mph. Located next to Broken Bow lake, this gem is nestled in the breathtaking Ouchita Mountains, so you won't leave disappointed. If you want to experience Broken Bow, Ok like never before, book your next zip trip here!

What do I wear?

It's always important to check the forecast and plan accordingly. If rain looks likely there is a good chance you will have to reschedule for safety purposes.

For summer months:

  • Light weight and light colored clothing is always best. Temps get reach well over 90 degrees and it's important to wear clothing that allows your body to cool off fast!
  • Closed toe shoes are best. You will be climbing ladders and walking through some trails in order to get to certain parts of the zip lines so you want comfortable shoes with protection.
  • Sunblock! Never forget to wear sun protection while zip lining. Most areas are in full sun and offer very little shade.

For cooler months:

  • Long sleeved shirts or thin pullovers. Hoodies are NOT recommended while zip lining because the thicker material can obstruct the safety equipment.
  • Jeans or leggings will work great for cooler weather. Again nothing to bulky or thick that may cause the safety equipment to not fit properly.

Safety equipment will be provided by most canopy tours but please call to verify!

See the beautiful Oklahoma skies from a different perspective. Your next adventure is waiting for you.

Happy Zipping Oklahoma!

Adventure Playlist – Best Songs To Make Your Next Trip Legendary

Music is a powerful thing. It has the ability to change our mood, make us dance, make us laugh, or even take you back in time! Music affects all of us in a special way. Going on big adventures is always exciting, and adding music to those adventures will not only create more excitement, but will commemorate the experience. Every time you hear those songs it can take you back to an experience wherever you listen to it! That’s a powerful thing. Just think about it. You’re  at work, stressed, maybe overwhelmed, and you hear a song that played while you hiked down the Appalachian trail, or kayaking down a peaceful river with family and friends, and instantly it brings you back. You can smell the trees again, hear the water rushing, & feel the sun instantly. It’s scientifically proven to activate sensors in the brain that remind us of significant events that took place while hearing the songs over again!

According to Bebrainfit.com music can make you feel more hopeful, powerful, and in control of your life.  It will make you more productive, and allow you to complete tasks more efficiently. So if you are on a hike, rock climbing, working out, running, etc, you are more likely to go farther if you are listening to music. In a recent survey I asked a group of experienced adventurers what songs inspire them to see the world. Here are the top 5 best songs that will inspire you to reach the mountain peaks, brave the white waters, and dare to try something new:

# 5: The Phoenix – FALL OUT BOY

Watch Video


This symphonic energetic rock track will have your heart pumping and ready to tackle any adventure you embark on! Containing lyrics such as “I’m going to change you like a remix, Then I’ll raise you like a phoenix” will get you ready for any challenge that may lie ahead.

# 4: Proud Mary (Rollin on the River) – CCR

Watch Lyric Video


This song is for all the river rats that love leaving their 9-5’s on a Friday and go where their minds get lost and their souls are found. The River.  With the powerful lines such as, “If you come down to the river, Bet you gonna find some people who live, You don’t have to worry ’cause you have [if you got] no money People on the river are happy to give”, showcase the freedom that comes with a simpler life!

#3 How Far I’ll Go – Aleccia Cara

Watch Official Video


This song gives a beautiful illustration of what it’s like finding yourself through your adventures! It tells a story of overcoming fear and doubt in order to discover the most incredible things, & sometimes those incredible things happen to be part of YOU! Finding your passion and being changed from your experiences creates joy. The most encouraging line will inspire you to be brave.

“See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me. And no one knows, how far it goes”

Go on as many crazy adventures as life will give you, because one day you won’t be able to. Don’t let fear turn into regret.

#2 The Outsiders NEEDTOBREATHE

Watch Lyric Video


This spiritual folk track will have you embracing just how crazy you are for walking in the woods, Kayaking white waters, swinging from ropes, and living life to the fullest! Containing  lines that can sum up any experience is pretty powerful!

“On the outside, You’re free to roam,On the outside,We found a home, On the outside, There’s more to see, On the outside, We choose to be”

#1 I’m Gonna BE (Walk 500 Miles) – The Proclaimers 

Original music video (1988)


A classic karaoke hit that everybody has been belting out since 1988! This catchy tune has been an adventurers favorite. The song was written by the Scottish duo waiting on a train to get to their next gig. With energetic rhythms, upbeat pace, and unforgettable lyrics, you are sure to be inspired. Hike your next destination to the “But I would walk five hundred miles, And I would walk five hundred more, Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles, To fall down at your door.”

Be sure to download these songs to your adventure playlists and have a great time making memories to look back on for years to come! Click Here to download the Amazon music app to create your own playlist for free! 

Caitie Brown

Lower Mountain Fork*White Water Kayaking Trip 2017

Everybody talks about it! Is it really worth the hype? YES! Located in Broken Bow, OK right off of HW 70 you will find white water rapids just waiting on YOU! Not only will you be surrounded by the beautiful Ouchita Mountains, Broken Bow Lake, supreme luxury cabins, and clear trout water; you will also be surrounded by the best float trip companies in the state. River Rats Kayak rental gave us first class treatment with a private remote campground located 11 miles from the float launch. Provided us a shuttle to and from the camping ground with our Kayak rental at a reasonable price! Highly recommend giving them a call at  (580) 584-6225 to plan your unforgettable float trip! Click here To find out more! 
We launched our trip at about 9 AM. The water was moving at about 800 cubic feet per second with the height around 2.65 feet. It was perfect kayaking conditions and you could hear the white waters roaring in the distance. At our first Fork the water was rushing steadily and we realized quickly this was not going to be a float trip we could sit back and relax on! The rapids are class 2 rapids and when you’ve never kayaked white water before this can be intimidating! We ended up stuck on a few boulders and with this river heavily kayaked we always found someone willing to give us a push while laughing hysterically! Kayakers are some of the best people I know! The first mile is pretty much all white Water with a few breaks to get ready for the Presbyterian Falls located at the end of the 1 mile marker. It is a 3 foot water drop off you HAVE to be prepared for! If not be prepared to flip and lose some valuables! It’s worth every thrilling scream! 

After you drop down the falls you go on a relaxing 3 mile float surrounded by beautiful trees and mountains! After the 4 mile takeout you will continue rowing the next 7 miles. The river is full of surprises! So many turns with unexpected waters! Some are slow and relaxing, others are quick and exciting. It will be wide open surrounded by cabins one minute, then narrow flowing through the forest the next. A beautiful river that displays everything Oklahoma is known for. 

Check out our full video Here

Below is all the links to everything you need to plan your amazing float trip! 

Trip Information

*Campgrounds with Kayak rental/shuttle – River Rats Kayak Rentals 

Website 

http://www.river-rats-canoe-rentals.com/

Professional Photographer 

http://www.brokenbowadventurephotos.com/

Cabins

https://www.riverbankcabins.com/

Happy Kayaking! 


Caitie Brown


Debt Free since 2015, Now what?!

Well today was a big step in conquering the next goal. There is power behind putting a goal on paper and writing a plan to achieve it! There is a famous quote:

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. Joel A. Barker 

When debt freedom was conquered in December 2015 not a lot changed from the outside. We still drive the same paid for cars that have high mileage. We still live in our little house with constant repairs needed, and we still don’t have cable! However, it’s the stuff that really matters that has changed the most. We have retirement accounts that are growing, stress levels have decreased, our marriage is stronger and we started a new plumbing company that is also growing debt free! We are able to take risk and have more  fun because the constant worry of making payments is gone. When you become debt free by working hard and making sacrifices, its not just a goal you’re trying to achieve, it’s a life you’re forever changing. We are not going back. Now that we are debt free the next big goal is being achieved as I am writing! By nature I’m a free spirit. I love to spend money on travel and new experiences so saving money is difficult for me. I feel a lot of adventurous people struggle with this. You see an opportunity of a lifetime waiting for you and you say YES without hesitation. It makes for an exciting present  but can cause a stressful future. Finding a balance between living for today and preparing for tomorrow can give you the best of both worlds! Setting this goal will not only prepare us for the future but will provide us the ability to make a lot of memories for many years stress free! 

Goal: PAYING CASH FOR MY NEXT CAR 


YEP! Along with building a business, giving to our church, and cash flowing all of life’s expenses we started saving for our next BIG PURCHASE: A car! Never in a million years did I think I could do that, but as it turns out I can. We paid off $35,000 in 18 months. There is nothing stopping us from being able to do that except us. So today we decided to put the goal on paper and make a plan. We opened a locked savings account that can only be accessible to us in June 2018. Our emergency savings is in a separate account where we can easily access the funds when needed.    Each month we are putting back anything extra not used for bills and groceries. According to US Money the average financing fees for a $34,000 car is $2,800, plus 6% interest over 60 months. That’s another $5,000 plus in interest. Paying cash saves you thousands! It also saves you the stress of a car payment, and eliminates the risk of ever being upside down. Paying cash is not going to be easy and I know moments will come that will make us want to quit, but the great thing about becoming debt free is knowing you have what it takes. This time next year I will be driving my family through a trail to our next big adventure in a paid for vehicle. Nothing can beat that. Being able to plan for the future and still live out my passion is a huge blessing. God created us to live for him not for paydays, and the moment you decide to start living for him is the moment that changes everything. Living a true adventurous life can only be lived by the free. The best experiences are the ones where you only take the memories with you, not the installment. Start truly living today!

Find out how you can live an adventurous life debt free Here

Life is Better with F.R.I.E.N.D.S. 


One of my greatest gifts that God has given me is the gift of friendship! I have been blessed with many different friendships throughout my life. Some friends I have had for 20 years, some I’ve had for 20 minutes, but they all have a sweet spot in my heart. They all have influenced me to become the person I am today. 
I have discovered over the years the people who are daring, fearless, and adventurous make the best kind of friends. The friends that you experience life with are the people who shape your future. This is why high school friendships are so impactful! You go through a lot of life change in high school and you share those experiences with each other and it makes memories that last forever! You get your first car in high school, some of the students get their first job! In high school you start dating, so you share first love, first kisses, and other things (wink, wink). Some of us experience our first heartbreak in high school, whether it’s from a breakup, vicious bullies, or even loss of life! We rebel in high school, break rules and some of us will experience our first handcuffing. It’s definitely an adventurous time of life full of change and bonding. Some of those friendships will last forever, others will only be for a season, but all of them stay in our hearts. 

As we get older, it’s harder to find friends. We have more responsibility and it’s difficult to find time to nurture those relationships. It’s more important to have friends as adults because you will NEED them. You need good friends that will help you create a great life, encourage you to start that business, pray with you, help you raise your kids, and laugh with. When you find people willing to stand behind every crazy idea you have, you find your 2nd family. Only this family is the family you choose, not the family that’s assigned to you!    Real friendhips are developed through transparency. If you can just be honest and show people your passions, your weaknesses, and your strengths, and they still want to be around you… BOOM! You’ve got the real friends. Make time for them. Baby sit for them. Call them, and let them know they matter. Cherish them. Friends are so important! 

Your success in life has a lot to do with who you choose to hang around with. Choose people who will make your life memorable! 
Caitie Brown

*Salt Creek Kayaking Trip*

Making memories with friends and family is priceless! When you look back on your life you won’t always remember the things you bought, but you will always remember the experiences You had. I got to experience the coolest kayaking trip not a lot of people will get to experience. Salt Creek is a beautiful canal in between Dripping Springs Lake and Lake Okmulgee. It’s about 3.5 miles long and has almost no current. It’s shaded with trees that cover the entire canal through parts of the creek. Its lined with beautiful rock formations and wild flowers. It has plenty of areas to pull off and eat, fish or just relax. 


You will be blown away at how quiet and serene the waters are! For a moment the water was so still it reflected the trees like a mirror. Salt Creek is Surrounded by Dripping Springs State Park, so there are plenty of camping areas, hiking trails, and swimming holes. 

In order to float the Creek you will need your own kayak, and there is no motorized boats allowed on the creek since it is not patrolled by the local park ranger, and you can get fined if you attempt to ride a jet ski or bass boat. It’s perfect for kayaking. 

There are 2 ways you can float the creek: one way or out and back. You can start at the dam and kayak to Hickory Point (Lake Okmulgee) leave a vehicle there to take out or you can Kayak out and back in. There is no current so it’s an easy out and back Trip. It’s about 4.5 miles from the dam to hickory point. 

LOCATION

Salt Creek is located on the east side of Dripping Springs dam. Instead of entering the park, continue down toward the lake’s dam on S 150 RD to the put-in at the base of the lake dam. The Put-in is not far down S 150 RD. look for a little circle pull-in opposite of a high grassy hill on the other side of the road. That grassy hill is the dam for Dripping Springs Lake.


Be sure to share this with your fellow Kayaking friends, and plan your trip today! Located just 45 minutes from Tulsa and 2 hours from Oklahoma City. A kayakers paradise awaits. Happy Paddling! 
Caitie Brown

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