Last September my husband and I went to the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. The breathtaking mountains that surrounded Lake George were like looking at the finest art God has ever created. The rich history could be felt by the spirit everywhere you turned, and the purity in the mountain air was unlike anything I had ever experienced. No great adventure is ever complete without meeting people along the way, and boy did I meet some amazing people! I met a firefighter crew straight out of New York City as we soared down the whitewaters of the Hudson River. Their passion for life was infectious and their love for serving others was inspirational. I met an aspiring Appalachian hiker in training to complete the 2000 + mile Hike. We also met an amazing couple at the top of a Pilot Knob observation point that were encouraging us to never quit hiking together. They said hiking has brought great joy in their marriage and they said to keep going as long as our body is able. Out of all the amazing people I met, I’ll never forget Dave. Dave was the owner and operator of our lodge we stayed at overlooking Lake George. Him and his wife ran the lodge together and had their forever home detached next to us on the lake. He taught us how to Stand Up Paddle, and let us play fetch with his rescue labs on the beach. After making small talk for days I finally asked Dave how he ended up in Bolton Landing, NY. His answer will forever be embedded in my mind. He was a Manhattan resident working as a highly successful investment banker for a large national bank. His success was great there and Dave had a bright future at the bank. He loved what he was doing, until he found Lake George. After years of working long hours and never feeling fully satisfied in what he was doing, Dave decided to do something crazy! He said three words to me I’ll never forget.
“I left Manhattan”
At age 38, with high blood pressure, and a high mortgage, Dave left Manhattan. He sold his apartment, sold his car, and bought this little rundown multiplex off of Lake George and turned it into one of the top lodge resorts in the city. He never returned to Manhattan.
Dave left everything that made sense and was safe, for everything that wasn’t. This was ridiculous and over the top. Who would ever do that?! Who would leave the city that never sleeps with a promise of wealth and success for a Lake house and a dream? Dave did and he did it to save his life. He said he didn’t want to wake up living for someone else when he knew he could do this for him. He left Manhattan. He left the money, the job, the benefits, and security, for something he knew was greater. Not necessarily greater in dollar signs , but greater in quality. A better life, with peace, laughter, freedom & the ability to live the American dream. Together they built a life they can both be proud they lived. A life full of memories and abundant in experiences. Just a clarification, Dave became debt free just a few years after moving and is now a millionaire as a successful entrepreneur running the Lake Lodge. Dave’s Story wasn’t long. Just 10 minutes or less, but it will stay with me forever.
I have to ask myself “what is my Manhattan?” What do I need to let go of in order to create a great life. A life that is well lived and abundant in the things that matter? What do I need to walk away from even though long term it’s safe and secure?
What is your Manhattan?
I pray I live a life like Dave. I thank him for his 3 words that have impacted my life greatly. God puts everybody in our lives for a reason. Even if they seem insignificant to you they are purposeful according to God . I only knew Dave for 5 days, and I only spent maybe 45 minutes with him while on vacation & yet my life is different because of his story. He may not know how inspiring “I left Manhattan” was to me, but it’s changed the way I live my life.
I hope you find your Manhattan, your future self depends on it.
The Adirondacks are filled with adventure. With over 6 million acres of wilderness, it’s been blessed with the title as the largest state park in the United States. In other words, it’s the biggest playground in our nation that needs to explored by all. It’s saturated with rich history and breathtaking scenery. The Adirondacks will leave a stamp on your heart that will be engraved forever. The images gifted to me by this Awesome place are unforgettable. Experiencing places instead of just visiting them is how we create a life worth living. When you only visually see places, you’re only getting 10% of the experience. The other 90% is feeling the mountains beneath your feet, smelling the fresh breeze as it rushes past you on a summit, and letting the waterfalls kiss your skin. When you spiritually experience a place, a piece of your heart will always be there no matter how far away you are. I’m happy to say that I EXPERIENCED the Adirondacks in a way that changed me forever. I challenge everyone to experience the world in a way that changes you, because when you change, in turn the world will too!
One of the greatest ways to experience the Adirondacks is through whitewater rafting on the great Hudson river. We had five star treatment with Whitewater Challengers of upstate New York. Not only did our trip include 17 miles of class 2 to 4 rapids but they served us with their world famous crunchy honey burritos as well as an awesome BBQ after our trip was concluded. The whitewaters started right out of the gate! Less than a hundred yards from the launch site & our whitewater adventure was in full swing. Feeling the water rush beneath my feet, and the freezing cold water hitting my face was the most incredible feeling. With every wave we crashed up against the more alive I felt. In the calm waters you get to take everything in. Every beautiful mountain peak, the wildlife, the warm sun, and the sound of waterfalls flowing into the river. You can feel the grip of fear slowly lose its hold on your world, and you just love life a lot more. Having moments like this makes you realize what life is all about. It’s not just about working, paying bills, and trying to get enough sleep to wake up, go to work and pay bills. Life is so much more than that. Yes, it is important to work and pay bills, but its just as important to disconnect and actually LIVE your life. Live your life so much that after its over, it could become written into a BEST SELLING NOVEL.
Whitewater rafting the Hudson was one of the most adventurous things I’ve done, and I’ll do it as much as the opportunity presents itself. I’ll never forget the people of that day. We had the privilege of rafting with some of the NYC Fire department, and meet some locals that inspired me to see more of this world and do the things that make you feel alive. Don’t just visually see a place but go out and experience it!
The most incredible experiences come with a good level of difficulty. The Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York consists of some of the most difficult terrain, but in exchange will give you a life changing experience! Tongue Mountain is located south of Hague, NY & just north of Bolton Landing. Some call this one of the best mountains that surround Lake George. With several different trails throughout the mountain you are sure to have an adventure of a lifetime. Please take note that this is one of the most difficult hikes to embark upon on Lake George. With over 25 miles in trail length, 1300 feet elevation gain in the first 2 miles, and a high peak of 2,258 feet, you are sure to be challenged. On top of rough terrain, you will also have to prepare for nature’s finest…. WILDLIFE. Yes! Tongue Mountain has a wide variety of critters that call this place home. Some of these amazing animals include, rattlesnakes, black bears, and chipmunks. With wilderness so dense, and endless rows of timber for miles, you almost don’t know what to expect when your reach your first high peak! After struggling for 2.5 miles you finally reach a lean to that you’ve been reading about throughout your hike & it’s the most beautiful thing you’ll see because you know you’ve reached your lookout. It didn’t disappoint! This was my first time seeing Lake George from a Mountain. A dream come true! The only way to look at Lake George is from the tops of the mountain. Overwhelmed with emotion I just looked at that beautiful creation thanking God for every step it took to get there.
Throughout our first hike in the Adirondacks we only saw 2 other people. It was pure wilderness for the most part! We now understand why people say “an Adirondack mile”, because a mile in the Adirondacks is a one of a kind. The challenges faced and images captured are so uniquely beautiful! It’s a treasure here on earth.
The trail starts off HW 9 just about 5 miles north of Bolton Landing. You will see a small parking lot in front of a small pond just on the east side of 9N road (lake shore drive). The first 2.5 miles you will ascend 1300 feet to Fifth Peak where you will come across a lean to & fire pit. You have also reach the highest peak of tongue mountain! You can continue on another 3 miles to French Point where you will get yet another breathtaking view of lake George. If you have a the energy to keep going you will then come to Montcalm which allows for some amazing pictures and is the perfect place to eat and relax before descending on your loop back to the trailhead. One of the things I love about this mountain is the rich history that surrounds it. Tongue Mountain was known for its use of commercial timber during the 18th century, and provided wood to build many forts and homesteads for the settlers. One of the points, Montcalm, was named after French General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon (1712-1759). The presence within the mountains is filled with history and excitement!
Tongue Mountain is definitely Challenging but worth every step! It’s unique to the area because you don’t have to drive hours out of town to be apart of true wilderness and thrill. You could do this 12 mile loop in a day but pack plenty of water! After the first snow melt in early spring or early fall rain showers you will come across an amazing waterfall that you can hear a hundred yards away! We are blessed that this was our first hike in the Adirondacks & we can’t wait to go back!
“Everybody dies, but not everybody lives”
God gave us the amazing gift of nature & the more time we spend in nature the more we understand his ways. This ultimately brings us closer to him and creates great Joy! There are so many ways to experience nature and one of the best ways is Stand Up Paddling or what most people refer to as SUP. Made popular in Hawaii during the 1940’s, Stand up Paddling was a way for people to get comfortable on a surf board. Throughout time the movement went from the islands and ocean to rivers and lakes. In the mid 90’s almost every recreational body of water offered stand up paddling along with wave runners, kayaks, and many other water vessels. People from all over the world are experiencing the water in this unique way. Even personal trainers and gyms are using stand up paddling as a way to keep physically active.
Here are just a few reasons Stand Up Paddling is for you!
This makes Stand Up Paddling easy to do and easy on the joints. Almost everyone can stand up paddle & you can do it anywhere there is a body of water nearby. Even swimming pools!
Stand up Paddling is a great way to unwind and relieve stress. The slow movement and quietness that surrounds you can do a lot for the weary soul! Being around water acts as a natural relaxant while helping your body release endorphins to lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
Being on the water is an incredible feeling. Being on the water with a view …. now that’s priceless. Stand Up Paddling allows you to experience bodies of water differently. Instead of being on a boat or jet ski, that goes fast and carries some noise with it, you’re quiet and get to feel the waves rush beneath you. You also can go to parts of the water that boats just don’t have the ability to get to & the views can be quite breathtaking!
Research shows that SUP is a full body workout. With your core engaged and endurance levels put to the test you are sure to burn the calories! According to Sup World Magazine just leisure paddles can burn an additional 350-400 calories per hour, while more intense paddling such as paddle yoga & paddle fit can help you burn up to 700 calories. It’s low impact and can be done with all different age groups and fitness levels.
Now where do I get started? There are many options available for beginners. I suggest taking at least 1 class to get comfortable on the Stand Up Paddle boards and get familiar with safe water practices. You don’t have to break the bank to get started either. You can rent a board for around $20 and classes range from $50-$100 per session depending on the level of detail you desire. You can find several different ways to get started. Go to your local Facebook page or Meet UP to find groups conveniently located close to you. You can always visit your local marina or visit the closest outdoor store to find out more information. If you’re hesitant, always ask yourself, “When is the last time I did something for the first time?” That is one of the most important questions you will ask yourself! It’s the new experiences that create excitement and change us for the better. If you’re not trying new things you will never allow yourself to grow. Give yourself permission to do something awesome, and never look back!
One of the best parts of any adventure is the ability to disconnect from your everyday life. You get out in nature and discover some incredible things when your face isn’t glued to a screen! Even though it is nice to put the devices away for a bit, it is necessary to have it for emergencies and tracking your miles/excursions. One of the very best things that has come from these apps, is that every mile hiked, kayaked, or climbed, is tracked and recorded. This is a great way to help you increase your distances and motivate you to track more miles.
Here are the top 5 best apps for your next outdoor adventures:
5. RiverWatcher App– for all my river rats out there, you NEED this app. All of the data comes from the USGS website and updates every 15 minutes. You will get water temps, cubic feet per seconds, and water levels. You never want to get on dangerous waters! The RiverWatcher app also has satellite map views as well as road map views. I haven’t come across a
River that wasn’t registered within it. With multiple search options you are sure to find your river. Always practice water safety and wear a PFD(Personal flotation device). It’s not fun telling your stories if you’re dead! Don’t be STUPID.
Go to The App Store to download!
4. KAYAKLOG – This app is simple but has everything you need. It gives you 24 hour weather forecast, logs your speeds, distance, total kayak time, access to share on social media and allows you to snap photos as you are recording. This app is 2.99 a month for unlimited logs, but they do have specials that run frequently. Highly recommend any kayaker to track their miles with KayakLog! Download here.
3. GAIA GPS – This is an essential App for anybody spending anytime outside. With endless features you are sure to find this as an incredible asset for all your adventures! Tap into the wild with Gaia GPS. Choose from the best collection of offline topo maps, satellite maps, and specialized map layers, including USGS, USFS, NRCan, and GaiaTopo. Use a host of features for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, offroading, and other outdoor pursuits. Record tracks, plan routes, and use gaiagps.com to automatically back-up data and share links to your tracks. I have the free download and it works perfectly for everything I need, and there is also a paid subscription that gives you a lot more options. Click on the Link to download this awesome app!
2. Yonder – Yonder is like instagram for the adventurous souls! A small community of people that inspire one another to challenge themselves and see this beautiful world. With some amazing filters and thousands of places to see it’s a really unique app. Some places on the yonder or unfamiliar and hidden away. Sure you always see Hawaii and New Zealand in the popular magazines and TV shoes. They are undeniably some of the most beautiful places in the works, but Yonder will take to much less “popular” destinations that will blow your mind. Download here
1. ALL TRAILS APP – The ultimate app for every adventure! Within the All Trails App you will have access to thousands of trails throughout the world. Everything from difficulty ratings, inclination, and distance is featured within this FREE app. You also have the ability to record/track your hikes. This has the capability to record your time, speed, and mileage! You also can download the maps to your phone to allow you to have access to the trail maps without needing 4G or WIFI. You can find everything from bike trails, hiking trails, and running trails. Upgrade to All Trails Pro and get access to different types of maps, live heat maps, as well as fire history and air quality. For most people the Free app is all they need to go exploring, but if you’re an outdoor super geek like me, you can’t live without All Trails Pro! Click here to download
Have fun are next big adventure and always practice safety first!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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:
For cooler months:
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!