I have only been on the Island for three days, and I’m already overwhelmed at all the possibilities that lay before me! I have spent a couple of days simply exploring opportunities available to me as a conservationist, writer, and fitness fanatic.
I have started attending Beach Naturalist training for Deception Pass. It’s still a commute through Oak Harbor, but considering some of the opportunities to share the excitement of exploring tidepools, inspire conservation action, and just be outdoors, near the water are enough to motivate me to make the trek weekly. So far, the training is considerably different from the Trail Naturalist I finished at the Wildlife Refuge just before leaving Oregon. The jury is still out on whether it’s a “good” different or not. But the presenters so far have been incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about their topics. One could argue that tides and currents is not a passionate topic, and I’d have to introduce you to Jack Hartt, one of the rangers at Deception Pass and made learning about tides and currents not only interesting, but exciting.
I also visited the Whidbey Island Writers Association cowork. Having never experienced a cowork, I had no idea what to expect. I ran into TOM Trimbath (see, Tom, I learned my lesson!) and we got into a lively discussion of some of my past experiences and some advice on the ins and outs of Whidbey Island. I realized from my discussion that my opportunities might be quite endless. I have a long to-do list to check out possibilities, like the Whidbey Island Kayak company, Meerkerk gardens and Earth Sanctuary, and Occupy Your Bike, just to name a few. I also got some work done on my presentation for my Fitness with Zookeepers/Operant Conditioning (I can’t decide on a proper title for the program or book), and caught up on my posts. And I wasn’t distracted by my stupid phone, or Facebook (well, I looked on Facebook to find a source for what I was writing my post about, but I didn’t spend ten hours on it like I have in the past when I’m working on stuff at home). The only distractions were the occasional “getting to know you” chit-chat that was not intrusive in the least. It felt quite productive, actually, and I will definitely schedule a longer time for next week. And while money is really tight right now, I want to look into attending the monthly workshops in the future, as they provide an outlet to really get some individualized assistance and consulting.
My final task for the day was to explore some of the opportunities to workout at parks and trails around the area. Chris had a similar idea, but wanted to visit Double Bluff Beach. We haven’t worked out on a beach before, and while the crazy wind storm we experienced didn’t provide the best impression of what a workout would be like, I think the idea of running along a beach and hitting the sand with burpees and high jumps might just work with my knee issues. Or it will aggravate my IT band and patella and cause me immense amount of discomfort and pain. But, under my insistence, we also visited Putney Woods trail head, and, my friends, we have definitely found the true hidden gem of Whidbey Island. Here is a bounty of trails, just miles and miles of trails that are free for hikers, joggers, bikers, and horse-back riders to enjoy. MILES of trails. There aren’t many (any) benches along the trails to incorporate my infamous “bench trail workout”, but there are tons of intersections of trails that could be used. I’ve also been wondering how to incorporate a nature scavenger hunt in with my bootcamps, and I think these trails are my answer to discovering how that could work. In my mind, the scavenger hunt would work something like this: you have a card with nature items you have to find or be on the lookout for. When you find that item, say, a feather, or a particular plant, or hear the specific animal calling, you can cross it off your scavenger list, and look on your workout list. Correspond the item with an exercise (which I imagine would be set randomly), and do that exercise. Continue running/jogging, or whatever it is that you would call my interpretation of a jog until you find another item on your scavenger hunt list and do corresponding exercise, and so on until you complete the full circuit or complete the nature scavenger hunt list. It might work. It’ll be fun to try it out in any case to work out the kinks and fine tune it for others interested in a Nature Scavenger Hunt Bootcamp.