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Get Ready for Redding, Active Vacation Wonderland

Plank, bridge, Kymberly Redding, Burney Falls active vacation

Still planking after all these years.

Take an Active Vacation

Within 30 minutes of arriving at my Redding Marriott hotel, I was already planning my next visit to the area. Maps of biking and hiking trails lay before me. I could already see that my husband and I would not have time to ride and walk all the nifty, scenic paths Redding has to offer. Therefore I made a mental promise to return to hit the bike path from Shasta Dam to the Sundial Bridge. In that moment, though, the hubster and I were changing into our bike shorts to wheel along the river trail, as it lay mostly in shade on this HOT summer day.

bike riding SacramanttoRiver trail Kymberly active vacation

Shade in the Redding summer, how I crave you.

Who enjoys road trips, but hates sitting in the car for hours on end? Who likes to head places where you can be active, get outdoors, yet not overdo the exercise thaaang? Do you also love nature, scenery, and hardly any traffic, followed by healthy restaurant food and a comfy hotel room at the end of a day? If so, then head to Redding which has a TON of recreational activities to offer, especially for the over 50 funseeker, all within easy striking distance.

When I was offered the chance to Visit Redding on my way to catch the total eclipse in Oregon, I jumped. Well, I don’t actually jump after knee replacement. But I happy danced a bit. (Thanks VisitRedding for sponsoring our short vacay within a longer vacay). My sister and I had visited Redding a year ago (check out what we discovered in the posts below). We noted that it was perfect for active baby boomers who want to get out and about, burn some calories, and generally move a bit when taking in sights — all on a really reasonable budget.  Visiting again for 3 days with the hubster, who just retired, sounded perfect. (Keep scrolling down to find out about the freebies).

Redding: For Those Who Enjoy the Outdoors

 

Redding: Kayaking, SUP Yoga, Hiking, Aqua Golf & Lorikeets

The area has so much to offer that is accessible, fun, and beautiful. Yeah, it’s hot as all get-out in the summer, but you can still find a lot to do if you plan your activities by where the shade is. For us, that meant unloading our bicycles and pedaling almost 10 easy miles along the mostly flat Sacramento river trail starting at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park. You’ll find water fountains, bathrooms, yet few people along the way whether hiking or biking, so definitely add this to your plans. Parking is free, so no excuses.

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Cool Tips for a Hot Time

Redding trip Lassen Lake logs

Definitely recommend the walk around Manzanita Lake in Lassen Park

And what could be cooler than to visit Shasta Caverns or the Subway Cave, less than an hour away? Climbing the few steps down into the Subway Cave opening led us to a refreshing, DARK lava tube where the temperature drooped by about 15 degrees. Hey, just taking in my first lava tube sounded enticing. Combined with the chance to walk — flashlights or a flashlight app on your cell phone required — this adventure was worth the short drive. Hot tip, or rather cool tip — when you get to the end of the Subway Cave, instead of climbing up and walking back to the parking lot in the heat, simply turn around and retrace your steps inside the lave tube. Turn off your light at some point and savor the pitch black.

Free for All, Especially Active Over 50 Year Olds

Notice that so far the activities have been FREE (except the tour of Shasta Caverns, which is worth the fee plus you get to rack up more movement climbing the cave stairs). My kind of active adventure. Additional free attractions beckoned.  To be more accurate, once you pay the respective park entrance fees, everything you do inside the parks is free. Oh, and another hot tip — hang onto the car sticker showing you paid your entrance fee as it’s good at other parks in the area for up to 7 days.

Water, Water Everywhere

McArthur Burney Falls actve vacation

Burney Falls. We really fell for it and the nice hike nearby

Consider Burney Falls State Park if you want more shaded, achievable, moderate hiking in your day. Continue past the majority of visitors who walk down to the falls, cool off in the spray, snap a selfie, then head back to their cars. No sireee — for those who want a little more from their trips, follow the trail along the river as it meanders past a few small bridges, then up into more trees. Don’t you still want to get in your daily 10,000 steps without overdoing it?  Totally pleasant, well-marked trail and another moderate intensity activity to add to your lifetime memories.

Our tasting tour at Lucero Olive Oil started our visit off with quality

From waterfalls to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, take in more water adventure. Did you know you can book free ranger guided kayaking tours on Whiskeytown Lake? Sure, you need to call ahead to reserve a kayak. Like a day ahead, so you can be sort of spontaneous. The rangers want people to visit, take advantage of the lake, and connect with nature. Ergo – free kayaking. This kayak program is the deal of the day so be sure to check it out. The lake is less than 20 minutes from Redding. No traffic, easy drive. The hubs and I opted for the sunset paddle, which turned out to be a smart choice. We avoided midday heat and had most of the lake to ourselves — just the ranger, 5 other kayakers, and 3 people fishing in the bays we paddled into.

We packed in so much in our 3 days and still did not come close to taking in everything. I have now traveled to Redding and the area around it – Shasta, Lassen, Whiskeytown — in spring and summer. Next on my active vacation adventure list is to go back in fall. My goal is to bike ride along every path marked “easy” and “moderate.” Nothing “hard” about what we baby boomers can do in Redding!

Craft beer week tags for volunteers Redding

Those crafty beer week Volunbeers!

Redding craft beer

The Fruit Shall Set You Free! Or at least the fruity craft beer will.

DISCLOSURE: VisitRedding sponsored our 3 days in the area, including VIP tickets to Opening Night of the Redding Craft Beer week (Keeping the hubs happy) and a personal Lucero Olive Oil tasting tour which appealed to both our sets of taste buds. Calories burned were on me. Hotel, meals, and entrance fees were on them.

ACTION: Go to Redding. I’ll go with you. Oh, and subscribe if you are so inclined and have not yet claimed your free bonus for joining our active aging community.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Super Power?

Super power on the AmaPrima ship

The ship we’ll be on. Not because we’re Prima Donnas or anything…..

“What is your super power?”

Have you ever considered where your powers excel? When guest instructing recently at Rancho la Puerta fitness resort, another guest posed the super power question to our tablemates and me at dinner. Pretty interesting conversation starter, n’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? Si, como no? (You’ll find out in a minute why foreign phrases play out in this context).

What is your Super Power? Think you don't have one? Read this. Click To Tweet

The first respondent said she had no super power. Was that also your first mental reply? If so, reconsider once you hear the examples that came up. I’ll bet you are able to select at least one super power by the time you finish reading this post.

The next tablemate said her super power was being of service to others. She went on to clarify that she particularly excelled at caregiving. Turns out she was caring for both her aging mother and father and relishing the time with her father more than she’d expected.

The guest across from her decided her super power was a willingness to try new things. Being at Rancho la Puerta for the first time was an example she gave to back up her claim.

My Super Power(s) Revealed — to You and Myself

When it became my turn, I’d had time to think about the answer. Still, it was hard to refine my choice so I went with paired powers: Teaching and Learning. (Claiming two answers as one could be a secret power). After 35 years teaching fitness, English, writing, and more, I feel gifted with teaching skills. It’s always nice to have a match between what we love and what we do well, don’t you think? I thoroughly enjoy leading learners of all ages and types.

Which brings me to the Learning Super Power: I love acquiring new knowledge, skills, and experiences. Turns out I am pretty good at it too, which is quite fortunate since I am keen to keep my body and brain active and agile as I entrench myself in midlife. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, three of the top ten ways to keep your brain in shape  include:

  1. Being physically active
  2. Learning new things
  3. Challenging the brain

Learning a Language Leads to Learning Better Overall

Map for AmaPrima Super power

Look! A chance to speak German, French, English, and Dutch!

Most dramatically, learning a foreign language not only boosts brain plasticity, but also makes us better at learning across the board. As a Medical News Today article summarizing this new research from Finland and Russia puts it: “The more foreign languages we learn, the faster the brain responds and processes the data it absorbs during learning. In other words, the study suggests loading the mind with more knowledge boosts its ability to acquire more.” Language learners have an easier time learning altogether. Need more reason to travel if you want to age actively?

Why am I particularly excited about this confluence of Learning, Boosting my Brain, and Being Physically Active? Because my sister and I are about to embark on our first river cruise, thanks to Amawaterways.  After we ply the Rhein River from Basel to Amsterdam, we both decided to extend our stay and visit European friends and former stomping grounds. (DISCLOSURE ALERT: Yes, we are VERY fortunate that Amawaterways is sponsoring our adventure on the AmaPrima, though they did not ask us to write this post or any. We just want to take you with us on our journey in the ways we can!)

Talk about the ultimate in active aging! We will be taking advantage of the many hike, bike, and explore options the Amawaterways cruise offers. I will be able to relearn German (after living in Berlin for two years back in the 80’s teaching at the very first aerobics studio in Europe), practice my French which I studied for 11 years, AND gain new experiences. Nothing like building memories while boosting my memory!

Amawaterways scene Rhein

Images courtesy of AmaWaterways

Three decades from now I want to remember these adventures and languages and still have my Learning and Teaching super powers. What about you? What is your super power? Heck, make it plural and go for the gusto — what super powers do you claim? Tell us in the comments.

ACTION: Travel, exercise, enjoy aging more when you sign up for our twice weekly posts. Enter your email in any of the subscription boxes and claim your bonus while you’re at it.

Photo Credit for all three images goes to AmaWaterways.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

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9

Nepal Adventure Travel: The Ups, Downs, Highs and Lows

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Winging our way to the Himalayas

Winging our way to the Himalayas

Apparently Kathmandu–gateway to the Himalayas–is one of the top travel destinations on the rise. I know I rose early and often to catch amazing sunrises. But I get ahead of my story.

One of my main reasons for wanting to stay active and fit is to be able to travel the world. Recently my mom invited my daughter and me to join her in Nepal on a 10 day adventure organized by the Sierra Club. Nana is paying? Works for  my daughter and me!

3 Generation Swingers

3 Generation Swingers

Low Down on the Lows

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first: the itinerary the Sierra Club set up was sucky wucky big time. Too much sitting in buses, planes, waiting rooms, and restaurants. Not enough time actually doing stuff. Yeah, surprised us too, given that our group was comprised of people who like to get out and about.

High Fives for the Ups

20141114_063613On the upside, the hikes, climbs, animal encounters, and land were breathtaking (literally in some cases when you consider the altitude and steep grades of this mountainous country). Other positives included the new travel clothes Lorna Jane Activewear provided us and the shoes from Ahnu Footwear. Our group may have arrived to places late and left early, but we were perfectly attired for the activities we squeezed in between!

My favorite adventures involved:

S-Elefie!

  1. Riding an elephant into the forest on a two hour journey that allowed us to see a rhino in the wild up close, plus peacocks, elk, and deer. Did you know elephants not only trumpet and huff, but also purr like a motor? Our elephant was the best and chattiest one of all!

 

Miles to go before I sleep, though I woke early.

  1. Hiking straight up an hour at a fast pace to beat the sun coming up over the Anapurna peaks. Twenty five of us set out; eighteen of us made it. Pant pant sweat sweat. I passed a teen girl in stilettos and a dress, a grandma with a big basket on her head, and young schoolboys in uniform. Yeah, I felt pretty good passing them. And only them.

hiking to sunrise

  1. Shopping in the historical district of Bhaktapur with its small stalls and colorful shops loaded with interesting, handmade items. My daughter bought a gorgeous, hand embroidered, midnight blue sari made with yards of material that is stunning. My mom and I found some masks and temple dragons we loved in the shops near our hotel.
  2. crocodile on canoe tripRiding a canoe down a foggy, quiet river past crocodiles, birds, and more peacocks followed by a two hour hike through a pristine forest. Spotted rhino number two on this walk, which we would have seen closer and longer but some people in our group had to keep yakking and scaring away the wildlife Please don’t hunt rhinos; Instead hunt down that one person in every group who can’t follow hike directions. Snipe snipe.

Speaking of yakking, Nepal is not the land of yaks, but of goats. And honest, nice, hard working people who take pride in their country and sharing it with travelers.

Last, but not least, we got to meet in person a young Nepali man whom I knew via social media. He spotted my #Nepal hashtag postings on instagram and offered to meet up and escort us about. Not only did he teach us more about Nepal’s culture, history traditions, and modern aspirations than our official guide, but also we now have a lifelong friend we hope visits us in California. Who couldn’t help but like a guy who cracks jokes in two languages, holds my mom’s hand to steer her through fast scooters and careening cars, and finds us the hidden gardens and restaurants in the busy, bustling, crazy city of Kathmandu?

Flying High in the Garden of Dreams: Jan and Sujan

Flying High in the Garden of Dreams: Jan and Sujan

Here’s to Sujan (forever Mr Nepal in our hearts and memories), my knees that held out on ever changing terrain, my mom for taking us to exotic lands across the globe, and to an unusual, interesting, country that dares you to define it.

What inspires you to improve or retain your fitness level? If it’s to travel, where do you want to go?

Now sit back or stand up and enjoy some travel pics.

Hiking through Chitwan National Park

Hiking through Chitwan National Park

 

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Rhino in the background; one of my new Lorna Jane outfits taking front and center

 

Chitwan NationalPark

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Lake Pokhara

Lake Pokhara, my Ahnus, another perfect Lorna Jane outfit, and a bit of upper body strength

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Temples at Bhaktapur

Prayer flags at Buddha's Birthplace

Prayer flags at Buddha’s Birthplace

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Need event speakers? We travel to you. Book us to present at your events: (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Want to see more of my Nepal photos? Check out my instgram feed at Kymberly’s instagram.