National Parks

It would be amazing to explore all the US National Parks and even to visit them all doesn’t mean you can even scratch the surface of depth each has to offer. This is where I track any experiences related to National Parks.

National Parks Visited Thus Far:

2016
Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Cabin

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Spring of 2016 Trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. Stayed in Gatlinburg and stopped in Nashville on the way back.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Cabin

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

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First Reiki Energy Healing Session

Milwaukee Reiki

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2017 Hiking List

List of Hikes I’d like to go on in 2017 – at least 15:

Lions Den
Maribel Caves
Baird Creek Trail
Cave Point
Apostle Islands
Horicon Marsh
Kohler-Andre State Park
Mariners Trail
Seven Bridges
Kettle Moraine – North Trail – 9.3 mi, Spring & Climb Peak
Devils Lake
Brown County Reforestation Camp Biking

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2017 Ted Talks

In 2017 I’ll watch at least 100 TED Talks. The list of videos I’ve watched thus far can be seen below along with notes I’ve used to better learn during each talk.

What Makes a Good Life? – Robert Waldinger
The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – David Allen
Travel the World for Next to Nothing – Bryce Conway
What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection – Jia Jiang
How to Speak so That People Want to Listen – Julian Treasure

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What Makes a Good Life? TED Talk by Robert Waldinger

Notes:

Harvard Study of Adult Development – 75 years, 724 men were tracked. What affected their happiness? A book about this study that might be an interesting read can be found on Amazon as well and is called Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study.

The Persistence of several generations of researchers and luck allowed for the longest study, which is still going on today. 60 of the men in the study were still alive at the time of the video, most in their 90s. This talk was given by the study’s 4th director, which started in 1938 and had two study groups. One group was from one of the poorest class in Boston, the other Harvard students.

What are the lessons learned?
Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.
-Social connections are really good for us and loneliness kills.
-The experience of loneliness turns out to be toxic. Health declines earlier in life when loneliness occurs.
-More than 1 in 5 Americans report that they’re lonely.
-Good relationships protect your brain. Being attached to another person in your 80’s when you can really count on another person, increases your brain memory and helps prevent decline.

Could you predict at age 50 who was going to be most likely alive at age 80?
-People who were the most satisfied with their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.

The biggest takeaway from this talk is that deep, meaningful relationships are just as important as exercise, eating right and taking care of yourself in other years. Those happiest in retirement were those who found retirement friends after losing their workmates.

There is only time for loving, the good life is built with good relationships.

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Play & Beat Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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My First Floating Session – Float Milwaukee

Up until Christmas of 2016 I had never heard of “floating,” but my sister decided to surprise me with a new experience as a gift and my world grew just a bit bigger. So when I visited her in January I went on a Sunday night to cash in my experience for an hour long float session.

Float Milwaukee

Before the Float Session
Located just south of the Third Ward in Milwaukee sits Float Milwaukee, located ironically on Freshwater Way. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was how clean and quiet Float was. There was a bench immediately to the right where you were suppose to take off your shoes and put on sandals, which were provided. After changing my footwear I walked up a small incline ramp to the waiting area, which was adorned with modern decor and what is essentially a glitter wall.

No one was there when I arrived, but a few minutes later a couple strolled in who were then greeted by the only employee there for the night who just entered the reception area from the back area of the building. He got them settled as they had already been there before, and had me sign a release while I was waiting. Then it was my turn.

Float Milwaukee

The employee escorted me past the supply room where extra towels, soaps, and other accessories could be found, showed me where the restrooms were and strongly recommended I use them before going into my float session, and finally we arrived to float room 2. The room had high ceilings and felt sterile, futuristic, but yet inviting all at the same time. In the far right corner sat the float tub, a bench flanked the left wall, and the front right corner of the room was a shower. He explained that I should shower first and would be given six minutes before the float session began, then I could put provided earplugs in if I so chose (which I didn’t), use the floating halo around my head to support my neck, and he recommended I dry my face after taking the shower and entering the float pod so I wouldn’t be tempted to touch my face while my hands were salty.

He also gave me a crash course in the pod itself and pointed out where I could control the music, the light within the pod and showed me the intercom if for some reason I needed to reach him. He recommended I turn off the room light before entering the pod and then he wished me good luck.

During the Float Session
After stepping into the tub and bringing the top cover down the first thing I noticed while getting settled was that my body wasn’t used to the buoyancy of the water. My body naturally expected to sink or move quickly from side-to-side, but the level of salt in the water made motion more difficult. This unfamiliar feeling caused a bit of unease, which increased my heartbeat and took a couple minutes to get adjusted to.

Once more settled and comfortable I turned off the music and the light so the room was completely black. There weren’t any windows and the room was soundproofed so the only sound I could hear was my own heartbeat! I found it still difficult to turn off my own thoughts, so I focused on breathing and counting out my breathes, which relaxed me further and lowered my heart rate. Once I entered this state I started to think more about my other senses. When I touched my skin I noticed it felt slippery and smooth because of the salt coating. The smell was that of an indoor pool, but with a greater humidity and strength.

Float Milwaukee

The water was warm and felt soothing to my skin. The tub was heated to match body temperature, and the room was at 87 degrees so any skin exposed above the water was still warm. Although they had supplies to cover cuts, I discovered I had a tiny scratch on my arm, which began to sting, but subsided after about ten minutes.

One of the hardest things to grasp while floating was a sense of time. After what seemed like only ten minutes, but was really an hour, a calming women’s voice instructed me that the session was over and to exit the tub.

After the Float Session
After the hour session was up I immediately noticed my muscles were more relaxed as I stood up and exited the tub. It was a similar feeling to when you get a good workout and your muscles feel as though they’re worn, which feels satisfying. I took a shower to rinse off and got back into my clothes. This process was deliberate and I was able to focus on the task at hand only without any other competing thoughts. I then headed to the front reception where they had a special area to get acclimated before leaving. This area had tea, M & M’s, a sign in book and reading materials.

Float Milwaukee

I didn’t truly notice until I stepped outside the building, but my senses were heightened, my breathing calm, and my muscles relaxed to a degree I was not used to. For several hours after the Float I had focus, clarity, and relaxation. It seemed impossible to become stressed about anything. For me, the best part of the float session was the time afterwards, which was in a state of awareness and mindfulness in which I was not accustom to. My mind often feels pulled in many directions, but the float session pulled me directly into the moment only.

Over the few hours remaining after the session up until the moment I went to bed, my clarity and focus remained. In a word I would describe this experience simply as “refreshing.” I’m happy to have learned about Floating from my sister and have this great experience, which I would definitely recommend!

Float Milwaukee was offering $50 first time Float Sessions as of the time of this writing, but check out their website for current pricing.

Here’s a video explaining the process further:

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First Year Backyard Gardening – 2017

What I plan on planting:
Spinach, Asparagus, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatos, Squash.

Need to research how to start and what time to start. Also how to build area with fencing and prevent animals from getting in.

What I’d Ideally like it to look like:
Backyard Garden

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Spartan Race – Lambeau Field

Spartan Race – Lambeau Field – June 24th, 2017

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