- Friendsgiving celebrations
- Thanksgiving vacation (no need to go to work!)
- A weekend trip to NYC (maybe)
- Returning to the streets (running break is over!)
- Sitting in front of the fire place
Somehow, my summer was more stressful than I had anticipated. So I tried to hold myself to reflecting once a day on three things I am grateful for. It could be anything, from something that made me laugh that day, to something that made me feel lucky or appreciated, or something that made my day a bit easier.
And as it turns out, for every stressful moment, I found a few happy, peaceful, relaxed, or otherwise pleasant moments. You just need to notice them and give them the proper attention!
I’ve actually been doing this for a few year nows (since late July 2012!). I keep a Google calendar, but I know other people like to just write things down in a small book or an actual calendar. Me? I’m a digital person, although I see the appeal in the act of physically writing something down.
The rules are simple: reflect for a bit, and choose three or four items that made you feel grateful today. The idea is that by consciously focusing on something positive in your life, the negative doesn’t get a hold on you.
A nice side-effect: flipping back through the (virtual) pages of your gratitude journal is like reading a diary of only happy events in your life 🙂
My friend and her dog have been busy all summer: they are trying to tackle all 4,000 footers in New Hampshire on foot/paw!
Before she told me, I hadn’t even heard of this concept of “hiking all 4,000 footers” but apparently it’s a big thing — books have been written about it, and there are resources online detailing how to approach each of the 48 peaks.
Me? So far I’ve only hiked Mt. Monadnock, which is too short to count 😛
In an attempt to check of my first 4,000 footer, I joined my friend, two other girls, and Frisco the dog to hike Mt. Cannon 🙂
Mt. Cannon stats:
- Considered “moderately difficult hike” by AMC
- 4100 ft elevation
- It took us 5.5 hours to hike up and down (this includes three longer breaks with snacks 🙂 )
- Good thing we started hiking early at 8:30am, that means less crowded trails!
- Hiking poles are helpful on the way down.
- Bring a lunch, it tastes great on the summit!
- Bring lots of water.
I would definitely like to hike more mountains in the White Mountains area, but unfortunately it’s a bit far from the Boston area. I slept over my friend’s place the night before so we could get an early start, because driving up the day of the hike would probably be very tiring. Another option would be to take a few days off and go camping somewhere closer to the mountains. I think I might as well start making plans, if not for this Fall, maybe next summer…!
The problem with the month of August is that there is no federal-holiday-inspired long weekend! So we decided to sacrifice two precious vacation days to make our own 🙂 We found an AirBnB and packed our bags to drive up to Montreal.
According to Google Maps, driving to Montreal from the Boston area should take only five hours. We took a scenic route through Burlington Vermont. We stopped for a great lunch and then made our way up to the border. Unfortunately, what Google did not factor in was the wait time at the border. Apparently, there was some sort of Canadian holiday week that was ending, so we stood in line with a large group of Canadian motorcyclists waiting for the border patrol to inspect our passports.
As soon as we crossed into Canada, our cell phone signal vanished! They must have installed cellphone jammers all along the border. Thankfully, our GPS system still worked, so we made it to our AirBnB no problem 🙂
As usual, our AirBnB was great! So far, we’ve really had good experiences with the service. However, if we ever go to Montreal again, I’d spend some extra money and live closer to the city center. It took us a bit over an hour of bus + train to get to the downtown area of Montreal, which wasn’t bad, but I think we could have been a bit more flexible had we lived closer.
A few highlights of Montreal we enjoyed:
Lachine Canal area (we got great Mexican food and a nice view)
Balloons over Rue Panet, a pedestrian no-cars-allowed street.
By the way, most of these sights we took in while on our guided bike tour. Montreal really is very bike-friendly, I was downright jealous! The bike tour, unfortunately, was on the slow side, so next time I’d probably just rent a bike for a day and explore on my own. A big plus, though, was that we definitely got to see “real” people living in Montreal, in their real residential neighborhoods — always a treat to get off the tourist-beaten path 🙂
We had made plans to drive up to New Hampshire to go hiking last weekend. Unfortunately, as the weekend approached, the weather looked more and more iffy (possible thunderstorms!) so we spontaneously decided to go on a quick hike closer to home instead. That way, if they weather turned bad, we could just jump in the car and go home and spend the rest of the day curled up on the couch.
We decided to check out the Blue Hills Reservation, just a few miles South of Boston and were pleasantly surprised! The area contains 125 miles of trail and reaches a peak height of about 635 ft — nothing compared to what you can find in New Hampshire, but the proximity to the city makes it a worthwhile destination.
We only hiked a small 3 mile loop, but that involved some challenging climbs and rewarded us with views of the Boston skyline. Less than two hours later we got back to the car, and with temperatures creeping into the humid 90s, we decided to head back home towards a cool shower.
The rest of the day was spent in utter weekend summer laziness 🙂 This, I found, is another benefit of finding outdoor activities close to home: you have the rest of the day to devote to something else if you so choose.