Dirty Girl’s Day off!

1456006_607173832657359_1876503145_n-520x279What does a dirty girl do on a day off?  Well, in truth, a wide variety of things, some not so exciting BUT sometimes it IS exciting!  This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to compete in the “O” Challenge with my partner and decidedly dirty girl, Shelley.  We have done several Adventure Races together in the past.  We were pretty excited to undertake a new challenge sponsored by Lake Adventures at beautiful Milford Lake Kansas.  What is the “O” Challenge?  It is an orienteering event, using a topographical satellite map marked with UTM points, racers use a compass (no GPS allowed) to locate checkpoints.  In adventure racing you do the same thing but your mode of travel includes trekking, biking and paddling.  Basically, you get a map with places marked on it and you need to get to all of them in any order within a set amount of time.  Lake Milford is beautiful and has some lovely trails…

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The trails were virtually irrelevant for this particular adventure though! We went off road and did a LOT of brush whacking to find our points!  Totally fun!

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A very cool thing about this “extreme sport” is the comradery among the competitors.  We are all competing but, generally, we are also sort of all in it together.  Shelley and I aren’t fast and in this race she caught her toe and pulled a muscle so we were slower than usual.  However, these types of races don’t have to be about speed.  The truth is good navigation skills and perseverance make a difference.   Shelley always asks questions like, “what strategy can we use to find this point?”  Sometimes the strategy is get close and wander around!

We sometimes join up with another team of similar speed and work together.  It is fun to get to know people from different places with the same interests even for a few passing moments in the brush!  We spent some time with a team of guys looking for a couple of points, Lee and Mike.  They were nice and funny (their team name was Nutz in the Water)  it was their second race ever.  We couldn’t find point #14 and we went our separate ways.  Later, they doubled back and found it then told us how close we had been on the first pass.  UGH!  Oh, well!

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It is a challenge to articulate the level of challenge in this type of race when the world is flooded with races that are full of created challenges like mud pits and electric shocks.  I think that some of those races would be fun and all of them would be hard but I really love that this is a “real” challenge.  This challenge is natural and is overcome by strength, endurance and intellect also maybe some luck!  We traveled a theoretical distance of about 13 miles.  We wandered around a bit, not always taking the shortest path so it seems possible that we traveled farther than that.

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This is what a check point looks like.  Can you see it?  It is that orange thing hanging in the middle of the fall colored orangy forest!  Sometimes people steal or remove points like this.  Irritating!  Check point #4 was stolen on this event.  We searched and as we were discussing giving up Charmion (race director) arrived to check it out.  She confirmed that it was missing and left a note for future racers.  Pretty annoying since the checkpoints have a note on them explaining what they are and asking you not to remove them.  Some people are just weenies!

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We tramped through poison ivy, brambles, green briar and up and down hills.  I almost peed my pants when I nearly stepped on a snake!  I screamed and the guys laughed since I had just told them about the Dirty Girls.  (Remember, Dirty Girls can scream at things like snakes and fish jumping into the kayak!)    Shelley was a total trooper since she kept going with the major muscle pull.  We found 19 of 22 points in 6 hours and 21 minutes taking 2nd place in the women’s division.  Pretty exciting!  I love a race that you can win or place with a time in hours instead of minutes!  The Golden Girls beat us because they found that darn #14!  They are pretty awesome navigators!  We had a great time and can’t wait to race again!  It sometimes strikes me as we wander through some tough cedar trees that many people would think we were insane to choose to do this.  Then I smile and laugh and give thanks for the opportunity to be outside using my body and my brain and to meet like minded people of all ages, races, backgrounds and experiences coming together to do the same awesome thing!

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This was the last check point that we found.  It was a good day!  What do you do on your day off?  I hope it is something that you love!!

Denise ~ The Original Dirty Girl

November Free Events!

Free events in November! Active rain/sleet will cancel these events!

Event Fee:  None

State Park use fee:  $2 or a state park pass

What:  Our goal is an hour or so on the trail.  We will go out and back.   You can trail run, hike rapidly or walk comfortably; this is a challenge by choice activity!   We will spread out along the trail.  Bring a Dirty Girl along!  Dirty Guys are welcome to join us as well!

Where:  Meet us at the Trail Head of the Perry Lake Hiking Biking Trail (this is on Kimberly Drive directly opposite the Rock Creek Marina on 237 Road)

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Dates and Times!  (A flashlight or headlamp might be handy!)

11/14 Thursday 4:30pm

11/16 Saturday 8am -10:30am

11/18 Monday 4:30pm

11/21 Thursday 5:15pm

11/25 Monday 4:30pm

Show up for any of the free events!  Questions?  Email deniseselbeekoch@gmail.com

Night Hike!

Saturday dawned bright and beautiful.  The sun was shining and the weather was relatively warm.  All great news for a night hike!  I was very happy to accept the generous offer from  No-wah-pee and her husband, Token Male, who welcomed us to their lovely home located adjacent to the trails.  She and I enjoyed scouting the 5 miles Friday evening before the Night Hike.  It is always good to spend time with a friend! 941299_215663801941544_550843162_nI spent Saturday cooking up some beef stew (thanks Pinterest!) and it smelled great!  I also mixed up a big batch of corn bread and gathered the supplies for s’mores.  I was excited about the number of people who were planning to attend the Night Hike.  I really liked that several of my son’s friends that are girls wanted to come.  I determined that they are the Dirty Chicklets and invited them along!  The girls convinced my son and one of his guy friends to come.  Fun times!  I love that this crazy idea is involving so many different people, different ages and from different walks of life.  16 hikers arrived to hit the trail in the dark! We started at 6:30 which was early enough to see some of the sights and get our footing on the trail.  The fall colors and setting sun are especially gorgeous around the lake.

DSCF4477We all had headlamps or flashlights and fancy glow necklaces.  Some of us sported the awesome safety pink shirts with glow ink!  They will be looking hot for years to come!

DSCF4475It was FUN!!  It got dark fast!  We moved along pretty quickly given the fact that it was dark and chilly.  We found ourselves becoming hot and a little sweaty rapidly.  We used positive self talk to encourage ourselves, “I’m hot! I’m really hot!”  Dirty Girls always take advantage of self esteem boosters!  We took a couple of breaks for photos and some quick and invigorating beverages!  (Thanks! Who knew I would love Buttershots?)  It was cool to see the head lamps glowing along the trail.  We spread out and goofed off along the way. The crazy kids tried to run ahead, needless to say they were nearly lost a few times!  We also took turns being in the lead and at the end.  In some ways, the end was maybe the best.  Everyone’s light contributes to lighting the trail and there is no light behind you to throw shadows.  We had a few stops to turn the lights out and just enjoy the darkness.  There are still enough leaves on the trees that we couldn’t really see the stars although they were up there and very bright!

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We ended up finishing the 5 miles in about two hours slightly sweaty but very happy.  The two Dirty Camp Fire Dudes had the fire blazing, the music playing and the dinner was warm and ready!  Everyone changed clothes or added layers and gathered around for some post-hike festivities.  1384352_216132771894647_162430792_nI love that these twinkle lights are looking so pink!

Many marshmallows were toasted and many more were caught on fire!  You really can’t beat an evening around a fire.

560039_216008918573699_1499650742_nWe decided that a larger fire pit is going to be added!  We loved the music and the time to talk around the fire.  Turns out everyone liked the beef stew – several had seconds so I believed them!  It was the perfect thing to have after a hike.  The weather was pretty cold so it really hit the spot.  Beef stew, a fire and some s’mores pretty much create a perfect ending for any fall hiking adventure!

1385537_216132698561321_1358507810_nIt is very exciting to me to have the chance to do so many things that are near and dear to my heart!  Going outside, exercising, cultivating positive relationships and socializing with great people, sharing my love of hiking and bonfires and s’mores and wine!! Can’t wait for the next big event, the next small event and launching the Dirty Girls Club!  I will also note that Dirty Girls love Dirty Guys and having them along with us! Stay tuned for more adventures!

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Denise ~ The Original Dirty Girl!