Mindful Biking – Moving Meditation

I recently cycled the Tomorrow River Trail, a secluded historic rail-trail through central Wisconsin.  I thought the route was going to be a relatively easy ride but it turned out to be a challenge due to excessive winds.

When I cycle, I enjoy the adventure, but I also appreciate that its a moving meditation that clears my mind and invigorates me in ways that other sports don’t.  I love that its a combination of physical exercise and mindfulness.

Tomorrow River’s Trail consists of a crushed stone trail that is 29.2 miles long.  It passes through open fields and tree lined paths, extending through several counties.  If you want to get off the trail, there are several small rural towns to explore along the way.

Being an active biker, I try to explore a new trail each week as I love the combination of physical exercise and mindfulness.  If you haven’t tried it yet, get out of your house and start cycling.  There are new trails to explore!

 

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Witches Gulch

Not for the Claustrophobic!

Only accessible by boat, Witches Gulch, a narrow slot canyon in southern Wisconsin is an interesting and beautiful hike that makes you wonder if you are still in the Midwest.

Several boat tours will take you to Witches Gulch, and once there, a two mile loop hike will lead you through a hardwood forest and through slot canyons where at some points, you can actually touch both sides of the narrow canyon walls. Water has worn away the sandstone rock as it flows out into the Wisconsin River leaving behind raw natural formations.

I’m not a big fan of narrow spaces although I have hiked through slot canyons in some of the big national parks out west, but finding Witches Gulch in Wisconsin was exciting. Unlike the dry desert terrain of the southwest, Wisconsin Dells is green, lush and humid. The slot canyons are cool and temperate due to the running river and waterfall, making for an easy hike.

If you’re looking for a fun adventure on both boat and land, head for Witches Gulch. You won’t be disappointed.

Personal Adventures

A few years ago, I met with a group of strangers who shared the same passion as me.  Together we spent four days hiking and exploring the Grand Canyon.  It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.  Since then, I make it a priority to travel and explore.  Even if I can’t travel far away, I will explore my world locally.

I help people to make the most out of their lives and one of my favorite recommendations is to get out of your comfort zone or daily routine and have a personal adventure.  It’s all about personal self care.  For me, movement feels great.  I love hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking and being in nature.  Nature is a natural drug that feeds my body, mind and soul.

Whatever you have been postponing or putting off, do it today, or make plans to make it happen.  Since I took my first hiking trip to the Grand Canyon, I have never looked back.  I now search out new places, new people, new foods, new pathways and new adventures to try.  Life doesn’t have to be boring.  It’s up to you!

Adventures on my Bicycle

A dream of mine is to bicycle through the rice paddies of Vietnam.  Years ago, I found a travel organization that offers such a trip.  I’m hoping to make my dream a reality some day, but until then, I explore my own local area and luckily for me, I have the Green Circle Trail, a 26.5 mile trail around the city of Stevens Point that winds through city streets and forests of central Wisconsin.  The trails are a combination of rocky pathways, wooden bridges, and dirt covered roads.  As far as biking trails go, its one of the best to explore.

Cycling has always been one of my passions.  I love how I see the world from a different viewpoint than if I was walking or simply driving in my car.  I also appreciate how cycling keeps me fit and is environmentally friendly.

For more information about the Green Circle Trail:

https://greencircletrail.org/

 

The Adventures of Gino Jupiter

New Release at Barnes and Noble!

The Adventures of Gino Jupiter is a comical journey through outer space involving Gino Jupiter, a stern no-nonsense Captain, and his fickle co-pilot Mr. Scratch, an eccentric ginger cat that has been secretly trained in space exploration.

Together they travel to the moons of Jupiter, encountering all sorts of strange and humorous mishaps along their way.  Gino Jupiter is a Captain with both a goatee and a mission, while his companion Mr. Scratch, does everything he can to annoy his demanding Commander.

The space team encounter aliens, laughing gas, terrorizing toilet paper, and a gang of underpants on their hilarious fun-filled adventures to the moons of Jupiter.

Barnes and Noble Link:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-adventures-of-gino-jupiter-karolee-krause/1132783458?ean=9781987022988

 

Desert Cities

On route to the White Mountains, I stopped off in Phoenix to do some exploration.  I knew flying in that temperatures were in excess of 110 degrees.  Being a lover of heat, I thought, no sweat, I can handle this.

I landed at the airport at 10:00pm at night.  Temperatures were still in their 90’s.  Although it was hot, it wasn’t stifling as I had just flown out of high humidity in the Midwest, so I welcomed the dry heat.

I spent the night in a Phoenix hotel and then headed back to the airport and took a flight to the White Mountains where I spent the next three days.  After completing my work assignment, I headed back to the valley where at 8:30am the temperatures were already in the 90’s.   Still wanting to explore Phoenix, and being a nature lover, I headed for the Desert Botanic Gardens.

I took Uber from the airport to the gardens and quickly purchased my ticket as there was no line or huge crowd to fight and began exploring the Sonoran desert.  I later realized that there was a reason why there were no people or crowds there, because the heat was too intense and only those brave or foolish enough would explore the desert in the full heat of summertime.

The gardens were beautiful as I walked the paths and trails to different parts of the park, checking out the variety of plants that grow in the hottest and driest parts of the world.  I saw blooming cactus and nesting Inca doves, and spent time reflecting in the Contemplation Garden.  After about 10 minutes into my journey, I felt the scorching heat radiating down on me.  Unlike the heaviness of the Midwest, the dry heat baked me like a giant furnace and I found myself continually searching for shade along the way.  Although beautiful, I gained a respect and understanding for the desert and life that lived there.  I had always loved the sun, but even in the morning, the Sonoran Desert was a rough reminder of how beautiful and dangerous the desert can be.

As I continued my hike around the garden, I found several drinking fountains and shaded areas along the way.  I stopped often to refill my water bottle.  Because of the heat, I did not explore all of the trails but headed back to the entrance.   Once back, I decided I wanted to get something to eat before I flew back home, but the only open cafe at the time was half way back into the garden and the heat was too intense so I decided not to trek back in.

If your thinking of visiting the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, I would highly recommend it, but unless your a camel and can take extreme heat, I would recommended going at 7:00am when they open or late at night.  It’s defiantly worth visiting as there is no place on earth like the Sonoran Desert.

 

 

Life in Transition

What do you do when life challenges you in unexpected ways?  You drive a U-haul across the country, leaving behind life as you know it.

Unexpectedly I found my life shift and change, forcing me to make decisions that I did not want to make.  I realized that life is unpredictable.

Driving a 20-foot U-haul and towing my car behind was completely out of my comfort zone. My friend and travel companion reminded me to breathe as I began the journey driving the wrong way into rural mountains with no place to turn around.  I white-knuckled the steering wheel as I drove further into the unfamiliar mountain range.

For four days, we were enchanted by the beauty of New Mexico, laughed across the state of Texas and wanted to kill each other in the cattle fields of Kansas, but we survived the journey recognizing that our adventure together was a test of strength, endurance, and patience.  We ate Chinese food every night in Super 8 Hotels along the way and saw Dorthy’s house from the Wizard of Oz.

We survived the journey together and I have surrendered to the fact that I will probably make more unexpected journeys in my lifetime, and that’s ok.  I no longer hold onto a false sense of security as life is truly an illusion.  What feels safe, isn’t, and what feels fearful is safe. Life is a paradox.

I could have stayed in one place my entire life, but then I think about all the people I would not have met and all the experiences I would not have had, both good and bad.  Not that I have chosen all of my life changes, on the contrary, most of them were forced upon me, but I no longer fight them, but accept that I am being guided to a new place, a new experience or back to a familiar place where I am to resolve the past.  Wherever life takes me, it will be a journey…