Sunday, May 5, 2013

New Toy

Keeping track of our resolution milage has been relatively easy the last few months.  We've stuck to the neighborhood walks for the most part, so has been great.  I can track which roads we walk on and it keeps track of how far we've walked for the entire month.  The downside to the website is that it doesn't have any of the trails that we like to walk on--I can do the Geneva State Park because I know where the parking lots are and the trail goes along the lake for the most part and the trail has mile markers, so I can figure out a path that's pretty close to accurate.  At the Arboretum, I know which ponds we walk by, so I can track some of our walk by figuring out which ones we walked by, but I'm nowhere close to accurate for the whole walk because most of the map just comes up as a sea of trees.  There are a couple trails that has bright green lines for bike paths, but most of the trails show up like the Arboretum's sea of trees, and we just have have to guess how far we've walked based on how long we were out.

I didn't want to have to do that all summer when we adventure several times a week, so I splurged and bought a Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch.  My sister got one for Christmas and she showed me how it makes a map of exactly where you've walked and keeps track of your pace and milage and all kinds of other stuff.  Technically, it's for running, but it doesn't care how fast your pace is, so it's perfect for our adventures.

While we were at class yesterday, the mailman delivered it (and tracking info said it wouldn't be here until Monday--yay!!), so Barley and I took it for a spin around the neighborhood to see how it worked. Then we took it to Girdled Road Reservation to try it in the woods today.  I'm so in love with it!

It took a little while for it to find our location when we arrived at the park, and there were a few dogs in the parking lot, so Barley and I went on this like .1-mile trail to an overlook to sit on a bench and wait for it to find our location in peace, so our map shows us starting and ending in different places, but I promise my car didn't change locations without us!

The simple line on the map makes our hike look so much easier than it actually was--this is the park with all of the caution: steep hill signs--but it's neat that it tracks calories burned and that we have accurate milage to count towards our month goal!  I forgot to set the auto-pause to kick in when we stopped, so the pace has lots of water breaks (and breathing breaks--as someone who spent the first 11 years of her life living 13-inches above sea level, I will never be fond of any amount of elevation) included in it--but Barley and I really don't care about the pace, part of the joy of our adventures is that we can take our time and enjoy nature, so if taking breaks to splash in streams or look at birds and flowers means we walk a 22-minute mile, that's totally cool with me.

Another neat thing about the Garmin Connect website is that it lets you set goals, so I can always see what percentage of the way we are to our monthly goal and how many days we have left to do it in!  (I know the goal for this month is 61.1, but we'd already logged over 13 with, so I set the goal for what was left after that.)

In addition to our really fun new toy, we had a really great walk.  I always forget just how tough the trail is at Girdled Road.  Big chunks of the trail are constant up and down with very few sections of flat land, so my legs hated me.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day, though, so I really can't complain.

Taking a break after reaching one of the few flat spots!
One of the best parts of our walk was that there were horses on the trail!  Barley was so funny about them.  We were walking along and all of the sudden her ears perked up.  I could hear people ahead, but the trail curved (and the leaves are back on the trees!), so I couldn't see anyone.  I figured there was probably a dog with them.
Starting to crouch as we get closer to the noises.
Barley sort of crept along until we got around the bend and then I saw that there were 2 horses and a pony drinking from a steam along the trail.  I wasn't really sure what we should do.  Barley's never been around horses before, except for passing Amish buggies on the way to my friends' house--and Barley does NOT like Amish buggies.  I'm always afraid that her hysteria in the car is going to cause an Amish child to wreck his cart!  It looked like the horses were getting ready to start their journey again, so I had Barley sit and we practiced "What's that?"  She did great, but she was intrigued.

I let the horses get a bit of a head start and when they'd gone around the next curve, we got moving again.
There are big animals up there and I want them!
For the most part, we couldn't see the big horses, but two teenagers were walking the pony.  I don't know if they were training it or what, but they were just leading this pony down the trail and walking beside it, so we kept getting pretty close to them.
Look at her ears!  She's definitely giving the pony the border collie stare.
At first, I would stop and we'd have a little water and let them get farther ahead, but eventually we had no choice but to pass the pony.  It was easier than passing another dog on the trail!  Barley looked straight at me instead of the pony and acted like it was perfectly normal to pass a pony.

Then we got to a place where the big horses were waiting on the pony and we had to pass the big horses.  Barley was equally fantastic.  The riders even commented on how relaxed her reaction was.  We continued up the trail until we got to a place Barley could splash in the stream.

Wondering why the horses are also coming to the stream.
When the horses pulled off the trail at the stream, too, we decided it was a good time to get back to our walk.
Best walk ever!
 We took one last look at the horses before heading back up the massive slope to the car.
One horse and the pony in the stream
Barley wants a pony of her very own.
I planned our walk so that by the time we finished Starbucks Frappuccino Happy Hour would be going on.  There's nothing like a happy frappy!  For less than $2, I got a delicious mocha cookie crumble frap and I think I earned every last sip of that thing!

Then we came home and lazed around the rest of the day.
I think I broke my dog--she's been doing this almost all day since we got home!
Barley and I might have been lazy, but Soth was busy staring down pink leopard mice.
Handsomest boy in the world
I'm so excited to continue trying out our new toy as we start going back to our warm weather trail walks!  


  1. So excited for your Garmin! I love all the pictures :) I would like to see ponies on our walks!

    1. I'm excited about the Garmin, too! It's so great! I'm not sure I want to see ponies on every walk, but it was definitely magical :)