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Bad Running Habits

Did you know that there are bad running habits that can slow you down and drain energy?

Not that I am a huge runner but, I did dabble in running during my triathlon days.  Plain and simple; I did not like running, I tolerated it to accomplish my goal.

According to The BeachBody Blog, here are “5 bad running habits that are slowing you down:

  1. Poor Arm Carriage
  2. Excessive Bounce
  3. Shuffling
  4. Looking Down
  5. Hunching Forward

The Article and subsequent links


We all know that bad running habits are hard to break. When you’ve been running a certain way for a long time, it’s difficult to identify quirks. Inefficiencies become second nature.
Fortunately, the majority of runners make the same five bad running habits. Once you learn to recognize them in your own gait, you can start to eliminate them. The result: more energy, fewer injuries, greater power, increased endurance, and extra strength in every stride.
 
Bad Running Habits You Need to Break
 
1. Holding your arms wrong
Running might be a lower body exercise. But how you move your arms can have a huge impact on performance.
Case in point: If you swing your arms across your body as you run, you expend significantly more energy with each stride than someone who doesn’t.
“Over-rotation of the trunk is a common cause, and is often the result of weaknesses elsewhere in the body,” says Steve Gonser, a physical therapist and founder of RunSmart Online. “Runners should look to address muscle imbalances through the spine and hips.”
To determine whether you have weak hips, take the single leg squat test, suggest Australian researchers in a study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.
From a standing position, lift your right foot off the ground behind you. Then lower your body as far as you can toward the floor on your left leg (keep your back flat and chest up). Repeat on your right foot. Ideally, the knee and ankle on each leg will remain aligned.
If either knee rolls inward, you’re likely lacking strength and stability in your hips.
Here are five exercises to strengthen your hips.
And five more exercises every runner must do.
 
2. Bouncing too much 
There will always be some upward movement as you push off with each stride. And some runners may naturally demonstrate more bounce than others. But the goal is to travel the maximum distance horizontally, not vertically, says Gonser.
If you’re a “bouncer”—another of those common running habits—you’re likely wasting a considerable amount of energy that could otherwise be directed toward sustaining or increasing speed and endurance.
“In such instances, I either cue a runner to ‘quiet’ their feet (i.e., land more softly with each step), or simply increasing their step rate, assuming velocity is kept constant,” explains Chris Johnson, a Seattle-based physical therapist and running coach.
To increase your stride rate, count your normal steps for one minute, and then multiply that number times 1.1, adding 10 percent.
 
3.  Shuffling instead of running
Instead of bouncing with each step, some runners gravitate toward the other end of the spectrum, barely picking their feet up off the ground. It’s one of those running habits it’s easy to fall into.
“The main issue here is that such runners don’t transition away from their slower running gait once they start to run faster,” explains Gonser.
If you’re a “shuffler,” consciously fire each knee forward and pull it up as you run.
“Try to envision your leg taking the shape of the number ‘4’ with each stride,” suggests Gonser. “The figure four posture that is adopted by driving the knee and lifting the heel will feel awkward at first, but the more you do it, the less you’ll have to think about doing it.”
 

4. Looking at the ground
Since the rest of the body follows the head, it’s important to maintain a forward gaze, rather than a downward one.
“A runner looking down typically biases the entire spine into flexion, resulting in a closed airway and chest wall,” says Gonser. “A neutral head that looks forward can help you maintain proper alignment, which is not only important for breathing, but also for proper muscle function throughout the gait cycle.”
Running with your head tilted down or back (indeed, anywhere but neutral) can also increase your perceived effort. It can make every run feel harder than it actually is, according to a recent study in the International Journal of Exercise Science.
Bottom line: Focus on the horizon instead of your feet. Once you get in the habit of keeping your head up, other aspects of your posture will fall into place—especially if you also eliminate the next mistake.
 
5. Maintaining poor posture
One of the worst running habits is all too easy to fall into—if your posture isn’t dialed in, you can spring energy leaks anywhere (or everywhere) along your kinetic chain, which is all of the interconnected bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons that allow you to run.
“When it comes to recreational distance running, proper posture ultimately comes down to a [stable trunk], a steady head carriage, and short ground contact times, while synchronizing opposing arms and legs movements without over-striking and over-striding,” says Johnson.
That might sound complicated. But it really comes down to following the advice in the previous tips. And adding a slight forward lean to your gait.
Not only can that lean enhance your posture and boost running efficiency, it can reduce the load on your knee joints, reducing your risk of injury, according to a report in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy.
“Avoid an over-exaggerated lean where you end up jutting your chin out and hunching forward,” says Gonser, adding that you should never round your back. “Hinging forward at your hips will protect your spine and place your glutes in a better position to fire—a great thing for runners.”
All this sound familiar? Chances are you’ve got a few bad running habits. Now you’ve got the Intel you need to break them.

www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog


 

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Watching Fish to Treat Hyper Active Children & Alzheimer’s Patients?

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania report that quietly watching fish swimming in an aquarium eases stress, and may offer a means of treating high blood pressure.

Researchers say that the fish are the key . People who watch fish tanks with bubbles, pebbles and plants – but no fish – don’t benefit nearly as much.

“There is a sharp difference,” says ecologist Alan Beck, director of the university’s Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society. “Blood pressure drops with fishless fish tanks, but it doesn’t drop as much and it creeps back up faster. With fish in the tanks, you truly get relaxation.”

I found this on www.abouthomes.com

Do you have a stressful life, high blood pressure, insomnia? Keeping an aquarium may be good therapy for you. Studies going back as far as the late 80’s have shown that gazing at aquarium fish reduces stress and subsequently lowers blood pressure.

Multitude of Benefits-Seniors who were provided with an aquarium filled with fish had significant blood pressure reduction. Watching fish has been shown to calm children who suffer from hyperactivity disorder. Dental patients who were subjected to hypnosis vs. an aquarium experienced the same or greater benefit from the aquarium. Other studies have shown that dental patients required less pain medication after having watched fish in the office. It’s little wonder that physician offices, dental clinics, and even waiting rooms for counselors have traditionally kept an aquarium in the waiting room.

Aquarium Effect on Alzheimer’s-Studies have shown that seniors who have Alzheimer’s experience a variety of health benefits from watching an aquarium. Alzheimer patients ate more, and required fewer supplements after an aquarium was placed in the dining room. They also exhibited less physically aggressive behaviors.

 

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Striving for Self-Improvement

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

I like to start off my week with a quote and a motivational “to do list”. When I start with mindful preparation, it guides me through a fulfilling, productive week. My goal is to perform acts of kindness and to partake in motivational, self-improvement exercises.

You Cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is delicate

I recently caught a cold which was more inconvenient than anything. Being sick made me realize how a simple illness can slow me down and derail my success on many levels. I hate it when I get sick. I feel like I am wasting precious time trying to recover. Yes, my body needs the rest to overcome the disgusting bug in my body, but I am a doer and feel totally worthless when I cannot accomplish something.

About the same time that I was sick, one of my grandsons came down with a virus that was pretty scary. He ran a fever, broke out in a rash when the fever spiked and complained of his legs hurting. The pain in his legs worsened and he stopped walking, for 4-full days. On the 5th day, I told his mom and dad that they must be freaking out inside. The doctors were telling them to let it run its course. After 5-days of not walking, I realized again, how delicate life is. One day, this 3 1/2-year-old is walking, running, and doing normal things that a young child does, and was unable to them the next day. The virus did run its course and he finally started walking little by little on the 5th day.

After reading that story, I encourage you to go back to the kindness quote at the top of the page and look for opportunities to be kind to your family, friends, and total strangers.

Self Improvement Exercise

This weeks exercise was to create a list of things that motivate me. Once I come up with that list, I practice putting it into action. I take one item and implement it into every day for that week. Once I make that push to implement I start to see my accomplishments build up right in front of me.

The 1st week of January, I sat down and developed my list of goals and dreams for 2019. After I accomplished that, I wrote down a list of things that would have to happen to turn each goal into a reality. At week 19, I revisited that list to see how much I have accomplished. I am pleased to say that 29% of those goals have become a reality as a result, and I have many things in play to see more of those goals through. One of my biggest, career goals, will come to fruition by September! I have completed the steps to acquire 62% of that goal. Because I am taking this mindful approach, all of the goals I set for 2019 will become reality.

The “to-do” lists weekly help me revisit the long term goals, and push me towards completing the short term goals that are in play to accomplish them. If I wander away from this daily project and take my eyes off my long term goals, the progress slows down as a result. It has been at least a month since I last visited my goals and weekly self-improvement exercise. As I reviewed completions, it motivated me to pick up where I left off.

Make your 2019, goals and dreams list today

Don’t wait for the new year to arrive before you make a commitment to work towards your goals and dreams. Get a journal out, ask yourself what do I want to accomplish before the end of the year, and write it down. The next step is to pick one of those goals and write an action plan on steps that need to happen to make that goal a reality. I recommend working through each goal the same way.

There are many online tools to help you develop a goal system. I prefer good, old fashioned, books and notebooks. I get my daily kindness quotes from “everyday kindness-365 ways to a peaceful life”. It was a gift that brings me joy daily.

Learn how to stop and smell the roses. Don’t get me wrong, I sink into dark moods as a result of life sometimes. But, I have learned to Take time for myself. Self-healing comes in many different forms. Find yours and implement it. If something doesn’t work, find another, healthy avenue.

Want help on Self Improvement Exercise ideas? Click here to read an article on 12 self-awareness exercises. Leave comments and share your self-healing and motivational ideas.

Catherine Bares

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Ditch the bra!

I bought 2 cami’s my 1st order. Absolutely love the hug, lift and smoothness. During wash day I wore a regular bra and decided real quick to order 2 more cami’s so I didn’t have to wear that push up contraption again. I love, love, love my cami’s. Rule of thumb for Ruby Ribbon is wear1, wash 1, rest 1.

https://www.rubyribbon.com/Pws/KristinThomas/eventstore136273/AM/default.aspx?eid=64302792701382523334727108935 https://www.rubyribbon.com/Pws/KristinThomas/eventstore136273/AM/default.aspx?eid=64302792701382523334727108935

We have a couple more days until we close the show. I cannot say enough about this product. Its awesome!

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There is Something Special about Spring

Photo by Banter Snaps on Unsplash

Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.

Jessica Harrelson

I have spent some time enjoying the look, the sounds, and the smells of spring this past week. There are so many beautiful things about spring it is almost impossible to capture it all.

Nature Meditating

I don’t go into a full meditation mode, but more of an observational meditation. I start by the smells in the air and try to recognize where they are coming from. Right now, the Jasmine vines are in full bloom with the wind carrying an elegant fragrance that stops me in my tracks. You may not see the vines but you know they are around with the wind delivering the invitation to seek them out.

I then move onto sight, what am I seeing? Spring grass that is at its greenest; what a beautiful sight. Colorful flowers sprouting up everywhere creating a painting by nature. Water spouts in the ponds casting rainbows in the wind. Baby ducks swimming close together in tow of their mother. Birds flying, butterflies fluttering around, dragonflies zipping by, the list goes on.

When I move on to observing the sounds that go along with smells and sight, it pulls everything together. Sometimes I close my eyes to assure that I don’t miss sounds by focusing too much on sight. Birds chirping and singing is a sure sign that spring has arrived. How many different bird chirps am I hearing? The air is crowded with birds.


What does nature teach us during spring?

Spring is a time of new beginnings. No matter how bad the year before was, spring is always a new beginning. Although nature suffers great tragedy as well as humans in their wakes, forest fires can give way to new growth. Nature teaches us that even after a devastating loss, we can push through and be stronger than ever.

Spring teaches us that no matter what happens, we have the right to be happy. It shows us persistence and perseverance. It reminds us that life is delicate but we can start anew.

What is your favorite thing about spring? Take a moment, go outside, look, listen, and smell the spring in the air. In that moment of observation, get connected with your positivity. Visualize your future and think about the 1st step you must take to start down that path.

Catherine Bares

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Reduce Pressure on Knees

Photo by Marlon Lara on Unsplash

Did you know that losing weight reduces knee joint pressure?

According to a study conducted by Dr. Stephen Messier, 1-lb. of weight loss equals 4-lb. reduction in the knee joint load. Also suggested, individuals that lose 10-lbs would reduce up to 48,000 pounds of pressure for every mile walked. The results are a compelling case for weight loss associated with improving knee pain. Consider the workload over time, it can result in making a significant difference in knee joint damage, reducing overall pain throughout your life in the future.

Knee pain is a frequent issue that continues as people age. One factor that compounds this issue is weight.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/403363-one-pound-weight-loss-equals-reduced-pressure-on-knees/

Are you training with weighted vests?

After reading the facts about pressure on the knee joints, it makes me question the safety of wearing extra weight on stair climbers or while running. Over the years I have seen many types of training that I, myself, would not be comfortable with. Performing cardio with weights (hand weights, weighted vests, etc.) is one of them. The added weight will most certainly add to joint pressure. If it affects the knee joints, what about the hip joints?

As we age, those joints age right along with us. Will this strategy help everyone; probably not, especially if there are other factors weighing in:

  • arthritis
  • disrupted cartilage in the knee joint
  • cartilaginous breakdown
  • torn meniscus
  • etc.

Each case is different and everyone should consult with physicians before starting any diet and exercise program. If you have any of the mentioned concerns above, your medical professional can give you advice on which type of workout is best for your body type. I, personally, love to swim when I have joint pain. (click here to see reasons why swimming is a smart choice) It helps relieve the pressure rather than add to the pressure. There are many facilities now offering water aerobics for clients that suffer from arthritis and other joint related illnesses, especially hospital-based facilities.

What about foot pain?

I have a client and friend who has been on a weight loss journey for a year now and has had great success as a result of lifestyle changes. Her goal was to lose 40-lbs and she is currently 1-lb away from hitting her goal. We had a discussion about reducing knee pressure which struck a chord with her regarding her journey. She mentioned that she recently wore a pair of wedge heels that would normally cause the ball of her feet to hurt by the end of the day. After losing 39lbs, her feet did not hurt as she had come to expect it to when wearing those shoes. That’s a win in my book!

Do you have any pain reduction stories related to weight loss? If you do have any stories, please share them with us by leaving comments. They can be success stories or no results, don’t feel constricted on the topic.

Catherine Bares

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Ruby Ribbon-Ditch the bra

Ready to ditch the bra. Supports large, medium and small cup sizes. Comfortable, pretty, shaped and smooths.

The show will be open for 10 days

Shop my party by clicking here. I love the cami and the active wear. Great supportive leggings too.

Let me know if you have questions.

Catherine Bares

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Rough Day

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Ever have a rough day that got the better of you?

Typically, I am a positive, upbeat, happy person. Even on my bad days, I look at the positive side of everything. I try to recognize the position of others and why they behave the way they do. I find it helps me get a better understanding of that person, which drives better decisions on my part, rather than negative, reactive, emotional decisions. When my emotions get the better of me, I end up regretting things said or done at that moment. I would rather walk away, satisfied, knowing that my emotions didn’t control my decisions and/or my reactions. When I act on emotions, I tend to get angry, which drains my energy. Energy is precious to me and when I let negativity inside, my energy is zapped and I go down a rabbit hole of desperate thoughts and I follow up with a dose of emotional eating.

Interesting concept

I once heard a speaker that said something which made sense and stuck with me for years.

your thoughts trigger your emotions

when your emotions are triggered, they trigger your actions

and your actions trigger the results.

Unknown

That bad day

Recently, I had a bad day from start to finish. I did a great job of controlling the urge to get angry. It started will little things like having butterfingers, dropping things at every turn. (This happened to be a Monday: no prejudice on Monday’s, just saying. :>)) I had a full day of conference calls scheduled and was starting my day off frustrated. I shook it off and drove to my office. On my way to the office, I encountered 2 drivers that were doing their best to continue to challenge me. It resulted in me shaking my head and praying a Hail Mary. Once I arrived at my office, I set up my computer and got myself ready for the 1st call. As a result of my efforts, I felt accomplished that I didn’t lose my cool.

Then, my 1st call canceled. Okay, no worries. I will get ready for the next call. During preparations for the 2nd call, I receive an email from the client with a request to reschedule. Okay, no worries, I will get ready for the next call. It turns out that the next 2 client calls rescheduled as well. Out of 5 scheduled calls I end up doing 1 call at the end of the day. I was starting to feel like the cosmic energy was working overtime and throwing things at me around every corner. It’s amazing how your mind starts playing tricks on you and makes you feel like I did something wrong.

End of the day

As a result of a rough day, I was looking forward to going home and relaxing. Then, I encountered an angry person. At this point, my will power to keep fighting the desire to explode and scream at someone is getting weaker. I keep telling myself, it’s okay, I am in a bad head space right now, it’s not as bad as it seems. I get through my evening and go to bed.

Success!

I ended that day feeling like I did a good job of not losing it. I also felt like I wasn’t able to get much accomplished since most of my work was rescheduled. But, in the end, I felt successful.

Along comes Anger

I get through the rest of the week without many challenges. Unfortunately, my great weekend went bad fast and I ended up letting my emotions get the better of me. I started this blog last week and decided to finish it up today to close the cosmic energy that is working against me. Keep in mind, I am not superstitious or truly believe that cosmic energy forces are working against me here, but I decided not to leave anything to chance and get this thing closed out. I let anger in yesterday and I realized that I haven’t let it out yet. I am letting anger take up shop in my soul and I don’t like it. So, I am here telling this anger to get out. I don’t have room in my soul for anger. I am sweeping anger out of the door to my soul.

How do you sweep away anger? Do you recommend any mindful tricks to help us keep our emotions in check?

Catherine Bares

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Reduce Germ Spreading Habits in your Home

Germiest spots in your bathroom

  1. Floors: your bathroom floors could be harboring more germs than any other area in the bathroom, says Gina Sloan, Ph.D., director of innovations with Microban. Why? Well, it seems that whatever is close to the toilet is going to get covered in those germy microbes every time we flush the toilet. Do you ever feel a little spritz hitting your bottom or your legs when you flush?


Okay, now I am totally grossed out. I don’t clean my bathroom floors nearly as much as I clean my toilet. That is going to change rather quickly. To reduce the amount of airborne germs when flushing, close the lid before flushing.

Toothbrush

Your toothbrush is the second biggest concern for germs in your bathroom, says Sloan.

Your toothbrush takes in bacteria not only from your mouth but wherever you lay it down on.

Gina Sloan, PhD, director of innovations with Microban

Your counter-top could be transferring germs but think about where the germs are coming from. Is your toilet close to your sink? Yukola!!

Toothbrush Holder

A study from the public health organization NSF International found 64% of toothbrush holders contained mold and yeast, compared to 27% of toilet seats. According to the study they are likely to contain staph as well.

You put in your brush, which is damp or wet, and that residual water drips down and collects in the bottom of the cup. Germs tend to like warm and moist environments. Most holders can go in the dishwasher, which will get rid of any icky residue and germs feeding on it, so toss yours in weekly or monthly.

Lisa Yakas, microbiologists

Sink Handles

According to the study, sink handles contain more than 600 times more microorganisms per square inch than your toilet handles. Wipe them down with disinfecting wipes or use a bleach solution.

Doorknobs

According to the same study, doorknobs contain more microorganisms per square inch than a toilet seat. 1st line of defense is washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Always wipe those doorknobs during your regular cleaning routine.

Towels

Towels have been found to contain bacteria and even harbor E. coli. The germs stick to and hide in the fibers. Change the towels out regularly and wash in a hot cycle; cold water does not wash out the germs.

Loofah

Knowing everything else I have learned doing the research for this blog, I didn’t have to read the reasons why Loofahs are germ harboring items. Sloan recommends ditching the Loofahs entirely or buy new loofahs regularly.

Razor

Sloan recommends air drying your blades or keeping them in oil to resist germ growth. Don’t lay flat in a dish of water; this causes rusting and will enhance even more germ growth. Always stick to using your own razors rather than sharing razors.

Cutting Boards

University of Arizona researchers found that the average cutting board has 200 times more fecal bacteria than a toilet seat. What??? Now that is one I didn’t expect. Raw meat turns out to be the reason since fecal bacterial originate in the animals’ internal organs. When cutting raw meat on a surface, the knife leaves grooves and sets the stage for germs to sink in and make themselves at home. Washing cutting boards with hot soapy water will help reduce germs growing. If plastic, you can soak in a solution of 2 teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water. Do not soak overnight.

All Kitchens have germs

Did you know that 21% of food-borne illness cases are due to food consumed in private homes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kitchens are found to breed germs such as E. coli, salmonella, Listeria, mold and yeast.

Common Kitchen items carrying germs

  • Knife Blocks: have you ever cleaned yours?
  • Refrigerator vegetable drawers: Salmonella, Listeria, yeast, and mold are partying it up and contaminates fresh vegetables.
  • Refrigerator meat drawer: Salmonella, E. coli, yeast, and mold.
  • Blender gasket: follow manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to avoid bacteria in your food and smoothies.
  • Can openers: bacteria, yeast, and mold. Clean regularly.
  • Rubber mixing spatula: remove the rubber tip and clean the inside of it along with the handle that sits in the tip.
  • Food storage containers with rubber seals: be sure to wash those rubber seals in hot soapy water; don’t just rinse and dry.
  • Sponges: put a wet sponge in the microwave for 1 minute to help reduce germs. Wring out all water after use and place it in a drip dry container or rack.

Other household germy spots

  • Washing machines: Run washer empty with a cup of bleach once a week to kill germs
  • Mattresses: Wash mattress cover using hot water once a month.
  • Trash cans: scrub all trash cans in the house regularly, especially those in the bathroom and kitchen
  • Mop heads: rinse with water until water runs clear. Soak mop head in a bucket of 2 gallons of hot water and a cup of bleach for 10 minutes, then rinse again.

Having an air purifier added to your air conditioning and heating systems help to sanitize the air you breathe. I, myself, use one, and it has significantly helped my family from passing illnesses back and forth to each other. If you need a recommendation for an Air Conditioning and Heating company in the United States and Canada, leave a comment and I can see if we have any clients in your area that can help reduce your indoor air pollution.

As always, do the research on the things you have concerns about. I am not an expert, I share information that I come across in hopes that I will inspire healthier, happier lives.

Catherine Bares

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Smoky Mountains

I recently had the opportunity to take a trip so, we packed up and headed to the Smoky Mountains. Here are some of the things we ended up doing on this trip.

Cades Cove Driving Loop

Near the Smoky Mountain, National Park Campground, you will find an amazing wildlife viewing area that we love to pass through – Cades Cove Driving Loop. It’s an 11-mile, driving path that loops around the cove and offers many spectacular views.

Valley of Rich History

The Cherokee Indians hunted Cades Cove for hundreds of years but no evidence was found of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. Cades Cove offers a wide variety of historic buildings and historic information about the people that lived there.

  • 3-Churches
  • A working grist mill
  • Barns
  • Log houses
  • other restored nineteenth century structures

Wildlife Viewing

Over the years, we have been blessed with many wild life sightings while driving through Cades Cove:

  • White-tailed deer (Huge bucks, fawns, does, button bucks)
  • Black bears (Grown adults, cubs of many sizes)
  • Turkey
  • Coyotes
  • Hawks
  • Red Wolves-Which are not in the park anymore.

Many years ago the park released Red wolves into Cades Cove in efforts to restore wild wolf populations in suitable areas. Unfortunately, their efforts failed and the remaining wolves were captured and moved. Many were recaptured after straying from the park onto private land, 6 were killed – either hit by cars or killed by humans. Out of 33 pups born in the wild, only 4 survived. The wolves couldn’t find enough food to eat in this mountainous area. Many wolves left, presumably in search of prey, and some of those that remained succumbed to disease, parasites, and starvation. During one of our early trips to the park, we were blessed with a sighting of a Red Wolf and came across him later carrying a turkey in his mouth. I treasure that memory.

Wildlife viewing tips

Biking

Experience the cove on a bike. The loop road is closed to motor vehicle traffic until 10:00 am every Saturday and Wednesday morning from early May until late September to allow cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove. You can rent a bike at the campground store. It is strongly recommended to wear helmets and required of any children 16 and under. Visit the Campground Store Website.

Hiking

Hiking was high on my priority list. Since we visit Cades Cove several times during these visits, we chose to hike a trail in the Cades Cove loop – Abrams Falls, which offers up a scenic hike and a beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail.

  • 5.2 miles round trip
  • moderate difficulty rating
  • parking lot

Hiking is one of my favorite, fitness activities. I find that the Smoky Mountains features cooler weather which means I don’t have to fight off mosquitoes, and the view is breathtaking. I find it risky with large drop-offs and slippery paths so, be sure to take precautions. You don’t want to end up in the E.R. as a result. Cold and rain can come up quickly, so do the research; what is the weather going to be like, what clothes to wear, what shoes to wear, what should you bring, etc.? Once, during my hike, a storm rolled in, causing the temperature to drop and I found the path extremely slick. I didn’t want to fall as a result, so I slowed my pace and kept a close eye on the path.

Pigeon Forge Titanic Attraction

There is something about the Titanic story that has always captured my attention so, we stopped in to see the museum and was quite pleased with it. The owner of the museum is none other than John Joslyn, who led a dive expedition to the Titanic site 2 years after it was discovered. As a result of his dives, 2 museums have opened up in Branson and Pigeon Forge, which exhibits some of the largest, permanent collections of the Titanic artifacts, and memorabilia. Guests enter a unique world that showcases exact replicas of the beautiful, handcrafted Grand Staircase.

Passenger Story

Each guest receives a card with a story of a passenger that was aboard the Titanic. At the end of the tour, their fate is revealed. My passenger survived the accident and her story turned out to be surprisingly interesting.

One tip I would like to offer: At the end of the tour, we had the opportunity to take a picture. The Grand Staircase was superimposed in the background and the picture is beautiful and professional looking. I wish I knew how well that photo would have come out, s0 I would have dressed nicer. As a result, I was unhappy with my picture, but that was my own fault. Other than that, this attraction deserves 5 stars!

There are so many things to do in the Smoky Mountain region. If ever traveling that way, make sure you visit websites and do some research. There are many places you can stay. Cades Cove is a major attraction for my family. So, when we visit the Smoky Mountains, we like to stay in Townsend. It’s the easiest access to Cades Cove and take Wears Valley Road when we venture into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Catherine Bares

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Hiking Boots Blow Out

New Boots
#Columbia

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains

Recently, my husband and I took a trip to one of my favorite spots, The Smoky Mountains. Hiking is one of my favorite activities to do while visiting this region. We picked a trail within the Cades Cove Loop; Abrams Falls. It’s a moderate level hike that is 2.5 miles in and 5 miles round trip. It leads us to a beautiful water fall and is well worth the hike.

During the hike in, I started to notice a drag in my walk; I thought I picked up a vine or a stick on the trail. It turns out that the soul of my boot was peeling off from the front of the shoe. Every time I took a step the soul would be pulled under and it was causing me to trip. Luckily my camera backpack had some bungee cords attached to it. So, my husband jumped into action and made a temporary repair so I could make it to our destination.

During the hike out of the trail, my other boot started to lose the soul from the back of the shoe. Total blow out on both boots. I ended up having to pull that soul completely off. It was our first hike on this trip and we planned to make at least 2 hikes. What should I do? Well, in Pigeon Forge, there is a huge Outlet mall so, we went shopping. There was a Columbia Outlet Store that had my size and was priced right.

New Boot Risks

Now, experience tells me not to go hiking in a brand new pair of boots before breaking them in, but determination took over. The next morning I bandaged up all the blister prone areas and pulled my new boots on. Although I liked the fit better than my old pair, and they were more comfortable, the risk of blisters was ever present in my mind. We decided to hike the same trail since it was fairly short, and we knew the terrain.

It is a pleasure to announce that my proactive efforts paid off-No blisters! The Columbia boots were comfortable and supportive. I give them a 5 star rating.

Stay tuned for more posts about this trip with pictures.

Catherine Bares

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My Cajun Roots run Deep

My Cajun background

I travel quite a bit and it’s inevitable that someone will ask me where I am from. When I say “Louisiana”, it never fails, people always say “but you don’t have an accent”. While it is true that certain areas of Louisiana come with a heavy Cajun accent, the last 2 generations of my immediate family have lived in the Metro New Orleans area, which softened the accent.

However, our family Cajun Roots run deep. My great grandparents (and yes, I do remember them) did not speak English. My Grandparents learned English, but continued speaking the Cajun language with their parents and their children (my generation’s parents). My dad spoke both Cajun and English, but the buck stopped there. After my Grandparents passed on, the language died off in our family. We do have family that still live in the Bayou areas. Cajun is still their primary language but, we, the city family rarely see them. Over the years the language died off and the accent softened up a lot.

Growing up Cajun

I like to think I had the best of both worlds; country girl and city girl. My grandparents had a farm when I was a child, which resulted in spending many weekends and summers on the farm. My father loved the water and always owned a boat. We spent a great deal of time in the water as well:

  • trawling for shrimp
  • fishing for salt water fish (our favorites were Red fish and Trout)

Trawling Trips

Trawling was hard work but I enjoyed everything about it. The first drag was the boring part. Trawling in a small vessel goes at a slow pace and not much to do but anticipate what we were going to yield from the 1st drag; it always set the pace for the rest of the day. If our 1st drag came up with a full net, the excitement would build as we jumped into action. After we pulled the net up we emptied it into the pick box, prepped the net and drag boards and dropped it back into the water. After the 1st catch came in, it created timely work picking the shrimp out, tossing them into the ice chests. Sometimes we would get lucky and catch some soft shelled crabs in the net, which always contributed to the celebration. That meant we would have fried, soft shelled crabs as a result.

When we pulled the boat out of the water, we were calling home from a payphone at the dock, so my mom would know what to expect. If we were coming home with ice chests full of shrimp, she would make some phone calls to everyone on standby to come help us pop heads and package the shrimp for the freezer. It became a big party. There would be music playing, and an outdoor burner and pot to boil some of the catch from the day. We would sit there for hours popping heads, eating and talking about our tales from our day on the water. Time well spent as a family.

Fishing Trips

My favorite activity on the water was the fishing trips. There is something so exciting about seeing that cork go under the water line, pulling that pole up and setting the hook. When you set that hook on a good catch you can feel it. The Adrenalin starts pumping and the fight to real it in ensues. I can recall the excitement and the team work that would happen. My dad was a great coach.

Get the net! Oh, it’s a big one! Coming along the side to keep from losing him. He is running!

Me

Let some drag out so he doesn’t pop the line. Don’t let him get around the back of the boat and wrap the line around the motor. You will lose him. Keep the line tight. Get him closer so I can get the net under him.

My Dad

Growing up Cajun was fun, energetic and a great deal of hard work. Not to mention the sunburns we would suffer with after being on a boat all day. Back in those days you needed a prescription to purchase sunscreen. Things have changed a great deal since I was a child. Some for the good.

There are many charter boat fishing captains in our area if you ever want to experience the excitement of catching a big Red fish or Trout. I have included a personal friend’s link, Fry’n Pan Fishing, for your convenience but you can also search google in the specific areas you want to try.

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