Today, help us wel­come anoth­er great guest blog­ger from Out­door Baby Net­work, Kati Rouse.

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I am hap­pi­est when active, so after col­lege, I began train­ing for triathlons and had just dis­cov­ered climb­ing when I had to have my right shoul­der repaired (a result of over-train­ing in swim­ming!). With­in a year, the left shoul­der required surgery as well. Hav­ing always been com­pet­i­tive by nature, it was dis­ap­point­ing to have to scale train­ing way back. Ulti­mate­ly, I began to be real­ly focused on Yoga and Pilates, which helped me main­tain strength and agili­ty while healing.

I have always loved the outdoors–hiking, rock climb­ing, ski­ing, bik­ing, etc.! I ran track and cross coun­try in high school and col­lege and worked as an ath­let­ic train­er han­dling sports relat­ed injuries for local high schools in Mem­phis. It was when get­ting my CPR renew­al that I unex­pect­ed­ly met this fly fish­ing guide who was get­ting ready to go to Alas­ka for the rain­bow sea­son. A lit­tle over a year lat­er, Jamie and I got mar­ried and moved to the Lit­tle Red Riv­er in Arkansas–home of the world record brown trout, but not a great place to be an ath­let­ic train­er! Switch­ing gears some­what, I began to be an inte­gral part of Jamie Rouse Fly Fish­ing Adven­tures, includ­ing work­ing in Alas­ka with him. We enjoy the out­doors together–fly fish­ing, hik­ing, trav­el­ing, etc.

Pho­to Cour­tesy of Kati Rouse

I had been con­tent to not have a baby–thinking that my run­ning and oth­er activ­i­ties would be inter­rupt­ed. But, after 5 years, we had Allie. Wow! This is my great­est adven­ture yet! See­ing the out­doors through her eyes is like a whole new world. Trails that had become mun­dane are now some­thing new to explore. She notices the small­est thing–a leaf on a tree, a pine nee­dle, a bug–and gets so excit­ed. I may go at a slight­ly dif­fer­ent pace than before, but she con­tin­ues to remind me that in my effort to per­fect my tech­nique, I was miss­ing out on so much of the beau­ty and mys­ter­ies of nature around me.

Allie’s First Fish

We have now added Thomas, who is just about to turn 9 months! He accom­pa­nies me on a lot of runs and just had his first fly fish­ing out­ing. (It is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent with 2 in tow!)

I have just fin­ished read­ing Aron Ralston’s book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, which has encour­aged me to step it up a notch both solo and with fam­i­ly. I start­ed this effort by putting a new chain on my bike. As I was get­ting ready for a test ride, I was quick­ly remind­ed of how long it had been since I’d worn my bike shorts as the elas­tic began dis­in­te­grat­ing all over my legs! I have a ways to go, but I am cer­tain­ly going to enjoy the jour­ney with those around me!

Nicole Bein­stein Strait is the recent co-author with George Strana­han of Phlogs: jour­ney to the heart of the human predica­ment. She lives in Red­stone, CO with her hus­band and busi­ness part­ner (Strait Con­sult­ing LLC), and their two chil­dren.  She blogs for Out­doorBabyNet­work.

My hus­band just fin­ished five 14-hour days of build­ing our local ele­men­tary school’s play­ground in Car­bon­dale, Col­orado. It was a vol­un­teer effort spear­head­ed by moms and designed by chil­dren, because the school dis­trict can’t afford to pay for all the nec­es­sary labor. And yet, this is the way play­grounds should be con­struct­ed in any econ­o­my, with the time and sweat equi­ty of its recip­i­ent families.

But there’s an even bet­ter way to cre­ate a play­ground, and that’s to not build one at all, but to use nature as a jun­gle gym. Our camp­ing trip last month to Moab, Utah illus­trat­ed this point exquis­ite­ly. Right behind our spot, orange and red humps lent them­selves to all the chil­dren and young-at-hearts in the neigh­bor­hood, and to the lizards they love to chase.

 

Pho­tos cour­tesy of Nicole Bein­stein Strait

Once we set up camp, we didn’t have to go very far for enter­tain­ment; in fact the lazy grown-ups hard­ly had to leave our chairs. We watched the lit­tle girls and boys run up and down and around, inside crevices, sneak­ers grip­ping the sides of ragged rocks, imag­in­ing them­selves as trekkers dis­cov­er­ing new lands, high above the rul­ing world, look­ing below at human minia­tures, yelling and gig­gling and also whis­per­ing, hear­ing for their echoes, and singing with the wind.

Photo courtesy of Nicole Beinstein Strait

I wish play­ground com­pa­nies could devel­op play­grounds as effi­cient and per­fect as the ones the earth has already pro­vid­ed for us, but I am grate­ful any­way that schools and fam­i­lies are find­ing ways for kids to explore out­doors as edu­ca­tion bud­gets are cut deep­er than any water ero­sion ever could.

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You can read more about the efforts to pro­vide chil­dren a safe and enjoy­able place to play here. And anoth­er big thanks to our friends at Out­doorBabyNet­work. We all love the out­doors and its won­der­ful that they’re will­ing to share their blog­gers with us to pro­vide a fam­i­ly perspective.

If you’d like to share your per­spec­tive on any­thing out­door or health and fit­ness relat­ed, please email me at nina@theclymb.com