The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

South Loughton Valley Park

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013 in Buckinghamshire
South Loughton Valley Park

Things are calmer than they were last week but I’m still trying to identify ways to better control my daily routine and, in doing so, to protect the quality of my free time. I walk regularly each day in order to divvy my working hours into manageable chunks. I find these short excursions to be very beneficial. But the walks, by themselves, are not enough. I need an entire armada of stress-busting tactics to ensure I never again experience another anxiety-riddled year like 2012, or 2011, or—well you get the picture. I intend to live in a more relaxed manner, to the best of my ability, from now on.

An old brick bridge that crosses over a small creek in South Loughton Valley Park.

I install OmniFocus on every computer and mobile device I own. This little app enables me to project-manage the living-shit out of the gargantuan list of things I have to do. It appeals to those segments of my psyche that might be construed by some as ever-so-slightly obsessive-compulsive.

Another view of the large reservoir in South Loughton Valley Park.

To combat the muscular tension that so often grips me, I open an account with the YogaGlo website. This website lets me stream yoga classes any time of the day or night. It’s really quite wonderful—I can select a class that fits into the time I have available—10 minutes or 30 minutes or 90 minutes, for instance. I can pick whatever style of class I feel I’m in the mood for—Ashtanga, Hatha, Kundalini, Yin, and so forth. I discover that the Yin style classes are particularly helpful in dislodging my clavicles from my ear canals. And my efforts to de-stress don’t stop with yoga. I try all sorts of things to reduce tension—Vipassana meditation, Chi Kung, acupuncture, Tai Chi. Whatever works.

View across another bridge in South Loughton Valley Park.
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White Ranch Park
White Ranch Park
I arrive at the Rawhide Loop Trailhead shortly before sunrise. I’m an hour early for my first hike with the Colorado Mountain Club but I’m pleased for the extra time. There are two other cars parked in the lot but they are empty.
Gurnard’s Head
Gurnard's Head
I don’t normally get all weak at the knees when hiking along the edge of a steep drop-off. But pretty much all the high-wire hiking I’ve done in the past was relegated to the mountains, where steep slopes offer downcast views of distant rock and miniature trees. Here, the cliff bottoms out in a chaos of churning seas.
Rough Seas
Rough Seas