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Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
— Camaraderie, calorie burning and even creativity – the Every Trail MetroPark Challenge Series can provide it all.
“Hiking is a great way to clear your head, reset, refocus and find inspiration,” avid hiker Michelle Coleman said.
It was, in fact, while Michelle and her husband Brian were on a hike a few years ago that the concept of the challenge series came to life.
“We went hiking on Thanksgiving Day and thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great to hike every park,’ ” she said. “By the end of our three-mile hike, we had it all figured out.”
The first challenge got underway four years ago with Michelle and Brian leading the hikes. Another series was held the following year. Last year’s challenge was derailed a bit as Michelle was sidelined with a stress fracture. But she will be back on the trail for this year’s Every Trail MetroPark Challenge Series, which gets underway on Sunday at Hills & Dales.
The goal of the series is to thru-hike every trail – color and non-color coded trails, except for mountain and bridle trails – in every Five Rivers MetroPark in one season. Those who complete the challenge will receive a thru-hiker patch. An occasional time conflict is not a problem as participants who miss a group hike can complete it on their own and still earn the patch.
“Year one far exceeded anyone’s expectations in terms of participation, so we upped the ante a bit and went at a little faster pace the second year,” Coleman said. “We will do the same this year.”
From a 3.5-mile excursion through Hills & Dales on Week 1 to an 18-mile trek through Germantown in early March, the distance will increase with each hike. That hasn’t been a deterrent, as close to 20 people signed up for the challenge the first day it was posted online.
“I think people need something to look forward to in the winter,” Coleman said.
Ben Kendrick – who completed the challenge two years ago – agrees.
“It’s great motivation, getting out and hiking with a group,” he said.
The Huber Heights hiker enjoyed the camaraderie and the variety.
“I signed up so I could check out all of the MetroParks,” Kendrick said. “I frequented quite a few of them, but others were new to me.”
Kendrick’s love of hiking has grown steadily over the years and he is now a hike leader with the Dayton Hikers.
Coleman is hopeful that this series will spark that enthusiasm in other novice or experienced hikers.
“We’re very excited to be able to help keep them motivated,” she said.
For more information or to register for the hikes, visit the Dayton Hikers Meetup page at www.meetup.com/DaytonHikers/.
EVERY TRAIL METROPARK CHALLENGE SERIES
Oct. 22 2 p.m.: Hills & Dales — 3.5 miles
Nov. 5 10 a.m.: Cox Arboretum — 4 miles
Nov. 12 2 p.m.: Aullwood/Englewood South — 4.8 miles
Nov. 26 2 p.m.: Carriage Hill — 6.5 miles
Dec. 10 2 p.m.: Sugarcreek — 6.6 miles
Dec. 16 10 a.m.: Island/Deeds/RiverScape — 7 miles
Jan. 14 1 p.m.: Possum Creek — 8 miles
Jan. 21 1 p.m.: Twin Creek — 9.7 miles
Feb. 4 1 p.m.: Englewood — 10.5 miles
Feb. 11 1 p.m.: Eastwood-Huffman & back — 9+ miles
Feb. 18 10 a.m.: Taylorsville — 16 miles
March 4 10 a.m.: Germantown —18 miles
To be determined, Wesleyan and Wegerzyn
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— Hagerstown, Tokyo, Beavercreek – as long as there was an ice rink nearby, it was home sweet home for Cindi Sonntag.
“Physically, it’s helped me build muscle – core muscle and leg muscle – but it’s more than that,” Sonntag said. “When I skate, I feel joy.”
With the Olympics underway, the grace and beauty of the sport is on display almost nightly. But while Olympic gold is a rare commodity, figure skating can be enjoyed by all ages – even without the sequins and commentators.
“In Olympic years we get what we call an Olympic bounce,” said Angie Riviello, arena and aquatics manager at the Kettering Recreation Complex. “People see the incredible athletes and it’s so beautiful to watch, you just get inspired.”
That inspiration has no age limits.
“You’re never too old to start,” Riviello said. “We have a lot of adults who come out and want to take lessons so they can skate with their kids or grandkids at open skates.”
Sonntag can vouch for the fact that you’re never too old as she was in her 40s, living in Maryland, when she got started skating. Now, at 56, the mother of four, who also called Tokyo home, is skating competitively and training for the adult nationals.
GOOD FOR THE MIND
“When I started skating, I realized that I could not worry about things and skate at the same time, I had to turn off that part of my brain,” Sonntag said. “That means when I skate I have these moments when everything is right and that’s a wonderful feeling.”
And while Sonntag is in her mid-50s, she is still, often times, a youngster on the ice. Riviello regularly sees skaters well into their 70s taking lessons.
“The first thing we focus on is safety because a lot of adults are nervous that if they fall, they will break something,” Riviello said. “So, one of the first things we do is teach them how to fall and how to get back out and that helps put their mind at ease.”
Sonntag has seen skaters in their 80s lace up their skates.
“You can learn new things at any age,” she said. “And this is something I can do when I’m ‘old,’” she added with a smile.
GOOD FOR THE BODY
Beyond the mental health aspects of the sport, skating has several physical benefits.
“Skating is a great workout for the core, and it’s a great workout for legs,” Riviello said. “It’s also wonderful for improving balance and creating body awareness.”
The cardio and stamina benefits should not be overlooked and some adult skaters enjoy just tallying laps – 10 laps at the Kettering Ice Arena equal a mile. And skaters can burn 200 calories an hour on the ice.
“It really is great exercise and you can take it as far as you want to take it,” Riviello said.
From the beginner class to advanced jumps and spins, the Learn to Skate USA curriculum offers a safe and steady progression. There are also opportunities to perform with local skating groups and compete – like Sonntag.
“I’m not going to be a double jumper but that’s ok,” she said. “Getting out and moving just makes me feel better.”
TRY SKATING – LEARN MORE
Kettering Ice Arena
WHERE: 2900 Glengarry Drive, Kettering
WHAT: Youth and adult lessons, open skating, hockey
South Metro Sports
WHERE: 10561 Success Lane, Centerville
WHAT: Youth and adult lessons, open skating, hockey, South Dayton Figure Skating Club,
Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 12:00 AM
— It started with an ad for a four-week instructional league, but it didn’t take nearly that long for Jason Hillard to get hooked on curling.
“I’m a Southern Ohio boy, maybe I had seen curling in the Olympics once or twice, but I remember thinking ‘wow, this happens in Dayton,’” Hillard said. “I did not anticipate how much I would love the sport or the curling community.”
While there isn’t a medal podium at the end of the ice, there are plenty of opportunities to try your hand at the Olympic sport of curling in the Miami Valley. Curl Troy – founded in 2010, shortly after the Vancouver Olympics, by a group of friends who got hooked on the game – runs leagues as well as Learn to Curl clinics in multiple venues including the RiverScape Ice Rink in Dayton and the National Trail Parks and Recreation District Chiller in Springfield.
And while fitness is definitely part of the equation, it’s the fun factor that brings local curlers back to the ice.
Curling – which made its Olympic debut in 1924 – is a team sport, played by two teams of four players on a rectangular sheet of ice measuring 42.07 meters long and 4.28 meters wide with a target, referred to as the house, at either end.
A 44-pound granite stone is propelled down the ice and navigated into place by team members using a sweeping device, referred to as a brush or broom, to control its speed and direction.
Curling has been described as the “Roarin’ Game” with the roar coming from the sound the stone makes as it travels over the ice. According to the World Curling Federation, while its exact origins are unclear, curling is believed to be one of the world’s oldest team sports with records dating back to the 1500s.
Beyond the history, curling is a game of strategy.
“It has been referred to as ‘chess on ice,’” said Hillard, now a Curl Troy board member. “There is quite a bit of strategy involved.”
FITNESS AND FUN
While curling is played on ice, players can still work up a sweat.
“Sweeping is really where you put in the work,” Hillard said.
Curling can help improve core strength and balance as well as burn calories.
Sean Snavely, of New Carlisle, got hooked after participating in curling event in December. It’s now a family affair as he competes in a league at RiverScape with his dad and two brothers-in-law.
“It’s a great stress reliever and fun competition,” Snavely said. “And anybody can do it.”
Hillard has seen players as young as 9 and as old as 90 try their hand at curling.
“I am a competitive person, but for me, personally, it’s the social part that brings me back,” Hillard said. “I have six kids at home, so curling is my outlet.”
The camaraderie is also a highlight for Curl Troy vice president Mike Harwat.
“One of the best things about the sport are the people you meet,” Harwat said. “I have met so many cool people and hope to find ways to introduce even more people to the sport – especially kids.”
>> WINTER’S HERE! 7 cool places to go sledding in and around Dayton
Published: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 11:46 AM
— Age is just a number, and the three featured presenters at the 2018 Adventure Summit are proof.
From the youngest person to scale the Seven Summits, to the oldest person to complete a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail to a woman who decided that a 1,200-mile solo kayak trip was a priority, their stories are both inspirational and motivational.
With presentations, demonstrations and competitions, the Adventure Summit will supply information and inspiration to outdoor adventure seekers of all ages and ability levels. The biennial event – sponsored by Five Rivers MetroParks and Wright State University – is free and open to public Feb. 9-10 at the Wright State University Student Union.
It started with a walk down his elementary school hallway and led to a record-breaking adventure of a lifetime.
“I saw a mural of the Seven Summits in my school and I thought it was really cool,” Romero said. “I did my research, planned, wrote out a list and, one day when my dad picked me up from school, I told him what I wanted to do.”
The then 9-year-old wanted to reach the summits of the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents — Everest, Kilimanjaro and Denali, just to name a few. Dad — an ultra runner and adventure seeker in his own right — was onboard with the idea and soon became his young son’s climbing companion.
By the time he was 13, Romero had become the youngest person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. And, at 15 — before he even had a driver’s license – he was the youngest person to have reached all Seven Summits.
“It seemed overwhelming — I mean climbing Kilimanjaro as a 10-year-old,” Romero. “But I had such great support and everyone was so encouraging.”
The now 21-year author of “No Summit out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits” will share his experience on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m.
Research and risk assessment are among the things that Romero — now a student at Westminster College in Utah — advises other adventure seekers to prioritize.
“You definitely want to know what you’re getting yourself into,” he said. “Start small, it takes the right mindset to accomplish something like this. You will be overwhelmed — I know I was — but remind yourself that if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”
Whether it’s climbing or cycling or paddling, Romero encourages young people to find their passion.
“I tell kids to ‘find their Everest’ and know what their mountain is to climb.”
SUSAN MARIE CONRAD
The avid paddler now jokingly admits that it sounds a bit like a country music ballad but, at the time, Susan Marie Conrad was finding few reasons to smile.
“My dad had died, my cat died and a long-term relationship had just ended,” she said. “My life had spun off kilter and I was looking for a way to get it back on track.”
Conrad was also “pushing the big 50,” another reason to pursue a bucket-list type adventure. So she embarked on a 1,200-mile journey through the Inside Passage in an 18-foot sea kayak in the spring of 2010.
From Anacortes, Washington to Juneau, Alaska, Conrad ventured for 66 days – a full 56 days longer than her previous longest trip. It was a journey that was both physically and emotionally taxing.
“I did get into some pretty nasty weather – miserable gale force winds that were a bit more than I bargained for – and there were some moments I wanted to pack it in and go home,” Conrad said. “But, in the end, I was surprised by my own strength and courage.”
That wasn’t the only surprise.
“I knew it was going to be beautiful, but I truly didn’t expect the grandeur and magic that I encountered,” she said.
“And, setting out on the trip, I knew it was going to change me somehow but I had no idea how much. It’s just so profound how the trip helped me become a stronger, more courageous person and how incredible the healing power of nature is.”
The author of “Inside: One Woman’s Journey Through the Inside Passage” encourages others to find opportunities for growth. And for those you decide to take on a monumental challenge – like a 1,200-mile solo kayak trip – she has some simple advice.
“Set a date, give yourself a deadline and, every day, do something toward that goal,” she said. “And start blabbing to people about it and then there’s no turning back. That’s what I did and my pride wouldn’t let me back out.”
Conrad will be the featured presenter on Saturday, Feb. 10 at noon.
DALE “GREY BEARD” SANDERS
There were doubters, but Dale Sanders paid no attention to them.
“There were some so-called experts, people who told me, at my age that I didn’t have a chance,” Sanders said. “I proved them wrong.”
The 82-year-old – nicknamed “Grey Beard” – became the oldest person to complete a thru-hike of the entire Appalachian Trail on Oct. 26, 2017. He set out on Jan. 1 and 2,190 miles later, completed his record-breaking feat. Along the way, he logged 4,625,250 steps.
Too old? Don’t even try that excuse on Sanders.
“That’s an extremely lame excuse,” he said. “If anything, the more you do, the more good it does for the body and the better you feel.”
That’s not to say, the AT hike was a picnic. Sanders endured weight loss and dealt with health issues along the way.
“I know exactly what surprised me the most, that it was as hard as it was,” Sanders said. “But I was determined to finish.”
The longtime hiker was also pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie he encountered along the way.
“The way I was accepted by the other hikers, the way they took me in as one of their own and treated me with respect and kindness was just incredible.”
Sanders – who will talk about his adventures on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. – is not one to rest on his laurels and is already pondering ideas for his next outdoor adventure. Those who want to follow him can do so at www.greybeardadventurer.com/.
CHECK OUT THE ADVENTURE SUMMIT
What: The area’s premier outdoor adventure exposition
When: Friday, Feb. 9, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 10, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Wright State University Student Union
Events: Featured presenters, educational sessions, competitions, fitness classes, club information, used gear sale beer tasting and more
More: For a complete list of events and daily schedule, visit http://theadventuresummit.com/
Attendees have the opportunity to listen to the three featured presenters, in addition to over 40 other adventure presentations from local and regional speakers. Local presentations will be hosted throughout the Summit and cover the gamut of outdoor adventures, from hiking in Scotland to bicycling across the United States. The presentations will take place in the Wright State Student Union.
• Jordan Romero: Friday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m.
• Susan Marie Conrad: Saturday, Feb. 10, at noon
• Dale “Grey Beard” Sanders brought to you by Tomfoolery Outdoors: Feb. 10 at 5 p.m.
The public is invited to the Summit Soiree, presented by Great Lakes Brewing Co., on Friday from 6:30 to 8 p.m., when guests will be able to enjoy drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres with fellow event-goers and featured speakers. Admission is $10/person and available online.
After Romero’s presentation, attendees are welcome to enjoy beverages and appetizers at the Great Lakes Brewing Co. Party with the Pros, held at the Wandering Griffin in Beavercreek.
To stay up-to-date on event activities, speakers and exhibitors visit www.theadventuresummit.com/.
Published: Friday, November 28, 2014 @ 12:00 AM
Updated: Friday, November 28, 2014 @ 12:00 AM
Yes, it’s cold out — but you can still enjoy the outdoors.
A popular activity this season is outdoor skating. The region’s largest outdoor ice skating rink — MetroParks Ice Rink, sheltered under the pavilion at RiverScape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave. — is now open daily through Feb. 28. Admission is $5 daily, and skate rental is $2.
“With its appeal to both young and old, the experience of skating at the MetroParks Ice Rink is fast becoming a holiday tradition for Miami Valley families looking for something fun to do together,” said James Carter, RiverScape MetroPark rental concession supervisor. “With its location along the riverfront, the MetroParks Ice Rink also is a great way to experience the outdoors during cooler weather.”
But for the uninitiated, it can be intimidating. Here are some dos and don’ts to help prepare for an outdoor skating experience:
• Don’t be afraid of falling. Use what MetroParks Ice Rink skating instructor Cheri Snyder of Kettering calls “tricks” to avoid falls.
“Keep your shoulders down, your knees loose and slightly bent, and use your hands to ‘push down’ toward the ice to maintain your balance,” Snyder said. “If you feel like you’re going to fall, move your body as if you’re about to sit down. Bend your knees to stop the motion.
“I want to take the fear out of skating, because it’s a fun and easy sport and a great way to pass the time,” Snyder added. “It’s really pretty easy when you come down to it.”
• Do check out the skating lessons for adults and children held at the rink throughout the season to learn more tricks, along with other basic skills that will have participants moving comfortably on the ice. Visit metroparks.org/skating for a list of lessons and other events that will be held at the MetroParks Ice Rink.
“I’ve had some people older than me take lessons for the first time,” said Snyder, who took up skating at age 44. “I give students some advice and tricks so they can skate without getting hurt or hurting someone else. It’s great to have people in lessons and then see them out at the rink during open skate.
“Although I will help anybody I see at the rink,” she added. “Sometimes, I’ll see an adult hanging on to a kid, and it looks like the adult is going to dislocate the kid’s shoulder, so I’ll offer some advice. The adults are always happy they don’t have to hang onto their kids anymore.”
• Do dress in layers. While it may be cold out, skaters warm up quickly while on the ice. Wear a wicking layer closest to the skin and an outer weather-resistant layer. Don’t forget gloves and a hat!
• Do plan to warm up with some hot chocolate and other treats at Silver Fern Café, located next to the ice and open during the rink’s hours.
• Do put your party on ice. Private ice rink rentals are available from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday and Thursday evenings and are a great activity for families, neighborhoods, clubs and other groups. The $300 rink rental includes 50 pairs of ice skates and 50 cups of hot chocolate.
• Do save some money by getting a season pass: $75 family passes cover season-long admission and skate rentals for up to five people, and $40 individual passes cover the same costs for one person. Gift certificates also are available.
• Don’t stay home if you absolutely can’t be convinced to get on the ice. Visit the rink to watch other skaters or players during the broomball and curling leagues. Games for the Dayton Broomball Association’s co-ed recreational and competitive leagues are held at the MetroParks Ice Rink on Mondays and Wednesdays, Jan. 5-Feb. 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. Watch locals try their hands at Olympic sport curling during Curl Troy’s league games held on Tuesdays, Jan. 6-Feb. 3, from 6 to 10 p.m.