Here at CFA our goal is to push people outside their comfort zone to pursue a great life. While there are many factors to achieving a great life we believe we can have a meaningful impact in three primart areas. Providing a supportive community of fun likeminded people, a lifelong pursuit of fitness that improves ones physical, mental, and spiritual being, and an attitude of adventure to explore this world. Today we continue our “Adventure Series” to highlight members that embody that spirit of adventure, and use the tools they hone daily in the gym to explore the beauty and tranquility of this world!
Adventure Series || Liz Ronco || Grand Teton National Park
Hello CFA community! The next chapter of the Adventures Series has arrived. Earlier this month, while visiting friends out in Jackson Hole, we took the time to hike the Grand Teton National Park. It’s a typical thing for us. The best vacation, in my mind, is a little relaxation mixed with adventure and exploration; or as CFA would say, “functional fitness”. It was only a short few days, but that is never an excuse to not push the limits of experience.
The Grand Teton Park is beautiful yet mostly forgotten national park by the average vacationer. It sits just south of the famous Yellowstone National Park and is often overlooked in favor it’s even more southerly neighbors, Zion and The Grand Canyon. But I can tell you, this 18 mile hike from Jenny Lake through the Cascade Canyon and ending at Lake Solitude, is breathtaking. Literally, there were parts I couldn’t breathe; hiking up a glacier will do that to you.
Hiking has always been an activity I’ve enjoyed. Its freedom from an ordinary routine. And there is nothing as fresh or as therapeutic as mountain air. I’ve never experienced a runner’s high, but I’ve experienced a hiker’s high and its awesomely rewarding. Hiking is also a good benchmark. I can tell when I get on the trail how good my conditioning is and CrossFit absolutely transfers in my benefit. It’s great to be 5 hours in and still have fresh legs under you. To feel the dividends of all squats and met-cons. But it’s also level sets your stability, flexibility and breathing. When your making your way up a mountain on loose or shear rock, how good is your balance? Are your hip flexors getting tight? Are you shoulder or belly breathing? It’s fun to remember how my body feels and where I can improve.
But getting back to this particular experience, we started at Jenny Lake trail head where the first part of the trail twists and turns next to the lake. Then you take a left hand turn and shoot straight up for about a mile finally landing in the Cascade Canyon where you are surrounded by enormous mountains on all sides. The next 5 miles are rather tame as the trail takes you up a slow incline towards Cascade Falls. Then the fun begins. The last 3 miles are a fairly arduous climb up to the lake. And when you finally think you are there, the last half a mile is across slushy, compact snow that ultimately lands you next to a glacial lake and a very inviting sandwich (self provided). Rest for a little bit and then head back down.
Hiking is our family thing. Its allows us to experience a place in a unique way. Its therapeutic. Its affordable (once you’re stocked with gear). And it’s challenging in a different way than everyday fitness. Maybe it isn’t for you. Maybe cycling or running or skiing is your thing. Whatever it is, use it. Use it to stay healthy. Use it to have fun. And use it to challenge yourself.
Until next time! Adventure on fellow CrossFitters.