Thursday, October 9, 2014

Progression vs. Perfection

What is it in us that makes us think that our goal needs to be perfection? Whether it is perfecting a new parkour skill in the gym, landing a new flip "just right", or even having that "perfect" recipe or piece of advice to share with a friend. I don't know about you but I have developed this annoying inner voice that seems to speak up as I learn new things or want to share things with friends that's always saying things like, "it's not quite ready yet" or "I should clean this up a little before I show anyone".

Is it pride? Sometimes. Insecurity? Often. Important? Not usually. So, I am here to silence that inner voice and say "who cares"?!? The reality is PROGRESSION should be our goal, NOT perfection! We should strive to always be moving forward in whatever it is we are doing or wherever we are going. One of my favorite things about Parkour is that there is always another progression, always something new to strive for...a longer precision, a higher wall, a softer landing, a smoother climb-up, a longer handstand...Whatever it is, there is always another level to progress to, a new skill to learn. Of course, you can master the basics and fundamentals but all that means is that you now have so many more progressions you can go for!

Let me take a moment to clarify that there is always another progression for YOU, where YOU are at. Perfection is about comparing ourselves to those around us and striving to be like or better than others. Progression is about starting where you are and improving from there.  And when we realize that progression is the goal (and not perfection) we can refrain from judging the imperfections in the people around us or judging ourselves based on what someone else can do and start encouraging one another where we are at and where we want to go!

In the spirit of this post I am going to add a little video of something I am working on. It's a combination of one of my favorite new vaults and a favorite tumbling combination. I was encouraged to post it earlier, at which time I promptly replied, "I definitely need to clean it up first!" And bless her heart, Elle quickly responded back, "Progression!"  I often think I need to replace my inner voice with Elle's or one of the other encouraging voices of the wonderful women I train with! Well, that little encouragement led me to put these thoughts together and share them (and the clip) with y'all!

Michelle <><

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Blue Streak Adventure

Elle here!  It's been awhile, but that doesn't mean we haven't been living adventurously.  Up here in NorCal there is this awesome place called Blue Streak, and it is a special secret little gem known by explorers and parkour practitioners.  Consider doing a backpacking hike, and spend the night under the lovely stars.  We really enjoyed sleeping next to the calm healing waters, and spending an entire weekend climbing and parkouring on the giant smooth granite boulders, exploring underwater caves, cliff jumping, swimming with minnows, and aweing at the incredible clear blue scenery.

To the left you can see blue streaks across the granite slabs.  I wished I had more experience and knowledge in Geology so that I could figure out what kind of minerals made up the blue streaks.  I have been doing some light research, trying to figure out what it is. This is a great example of how our natural environment inspires us to learn and become better than what we are. 

To get there can be quite the adventure, as it is a 2 mile hike.  Simple yeah?  Well it's totally non-intimidating until you get to the last 1/4 mile.  Reason being is that there is this cool fork in the trail.  You can go right... or left.  If you're feeling dangerous, go right.  If you're feeling like you want to live on the edge and enjoy the view, go left.  The left trail takes you right along a cliff face.  The trail is relatively steep, and really dusty, so be careful of slipping.  It actually wouldn't be bad at all if it wasn't for the dusty trail, and be sure to pack light and minimally.  Having added weight, can be burdensome, and make sure your pack is well balanced.  The trail is really narrow, so minimalist is the way to go.  

If you go right... be prepared to scoot on your butt for most of the way.  And it is dusty.  And STEEP.  Boy is it steep.  Which makes you want to curse the dust.  Imagine a dusty narrow trail/slide going pretty much straight down, but it's nice and curvy too, so you need to maintain control so as not to slide off the mountain face to your death below.   Meaning you'll actually be climbing a lot of the time, and throwing your stuff down below, as you make your way.  But because of there being a lot of dust, rather than grippy rock holds, it's more like climbing and scooting and sliding on a straight down narrow dusty trail holding on to brush.  Because many of the rocks are unstable.  So basically, if you go right, be prepared to part ways with your stuff.  You'll be tossing your pack, rolling it, and leaving it to fend for itself.  Make sure you don't have anything breakable in there.  Be prepared to adapt, because the trail becomes very ambiguous.  

This wasn't a girls jam - we went with the Free Flow Trainers for our Quarterly Trainer Pow Wow. Every quarter we get together for fun and food.  It's a jolly old time. 

The crab walk totally came in handy as we made our way down the rocks.  See my shadow taking the picture?  I was determined to make it into the photos somehow. 

 After you have reached Blue Streak, and have had a chance to wade your toes into the beautiful water, you'll desire a wet suit.  I didn't bring one, but had fun swimming and exploring the caves anyway.  The only thing is a wet suit would have made it easier for me to spend longer periods of time in the water.  Especially when you are in the caves.  In the caves, the water temperature drops even more, and once a chill reaches your bones, and you start shaking uncontrollably, you kind of wish you had a wet suit to help insulate you during your experience.  Your experience is going to be pretty amazing and intense.   It is totally magical to see these amazing natural wonders, to swim/stand underneath a waterfall, seeing streaks of sun light speckle the cave walls and clear water.  It's incredible, slightly unnerving, and you are left with a feeling of wonder, a sense of danger, and a clear sense of awareness.        

It's easy to get lost in the caves.  I wouldn't recommend going alone. Besides the cave exploring, there is rock hopping, climbing, cliff jumping, and so much exploration.  We stayed put with our camp, but if we wanted, we could have spent a lot more time, several more days even, just moving up or down stream, and seeing what else there was to see.

As far as directions and how to get there - it's about 2.5 hours from Rocklin, CA.  Make sure you get in touch with someone who has been there, otherwise it will be difficult to find.  It's not a clearly marked path or anything.  But if you do want to give it a shot at finding it on your own, your best bet is to do a google map search of: Candy Rock Quarry, Stanislaus National Forest, Murphys, CA 95247.  Candy Rock is a different swimming hole and is not to be confused with Blue Streak.  But it's in the same general area.  There is a turnout (where you park) and there is a big tunnel (fenced off) in that turn out.  Then you walk down the road until you see a tiny little trail veering off to the right.  It's the first trail that you see after that turnout, but it's easy to miss.  It's a short walk from the turnout, probably 1/4 mile.  The hike to Blue Streak is about 2 miles.  You'll be swimming in the North Fork Stanislaus River once you arrive.  Be sure to practice leave no trace - carry out ALL your garbage!  Don't litter this place - it's amazing and beautiful, let's keep it that way.  If you have been there, feel free to leave a comment, and if you have any other suggested places to check out in that area please do so!