THE ROOT ISSUE
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IN HONOR OF YELLOWSTONE’S
147TH ANNIVERSARY A Story About the Importance of Being Prepared and What Happens When You’re Not!
On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park opened its gates for the first time, protecting the home of over 67 species of mammals and over 1,000 species of trees and plants. In honor of this park’s 147th anniversary, I want to highlight a particularly memorable trip into the great outdoors, one that taught me the importance of being prepared and what can happen when you’re not. My son, Nathan, had spent a month or so preparing for a hike up Longs Peak Mountain with his Boy Scout troop. He was 17, so he didn’t need massive amounts of endurance training. But still, hiking a route that traverses over 15 miles of difficult terrain up a 14,000-foot behemoth of a mountain requires some preparation. The night before the adventure, one of his troop leaders bailed, which meant that the hike was cancelled unless one lucky father volunteered. That’s where my story starts. Nathan and I rushed to the store to buy all the gear I would need for the eight-hour excursion and grabbed what small amount of sleep we could before meeting the other hikers at 2:15 the following morning. When we arrived to the base of Longs Peak, it was still dark out, so we put on our trusty headlamps, packed our gear, and set off. Although I hadn’t adequately trained for the hike, my body responded to it well during the first several miles. Getting to watch the breathtaking view of the sunrise as it
cascaded over the side of the mountain definitely helped too.
Several hours later, we reached a point in the trail known as the boulder field. As you can infer from its name, this was the rockiest part of the hike — pun definitely intended! At this point, we started having some issues with the boys. Blistered heels and twisted ankles threatened to slow us all down, but we all made it over the rocks to the base of the infamous keyhole. The keyhole is a weakness in the ridge between Longs Peak and Storm Peak, providing the only nontechnical passage to the west side of the mountain. We scrambled across large granite boulders, where the last 100 yards became increasingly steep. Stepping through the keyhole was one of the major highlights of the entire trip, but once we got to the end of that section, we had reached the most terrifying part of the hike. The keyhole is situated above the timberline, and to reach the summit, you have to traverse a granite cliff face on a narrow 3-foot ledge. Regarding this section, hiking enthusiasts claim, “Knowing when to stop is honored wisdom,” and while I didn’t feel particularly wise stopping before I reached the summit, as I stared at the trail before me, I knew I simply couldn’t go any further. My legs were exhausted, my footing was unsteady, and my level of fear had reached its peak.
Nathan and several others continued to the summit, and the whole group descended Longs Peak together once they returned. On the way down, everyone was hurting, but we eventually made it back to the car around 5 p.m. When I got home, I immediately noticed how great it felt to sit down. Sure enough, I had to have Liz and Nathan help me back up again! I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up for being unable to overcome my fears at the top of Longs Peak, but what I’ve come to realize is that this trip taught me a lot about physical preparation, and even mental toughness. While I hadn’t physically trained for the trip, my mindset helped me make it to the keyhole. I danced with my own fear, pushed myself as far as I could, and gained a whole new perspective.
If given the opportunity, would I do the hike again? Maybe, but maybe not.
– Dr. Scott Lowry
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GO NATURAL WITH YOUR ANTIBIOTICS
Our world is becoming increasingly antibacterial with practically every office, medical facility, and school being equipped with dozens of containers of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. While these products claim to be 99.9 percent effective at killing bacteria, the harsh chemicals dry out our skin, and over time, bacteria become more and more resistant to these agents. Doctors, too, are blamed for overprescribing antibiotics. As a result, we’re hearing more and more about “superbugs” — strains of harmful bacteria that cause severe illness and are not easily remedied by antibiotics. But you can still protect yourself and your family against illness- causing bacteria without resorting to harsh chemicals and medications. The answer is to go all-natural! Here are two options that are completely natural yet totally effective against the microorganisms that make us sick. RAW HONEY Most honey you find at the store has been pasteurized and filtered, rendering it far less effective when it comes to its antibacterial properties. On the other hand, raw, unfiltered honey is an incredible antiseptic. Even better than your average raw honey is manuka honey, which comes from New Zealand. Its antibacterial properties are potent enough that hospitals around the world keep it on hand to treat certain kinds of infections and burns.
If you get a cut, applying raw honey to the wound can keep out harmful, infection-causing bacteria while killing any existing bacteria. Not only does the honey help prevent infection but it can also help reduce healing time. Raw honey can also help alleviate internal infections, such as peptic ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori . Manuka honey is particularly great for this — just add some to hot tea or water and drink! OREGANO A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences took a look at the effectiveness of oregano against bacteria. It turns out certain compounds in oregano — carvacrol and thymol — make it a strong antibacterial and antifungal agent. The study found that oregano was effective against salmonella as well as other harmful microorganisms and fungi that make people sick. As an antibacterial, oregano is most useful as an essential oil. In this form, it’s highly potent, meaning you only need a drop or two in a glass of water for it to have an effect. You can drink it, or you can infuse a couple of drops into some coconut oil and apply to your skin. However, be warned that because it is potent, it should not be used on a regular, ongoing basis. Use only when needed and only for a few days at a time — and never use it undiluted!
WANT TO HARNESS YOUR KIDS’ ENERGY? Try Some Indoor Rock Climbing!
While the temperatures climb a little this month, you might not be ready to take your little ones out for adventures in the great outdoors quite yet. Still, cold weather shouldn’t keep you from helping your kids expend all their built-up zest. A great activity you should consider trying this spring is indoor rock climbing — there’s no better way to harness your child’s energy than to strap them into an actual harness for a safe but exhilarating experience! In addition to providing both you and your kids an opportunity to strengthen your muscles, indoor rock climbing offers several other wonderful benefits: CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS Ascending a climbing route is a lot like piecing together a puzzle. Each move requires a constant, iterative decision-making process involving which move to make and the best way to make it. Then you just repeat
the process over and over again. Learning to solve problems, thinking for yourself, and making smart decisions are valuable skill sets for any individual, regardless of age. BRAVERY AND ADAPTATION Overcoming fear is an integral aspect of becoming an adult. Whether it’s fear of the unknown, fear of getting started, or fear of failure, all successful adults learn as kids that they must be courageous, bold, and daring in order to accomplish their goals. Encouraging your kids to leave their comfort zones and confront their fears will ingrain character and bravery. A CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT For better or worse, climbing has a reputation as an extreme sport. While that’s certainly true of the sport’s elite professionals, most climbing is actually rather pedestrian. You can start by taking your kids to an indoor
facility, such as Ascent Studio Climbing & Fitness or the Greeley Recreation Center, and encouraging them to boulder, a type of climbing that refers to the area on the wall under 20 feet that climbers can use without being harnessed in. NECESSARY LIFE LESSONS In addition to teaching young climbers discipline and focus, spending time on the rock wall imparts important outdoor skills. Knot tying, map skills, compass skills, and camp craft lay the foundation of an outdoor education. Learning to read vertical rock makes basic route-finding easier. As they grow older, your kids may gravitate to kayaking, skiing, or sailing, but when their outdoor skill set begins with rock climbing, it’ll remain with them for a lifetime.
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IF A BEAR SNORES IN THE WOODS ...
Do Hibernating Bears Suffer From Insomnia?
Every November, black bears all over the state of Colorado stuff themselves with as much food as they can handle and crawl into a cozy but hidden mountain cave to grab a few months of shut-eye. For the billions of busy and hardworking people all over the world, the prospect of sleeping through winter sounds idyllic, but for those who have a hard time sleeping, a winter hibernation might sound impossible. One of the most common causes of sleep issues (and marital fights) is snoring. If you are a prolific snorer, chances are your partner has either woken you up, rolled you over, or complained about their own lack of sleep a time or two. But if you’re like a bear in the thick of hibernation and don’t have a bed partner to annoy with your nightly noise racket, you might be unaware of the fact that you snore at all. Initially this might seem like a good thing, but in reality, snoring can be a sign of a serious underlying problem. According to WebMD, over 18 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that causes the upper passages of your airway to close off, interrupting your breathing and depriving you of oxygen until you wake up and start breathing again. Because it affects the way you breathe when you sleep, this condition is closely associated with habitual snoring. Even if you know you snore, the only real way to verify if you have sleep apnea is to take part
in a sleep study or visit a sleep center. Still, there are other signs you should take note of. If you or your partner notices pauses in your breathing, gasping episodes throughout the night, persistent headaches in the morning, or you wake up feeling excessively sleepy, you might want to see a specialist. If you are concerned that you might have sleep apnea, start by checking in with your bed mate to see if they notice any signs or symptoms. If you are like a hibernating bear and have no way to know if you’re snoring, it might be a good time to make an appointment at a sleep center. If you have further questions, be sure to reach out to us today!
BEET, MINT, AND RICOTTA HUMMUS
1 6-ounce beet (about the size of an adult fist), scrubbed 1 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 1/3 cup tahini, well-mixed
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
• • • •
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander Mint leaves, poppy seeds, and olive oil, for garnish
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 garlic clove, grated
1. Heat oven to 425 F. 2. Wrap beet tightly in foil. On a foil-lined baking sheet, roast wrapped beet until fork tender, about 60–70 minutes. 3. While beet is roasting, blend chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, ricotta, garlic, salt, pepper, and coriander until smooth. 4. Once beet is cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to remove beet skin. Trim root end and cut into small pieces. Add to blender or food processor, and blend until entire mixture is smooth. Add additional salt if desired. 5. Transfer to a shallow bowl, top with garnishes, and serve.
ASH BIRDS DAY FAT FLOWERS
FORWARD GRAS LAMB LEPRECHAUN LION
MARCH MARDI PARADE
SHAMROCK SPRING TUESDAY WEDNESDAY
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE A Story About the Importance of Being Prepared and What Happens When You’re Not! PAGE 1 2 Effective Natural Antibiotics Why Climbing Is the Perfect Activity for Your Kids PAGE 2 Do Hibernating Bears Suffer From Insomnia? Beet, Mint, and Ricotta Hummus PAGE 3 Don’t Let the Rain Dampen Your Spirits PAGE 4
Enjoy Yourself! 4 RAINY DAY ACTIVITIES As the weather warms up, the urge to get out of the house becomes stronger. However, any plans you might have can be abruptly canceled due to rain. If you find yourself stuck inside for the day, here are a few activities to keep you occupied. GET BAKIN’ A wet and chilly day is an excellent opportunity to warm yourself up with some baked goods. Bake your favorite snickerdoodle cookies or fudge brownies, and pour yourself a mug full of hot chocolate or cider to get through the stormy day. READ A BOOK If you have a bookshelf full of novels you’ve not cracked open, a rainy day is the perfect time to jump in. Settle down on the sofa with a cuddly blanket and enjoy some uninterrupted reading. The rain smattering against your windows creates the perfect background noise to delve into the pages of a new adventure. CREATE YOUR OWN FILM FESTIVAL Having a movie or TV series marathon is another great way to pass the time. You can watch some of the classics, like “Forrest Gump”
or “Singing in the Rain,” fill the day with “The Lord of the Rings” series, or start a new Netflix show. If you want to involve your kids in the binge-watching, you can let them pick out one of their favorite movies too. PIECE TOGETHER A PUZZLE A rainy day is a great opportunity to pull out a puzzle. You can also grab your friends or family members and make the puzzle a team activity. With the whole day ahead of you, you’ll have several hours to devote to one of your favorite hobbies.
Don’t let the rain keep you down! Instead, take advantage of the weather and enjoy a cozy day at home.
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