I knew that this summer was going to be amazingly busy with many of the things I had lined up leading up to the Oregon 22 World Track and Field Championships in Eugene during the month of July. I was working with a team that qualified 5 athletes to the event, we launched the team's apparel line and we planned a middle distance camp for high school athletes from all over the country and the world....
I knew that when August rolled around I needed to unplug and our cabin in the mountains was the perfect place to unplug.
We can get caught up in the day to day, the week to week and the relentless flow of information and opportunities that come our way. Many times we are not even aware of the need to unplug until a few days into it.
I kept telling myself that I just needed to get through July and then I could go out to a special place that our family has always gone to unplug, read, ride and enjoy the simplicity of the life we have out there every year.
This is a place I have been going to for over 50 years with my wife and her family. We spent our honeymoon prior to moving to China in the Thomas Cabin. However most of our visits we stayed in a couple of the other cabins on the 40 acre property that had their own history and charm that made this place really special.
The property was bought in the 1920's by a couple of teachers from Nebraska. Their friends came out to visit and loved it so much that small cabins for them to stay in started popping up on the property over the years. Many are original, others have burned and rebuilt. Each one of them is named after a family friend and the same families come to the Acres every year. We are entering the 3rd and 4th Generation of families that love to visit and unplug.
We started bringing our family out there and even spent a couple of sabbaticals from Nike at Zumwinkle Acres in the shadows of Mt Meeker and Longs Peak near the Rocky Mountain National Park.
There is no cell service. There is no wifi. We do the dishes by hand. We get our drinking water from a spring. We sit and read, play games, bike, hike and enjoy each other's company.
Imagine this....No cell service for miles. No wifi. Cold nights. Warm Days. Routines that became mindful mantras throughout the day.
My day started before the the break of dawn at around 5:15 am. Duke or Luna would come into my room and wake me up to take them out. I had to put them on leashes because there could be a moose, deer, coyote or bear waiting outside for them to greet.
I came back inside the cabin and built a fire. There is nothing like a roaring fire in a log cabin to warm up the room. I made my coffee and sat by the fire to wake up and warm up as the sun began to crest over the mountains in the east of this valley. Once I was warm enough I would take the dogs out on their 30 foot leashes to walk the 40 acres near the other cabins, the creek or the road. The views in the morning are spectacular.
I would use that time to decide what book I would read, what I would write or where I wanted to take the dogs for their longer walk to wear them out. I had a couple of routes I could go depending if I needed to make a phone call, get groceries or water from the spring. Those were the only things I had to think about as I was starting my day.
While walking, riding my bike or driving I saw plenty of wildlife and loved getting to know the history of the area and the places that had been there for decades. Many of these places are beginning to turn over from the original owners to a new generation of owners working to keep the culture and history of these properties but also bringing new ideas, events and technologies to allow a new generation of visitors to appreciate the history and the beauty of the area.
In an effort to stay somewhat connected to the outside world I would venture to a couple of places to talk to the new owners, learn about their plans for these historic properties and do a limited amount of work to keep the communication going with certain projects.
I was able to finish the final chapters of the book I am writing while in one of these remote locations with a small amount of connectivity. The benefit of being unplugged from all technology is that you start to appreciate what fundamentals you really need to live a simple and healthy life.
I went to bed early. I woke up early. I walked. I meditated. I napped. I read. I wrote. I went out to get my water from a spring 2-3 times a week. I hand washed the dishes. My meals were simple but healthy. I read books and the most technology I was able to have in the cabin was listening to NPR on the radio.
We live in a world that is overly connected. I love heading out of town and being unplugged for a few weeks a year. I highly recommend it and let me know if you have interest in exploring this area to unplug yourself, your family or your organization. I have the inside knowledge of this amazing place.