Let’s Chill, Baby: Northwest Nomad Visits the Grit City Wellness Center’s Cryotherapy Chamber

I had three goals in trying out the cryotherapy chamber at Grit City Wellness Center:

  1. Try something new.
  2. Manage my inflammation (particularly in my feet).
  3. Acquire Iceman-like superheroes (or, in lieu of that, Mr. Freeze-like superpowers).

In the third goal I was terribly disappointed. In the first two, I was satisfied to the deepest level imaginable.

Cryotherapy chamber in Grit City Wellness, Tacoma, Washington.
The cryochamber at Grit City Wellness in Tacoma, Washington.

What It’s Like Inside the Cryochamber

Why, it’s quite….cool (yep, I did it).

Seriously (no, SERIOUSLY), it’s a space about the size of two hall closets with mellow blue light and cold air. There are two chambers, one at the entry (less cold) and one deeper inside the chamber (much colder). Two swinging metal doors separate the chambers.

There’s a digital clock on the wall that you control. You stand inside the initial chamber to acclimate a bit before stepping into the colder part of the chamber for up to four minutes.

I assume everyone’s body reacts differently, so I can only speak for myself, but I found the coldest chamber to be pretty enjoyable until the last thirty seconds of my four-minute experience. At that point, it wasn’t terrible or anything close to terrible, but my back did start to feel a bit like I was being freezer-burned.

What It’s Like Stepping Out of the Chamber

About a minute or so after stepping out of the chamber, as I quickly warmed back up, I felt a sudden rush of exhilaration. I’d go so far as to say that I felt downright (upright?) high.

Interestingly, about twenty minutes after the experience, I felt extremely relaxed and pleasantly tired. I could have napped in the car, I'm pretty sure, and that's pretty significant. I've always had trouble sleeping and never been able to nap. My mind doesn't allow it.

What’s even better is that my feet, which normally feel slightly inflamed basically constantly (no medical diagnosis has yet clarified this), felt fantastic. It was the best my feet have felt in years.

Should You Try the Grit City Wellness Center Cryochamber?

Well, I don’t know you so I can’t say for sure.

What I can say for sure is that I certainly intend to go back and to make the cryochamber a regular part of my personal health routine. 

I’ve been doing Wim Hoff style cold exposure for a couple years, and I found the chamber to be more intense/effective while being less physically uncomfortable. This is hard to explain as what I just said seems like a contradiction, but all I can say is that I trust that if you do try the chamber, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

My body felt relaxed, rejuvenated, and chill (meaning my foot inflammation was reduced significantly). It was also just fun and a great way to shock mind and body out of dread, dreary routine.

So, basically, yes I absolutely recommend the Grit City Wellness Center’s cryochamber to anybody who’s interested. Read the medical waiver and all that first, of course, but if you’re good to go there, then yes I would highly recommend the experience.

I wasn’t quite as happy with the chromotherapy session (by no means bad but just not as effective for me) I did there, but that’s for another post.

Happy nomadding, friends. Keep…chillin’ (I refuse to stop using the corny “chill” wordplay until it’s totally exhausted…which it was at first use, but here I am still at it).

Good Morning y’all from Butler Cove, Olympia, Washington

Two days ago a rainbow, and today a fantastic sunrise at Butler Cove.

What have I done to be so blessed, oh Lord?

Good morning, Nomaders!

I just want to share a happy hello and reminder that spring is coming…and NOTHING can stop it! NOTHING!!

It’s been a rough slog of a year (and three months) for many of us, but this beautiful world keeps turning around, and with each rotation it dredges up fantastic things to titillate our souls.

Keep being champions, my friends. Keep smiling no matter what they throw at ya. Most of all, keep nomadding.

Sun rising over the Puget Sound at Butler Cove.
The sun rises over the Sound at Butler Cove.
Silhouetted fir branches against orange sky.
Brilliant orange sky of Butler Cove sunrise.
Brilliant yellow sky with silhouetted fir branches.
Another sunrise shot, Butler Cove, Washington.

I Got near the End of the Rainbow at Cooper’s Point, Washington (and Survived to Tell About it)

End of the Rainbow, Cooper’s Point, Washington

Yesterday I was blessed to open my door and find myself staring at a rainbow not too far from my home. I didn’t even have to do any nomadding for this beautiful spectacle, my friends. This time, the beautiful spectacle came to me.

It was a dramatic and potentially dangerous situation. I feared armies of leprechauns may swarm me at any moment.

Luckily, thankfully, no such terrors occurred. There was only the natural beauty and the silence…and the clicking of my camera.

I’m still learning the art of the photograph, but I’m hoping the natural splendor of this sight is enough to overcome my deficiencies.

Enjoy, and happy nomadding, my friends.

Rainbow at Cooper's Point, Washington
Rainbow at Cooper’s Point, Washington

Talking Bigfoot and Burgers at Cliff Droppers in Packwood, Washington

Packwood, Washington, is Bigfoot country.

The whole White Pass corridor is, in fact. Years ago, a woman at the desk of the Seasons Motel in Morton, Washington, near the west end of Highway 12, told me that guests had flown all the way in from Germany for two weeks of searching for Bigfoot. It’s THAT much of a Bigfoot destination, my friend.

Packwood also happens to be among my favorite spots in the Pacific Northwest, so much so that I’m hesitant to even write about it and spill the secret. I like that, same as Lake Quinault, it sees nothing close to the kind of traffic that spots like Mount Rainier or Mount Saint Helens do.

But the Northwest Nomad has a mission, and that mission is to bring the best of the Pacific Northwest to you. The mission is the priority. It must be completed.

During my last visit to Packwood, I discovered two things equally fantastic: a Bigfoot story and Cliff Droppers, purveyor of one of the best damn burgers I’ve had in my entire life.

Not just in Packwood, friends. Not just in Washington, nor the Pacific Northwest, nor even the United States of America. It was one of the best damn burgers I've ever had, anywhere. 

PERIOD.

So if you don’t dig the Bigfoot or elite-level burgers, maybe you ought to mosey on out of here. Commies aren’t welcome on the Northwest Nomad’s page, anyway.

I was back there in Packwood to hike the Packwood Lake Trail, which may be the best non-snowshoeing winter trail I’ve ever found. Definitely top 10.

On that trip, I stopped in Cliff Droppers for a burger and got two great surprises.

First, the Bigfoot Story

I asked the young woman working the cash register if she’d seen any Bigfoot. This is my standard conversation-starter, regardless of where I am. Fortunately, on this particular day, I happened to actually be in Bigfoot country, so I got a response.

She told me she’d been out hiking with her husband when they came across monstrous, barefoot humanoid tracks in the show. Her husband she was a very large man, she told me, and his boots were dwarfed by the size of those tracks.

Now, what’s more interesting is the fact that these tracks eventually just stopped. They were in snow. There was no place for the creature to go. Yet, they simply evaporated.

This strange phenomenon is consistent with the findings of folks like John Keel and Jacques Vallée, as well as more contemporary researchers like Ron Morehead, who believe the Bigfoot phenomenon is something more akin to the supernatural/paranormal aspects of Weird Reality than it is to the notion that Bigfoot are animals living in our forests, in our dimension, fulltime.

But, that’s a whole other thing for a whole other time.

For now I'll just say I was thrilled to get a firsthand Bigfoot account. It doesn't matter to me if Bigfoot is real, by the way. I love life, especially it's weird aspects, and I love hearing people's stories. It was a pleasure to hear hers. 

Second, the Cliff Droppers Burgers

Woe, woe upon me for not having my camera with me at Cliff Droppers.

“Camera?” you say.

“Yes,” I say.

I don't own a smart phone, my friends. It's true...shameful but true. My cell phone pictures are so poor quality, too, that I never even think to sue it.

In this case it’s a sad thing (not nearly enough to make me buy a freaking smart phone ever again) because I didn’t get a picture of the most righteous of burgers.

Every year I hike Mount Si and end the day with a burger at Twede’s Cafe, for I have long considered Twede’s to be Washington state champion among the burger places. After this last visit, I officially declare a new tradition of hiking Packwood Lake and getting a burger in Cliff Droppers.

Let it be done.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better burger, really, than the one I had at Cliff Droppers. Hard to say. I’ve had some damn good burgers in my life.

Cliff Droppers was, at the very least, as good as the best. Fantastic. Juicy. ELECTRIC with flavor. 

At this point I think it's good to remind readers that the Northwest Nomad is all indie. I don't collect any money from any place that I write about. These are my honest feelings. Cliff Droppers is fantastic and has a warm, friendly atmosphere--even in this strange pandemic age of dehumanizing masks over our faces. Still the face had a down-to-Earth human warmth, and I can't wait to visit again.

Let’s Call it the PLT-BF-CD Trifecta, Shall We?

Packwood Lake Trail-Bigfoot-Cliff Droppers, that is. PLT-BF-CD.

Hit them all there in Packwood, one of the best-kept secrets in Washington state, where the people are as real as the Sasquatches and the burgers are delicious.

Happy nomadding, friends.

How to Stay in Shape While Working from Home: Herschel Walker Your Way to Wellness

It’s actually very simple, so I’m not going to waste your time with a big chunk of intro text.

If you’re working from home, you’re probably working on a computer. If you’re working on your computer, you’re probably feeling fat and tired and increasingly oily from all the stationary time spent on your rump. That’s why you’re sniffing around the ‘net looking for answers.

Am I right? Of course I am.

Well, check this out–all you need to do is borrow the style of fitness used by football great and MMA phenom (in terms of the advanced age at which he competed and won) Herschel Walker. Doing this won’t make you Herschel Walker, of course, but it will get you in shape.

It worked for me.

I’m not just blowing smoke up your keester. I started doing this about midway through the pandemic and got myself back into respectable shape after I’d gotten quite pathetic physically.

The story has it that Herschel Walker stayed fit by doing bodyweight exercises when commercials came on between television shows every night. This wasn’t just some side work that he did. He credited this style of fitness with his world-class level athleticism.

My system, and the one I'm suggesting for you, is simply modifying Walker's routine so that you exercise for 5 minutes every 20 to 30 minutes, rather than during commercial breaks. You should never do so at high intensity, but rather very moderately or even low intensity. 

I know this flies in the face of most of what you see touted by fitness gurus out there. I really have no science to refute them. I just have my experience, the experience of Herschel Walker, and the experience of some other people who have gotten in great shape this way.

This worked for me. Big time.

So, it works like this:

Set a daily number of reps for each exercise you want to do. I do push ups, squats, lunges, flutter kicks, jumping jacks, snatches, curls, and pull ups every day.

(I won’t list my daily count here because no one will believe me. I spent a few years in the Second Ranger Battalion and conditioned my body to some outrageous numbers of bodyweight reps. It doesn’t really matter, anyway. Just set the number that works for you.)

While setting your own numbers, though, remember the simple rule that you should never feel exhausted or burned out. You shouldn’t feel even close to those things. You’re goal is to do this every single day, not to be sore and beaten up from each session.

Decide upon a schedule to do your reps. I do mine for 5 minutes every 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the day’s work demands). I set a timer, get up, and work out for 5 minutes, going mostly through bodyweight exercises but also through some curls with a dumbbell and snatches with a kettle bell.

There is Another Benefit to this System

The second benefit may be even better than the fitness itself.

By working out consistently at a moderate pace all day, I significantly increase my work productivity.

Consistently getting up and getting the blood flowing a bit makes my mind work better and keeps my attention engaged on my work. My productivity significantly improves.

Since adopting this system eight months ago (approximately), I’ve missed only a few days. At the end of those missed days, I invariably (literally every time) felt sluggish and depressed, and I realized that I’d gotten very little work done.

If you adopt this way of working, I’m confident you’ll feel your overall effectiveness increase.

Try it For Just One Day

I’m confident that if you try this system for just one day, you’ll be hooked.

It keeps your mood up and increases output. It also gets you back to feeling alive again.

And, finally, it gets you back in shape. Pretty good deal for something that costs nothing.