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Losing my hiking virginity

It’s important to vary your exercise routine



Prior to this weekend the only hiking I had ever really done was in the Blue Mountains in Australia, but that was quite easy and I was in much better physical condition. After all, I was in Sydney to compete in the 2002 Gay Games.

Spontaneously, while camping in West Virginia, I went on a hiking excursion with two other people, Greg and Steve (seasoned and in better shape than I).  I left myself open to their lead and was excited for the unexpected. I had a slight inkling that I would be challenged and I was a bit intimidated.

We started out on an easy path that had already been cleared, which was quite easy and not very steep. Soon we went off path and headed toward the direction of the peak.

Steve marked the trail by tying fluorescent ribbon around trees every so often so we could find our way back. As we went off path the terrain got steeper and more challenging. My heart rate increased, I was sweating and I started to feel many muscles in my legs engaged. The muscles were waking up and talking back to me. Going up the mountain, I was using my hamstrings, glutes and lower extremity muscles like the calves and achilles. These muscles began to fatigue quicker than I wanted, but I trudged on.

The grade got steeper and more difficult and I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. By now there were no paths and we were heading up. Greg and Steve were moving at a challenging pace, but for the most part I was not too far behind.

The real challenge started when the grade became the steepest and we had to use all four limbs and climb up what was clearly no longer a hill but a mountain. And then we began rock climbing up the remainder of the peak.

I took very short rests because I did not want my body to rebel. Greg and Steve were reassuring and kept me posted as to how far we had to go. On more than one occasion, I contemplated going back because I felt as if I had enough and while I had some time constraints, truth be told, I was looking for a way out. I doubted my abilities for a moment or two.

I was so glad I prevailed! We reached the peak and the vista was spectacular. We were at one of the dozens of mountainous peaks of the Shenandoah Valley. It was about 9 a.m., a bit hazy and you could see for miles. I’m not sure what the elevation was, but it was high. We marveled at the beauty of the view and took some pictures. The experience was breathtaking.

I was told the descent would be much quicker, which I thought for a moment may involve rolling. We climbed down the steep rocks first and our pace was much more cautious as we paid particular attention to our footing. At some point I slipped on a rock, twisted my ankle and scraped my knee. There was blood, but I was OK.

Our pace was indeed quicker, and much less challenging but more dangerous. I felt like I had to be more aware of my every step. I was no longer using my hamstrings, but more quadriceps muscles and the pace required more core strength, balance and agility. My heart rate was much less elevated going down the mountain.

We followed the fluorescent tree ties and quickly made our way back to the clear path with much less incline.

The entire hike took almost two hours, which went by quickly, and while I was tired I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I had just completed my first real hike and, according to Greg and Steve, they rated the hike challenging. It was definitely not for a beginner.

It’s always important to vary your exercise routine to shake things up and get out of your comfort zone. I have discovered a new activity that does all that for me and I am excited to add this to my repertoire of physical activity.


Bars & Parties

Here’s your guide to the merriest gay holiday season!

Cocktails, music and dancing at upcoming parties



The holidays are here and it’s time to party.

“LGBTQ Social Mixer – Pride On The Patio at Showroom” will be on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Showroom. 

There will be happy hour cocktails and dinner on the heated patio at the venue. Dress is casual, fancy, or comfortable. Guests are encouraged to bring their most authentic selves to chat, laugh, and get a little crazy.

Admission is free and more details are available on Eventbrite

The Iconic International House of Balenciaga will host “Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Extravaganza” on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 10 p.m. at Privilege. 

There will be a limited buffet and open bar, hookah, VIP packages, bottle specials and music by DJ Dave Thom and DJ Obie. There will also be a sweater contest with a cash prize. 

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

“Hip Hop Garden DC Day Party” will be on Saturday, Dec. 24 at 4 p.m. at Lost Society. This exclusive day party experience will feature non-stop music, dancing, and good vibes. Music played will be a crossover of genres and fusion of cultures.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

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Bars & Parties

Winterfest remains in full force

Yappy Hour will be on Sunday



Yappy Hour will be on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 12 p.m.

Events for Wunder Garten’s 6th Annual Winterfest are still underway at one of D.C.’s most enthralling beer gardens at 1101 First St., N.E.

A Night of 1,000 Santas will be on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. Guests are encouraged to come dressed as Santa, Mrs. Claus, an elf, a reindeer, anything or anyone, to dance the night away and celebrate the holidays. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite. 

Yappy Hour will be on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 12 p.m. This is a special day for the pups and their “hoomans” and perfect opportunity for the pups to get some treats and make new friends. Select beers cost $6 and there will be free pupucinnos with a purchase. This event is free and more details are on Eventbrite.

Trivia Mondays will be on Monday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. This event will be hosted by Mark Lloyd. Guests are encouraged to bring friends and test their knowledge to win prizes and glory. There will also be boozy cocktails, seasonal beers and themed decor. Tickets are free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

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Bars & Parties

Halloween is back and more queer than ever!

Freddie’s Beach Bar to host Halloween party



Freddie's Halloween (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant will be hosting a Halloween party on Monday, Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. 

Guests are encouraged to bring friends and meet new people from all over the world. Guests will gather in the back outside patio if the weather is nice or near the stage if not. Go Gay DC leader TJ Flavell will be there to greet you. Name tags will be provided. There’s no cover charge.

For more details, visit Eventbrite

Metrobar DC to host ‘Booze and Brews’ Halloween Brunch’

“Booze and Brews Halloween Brunch” will be on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at metrobar DC.

Guests are encouraged to come enjoy sounds from DJ Lalee and tasting tables from Catoctin and Republic Restoratives from 7-10 p.m. and drink specials featuring Catoctin or Republic Restoratives spirits all evening long.

This event is free to attend with an optional $15 Bash + SMYAL Fundraiser Ticket to help support LGBTQ youth across the district. Ticket holders will be honored with a cocktail. 

For more details, visit Eventbrite

Cake Pop to host ‘HallowQueen Drag Brunch’

“HallowQueen Drag Brunch” will be on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 11 a.m. at The Hall CP. New host Cake Pop will be hosting this ultimate Halloween-themed event. 

Flavored mimosas and Bloody Marys will cost $24 and the brunch buffet costs $30 and will include French toast casserole, buttermilk pancakes, tater tots hash, among many other menu items. 

Tickets for this event start at $25 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

Baltimore Playhouse to hold ‘Haux-lloween’ party

“Taste.Touch.Feel: Haux-lloween” will be on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Baltimore Playhouse – Private Social Club. 

Guests are encouraged to come and enjoy top-tier burlesque and specialty performances, kink edutainment, interactive games, and plenty of surprises to thrill one’s senses.

There will also be a costume ball with three categories. Each category is limited to eight participants. The categories are:

  • Alien Superstar: Most unique, intergalactic freak
  • Fetish Faerie: Whimsy, kinky, faerie hauxs
  • Best Couples Costume: Period.

After the costume ball, there will be an “Adult Play Date After Party” for mingling and a night of no inhibitions where guests can enjoy spontaneous performances, play with their lover(s) or be a voyeur while the music plays. 

Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased on Eventbrite

Sirene, X and Nadia to perform at Firefly

Firefly Halloween Special Event will be on Saturday, Oct. 29 at p.m. at Firefly. This event will feature performances by drag queens Sirene, X and Nadia. There will also be two competitions: 

     • “Holy” a ghoulie drag performance with a cash prize of $100 and a bookings prize of $100.

     • A costume contest where the 1st place winner wins a one-night stay at Hotel Madeira, 2nd place wins dinner for two at Firefly, and 3rd place wins brunch for two at Firefly.

This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

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