Wednesday, June 29, 2011
- Ziplock meals into small ziplock bags- include everything needed for that meal in that one zippy. powdered milk, bouillon, etc.
- Ziplock all breakfasts into the "breakfast" ziplock bag (a bigger ziplocked bag) and all lunches into the "lunch" bag, etc., etc. One person can be responsible for the breakfast bag, one for the lunches, and so and so forth.
- Keep all the camping bowls, cups, utensils, etc in one area or compartment of your backpack. This way there is no fumbling around trying to find that darned spoon.
- Always, always, always put things back into the same spot they came from. This will help reduce cognitive demands when backpacking brain sets in :)
- Don't underestimate the power of powdered drinks. A little powdered hot chocolate or Gatorade can make a rough day 5,000 times better. I keep an entire ziplock bag for drinks.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I literally had two raccoons pick up my half packed backpack and drag it off into the woods howling. Luckily back then I could run faster than a raccoon- now days I think I need to I hang things right.
Here is the skinny on keeping your camp bear or raccoon proof:
- Cook away from camp (200 ft)
- Don't cook your smelliest meal out in the woods (i.e., fish, etc.)
- Pour out things like pasta water into a sump hole (more to come on this later)
- Put all your food- even wrapped granola bars into your bear bag
How to Hang the Bear Bag
- Food and cooking utensils/dishes etc (I hang my dishes too)
- 75 foot parachute cord or rope
- Food sack (I really like my bright yellow Sea to Summit bag- It helps me find the bag again)
- Find a tree at least 200 ft from camp
- Find a branch on a tree that is at least 15-20 feet off the ground with no other branches below it
- Tie a rock or other weighted item to one end
- Toss the item over the branch
- Retie your food bag to the end
- Raise the food bag
- Tie off the rope as high as you can to the tree
Monday, June 27, 2011
When I first stumbled upon the Exodus Family on twitter I was not only impressed with their travel bug ways and the adventurous lifestyle they live, I was truly astonished to hear they do it all with a wee one in tow!
This three person family tackles traveling, hiking, camping, and living as a three person unit. They're fun with tons of personality. Truly great to read about their travels across the US.
Below you will see our interview where the Exodus Family offers tips for getting out as a family and their trip across the States. Don't forget to check out their blog, read about their trip, and check in on twitter. Good peeps I tell ya. Good peeps.
Tell us a little bit about the Exodus family…
Exodus Family came about when Rolf and I ﬁrst met. We were both nature loving nomadic spirits. We knew we wanted to start a family early in our relationship and we knew we wanted to keep of love of adventure and travel alive. We found out we were pregnant one month before leaving for a ten-week trek through Australia so it was the perfect beginning to “Exodus Family." Rolf loves testing his survival skills, learning about plants and animals, and working on bushcraft. Jen loves trail running, endurance sports, and ﬁnding peace in nature. Tayden loves the calmness of nature and learning about all the new textures, scents, sights, and sounds.
Tell us a little bit about what inspires you to bring your son along on your outdoor adventures…
Rolf and I both love being outside, it gives us a sense of freedom and peace. We want Tayden to grow up loving nature just like we did. Furthermore, Tayden is 100% allergic to the indoors! He loves being outside and he too even at his young age ﬁnds a calmness in nature. We also believe that a child is able to learn a lot about who they are as a person by being in nature and experiencing life outside.
How long have you both been living this outdoorsy lifestyle?
This is a hard question to put a number to. We both grew up outdoors so we have been enjoying outdoor activities for many years. Rolf has a few years on me and has had some pretty epic adventures, but we both enjoy nature in our own ways. Rolf loves long survival desert hikes and I love being out for exceptionally long trail runs. We both like to test our limits and love to try new outdoor sports. We are definitely novice level in many areas!
Tell us a little bit about Expedition America 2011. What made you decide to do such a big trip?
Rolf and I knew that regardless of parenthood we would still dedicate our time to exploring the world. With the birth of a baby comes changes to exploration, but it is still a possible feat. When Tayden was approaching his ﬁrst birthday, Rolf and I were making plans for our next big adventure. We needed something that would be an easy transition for Tayden so he would grow to love exploration and something that felt comfortable as a family.
After discussing some ideas and reading Last Child in the Woods, Rolf and I decided the best option was to explore America’s wilderness areas and take this opportunity to bring youth back to nature. Our mission is to inspire, motivate, educate, and empower other families to get outside and explore America.
We realized that so many families dream of far off destinations and they forget the beauty that is in America. America is ﬁlled with natural wonders and we felt it would be the perfect setting to introduce Tayden to all there is to see and explore.
To ﬁnd the ideal route, Rolf and I pinpointed some key areas in the United States that we had to see and explore, we knew we wanted to explore every state over the course of one year, so playing a quick game of connect the dots we found a route that will wind us 37,000 miles throughout the US and take us through all the amazing wilderness areas from Alaska to Maine.
This is by no means a family vacation, it has taken an exceptional amount of time and planning to ﬁgure out the best plan as a family and the best way to reach thousands of people so that we can in fact raise awareness, bring support to our charities and partners, and inspire more families to reconnect with nature.
Rolf and I look forward to the families we will meet on the trail, the friendships formed, learning about nature, and teaching Tayden and other kids the value of spending time outside. This is going to be a life changing trip for Exodus Family and one we hope to share with other families across America.
As for the duration of the trip it turned into a year since there are 50 states to cover and 52 weeks in the year, we ﬁgured with some extra play in some states and a little less in others we would be looking at right around 1 year to complete this journey. We wanted to make sure we had ample time to really explore different areas that we may never get back to see, spend time with friends and family, meet new friends on the trail, and not feel like we have deadlines that must be met. Most importantly though it is a time for us to reconnect as a family and enjoy every moment together as we learn and experience life and watch Tayden grow.
What is the longest trip you’ve completed as a family to date?
Our longest journey to date was a 10-week trek throughout Australia. We ﬂew to Oz when I was 8 weeks pregnant and spent time in the Outback, Sydney, Perth, Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef, on a deserted island, the Daintree Rainforest, and on a 40’ catamaran. We basically did anything my pregnant body could endure while in Australia. As for our longest journey with Tayden it has been a weekend camping trip when he was 8-months old. This will definitely be the biggest adventure to date.
Often people dream of taking a year off to travel or have a great adventure/trip, but feel like they can’t or shouldn’t leave their full time work. How do you guys balance what you do for work with having fun?
This is a common question for many families who have decided to leave the typical “American dream” to pursue their own dream. Rolf and I have never been people of great needs or wants. We live a pretty simple life, I am a stay-at-home mom, and Rolf works at Whole Foods so there is not much for us to “leave” so to speak. As a family we have to prioritize what is most important to us and exploration and time together is top of our list so we make everything else in our lives work into that type of lifestyle.
We also ﬁgure that work will always be there and that our time to travel and explore will be limited.
Any advice or inspiration for families who dream of going on trips like your Expedition America?
Just ﬁnd your passion, dream and envision what you would love to do, and make it a reality. So many people say “I wish” I could do that and we say “what is stopping you”. The only difference between us and others is that we decided to take the big leap to make our dream a reality. You just have to do it! Make the commitment and go with your heart and dream.
Any tips for families who may just want to try a day trip or an overnight with young children?
If it is your ﬁrst outing with a young child take it slow, let them learn and explore. As parents don’t have any grand expectations, you may be out for 5 minutes or 5 hours. We have taken many trips that we had big expectations for such as snowshoeing for the day or an overnight camping trip, but when we arrived to our destination, Tayden was not feeling it so we had to go home.
A crying baby just tortures everyone involved so make sure the baby is comfortable and happy, that you have enough extra gear for the kids to stay comfortable, and don’t force anything it will take the fun away from the kids and make them shy away from outdoor adventures.
Also be sure to educate yourself about nature, know the “rules” (how to stay warm, make shelter, ﬁnd food, bears and wildlife, and any other dangers you could encounter). When it comes to safety you can never have too much food or water. Take the necessities for yourself, but make sure this is a fun trip for all involved and it doesn’t turn into a survival situation.
Just for fun…
If you had a superpower what would it be and why?
Rolf wants to be able to talk to animals. I always thought being a mom was a superpower :-)
Favorite place to camp/hike/paddle/bike?
Colorado is a pretty epic state and has AMAZING trails and views so we are lucky to live in such a great state, but Australia is probably still our number one since it was so unique. Prefer uphill or downhill? We both agree on uphill!
Favorite person to ride/hike/camp with?
Rolf of course! Even though we are married we really do love spending all of our time together.
If you were a piece of outdoor equipment or clothing what would it be and why?
Rolf and I both said hammock. I wish we had different choices, but we both love the idea of being under a beautiful tree with a nice brook ﬂowing beneath us and the sun shining down. Plus we would bring rest to the hikers!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
- Misty cannot look into a camera lens. It's basically physically impossible.
- Even the best tents cannot withstand torrential rain for longer than 10 hours.
- It still gets very, very cold in the mountains in June.
- I really like macaroni and cheese from a box.
- Fire is the most psychologically uplifting thing
- I prefer the outdoors to four walls, the sound of water over traffic, trees over people.
As @LucyDakota replied to me on twitter before we headed out - "some of my best memories are from when I camped in the rain."
So new posts to come!
Friday, June 24, 2011
Luckily we're off for the weekend and our goals include- having way too much fun camping in the rain and updating our camping posts. Things to expect come Monday:
- new camping recipes
- new gear review of our Big Agnes tent- whoot-whoot!
- new pics
- more rants from Misty
Friday, April 1, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Worst thing is that it is rubbing off on my dog. Look at the poor thing.
This is a customer service announcement. Save yourselves now. Spare your four legged friends from this terrible fate. Get freakin' outside!
And to inspire us this Tuesday morning- an amazing adventure from Madaleine Sorkin on vimeo (found via Luke at Dream in Vertical)
Monday, March 28, 2011
Please send me a bike. Why amongst the hundreds, maybe thousands, of requests that you get for bikes should you entertain sending little ol’ me a bike- well I’ve compiled a list below for your consideration:
I’ve never ridden a bike that fits
I’ve spent many hundreds of miles cruising single track in the Northeast, finding new trails, meeting new riding buddies, but the one thing I have never found is a bike that actually fits. For years I have ridden a bike too big for me resulting in extremely ungraceful dismounts, sometimes disastrous crashes, and a lack of confidence that my bike can help me conquer- not collide with- difficult obstacles. You see- if you ride a bike that doesn’t fit for too long it starts to mess with your biking psyche. After one too many unladylike dismounts part way through a rock garden you start to think- I should go this way to avoid that. I am sick of avoiding. I want to ride it. I want to ride it on a bike that fits.
I’m pretty sure I can convince other lady riders want a bike that fits too
I’m pretty sure that improperly fitting mountain bikes are at a near epidemic level. I was riding on the trail the other day and a guy passed me on a sweet lightweight rig, disc brakes, dual suspension, and a snappy brand name. A few minutes later I saw his girlfriend/wife/riding partner slugging along on an ancient bike- way too big- with her helmet tipped all sideways. Scenes like this are becoming far too common along America’s trail systems and I am dedicated to eradicating this epidemic. First of all, any one of my biking friends who wants to try my sweet fitting Specialized Era mountain bike is welcome to. I might even encourage them to try the part of the trail they couldn’t make on their bike, with my bike. I have no doubt the Era will actually take flight, several feet above the rock garden allowing all my friends to actually show the boys up. Heck, even if it can’t- at least they will be able to dismount with some dignity with the super low stand over height the Era sports.
I like to tell tales
Specialized if you are reading this have made it to my blog. I write about the outdoors, bonking on long bike rides, and racing people who don’t know that they are racing. I like to tell tales about the trail and there is nothing that I would like more than to tell tales from a Specialized bike.
So Specialized, hopefully I have convinced you to send me a bike. Any mountain bike will do really. I’ll even come to pick it up. Pretty please.
Talk to you soon (I hope!),
I checked in with her a little over a month ago about favorite hikes, outdoor gears and super powers. I love that her blog is about the everyday athlete/ adventurer. Do drop by (also @k8tlevy) and tell her you read about her here!
I've always enjoyed writing and love sharing my adventures and passion for playing outside with other people. There are so many outdoor athletes doing so many incredible things and writing about them, but I think it's important for us normal people to share our stories. We're not doing first ascents in Patagonia, but we are tackling things that are difficult and exciting! Adventure-Inspired is like a refuge for me - a place I can go to just be myself, like I can outside. I want to inspire other people like to test their limits outdoors and help build awareness of outdoor activities.
How long have you been climbing? How did you first get started in climbing?
I grew up in Ithaca, NY, one of the most perfect places to play outside, and took full advantage when I was younger! I've been goofing around outside for as long as I can remember, but didn't pick up climbing until my senior year of college. I'd been a competitive swimmer for 13 years, but found myself falling out of love with it. I needed a new challenge; a different challenge. My boyfriend took me to the Lindseth climbing wall at Cornell University and I was immediately hooked. I signed up for a four week women's climbing program with the Cornell Outdoor Education program. The instructors were inspiring; watching them move on the wall was like a dance I'd never seen before, and never knew existed. The fact that we got to rappel off the top of the football stadium didn't hurt either! I didn't start climbing seriously until three years ago and climbed outside for the first time in 2008.
Blogging is a hobby and a creative outlet, but sometimes it feels like a full time job! Writing and keeping content coming is time consuming, but I absolutely love it. I've learned so much about building a website, more than I ever wanted to know, and I still have a lot left to learn. I'd like to say I do it all in the name of my audience, but it's a selfish pursuit too! It's therapeutic and fun to reflect on my adventures, interview people who inspire me, and write about my favorite gear. But it sure would be a cool full time job, and I admire people who've been able to make it theirs!
What has been your favorite climbing/mountaineering trip to date?
Without a doubt, the Summit for Someone Mount Rainier Women's Climb I did to raise money for Big City Mountaineers last summer has been the most influential. Though it might sound cliche, it really changed me. I never in my wildest dreams would've pictured myself doing something like that. Me, the girl who's afraid of heights and doubts herself all the time!
Figuring out how to raise $5,000 forced me to be creative, to call on people for help, and to find a way to tell them how important the organization is. I was overwhelmed by how my network of colleagues, friends and family rallied around me. I'm the luckiest girl in the world.
On the climb, I found myself surrounded by nine other inspiring women. Thinking of each of them, how special they all are and how we worked as a team up there is the quickest way to produce a smile on my face! The climb was the most mentally challenging experience I've had, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Everyone should do a Summit for Someone climb!
I never seem to be able to do either as often as I like! There are some fantastic climbing gyms in the Philadelphia area and when I'm super motivated, I'll climb indoors 2-3 times each week. I try to get outdoors once a week or so to local crags when the weather's warm, maybe a big trip or two. I'm a volunteer organizer for TerraMar Adventures, and love getting out with the group on local hikes. My goal is to get out on the trails at least two weekends each month this spring and summer, and get in some extended backpacking trips in the Catskills and Adirondacks.
Speaking from experience, it’s hard to balance work demands and the day to day demands of life with getting outside and doing the things we love. How do you manage to prioritize or find balance between what you HAVE to do with what you WANT to do?
It's always challenging to manage work and play, even though I don't have a mortgage or kids to worry about. I've been fortunate with my career thus far; I've had supervisors who understand that I need climbing and playing outside to function. That's key, and I'm incredibly lucky. Work travels even occasionally take me to places I'd dreamed of visiting in my spare time, like the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. I have to make decisions about long trips in advance and they don't always work out, but such is life!
Getting time off can be a challenge of course, but I've found choosing between my favorite activities can be more challenging! On a climbing trip to Joshua Tree National Park (#jtreetweetup) two years ago, I found myself excited to climb, but wanting to hike around the park as well. I went to Boulder, Colorado last summer for a set of Rainier training hikes at altitude and had to force myself to leave my climbing gear at home! Right now, I'm content with being a Jill of All Trades and a master of none, as the saying goes.
Do you have any advice for women that want to start climbing/hiking and don’t know where to start?
Sometimes, finding classes to take or groups to go out with is the easy part - doing it is another story! The best piece of advice I have is not to be intimidated, just to get out there and go for it. Read stories about other women who inspire you by trying new things. Find your motivation for wanting to start playing outside more, and use it to get you going. See if you can find a friend willing to take you out with them. I've learned so much from friends and am grateful for the patient people in my life! Take advantage of the fact that some outdoor sports, especially climbing, foster a tight knit community of like-minded people.
For hiking, websites like meetup.com can be a great resource. Outdoor companies like REI offer affordable beginner courses, too. To start climbing, find a local gym or guiding company that offers beginner courses. Philly has a meetup group dedicated to climbing, and that's helped me meet other folks in the area to climb with. There are a bunch of women's programs out there, and I was more comfortable starting in one for climbing.
I still have my first backpacking pack - a bright red North Face Badlands 60L pack - and I've grown emotionally attached to it. But that's not entirely why it's my favorite piece of gear! I adore gear that can stand the test of time and everything I put it through. Though the Badlands 60 isn't made of fancy ripstop waterproof material, I've pushed it to the limit on Rainier, in the Adirondacks, in the Catskills, in Alaska, and in the cargo holds of countless airplanes for the past seven years. And it just fits me, which makes it priceless. My Petzl Elia climbing helmet comes in at a close second.
Just for fun---
If you had a superpower what would it be and why?
My first reaction was to say I'd like the power to be fearless, but fear is an important thing to experience. It's a survival mechanism, and it's there for a reason. I think I'd love the power to stop time. I could halt the world and climb until I'm exhausted, take a super long nap, then start everything back up again!
Tests my strength (both in the physical and mental sense!).
Favorite person to climb with?
My climbing partner and significant other, Dan, is my favorite person to top rope and sport climb with. He's patient, understanding, and knows exactly what to say and not to say! We've learned how to communicate on the wall after climbing together for years, and that part is absolutely key.
When it comes to bouldering, I'm inspired by a badass group of ladies I hang around with at my home climbing gym. They're all great women to be around, so supportive, and so talented. Sometimes, you just need to climb with the girls!
Thanks so much for your interview Katie!! It was great getting to chat with a fellow North Easterner!
If you enjoyed reading today's interview with Katie from Adventure Inspired drop her a line at her blog or @k8tlevy.
So, my old trusty EMS Tristar tent is done. We've retired it into a deep closet, because quite frankly I cannot stand to order another tent pole for this thing. Twelve (or ten?) years was a good run.
What about you? Anybody have any spring camping trips planned?
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I'll give someone some scientific data if they give me a 29er. How's that sound?
Anyway, just wondering what you'all thought. Do you ride a 29er? Have you ridden a 29er? Know something more about them than I do? Drop a comment and share the wealth.
In the mean time....one mean ride. Specialized's Myka 29er.
Monday, February 21, 2011
So what’s a slightly out of shape biker to do? Here are some options:
- Continue to procrastinate- it has worked so far
- Read blog posts about how to get in shape for bike season- check plus- you’ve started this one already. See, I knew you could do it.
- Buy a bunch of cycling gear- This way even if you aren’t the fastest or most nimble rider you at least look like you are.
- Join the gym- Not sure how this is really connected to cycling, but surely looking at yourself in the mirror everyday for thirty minutes as you run on a rat wheel- I mean treadmill- will inspire you to get your wheels on the road.
- Start writing about how awesome of a rider you are on bike forums- wait there are already enough bike geeks doing that already. You are better than that.
- Look at old pictures of yourself riding- see you used to ride before it got all sub zero and snowy and stuff.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Either way- entertaining.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
from @Easternmntn on Twitter
Also an endlessly valuable resource: Winter Campers website.