Sharing an active lifestyle

I've recently been contemplating how important it is to share our talents, hobbies, and enjoyment of active lifestyles onto the youth in our lives.



With today being all things tech, the way children grow up has changed significantly.  With technology there are lots of great things that some of us never had growing up, that will come second nature to kids today.  But those things, if not careful can take up too much time and some can miss out the amazing fun actives we cherished in our own lives.

Just like we may look to these younger generations to bring us into the next best and brightest in the technology front, they will need us to show them and teach them to put down the screen and appreciate an active lifestyle and the opportunities that spending time in the outdoors can bring.



As I spend time with my nieces and nephews, as much as I love taking the time to play video games with them, and let them show me the coolest YouTube video they found. I also find myself enjoying it more when I show them the things I loved to do growing up and still do. Funny thing about that, they enjoy their time with me more in the outdoors than when we are in front of a screen. Whether that is taking them hiking, fishing, teaching them to love the outdoors as much as I do, or just playing tag or other similar backyard games with them, there are so many ways I have enjoyed showing them my lives loves.

Why am I this way, why do I love and feel the need to share? Possibly, because of my incredible parents who when I was younger, would take me out on a bike and let me tag along while they got their long runs in.  They’d take me and my siblings out hiking to explore as many canyons and trails as possible.  We spent more time being active as a family than anything else.  To this day, those are the memories I cherish and remember the most above all others!

What I have noticed is when kids are active with you they talk more, share more and tell more about their lives.  I learn more about them while I am taking them out hiking for a few hours than I do playing hours of video games.  



Not only that, but I am earning their respect and trust and helping build an active foundation in their lives.  At the same time sharing this time with them is also a bonus for me, I am able to have more people to take with me to do the things I love too.  Who knows but these shared experiences and fun active times, might be the same things they choose to pass onto their own future generations too!  

So if you don't already, I challenge others who have children, nieces and nephews or kids around them.  To remember the fun times you had growing up, and do all you can to bring those same opportunities and shared experiences into the generations around you. It may be hard to pull them away from the screen, but when you do, they'll probably love you even more for it. Regardless, it's worth it!

Snowshoeing for Intermediate


Last week, I wrote about snowshoeing for beginners. But if you've been renting them for a while, or know this is a sport you are going to love to do often, it's time to look into buying your own pair. Here are a few of my suggestions in moving forward in your snowshoe adventures.



BUYING SNOWSHOES

Hopefully, you've rented a few pairs first, and know what you'd like to buy. If not make sure to remember a few things.

To buy, you're looking at $100 - $300 or higher depending on the brand. Generally, most come as a package so you'll get the shoes, poles and a storage bag for them.

Generally, if you visit a store you'd think you would have a salesperson who would know exactly how to help you. While we'd like to think this is true, generally the person working there is a high school or college student who may never have done it before. So here are a few tips and suggestions to make sure you are purchasing the right pair.

One thing to know is there are basically 3 different types of snowshoes. Regular hiking, backcountry hiking, and aerobic or shoes for running. Now within these 3 types, there are lots and lots of options and brands.

TIP: Snowshoes will work with nearly every boot. You don't need to buy a special boot unless you want to. Any good waterproof boot will work great! I say use your waterproof hiking boots your feet are already used to and comfortable in.



Don't just buy the shoe for your current weight.
Remember, you'll be carrying water, a backpack with gear for a day. So think about the maximum weight you may be carrying and make sure to buy a shoe for that weight, not just your standing in a towel on the scale weight.

Buy a snowshoe with a deck for what you plan to venture into.
Longer the deck, the better for deeper snow. Shorter the deck, easier to move around and great for more packed in snow.

Buy traction for what you plan to do. If you don't venture out and do much climbing around minimal traction may work great for you. But if you plan to hit up icy areas, do some climbing, you'll want more traction.  Also, consider heel lifts if you plan to do lots of climbing to make the climbs feel more natural.



Poles
Generally, they'll come with your purchase. But you will want poles with large baskets on them.



OTHER GEAR TO BUY OR BRING

I don't recommend going into the backcountry when you are first learning about snowshoeing, because there is a lot more to consider. But once you get going with the sport, it might be your next step.

So, if you do go into the backcountry plan ahead!

* Know your route and what the terrain is under the snow.
* Check avalanche danger reports for the area your going into.
* Make sure you have an avalanche beacon and shovel.

If you go into the backcountry it's recommended EVERYONE in your snowshoe party carry a beacon and light shovel in their back, just in case. A beacon can be expensive, but it could save your life, and you might find yours or someone else's life worth the price! If you can't afford a beacon, stick to the trails and avoid the backcountry until you can purchase one.



The list could be different depending on your hike. In general here is a quick list of items to consider.

* Avalanche Beacon
* Light folding shovel
* Waterproof boots
* Waterproof breathable jacket
* Waterproof breathable pants
* Parka, coat, or vest
* Fleece pants
* Hat (Wool or Fleece)
* Buff or Face Cover
* Goggles
* Sled (For gear, or for going downhill LOL)
* Chapstick
* Sunscreen
* Backpack to put your gear in
* Wool socks - Never cotton
* Gaitors to help keep snow out of your boots in deeper snow

If you're going into the backcountry for longer distances you should always plan ahead in case you run into troubles.

* First aid kit
* Matches
* Foil blanket
* Extra food, water
* Extra clothes (in case what your wearing gets wet)
* Headlamp or flashlight


TIP: Stay dry!!! Dress in layers, you will find you will get warm pretty quick and you will want to be able to reduce your layers easily when you start sweating.
You'll frequently find if you are out all day, you may be in and out of several of your layers depending on when you warm up, wind chills and other factors.



BE PREPARED

Chances are you'll be fine. But avalanches are only one danger to be aware of when snowshoeing if you go into the backcountry here are a few (not all) of the things you should think about.

* Slips and falls through frozen water
* Frostbite
* Know how to build a snow cave
* Be mindful of weather conditions and oncoming storms
* Navigation, GPS, Maps - Know where you are going and how to get out.
* Deep snow - Be prepared even in snowshoes to have to plow through several feet
* Snow or air pockets you may fall through
* Understand your limitations - You may be used to hiking 10 miles, but there is no shame at cutting back for 1-3 miles if you're struggling in the snow.

* Never go alone - Always tell someone when you're expected to be done and where you are going. Don't venture too far from you're planned route that you told someone who wasn't going with you where you were going. In case something happens you'll have a better chance of being found if you're where you said you'd be! You can always go down a new route next time!



CONCLUSION

This post could be a lot longer, but I wanted to keep it informative and still readable. I highly recommend researching the sport more if you plan to get into backcountry snowshoeing.

Use common sense! It's also wise to remember your preparation and how you act in the outdoors is important. If you do get into trouble and rescue has to come and get you, while it is their job and most do it because they enjoy helping others, your carelessness may put them or others in your hiking party in danger.

Snowshoeing is a really fun sport and if you pay attention and plan ahead it's also a very safe sport.
However, the snow can cover hidden dangers, because of that it is always wise to be prepared.

Additionally, if you really love the sport, consider taking it to another level and entering a snowshoe race!

Happy snowshoeing my friends, be safe!

Snowshoeing Tips for Beginners

It's winter which means snowshoeing for those who enjoy hiking year round. If you haven't done it before, it is great exercise and a lot of fun. I'm going to do a little series on Snowshoeing. This first post is, the basics for beginners.


FINDING THE RIGHT SNOWSHOES

Before you buy, you'll want to rent several pairs first. Get a feel for them, try different brands and kinds out. They can be fairly inexpensive to rents. In my area, it costs between $6-$9 a day for the shoes and poles.

This is actually the best way to do find the right pair for you, not one shoe workes for all and this way you'll less likely find yourself buying the wrong pair for the type of snowshoeing that you may eventually end up enjoying.

TIP: If you're not sure, try the flat terrain snowshoes first, they are a beginners snowshoe that works for most.

Make sure when you're renting, you're getting ones that are for your weight and the surface you plan to hike.

TIP: Minimal traction is great for flatter areas. But larger traction may be needed if you plan to climb mountains or do more hills.

TIP: Planning to do lots of hills? Look into the flip-up heel lifts, they can help prop your heel up and make it a little less of a workout to hike up steep terrain.



DO I NEED POLES?

Yes!
Most snowshoe rentals come with them, because yes you'll like having them for better balance.
Do you always need them? Probably not, but they can be handy to have around.
They are also helpful if you fall (which is rare) but they can make getting up much easier.

TIP: Buy or rent ski poles with ski baskets on them. Or if you have hiking poles, attach large ski baskets on them and you can make them work for both hiking and snowshoeing.

TIP: Falling is rare but most people fall when they cross their snowshoes in the back. When you first start out and before you pick up the pace, practice walking in them a little with your slightly wider stance until you get the hang of them.



ASK ABOUT THE BEST SNOWSHOE ROUTES

Never done it? Ask the outdoors store you are renting your snowshoes for tips on the best trails for beginners. Or look online and find local snowshoe groups that you can join. Generally, unless specified they'll pick safe locations and have checked for avalanche dangers.

TIP: How deep does the snow need to be? Some might say if there is snow they'll try it. But if you don't want to risk ruining the bindings or scraping up your traction I'd say 1 foot minimal, 2+ feet even better.

CHECK CONDITIONS

Before you go into the mountains (especially out west) you MUST check for avalanche dangers.
Even if you get the "clear" from your local news sources. You should always be aware of your surroundings and potential dangers.

Your snowshoes will keep you higher up on the snow. But if you are in deep powder or ungroomed trails you won't be walking on top of the snow.
You will sink, sometimes a foot or more, in fact in deep snow I've had to plow through 4 feet at times.



NEVER GO ALONE

Things can happen, even to the experienced hiker and snowshoeing while a very fun safe sport does bring a few potential dangers. So I will not promote hiking alone especially if you are a beginner, just in case something were to happen, you might need help.

If you need a snowshoe partner, look for local groups, trust me they are out there. Ask your friends, chances are if you are thinking of trying it out, you may have a family member or friend who is interested in trying it too!

WHAT TO BRING

I'll go into a full list in my next post, but as a beginner, I recommend gloves, hat, and dressing in layers some of which are waterproof. Always carry water to drink. You'll find snowshoeing can be quite the workout and you will get thirsty, and a snack is always nice.


Snowshoeing is a lot of fun and a fairly inexpensive sport.  Its basically hiking in the winter with a little more of a workout, so start out with less mileage and a little less aggressive pace than you would while on a regular hike and have fun and enjoy it!

Join me tomorrow where I'll go more in-depth for the person who is looking to purchase their own pair or venture into the backcountry or ungroomed trails.



DISTANCE

You may be used to hiking 3-10 miles and in great shape. But snowshoeing is an entirely different workout. There is no shame in going shorter distances, especially when renting and trying out different pairs to see what your body is most comfortable in.
Consider hiking 20 minutes in and out, or pick a short loop hike to start.
If you get done and feel great, you can always go again, or head in a different direction to go further. Don't get yourself in a risky situation or too far out without the energy to come back.
It happens all the time, I'm sure you are used to hearing about the rescues on the news and don't kid yourself even the experienced are part of those rescues, try not to be one of them!









Why you should explore on foot!

Sometimes you will find I will tell you where a location is. Other times, like today I will not share the exact location.



Why? Well if I did then it would just increase the traffic and eventually, these lesser-known sweet spots will be crowded with people like you find in the national parks, and pretty much any cool trail people tag on Instagram.



That and if I shared the location on my blog my small group of friends who go out to find these hidden gems would quit sharing their finds with me because I'd be a whistleblower of sorts LOL.



All I will tell you is, this location is in Utah and I visited it last month.



Sometimes the best locations do not have trails to get to. However, even without trails, you still need to be careful where you are walking to keep your trace to a minimum.



Sometimes, you have to be aware of your surroundings. Like this location for instance, if I hadn't known to look around I would have missed this beautiful unique natural feature.



My pictures don't exactly do it justice. Those drip marks down the rocks, that is the black crust top dripping like paint into the nearly pure white rock below.



The swirls, swipes, and drip marks of yellows and grays were quite brilliant. My camera didn't pick up how bright that yellow really was.



Now I could give you an entire geography lesson on how it was formed, but I will spare you and just say this about this location:
It may look like a slot canyon, but believe it or not, it actually isn't.
However, it was formed by winds, rains, and floods throughout the years.



I'll tell you another funny fact about this location. Thousands of people flock to an even more popular trail near here, for one of the worlds best bucket list items. They pass by this canyon on their way to it, never realizing it is there.
Why? A couple of reasons, one is the other location has become too popular and it's on nearly every hiker's bucket list.
But also, because if it's not on the maps, and there are no trail markers, and fewer people are tagging it on social media, it can still remain a slightly hidden gem.



Happy hiking my friends!
Hope you can find lesser-known treasures like this on your journeys!


Hello Again

It's been a while, I tried really hard to keep my blog up while I was going back to school and getting my degree's. But it ended up being kinda impossible, but I did my best.
Then I graduated thinking hey, maybe I'll get the blog going fulltime again, and to be honest I didn't have it in me. Facetime around a screen was less and less a priority, instead of exploring and enjoying life seemed like a better way to spend my free time.



It was easier to keep up my blogs Instagram account, and if you follow me there, you likely saw many wonderful images and adventures. I've also periodically popped up on my Twitter feed.

However, despite my absence, I have always wanted to get my blog going again. But decided if I was going to do it, things needed to be different.
I no longer have the time I did before to dedicate to it, so it was time for a new plan.

This blog will still be the adventures of me Runaway Bridal Planner, I am still a runner and I have high hopes of getting back to my 50 states and D.C. marathon goal this year, and I hope to share much of that on this blog.



Meanwhile, hiking has become a huge part of my life. I've always been a hiker, but a once a week hike turned into once a day and sometimes 2-3 times a day 50-60 miles hiked a week...

Granted, I did take a dream job for the past 8 months, and hiking and taking tourists on hiking, kayaking, SUP or other adventures was my job. (I know, it's hard work, but someone has to do it, LOL) Yes, they actually pay people to take people on adventures and it is by far the greatest job I will have ever had.

Catching up.

I mentioned above I've been a hiking guide in southern Utah, Zion National Park, Snow Canyon State Park were just a few of my cubicles, and my office views looked a lot like this each day.




When I wasn't hiking for work, I was hiking on my own. Why? Because life is better when it's explored. Here are a few of my favorite destinations I hit up.






I also was able to do a little of my other hobby and got some backpacking in, when you're 20-30 miles on foot into area's that you already have to drive 40-100 miles down dirt 4x4 roads, and you don't have to see anyone else for miles, well life is just the best then!





Of course, I also know how to kick back and relax doing a little SUP, Kayaking, Fishing or Camping.





It wasn't all play, I made sure to take some time to enlighten the mind with some reading.


Additionally, I have been an Ambassador in the Hikerbabes Community and started up the Southern Utah Hikerbabes chapter. We had some fun times on our group hikes each month.



The biggest change is, after living in Southern Utah in the hot desert sun for the past 2 1/2 years, I am putting my coat on and moving to northern Utah.


Literally two days after I was here, my sister took me out on a birthday snowshoe hike and I had a foot fall into a hole and have a slight hairline fracture. So for the first time in years, I am forced to take a short break. I'm hoping a few weeks off will help it heal. In the meantime, I was having some insane tendon problems since September, and this force of getting off my feet may be helping that as well. Sometimes things happen for a reason!

Regardless, I'm looking forward to starting up the new Wasatch and Uinta Mtn. Hikerbabes group here in Northern Utah. If you live near or vacation near these mountain ranges, you should join our group. You can find out group events and details on this page HERE.



As for my blog changes.
If you like outdoors, you will see many pictures and posts about exploring the north southwest. Additionally, tips and information about hiking.
Between going back to school for Recreation Management and being a Hiking Guide, I realized many even experienced hikers make some major and very stupid mistakes while out on the trails, so I think it will be fun to share my 2 cents on it and offer some tips.

For now, I may leave my comments on. However, in the future, I am toying with the idea of turning comments off. I want to think about that more first.

That's probably enough for now.  Happy Adventures friends!! I look forwad to being back!


Visiting The OLD MILL in Little Rock Arkansas

TRAVEL TUESDAY

Today, I'd like to take you to a portion of Little Rock, Arkansas.  To T.R. Pugh Memorial Park, to visit and tour the Old Mill.

If you love the movie Gone With The Wind, the Old Mill was used during the opening scene in this classic film.  The Mill was designed specifically for the film, and so were the grounds around.  Tree stumps, toadstool sculptures and branch interwoven bridges.  




I actually visited in the month of March which is why the tree's are for a lack of leave.  But it was enchanting even before the place turns into full bloom.  So if you visit another time of year, you'll see lush greens, and beautiful flowers just about everywhere.
You can go inside the building and walk around all of the grounds as well.





The above picture is one of the fun log and branch bridges.  It looks smaller in the picture, but it is actually large enough you can walk right through it.  Well at least my 5 foot,4 inches could:)





It looks kind of creepy in this picture, but this is the underneath of one of the larger bridges.  I'm sure a different time of year has this creepy bridge looking quite magical covered in vines and such.





The other side of the road, there is a small lake and additional trails to explore.

Overall, it's not a place I would take a specific trip to see, but if you are in the area it's definitely worth checking out! They run the Little Rock Marathon in the spring there, which is what I was doing when I visited, so if you're a racer in the area, such a short little stop for something to do before or after the race!



IF YOU GO:


*  Little Rock Arkansas, T.R. Pugh Memorial Park is the destination.  (3800 Lakeshore Drive in North Little Rock Arkansas.) 

*  This can be used as a stop on a road trip, or a fun place to grab an afternoon picnic.
*  It's free to the public.
*  Little Rock also has a nice Marathon & Half Marathon in March if you want to add that to your trip and use the Old Mill as an afternoon excursion.