The Long and Short of Insulated Skirts and How to Target Your Layering System

Pants are cool - if you love em, wear em! But I have found, as my body shape changes with age and new hiking and biking muscles, that pants are not the well fitting friend that they once were. Skirts and kilts provide a freedom of movement and fit that pants do not. But the bigger reason for adding an insulated skirt to your closet is that you can target areas that tend to get colder and add a new tool to your layering toolbox. I find that that the fronts of my thighs, rear end and middle get the coldest first, so having another layer over these spots keeps me happy. Having a separate layer of protection provides options for different conditions. Check out this post to read more about insulated skirts, kilts and wraps and a few more ideas of how to stay toasty this winter.

How to Enjoy Winter….just embrace it, they said…

It is currently -16 degrees, -32 degrees with the windchill as I write this. One of the things I've come to love about Minnesotans is their fondness for talking about the weather. Re-visitng my journey towards learning to love winter and rounding up some of my best winter posts was a fun to do over a hot cup of coffee on this cold morning. I hope these stories inspire you to keep venturing outside without worrying about freezing your buns off.

2020 Year in Review

Happy 4th Birthday to Wandering Pine!   It's always fun to look back to see how things have changed and recap the highlights of the year.  The Saturday mornings that I used to dedicate to writing have been spent walking outside, working in the garden and quietly wedged into my reading chair with the dog. I … Continue reading 2020 Year in Review

Reflections of a 2020 Groundskeeper

The numbers are in! The Groundskeepers team picked up over 6,348 pounds of trash from our public trails and waterways around the country this year! That's a total 16,729 pounds of trash since 2017! Whoa. Last year, I was interviewed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune about being part of the 2019 Granite Gear Groundskeeper Crew. We … Continue reading Reflections of a 2020 Groundskeeper

Gear Review: Winter Foot Traction!

This review covers 4 different types of Wandering Pine-tested winter foot traction, including an affordable DIY Screw Shoe option! After a few falls on the ice, I consider winter foot traction a critical piece of winter gear. I also gave traction devices a special shout out in my 2020 Outdoor Gift Guide because they are a practical and thoughtful gift for anyone living in a cold climate.

Wandering Pine 2020 Outdoor Gift Guide!

Welcome to the 2020 Wandering Pine Holiday Gift Guide! Featuring gifting options for your favorite outdoorsy peeps (or treat yourself!) at under $25, under $50 and even gently used gear! Julie Andrews’ classic ‘Favorite things’ is playing on repeat in my brain and I’m stoked to share the great gift ideas and sales going on … Continue reading Wandering Pine 2020 Outdoor Gift Guide!

Fall Camping in Iowa | Ledges State Park

Read about our trip to one of Iowa’s oldest and most popular State Parks - Ledges State park in Madrid Iowa! We followed the Fall colors, camped in the remote hike in campsites, cooked over the fire and managed to fend off some persistent and well-fed raccoons!

Fall Backpacking in the BWCA | Sioux Hustler Trail: Part 2

Part two of our Fall Backpacking trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) on the Sioux Hustler Trail! The trail is muddy, rocky, re-routed by several beaver dams and does not include any navigational signing. Water is plentiful, as the trail circumvents numeroous lakes. Moose are common in the area, and if you listen closely, you may hear wolves or coyotes howling at night. Check out our Youtube video for more on campsite conditions and tales from the trail! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91MRNWESgUg&t=82s

Fall Backpacking in the BWCA | Sioux Hustler Trail: Part 1

Part one of our Fall Backpacking trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) on the Sioux Hustler Trail! The Sioux–Hustler Trail is a rugged hiking loop in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border. This area is mostly known for its paddling trips, and traveling in the Fall was an optimal time to visit due to lack of bugs, cool weather and pristine views of the forest changing color. Check out our Youtube video for more on campsite conditions and tales from the trail! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91MRNWESgUg&t=82s

Hiking Merit Badge 20 Miler | Minneapolis Parks

HIKE DETAILS LENGTH 20 milesDIFFICULTY mostly flat and paved, with dirt options and a few hillsDATE HIKED October 4, 2020MAIN FEATURES Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, Theodore Wirth Park, Chain of Lakes. Start location - 2601 Theodore Wirth Parkway:  Sunset Park Last week, some friends and I backpacked the 35ish mile Sioux Hustler Trail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It … Continue reading Hiking Merit Badge 20 Miler | Minneapolis Parks

Family Glamping at Lake Bemidji State Park

This post highlights our family trip to Lake Bemidji State Park and its Hiking Club Trail, Itasca State Park, the iconic Paul & Babe Statue and some musings on glamping in a sweet little camper we rented through Outdoorsy. Hope you enjoy! Glamping glamp·ing/ˈɡlampiNG/nouna form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those … Continue reading Family Glamping at Lake Bemidji State Park

SHT Trail-a-versary and Hiking Southern Minnesota Video!

Read about my one year trail-a-versary of completing the Superior Hiking Trail and more about hiking Southern Minnesota State Parks. New video on the Wandering Pine Youtube channel.

Hiking Southern Minnesota – Part 2: Pipestone National Monument, Split Rock Creek and Lake Shetek State Parks

Continued from part 1: Kilen Woods, Fort Ridgely and Blue Mounds State Parks! The prairie has a unique beauty and history that I am still learning more about. I'm also realizing the importance of knowing our history, in order to learn from it and avoid repeating it. So, if you are like me, and history … Continue reading Hiking Southern Minnesota – Part 2: Pipestone National Monument, Split Rock Creek and Lake Shetek State Parks

Hiking Southern Minnesota | Part 1: Kilen Woods, Fort Ridgely and Blue Mounds State Park

Garden Update! The garden is bursting and these late summer days are filled with working at home and in the yard. I'm writing this post on a family trip to another beautiful MN State Park, in a cute little rental camper, early in the morning while everyone is still asleep. No work or chores for … Continue reading Hiking Southern Minnesota | Part 1: Kilen Woods, Fort Ridgely and Blue Mounds State Park

Wandering Pine Gear Picks: Sun Protection!

I'd like to interrupt my regularly scheduled post about our Southern Minnesota State Park tour to talk to you about a topic near and dear to my heart (and face...and hands...and everywhere else the sun touches): SUN PROTECTION. This week, I'm fresh off a trip to the prairie AND the dermatologist!  With bandaids still covering … Continue reading Wandering Pine Gear Picks: Sun Protection!

Minnesota North Shore Weekend! Part 2: Tettegouche State Park, Superior Hiking Trail and a BEAR at camp!

Continued from Part 1... Split Rock to Beaver Bay TRIP DETAILS LENGTH 11 miles:  camped at Tettegouche State ParkDIFFICULTY Moderate, elevation and sun exposureDATE August 9, 2020MAIN FEATURES Classic Superior Hiking Trail up and down elevation with spectacular views of Lake Superior.  We parked a car in the rear lot of Cove Point Lodge, which connects directly to a 2 … Continue reading Minnesota North Shore Weekend! Part 2: Tettegouche State Park, Superior Hiking Trail and a BEAR at camp!

Lake Superior North Shore Weekend! Part 1: Temperance River State Park

Last weekend's garden harvest This has been a year of adjusting and re-adjusting, and there are days that I'd rather just turn this into a page about gardening. In many ways, this shift has been good for me... causing me to find ways to enjoy a deeper and more intentional life close to home. My … Continue reading Lake Superior North Shore Weekend! Part 1: Temperance River State Park

Beaver Creek Valley and Great Bluffs State Park

Trip report from a quick overnight to Beaver Creek Valley and Great Bluffs State Park to enjoy scenic Southern Minnesota and Hike the Hiking Club Trails.

Superior Hiking Trail: “Jester” Section Hiker Podcast

Earlier this Spring, I had the opportunity to talk to Julie from the "Jester" Section Hikers Podcast about my Superior Hiking Trail LASH. We had recorded an earlier session in the winter, but something happened to the audio, so we got to do it again! She was a joy to talk to and I left … Continue reading Superior Hiking Trail: “Jester” Section Hiker Podcast

Listening, Learning, Healing

My heart has been heavy and the things I would normally write about here have felt irrelevant during this time of upheaval and sorrow. The killing of George Floyd has become a catalyst for change, felt around the world, exposing systemic racism and police brutality in a way that can no longer be ignored...all in … Continue reading Listening, Learning, Healing