Whats In My Pack? 2021 Isle Royale Gear List!

The trip report is up, so let's talk about gear next! This post covers my 5 day packing list, weights (according to my scale) and some of the conditions I prepared for on this trip. Be sure to also check out the accompanying gear video I shot on our last night of the trek, where … Continue reading Whats In My Pack? 2021 Isle Royale Gear List!

Rock Harbor to Windigo | Backpacking Isle Royale National Park End to End

We're back from our 5 day trip to the Isle and wanted to get this trip report out, in one long segment in case anyone is heading out there soon and needs up to date conditions. We were given a current condition report from friends prior to leaving and it was super helpful. Please check … Continue reading Rock Harbor to Windigo | Backpacking Isle Royale National Park End to End

Happy Feet! Foot Care on the Trail Part 2

This two part post covers foot care tips for hiking, backpacking and off the trail. Check out Part 1 for pre-hike foot care tips. Topics covered in part two: my journey to finding the right footwear, daily foot prep, foot first aid kit and a list of my favorite foot gear. Our feet can take us wonderful places, but without proper care, they can be a real pain. So let's start with some things I learned the hard way, so hopefully you don't have to!

Treat Your Feet! Foot Care for the Trail: Part 1

This two part post covers hiking and backpacking foot care tips for both on and off the trail. Topics covered: selecting footwear, prepping your feet, checking your gear and my favorite foot gear. Our feet can take us wonderful places, here are a few ways I keep mine happy! Happy hiking!

Groundskeeping Season is Here! (again!)

The great thaw is upon us here in Minnesota, which the means Winter’s trash is making it’s BIG reveal and it’s time to kick off Groundskeeping season! In case you missed it, or you are new to this space… Since 2019, I have been part of a team of amazing humans who are committed to leaving public spaces better by picking up trash, following the Leave No Trace (LNT) principles and spreading the word! In this post, you can also read about my submission for the 2021 Kula Cloth Design Contest and how to support my work with your vote. Thank you!

Emily Ford Completes the Ice Age Trail!

"No matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, the outdoors is for you. And I think everybody should be able to enjoy it."Emily Ford, Duluth News Tribune We had the privilege of witnessing Emily Ford and Diggins the sled dog make history this weekend by reaching the Western … Continue reading Emily Ford Completes the Ice Age Trail!

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