5 Gear Hacks and How to Lighten Your Load Without Breaking the Bank

Lately I have been doing less writing about the trail and more about skills I've learned as we prepare for our first thru hike. We are counting down the days until we hit the Superior Hiking Trail, so gear and food have been top of mind. Still staying as active as possible but MYOG (making … Continue reading 5 Gear Hacks and How to Lighten Your Load Without Breaking the Bank

5 Things I Learned This Week

I usually write about trails and parks I've visited, but this week, I'm highlighting a few useful things that I learned off the trail.  Each of these could probably be a post on their own. Last week I met the one and only Keith Myrmel, gave a Boy Scout a tampon to stick up his nose, … Continue reading 5 Things I Learned This Week

Lake Louise and Forestville Mystery Cave State Parks| Part 1

LAKE LOUISE STATE PARK TRIP DETAILS  LENGTH 1.3 mile hiking club trail DIFFICULTY Easy and flat DATE  June 22, 2018 MAIN FEATURES  Iowa River and Lake Louise-blood thirsty mosquitoes     I left work a little early on Friday to hike my 37th Minnesota Hiking Club trail and get a head start on meeting the Scouts at Forestville Mystery … Continue reading Lake Louise and Forestville Mystery Cave State Parks| Part 1

Field Trip to Winona, MN | Home of Enlightened Equipment and Whitewater State Park

Most of my hikes in May started early with the sunrise.   When people ask me how I have time to hike, I tell them, you make time for the things you love to do...this means going to bed early and getting up before the sun sometimes.   Setting goals for myself such as the … Continue reading Field Trip to Winona, MN | Home of Enlightened Equipment and Whitewater State Park

Gear Review: Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt

Here it is!   My first shot at writing a dedicated gear review.   I have written quick reviews and recommendations embedded in trip reports that mostly express discovering nifty things or gear I found a good deal on…but wanted to challenge myself to focus on writing a review about ONE piece of gear.  So why not … Continue reading Gear Review: Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt

Backpacking and Day Hiking on the North Shore – Part 2: Split Rock, Palisade Head and George Crosby Manitou State Park.

How do you describe the beauty of a place where heaven and earth join seamlessly?   Or the mind trap of telling yourself over and over again that this massive body is not the ocean or an endless sea?  Or the magnetic-siren-pull of her waters that make you want to jump in and crash like … Continue reading Backpacking and Day Hiking on the North Shore – Part 2: Split Rock, Palisade Head and George Crosby Manitou State Park.

Backpacking on the North Shore – Part 1: Testing My New Pack and SHT Packing List!

I'm still mentally and spiritually unpacking my trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior.   It was so beautiful, I'm at a bit of a loss for words, but they will eventually come.  So, lucky for you, this will be a two part post! One of the first things I did when I decided … Continue reading Backpacking on the North Shore – Part 1: Testing My New Pack and SHT Packing List!

Making Your Own Ultralight Backpack!

Have you ever thought about making your own backpacking gear?  This week's post is about my experience sewing an ultralight backpack.   There are lots of reasons to do it yourself, including:  financial, weight savings, customization and just learning something new! If you have been reading in the last 6 months, you already know that … Continue reading Making Your Own Ultralight Backpack!

Fort Snelling State Park: 4 miler turned 10 miler

TRIP DETAILS  LENGTH 4-10 miles DIFFICULTY Easy with a little ice DATE  March 17, 2018 MAIN FEATURES  Historic Fort Snelling and Pike Island My 16th hike of the 2018 52 Hike Challenge started at Fort Snelling State Park.   It is a park that I have been to many times during all 4 seasons and can easily be modified … Continue reading Fort Snelling State Park: 4 miler turned 10 miler

Urban Snowshoeing and Tips for Getting Started!

Snowshoeing is my favorite winter activity because of the access it brings.   Unlike hiking or skiing, I can walk right off the trail, alone into the woods and feel strong and confident.   I don’t feel this same desire to venture off trail in the summer when the woods are thick, shaded and full of obstacles. I also don’t hike at night in the warmer months, but a moonlit snowshoe stomp is one of my favorite things.   I feel a unique combination of safety and freedom when I am snowshoeing in the open woods, on an empty trail bathed in winter’s blue light.

10 Winter Hacks to Keep You Warm

Expanding on my previous post,  The California Transplant's Guide to Winter Layers,  here's a quick list of 10 hacks and skills to help you stay warm this winter!

A California Transplant’s Guide to Winter Layers

If you know how to layer, it’s never too cold to go outside. So here are a few tips, whether you are sub zero, sub 60 or completely buried in snow, to help ya get through the next cold snap.  

Winter Camping at Fred C. Andersen Scout Camp

Another year at Winter Scout Camp and a review of two different sleep set ups I used: Hammock and Solo Tent.  Winter camping takes more planning and effort but refines my outdoor skills each time I do it.

Hike 52 Adventure Part 1 – Lake Superior

"Those who have never seen Superior get an inadequate idea by hearing it spoken of as a lake Superior is a sea It breeds storms and rain and fog like a sea. It is cold, masterful, and dreaded." -Rev. George Grant, 1872 If you have been following along on the 2017 Wandering Pine journey, you … Continue reading Hike 52 Adventure Part 1 – Lake Superior

Ursack Major Bear Bag Review

Spent some time this morning researching and testing out the Ursack Major AllWhite Bear Bag.  What else are you going to do on a Saturday morning when the house is still clean from the holiday and you #opt(ed)outside all day on Black Friday?  Note: The Ursack is now made in black but works the same. … Continue reading Ursack Major Bear Bag Review

Moarrr Gearrr… and my new favorite backpacking book!

"Fear is heavy..." -Hiking Dude In my quest for updating to lightweight gear without breaking the bank for next year's SHT Thru hike, I've been selling or giving away the older stuff and picking up new gear at gear swaps or sales.  See last week's post on 10 ways to rock an REI Garage sale! … Continue reading Moarrr Gearrr… and my new favorite backpacking book!

10 Tips for Scoring at an REI Garage Sale!

Sometimes I joke that my initials should just be “X” because all of my gear is marked with a black “X” signifying it was bought at an REI garage sale. I just got back from one before our hike to Lebanon Hills this weekend and found a few things I needed for our SHT hike. … Continue reading 10 Tips for Scoring at an REI Garage Sale!

Superfog & Snow Predictions

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields (and windshields), that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass … Continue reading Superfog & Snow Predictions

First solo at Afton State Park’s best-kept secret!

TRIP DETAILS  LENGTH N/A DIFFICULTY Easy with some elevation DATE  October 20, 2017 MAIN FEATURES  St Croix River, Fall Foliage, Remote camping On Friday, after a week of the “me too” movement, reading discouraging responses to the Boy Scout announcement allowing girls in the program, this Outside Magazine article about women alone in the woods, and years of ‘helpful' unsolicited … Continue reading First solo at Afton State Park’s best-kept secret!

DIY Fancy Feast Stove

Here's a quick post of a little project I did tonight.  I've been thinking about how to lighten my pack and this is one way to take a bit of weight out.  I have a Snow Peak Giga Power and MSR Reactor Stove that I dearly love, but wanted to explore how to simplify my … Continue reading DIY Fancy Feast Stove