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

Shakedown #1 and Tarptent Saddle 2

Shakedown hikes and backpacking trips are the best way you can train yourself to become a confident backpacker or day hiker. They provide a low pressure setting for you to practice new skills, learn how to use your gear, plan a hike, and develop the physical fitness required to hike all day with a backpack. -Section … Continue reading Shakedown #1 and Tarptent Saddle 2

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!

Minnehaha Falls to Pike Island, Fort Snelling State Park

TRIP DETAILS  LENGTH 10 miles DIFFICULTY Easy but very icy today (bring ice traction) DATE  March 24, 2018 MAIN FEATURES  53 ft Minnehaha Falls and Pike Island My 18th hike of the 2018 52 Hike Challenge started at Minnehaha Falls Regional Park.   One of Minneapolis' oldest and most popular parks features a majestic 53-foot waterfall, limestone bluffs, and river … Continue reading Minnehaha Falls to Pike Island, Fort Snelling State Park

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

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.  

2017 Year in Review

On January 1st 2017, I started this blog, as a place to write about my outdoor adventures, learning experiences, failures and encourage others to get outside at any skill level. In 2017, I also challenged myself to ask, before starting or continuing various activities, "Does this make me feel strong? Or will this build strength?” … Continue reading 2017 Year in Review

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

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!

Afton State Park

TRIP DETAILS  LENGTH 6.5 miles DIFFICULTY Easy to Moderate (hills) DATE  Sept 30, 2017 MAIN FEATURES  Training Hills, Prairies, Bluffs & the St Croix River I was a little surprised to see that I have not reviewed Afton State Park yet!  It's my go to park when I want some hills and variety of terrain without driving very far … Continue reading Afton State Park

Myre Big Island State Park and Hennesey Hammock Gear Review

TRIP DETAILS  LENGTH 8 miles (6.2 mile Hiking Club) DIFFICULTY Easy wide trails. DATE  Sept 10, 2017 MAIN FEATURES  Wildflowers, Pelicans, 16 miles of trail and sleeping on an island. This summer started out full of hiking in preparation for our trip to Glacier National Park and ended with weeks of biking, camping, kayaking and paddle boarding.  It's been … Continue reading Myre Big Island State Park and Hennesey Hammock Gear Review

Minneopa and Flandrau State Parks

TRIP DETAILS  LENGTH 10 miles (3 hikes in two parks) DIFFICULTY Easy wide trails. DATE  June 10, 2017 MAIN FEATURES  Bison, Minneopa Waterfall, Prairie views Today's post is a DOUBLE FEATURE and marks hike #25 of my 52 hike challenge, almost half-way there!  I wasn't able to join the scouts camping this weekend, so I met them down at … Continue reading Minneopa and Flandrau State Parks

CureSearch Ultimate Hike – Superior Hiking Trail

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.       … Continue reading CureSearch Ultimate Hike – Superior Hiking Trail

Isle Royale Part 2: Training Hikes

As promised, here is the follow up post to Part 1 with a few helpful tips on how we prepared physically for our trip! Here's a .pdf of our hikes with miles and weights if you want to print it  Isle Royale Hike.  These trails are all gems on their own, but considering our large group, our trail selections … Continue reading Isle Royale Part 2: Training Hikes

Backpacking in Isle Royale National Park: Part 1

I’m pretty stoked to finally get to share about our backpacking trip last year to Isle Royale National Park! There a ton of resources out there to help you plan your trip, but my perspective is of a thrifty Scout Leader that went with a large group of youth backpacking for a week. The trip went … Continue reading Backpacking in Isle Royale National Park: Part 1

What do 4,313 iPhone photos, 1,368 emails, the DNR and NPS have in common?

Who cares, let's go outside!  I'm supposed to be working on my 40 bags in 40 days decluttering project tonight by going through my iPhone photos and exploding inbox.  I'm terrible with cleaning up my phone...so, here I am procrastinating. As I look over at my empty backpack, hanging there, in the corner, staring at me...and I'm trying to sort though photos...I have to just give … Continue reading What do 4,313 iPhone photos, 1,368 emails, the DNR and NPS have in common?

Crow Wing State Park

  TRIP DETAILS  LENGTH 2.3 miles DIFFICULTY Easy DATE  May 27, 2016 MAIN FEATURES  Historic frontier town, Mississippi River, St. Francis Xavier Chapel Part 2 of our two for one Hiking Club Trail adventure took us from Charles A. Lindbergh State Park to Crow Wing State Park!  Hiking Club Trail #21 & 22...only 46 trails to go! Crow Wing is a … Continue reading Crow Wing State Park

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

TRIP DETAILS  LENGTH 2.5 miles DIFFICULTY Easy DATE  May 27, 2016 MAIN FEATURES  Pink Trilliums and Historic Lindbergh landing site Woke up this Friday of Memorial Day weekend, got the kids off to school, made a huge to-do list for myself and then decided to BURN IT DOWN (metaphorically, of course) and grab another Hiking Club Trail.  Woke up a … Continue reading Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Sakatah Lake State Park

TRIP DETAILS  LENGTH 2.5 miles DIFFICULTY Easy, a few rolling hills DATE  February 12, 2017 MAIN FEATURES  Ice, ice baby.  Biking and paddling in the Summer. Sakatah State Park is an 842 acre wilderness area on the shore of Sakatah Lake.  The Hiking Club trail and other trails in the park are fairly short, but you will have access to … Continue reading Sakatah Lake State Park