Campsgiving at William O’Brien State Park

We're back from an refreshing Thanksgiving weekend trip to William O'Brien State Park! It's been a while since I've had a cold weather overnight and it was great to dust off the skills and gear to extend the camping season. This 3 in 1 post covers: Our Free Park Friday/Opt Outside group hike on the … Continue reading Campsgiving at William O’Brien State Park

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!

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.

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.

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

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!

The North Country Trail 100 Mile Challenge

Look what came in the mail yesterday! If you have been following along here, you will know that after finishing the Superior Hiking Trail in long sections last year, I was looking for a new adventure.  2020 was going to be all about the North Country Trail and exploring Minnesota's most remote and rugged trails … Continue reading The North Country Trail 100 Mile Challenge

How to Plan a Hike…and what is a hike anyway?

This week, a friend asked "what's the difference between a walk and a hike?" I've heard this question before, but even now...when things seem to be changing on the daily...the answer is still the same "Well, that's up to you..." When I signed up for my first 52 Hike Challenge, in 2017, my personal definition … Continue reading How to Plan a Hike…and what is a hike anyway?

The 10 Essentials – What’s In My Pack

The first time I'd heard of the 10 essentials was in our son's Scout Handbook.   It was this succinct list of survival items that every Scout should have on outdoor adventures in case of an emergency.  Both of our boys assembled their items, and stowed them in their packs (just in case).   Eventually, I would … Continue reading The 10 Essentials – What’s In My Pack

Staying Grounded and Focused in Uncertain Times

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Mr. Rogers Hi.  Everybody doing ok?  I feel like I've gotten an email from every company I've ever given my email to this … Continue reading Staying Grounded and Focused in Uncertain Times

Go Outside! How to Get Out and Stay Out

"GO OUTSIDE WITH THE REST OF THE WILD ANIMALS!!" -Mom Time to Hike! Last month at our "Unpacking Your Hiking Hesitations"  Clinic at Midwest Mountaineering, Ruth and I were asked a question: “How do you make time for hiking?” I responded almost automatically: “you make time for the things you love”.  But the minute those words … Continue reading Go Outside! How to Get Out and Stay Out

Backcountry Hygiene: How to Pee, Poop and Period Like a Pro!

Now that I've got you with that fantastic title, its time to talk facts about bodily functions on the trail and how you can keep yourself and the outdoors sparkling clean! I am asked about this topic often (usually in private messages, whispered conversations and in the cover of darkness), so I'm bringing it out … Continue reading Backcountry Hygiene: How to Pee, Poop and Period Like a Pro!

Tick Prevention on the Trail

I remember finding a wood tick stuck on the hairline of my neck over 30 years ago when I first moved to Minnesota.   I was a teenager from Southern California and didn't even know what a tick was!   Its the only time I've ever had an attached tick and can still feel it... Today's post … Continue reading Tick Prevention on the Trail

WRFA/CPR/AED-Wilderness First Aid and Rule #1 for Staying Safe in the Wild.

Wilderness and Remote First Aid/CPR/AED certification is 18 hours of intense training packed into two or three days. As a leader of High Adventure Treks with Scouts and as a Women Who Hike Ambassador, I am required to take it every two years. Last weekend was my 4th time going through the course and I … Continue reading WRFA/CPR/AED-Wilderness First Aid and Rule #1 for Staying Safe in the Wild.

Defend Your Joy! 5 Winter Amusements to Try Before Spring!

“Defending My Joy” is a term I have been using for the last few years whenever I have to take action to keep things positive. Protecting and defending your joy is an act of resistance. This post shares some fun and silly examples of ways I’ve found joy during some of the coldest and snowiest Winters in Minnesota. I hope it will bring you a smile as well!

Roam if you want to… Women’s Winter Retreat at Roam Adventure Basecamp!

...Oh girl dancing down those [snowy] and [icy] trails Take it hip to hip, rocket through the wilderness... -Roam, The B-52's Back from a Winter retreat with Thrive Women's Outdoor Adventures! We got close to a foot of snow in parts of Northern Wisconsin, played in single digit temps and had the trails to ourselves. … Continue reading Roam if you want to… Women’s Winter Retreat at Roam Adventure Basecamp!

Crescent Moon EVA Foam Snowshoe Gear Review

As a lover of both snowshoeing and design, I have been following the development of the first EVA foam snowshoe for about a year.  They have a very different look and construction compared to a traditional metal or plastic snowshoe, and the binding is greatly simplified.   In talking to the President and co-founder of Crescent … Continue reading Crescent Moon EVA Foam Snowshoe Gear Review