Sunday, December 28, 2014

Today I Fell In Love with a Pair of Skis. Hello Sexy Dynastars! Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, California. GEAR REVIEW

Solitude Lift. Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, CA. Dynastar Cham Woman 87 Skis.
Today I fell in love. With a pair of skis. Made by a Frenchman.

Oh la la!

'Cause if i can't ski in the Alps, I'm going to click into a pair of skis made in the Alps... The rockin' Chamonix 87s. 

Officially: Dynastar Cham Women 87. $600-700 retail. 

Responsive. Snappy. I like a ski that responds - POW! - in a nano-second for quick arcs. It's the steep-and-skinny-trail Vermonter in me. 

They cut through the ice on the steeps. And plow over and through the unpredictable....

And, most importantly, they're FUN.

So much fun.

I'm psycheddddd to play on these this season. And will test them out in more variable terrain. PRAYING FOR POWDER... help me out, people. Pray!

Stay tuned for more & cheers mountain friends.

-Outdoorsy Mama

For more information:
-Funny: East Coast vs Out West Skiing - how to prepare for your family ski trip
-Cham Women 87
-If we lived in the French Alps & worked for a Ski Company
-Cham W 87 Review



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

We came upon a Christmas Tree.... Merry Christmas to All!

Mt Tamalpais State Park. Hiker's Christmas Tree. Hiking Trail. 

We came upon a Hiker's Christmas Tree. 

On a trail. On a mountain. In the middle of nowhere.

The star had fallen off. 

We commenced a star Search & Rescue... Little Cindy Lou Who. Who was much more than 2, jumped on his shoulders and lifted that star back to the top of our magical Hiker's Christmas Tree... Ahhh. Yes. "Christmas day will always be as long as we have we."*

May your Holidays be filled with stars and trees and graceful, grateful, gracious moments.

Love and giant THANKS for a great year,

Outdoorsy Mama & Family

"And he puzzled and he puzzed until his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!"*

* - The Grinch, Dr Seuss, of course...


Monday, December 8, 2014

Before You See the Movie “Wild” with Reese Witherspoon, Check Out “Tell It On The Mountain” As Billygoat, Eagle-Eye and Jackalope Tackle 2,600 Miles on the Pacific Crest Trail and Suck You into Their Honest, Emotional Stories. On DVD. REVIEW


Pacific Crest Trail Movie Review: Tell it on the Mountain
As I crash on the couch and gobble popcorn with one of my nine year olds, our eyes are wide as we watch each person in the gently absorbing “Tell It On the Mountain” bend and sway both physically and emotionally with the high water crossings, high snow pack trekking, crappy weather, gorgeous vistas, disgusting ingrown toenails, and other life shaping moments that the Pacific Crest Trail, the “PCT”, throws at them for 2,663 miles.

A lean, intense, uber-hiker “Scott” breaks Pacific Crest Trail records with his average 40 miles a day. Literally stomping through forest fires while saying merely: “OK, NOW, it’s starting to get hot.” And sweating through stomach-churning giardia attacks – while we watch in horror and admiration. I feel like grabbing his arm through the screen to advise: “Dude, take a nap!” Not this guy.
 
Pacific Crest Trail Map & Stats from the DVD cover
A young, endearing, engaged couple hikes from Mexico to Canada, and halfway through, stops to throw a full-blown wedding. The bride wears her traditional white, puffy dress and, I kid you not, her PCT backpack. Their honeymoon? The rest of the PCT to the Canadian border.

Grey-bearded, trail-name Billygoat lives on the PCT April through September because his wife, Meadow Mary, “lets him” – wink – and because it is where he feels most at home. You will fall for this scruffy sage, as Billygoat hikes not for the records or the numbers, but because of his pure, you-can-touch-it, soulful love of the trail.

There are other leading characters in the movie including Mother Nature, Trail Angles, and the PCT itself. How could they not play a leading role? And watching this group of hikers bump into them makes it an emotional and sensory evoking drama that has me burst: GET ME ON THE TRAIL, stat, people!

Our tripping-up-note was that the subtitles often went lower than our normal, wide-screen TV….? A technical note, possibly self-inflicted, that was really no big deal. Also, the movie can feel a little long. So we chopped it in half between two nights.

Overall, this movie will inspire experienced hikers and backpackers to get out on the trail again. And it will show less experienced outdoor folks the normal, grubby, real side of backpacking, with it’s peaks and valleys both mentally and physically and, for sure, geographically. 

I see the Pacific Crest Trail in my future, in my family’s future. Though maybe not the full 2,663 miles that spans from Mexico’s “Hola!” to Canada’s “Eh?” …. But I do think a High Sierras, Yosemite PCT section-hike is calling my name. 

Now, I just need to find a wise old sage named Billygoat or an ultra-intense Scott to guide me along the way. Or, maybe, maybe i'll just trek it solo...

“Tell It On The Mountain, Tales from the Pacific Crest Trail” $23-25
Released February 2013. Documentary. Available on DVD. 122 minutes.

-Outdoorsy Mama
PCT in your future?
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Disclaimer: Tell It On the Mountain was sent to me at no cost for review. Opinions, as always, are my own.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Micro-Adventure California. If You're Having a Blast or Cursing the Gods, It's a MicroAdventure. Dipsea. Rain. Wet. Slippery.

680 steps. Start of the Dipsea Trail, California. Micro Adventure. 
Rain. Wet. Slippery. 

The perfect micro-adventure morning. 

Three sets of the famous 680 stairs of the Dipsea Trail. 

Surrounded by redwoods. As tall as the masts of our Mayflower ships. And as wide as our stomachs after a massive Thanksgiving Day feast. You know we over-did it. A little. Or a lot.

I was motivated. Feet flying. 

If you're having a blast. Or cursing the gods, it's a Micro-Adventure. Make your own. 

-Outdoorsy Mama

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Congratulations to the Winner of the LifeStraw GO Water Bottle!

LifeStraw GO Water Bottle with Built-in Filter on the Snake River #HellHikeAndRaft

Woo hoo! 

Big congratulations to Eryn S. from Racine, Wisconsin. 

She's so psyched to win the LifeStraw GO Water Bottle and plans on bringing it with her on her next trip to Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota. 

Eryn and her family can literally just dip it into the water as they paddle along in the wilderness in their canoes to have access to fresh, safe drinking water.

A huge thank you to LifeStraw for partnering with Outdoorsy Mama in this giveaway and for their humanitarian efforts to bring clean water to school children in undeveloped countries. 

Remember, every LifeStraw purchase we make provides safe drinking water for these kids. It's a win-win. 

Cheers & we're grateful during this holiday season. 

-Outdoorsy Mama

For more information:
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
LifeStraw
LifeStraw Review

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gear Review & GIVEAWAY: Lifestraw Go Portable Water Bottle – Built-In Filter for Safe, Easy Water. Xmas Gift Gear.

 
Using the Lifestraw Go Portable Water Bottle on the Snake River in Idaho.

LIFESTRAW GO PORTABLE WATER BOTTLE, .65 LITERS, $34.95 RETAIL

Hot off of the production lines. Guys, this is BRAND NEW. This new water bottle incorporates the technology of Lifestraw’s personal water filter, but now in a to-go water bottle.

We were lucky enough to take these bottles for a test drive on our #HellHikeAndRaft trip, backpacking through the Seven Devils of Idaho and whitewater rafting down the Snake River. I brought it home and continue to put it through its paces, constantly throwing it into my backpack for Bay Area, California exploration. 

How it Works:
Fill: Literally fill the bottle with any sort of water from lake, stream, pond – even mucky water. Screw on the top that has the filter attached.
Drink: Tip & suck on mouthpiece. Water flows from the bottle, through the filter, purified now, into your thirsty mouth.
Clean: After each drinking session, unscrew lid and BLOW through the mouthpiece to expel dirty water.

flip-top bite valve
water filter









dip, fill, close, drink








Specifications You Want to Know:
Weight: 5.9 oz. Length: 9.25” Holds: .65 liters liquid
Filters up to 1,000 liters of water to .2 microns.
Advanced hollow fiber membrane technology.
Removes 99.9999% waterborne bacteria – E. Coli, Salmonella.
Removes 99.9% waterborne protozoa – Giardia, Cryptosporidium.
BPA free.
Flip-top bite valve. Carabineer included.
No electricity or batteries needed for purification.

Lifestraw Gos attached to Teton Sports Backpacks in the Seven Devils Wilderness, Idaho
Pros:
-No hassle. We were surprised at how convenient it was to have the filter built into the water bottle. We literally dipped the bottle into any body of water at all moments of our trip and were rewarded with fresh, easy, SAFE water.
-No strange aftertaste. Finally, I can dip this bottle into a mountain stream and drink refreshing, ice-cold, high country water like the old days of drinking straight from the stream. All I taste is crisp, delicious, nature-made water. Not weirdly treated liquid.
-Now portable. Lifestraw technology is now in a water bottle which I can easily drink from and bring with me anywhere. Yes.

Cons:
-This is not 100% water tight. I took it on a trail run and the stress of the jerking around did end up with a small amount of water coming out of the sealed mouthpiece. Though I do realize that this is not what this bottle was intended for.
-I rather easily mangled the carabineer trying to attach the bottle to a line on the paddle boat on the Snake River. One carabineer down…
-Doesn’t carry a ton of water.


I really do bring the Lifestraw Go with me for very expedition, just in case. Looking towards the Marin Headlands, California.

Final Feedback:
This technology was originally designed as an emergency response tool for natural disasters. How smart to now bring it to the adventure market so we can have safe, reliable, easy access to potable water, too.

I’m a fan. Of this Lifestraw Go and of the company in general. Every single Lifestraw product we buy is matched with Lifestraw providing ONE FULL SCHOOL YEAR of safe drinking water for a school child in a developing country.

Wow.

That’s a water bottle worth owning. Feel good, taste good, hydrate safely.

Cost and Where Can We Find It?
@ $30 (sale price) - $35 at many outdoor retailers.
- REI

Cheers! -Outdoorsy Mama

ENTER HERE TO WIN A "LIFESTRAW GO" WATER BOTTLE - Enter using easy Rafflecopter form below 



a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclaimer: Lifestraw by Vestergaard was a sponsor of HellHikeAndRaft2014 and provided product for gear testing and giveaway. All opinions are my own and reviews are at my own discretion. Teton Sports was also a sponsor and provided gear for testing.

Giveaway is open to US Residents only and sorry can't ship to PO Boxes. Giveaway starts on November 19 12am EST and ends November 26 12am EST. The winner of one Lifestraw Go will be announced a few days later. Good luck!


For more information and related reviews:


Monday, November 17, 2014

Bay Area Hikes: "The Mushroom Loop" Featuring the Mickey O’Brien Trail. 4.6 miles. Mt Tamalpais State Park (Marin Water District)

High Sierra Trail. Mt Tam State Park & Marin Water District. California
Hike: Laurel Dell Fire Road area loop, Mt Tam State Park & Marin Water District near San Francisco, California
Length: @ 4.6 mile loop
Location: Mt Tam State Park - Marin Water District - Marin County, California
Difficulty: Steeper entrance/exit. Rolling hike.
Exposure: Shade and sun
Dogs: Welcome in the on Water District side on a leash

After my weekly morning coffee with the Twitter #Hikerchat crew discussing foraging for plants, mushrooms, berries in the woods, we head up to Mt Tamalpais State Park - the water district side - to explore the north side of the ridge along West Ridgecrest Blvd.

THIS is the place where they shoot all the gorgeous car commercials – literally on top of the rolling-hills world. Breathtaking.

Now back to the hike.

Jumping out of the car with our dogs and not a hiking plan other than “let’s see where we end up” - down the ridge we funnel towards Laurel Dell Fire Road.


The lush Cataract Trail. Mt Tam State Park & Marin Water District. California

We’ve had some rare, desperately needed rain over the last few weeks – just a day here and there – but you can see that the California plants have gone nuts over it. Lush and green in shady spots, we literally feel as if we are in a rainforest.

As we head further north along Laurel Dell/Cataract Trail, we loop out into the grassy fields staying high on High Marsh Trail instead of dipping down into Cataract Falls, and loop back west then south on Kent Trail. Cue the huge surprise. We next stumble upon the Mickey O’Brien Trail. This is where Alice in Wonderland starts….

Mushrooms of every color and variety. Tiny, village-like, coral clusters. Giant, massive toadstools. Slimy, creepy looking ones. Puffy, white, spiky ones. Even squeezable mushrooms that toot out spores like a smokestack when you squeeze them.





Poisonous or edible? We didn’t have a guide.

So we ooh and ahhh each at every ‘shroom cluster and our hiking speed slows down to a stop, walk, stop, look, peer, poke. As if we’ve gone back to being toddlers. One mile an hour….

And who knew, the world’s most gross yet beautiful creature, the brilliant, stomach-churning Banana Slug, loves to eat mushrooms. We witness a multitude of them devouring – in slow motion – big old toadstools.

Go NOW. While the ground is wet. Bring your camera and your sense of awe at the littlest of things. Enjoy!

- Outdoorsy Mama



Laurel Dell to Cataract Trail to High Marsh Trail (stay right) to Kent Trail to Lauren Dell Fire Road (again) to Mickey O’Brien Trail back to Laurel Dell.

For more info and related hikes: