Friday, November 27, 2015

#OptOutside


What did the tree learn from the earth 
to be able to talk to the sky. 
- Pablo Neruda 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

15 Things Your Outdoorsy Mama REALLY Wants for the Holidays - Gear Gift Guide

Look at the Happy Outdoorsy Mama in her hot, new ski jacket at Squaw in Tahoe, California!

Hey guys. It's that time of year again when you find yourself scratching your beard on HOW to blow the hiking socks off of your Outdoorsy Mama for holiday gifting. Luckily, I've found 15 things she really, really wants...

Rock-Star Stocking Stuffers:

Big Gifts You Can Wrap & She’ll Love to Tear Open:
You know your gal has worn the same jacket through the tornado of two or three kids now... It’s time to update her hot-cocoa and kid-stained ski jacket with a new, hi-tec, female-flattering, crushing-it look. So many brands to choose from from breathable shells to insulated parkas. Check out the latest from Marker, North Face and Patagonia.

Seeing as most of us gals are wrapped in some sort of blanket from say October to April, why not surprise your gal with a technical “outdoor” blankie? Rumpl makes one that can be used at the campsite then brought home, thrown in the washing machine, and stored in a sack the size of a baseball. Durable and the key word is WARM. Check it out!

Throw your kids’ adorable faces in outdoorsy places onto the custom travel mugs that your outdoorsy gal drinks from each adventurous morning. Make an impact with a set of 4 mugs using different themes. One mug from each season. One mug from each epic family outing. Etc. Your kids can definitely help create this gift. Customize easily online at Shutterfly.

Anything with the word “cozy” attached to it is sure to be a winner for your outdoorsy mom. Unbelievably soft, alpaca wool socks by Ausangate are a treat or splurge on luxurious sheepskin boots by Ugg. She’ll slip her feet in each morning or after an outdoor adventure and have you to thank for her happy feet bliss. 

Pick your favorite outdoor store and give her the gift that we all know she really wants – a gift card extravaganza. This is NOT the easy way out. This will make her smile more than the “glamorous” bottle of Jessica Simpson perfume the kids picked out for her at CVS last year in a last minute panic. A no brainer, a big winner and easy for you. Envelope + schmoopy card + big, holiday bow = Voila! – best gift ever.

Blow Her Mind with Your Thoughtful Gifting Awesomeness:
Tahoe weekend. Vail weekend. Jackson Hole weekend. Your outdoorsy mama really, REALLY wants to spend some time with like-minded friends doing what she loves most, bonding in the outdoors. Give her a free pass for four nights away including a “no texting about random kid-things” rule and a promise to get the laundry done while she’s gone…. That’s nirvana for an outdoorsy mama.  

There are so many quality groups now running Volunteer Vacations – which are a combination of a trip to outdoorsy places AND giving back to the world. For an outdoorsy mom and family, this is a new twist on the usual family vacation and great for when the kids get a little older. You’ll work some of the time on a vital project that the community you are visiting desperately needs, like schools, latrines or housing. And then, there is downtime to explore the gorgeous area you’ve traveled to. A win-win to teach your kids stewardship globally, giving back to those less fortunate, and even gratitude for what they are lucky enough to have in their own daily lives.

13 & 14 - Peace. Love. 

15 - Harmony. In the both your household and world-wide.

So be that rock-star guy who gives the outdoorsy mama in your life what she REALLY wants. Happy ho ho ho!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Family Friendly Hiking Near San Francisco. Tennessee Valley Beach, Golden Gate National Park, California. #CaliforniaDreaming

Tennessee Valley Beach, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California.

The highlight of Tennessee Valley is a mostly flat trail that follows the floor of a fertile valley in the Marin Headlands and ends at a small beach. It is ideal for families with smaller children looking for a safe, starter hike that is a 1.7 mile one way hike, stroll or bike to a stunning little cove with powerful wave action. 

For those looking for more vertical, offshoots from this trail lead up and into the Headlands connecting to miles and miles of terrain that take you to a multitude of locations within the Golden Gate National Park (GGNRA) and nearby Mt. Tamalpais State Park.

Tennessee Valley Beach, Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Park your car in the fairly large parking lot, get there early on weekends, and head West towards the beach. Of all places in the GGNRA, this is where you’ll be lucky enough to see lots of animals. Look for rabbits, hawks, deer, owls, lizards, wild turkeys, coyotes and bobcats. These are “regulars” and you’re almost guaranteed to see one or more of these creatures messing around in this valley’s gorgeous natural habitat.

Each season in Tennessee Valley brings a new fascinating ecological treat that is easy to witness as you hike along. Springtime has bunnies everywhere and wildflowers bursting from the lush, green valley and hillsides. In the Fall, wild turkeys flaunt their giant, bombastic plumage in the brown grasses and signs are literally posted: beware of aggressive turkeys.

There is also a little “starter” backpacking spot, just a short jaunt from the parking lot, with no running water or bathrooms, yes Porta Potties, picnic tables and bear boxes. Please check for up to date amenities.

Hike into Tennessee Valley, Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The Coast Miwok Native Americans called this valley home for a time. I would have too. And the valley was ultimately given it’s name after the steamship "S.S.Tennessee", carrying 500 passengers and 14 chests of gold, took a wrong turn and wrecked directly into the beach on a foggy, Bay Area day. Rumor has it the engine is still intact and can be seen on ultra-low tide days…

A favorite spot of mine for its teaming-with-life habitat and surprising lagoon just before the cove, come find your hike. Find your park.

--Outdoorsy Mama

Where to Explore: Tennessee Valley Beach, Golden Gate National Park, California.
Location: Just north of San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge in Mill Valley, Ca.
Kid Friendly? Yes! Bring the gang.
Dog Friendly? No. Dogs not invited & rangers will ticket.
Swimming? No. Not recommended. Powerful waves.
Beach? Yes. Excellent picnic & play beach for families.
Exposure: Full sun.
Camping information: Marin Headlands Visitor Center 415-331-1540

Where to Eat: Shoreline Coffee Shop. Located in Tennessee Valley business area before the drive to the trailhead. Delicious upper-scale diner food, organic, with surprise Mexican specials. Open breakfast & lunch. http://www.yelp.com/biz/shoreline-coffee-shop-mill-valley