Tag: Adventure

Challenging Myself to do more Hiking!

Hey Everyone!

I love hiking, I really do, I just don’t do it often enough to really be building up my endurance. I am trying to change all that.

There is something about being out in the woods that I love. I love listening to the birds chirp and sing. I would love to be able to know what birds I am hearing by the sound they make.

I have also thought it would be interesting to learn some of the basics about botany so I can better tell what plants I am seeing while I am out and know what is poisonous and what’s not. For instance I know I saw poison oak out there today but to be able to see it quickly at a glance I cannot tell you where all I saw it on that mountain.

There are plenty of hikes that I would love to do, but I am not able to do them yet, without a ton of exertion and having it take all day. That is why I am doing a lot of the same hikes over and over again right now, they are still challenging enough that I can start getting into shape on these easier courses, and work up to eventually doing other trails.

My Danner hiking boots are finally getting broken in to the point where I am not getting blisters every time I hike. I also tape my toes and use moleskin on my heels.

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Things I have Learned from Traveling (even within my own Country)

Hey Everyone!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been seeing the whole “15 things European’s think the Americans are doing wrong”. I don’t give much credence to the list, but I do know that every country has people who are egotistical pricks who believe that where they are from is the only place that is right, and everyone else is wrong, and they love to pick on my country, yet get all butt hurt when anyone else (especially an American) says anything negative about their country or compares it to home.

IF YOU DON’T LIKE HOW THINGS ARE DONE IN MY COUNTRY, THEN DON’T COME VISIT, AND YOU ARE OUT OF LINE TO TALK CRAP ABOUT IT. ONLY THOSE OF US WHO LIVE HERE CAN TALK SMACK ABOUT IT.

When you go and visit someplace new, especially some place as big as the United States, it’s going to be a culture shock. There are many different regions that have their own culture. The U.S. is huge, we have states larger than many European countries.

*to preface what I am going to talk about in the next paragraph, when I am talking about the UK, I am speaking in reference to the entire United Kingdom which includes: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland*

For example, there are 11 States that are larger than the United Kingdom, and the US is roughly 40 times larger than the UK. Alaska in and of itself is 7 times the size of the UK. The comparisons here I am taking into account is the total number of square miles / square kilometers. It’s weird to think that my home state of Oregon is larger than the whole of the United Kingdom. It’s weird to me, because Oregon about 1/3 the size of Texas and about 3/20 the size of the state of Alaska. Granted there are roughly 29 European countries smaller than the smallest state in the US, which is Rhode Island.

The US is a very culturally diverse country, and not at all like Europe. Even traveling around my own country, I have run into culture shock. New England is culturally different from the Urban core of the Pacific Northwest. Even within the states of Oregon and Washington, they are a bit different from each other, but even when looking at these two states, the I-5 corridor from Eugene to the south, up to the Canadian border to the north, are culturally and politically different from the rest of their respective states.

Because I am from Oregon I will use it as reference, the Willamette Valley, and Bend are very progressive and Liberal, while the rest of the state (especially Eastern Oregon, and southern Oregon is somewhere in the middle) is more conservative in terms of culture and politics.

I was just in Washington the other day, and every time I cross the river into Washington (because this part of Oregon and Washington is just separated by the Columbia River), and I have to remind myself that Washington has Sales Tax and that I have to pump my own gas. Those are two of the most obvious and biggest differences. Whenever I go to Washington, and stop at a store or restaurant, 99% of the time I don’t try to go through the process to not pay sales tax. Most of the time, I am not spending enough money to justify going through the hassle of not paying it. I am also of the mindset that, I chose to leave Oregon, therefore if I stop at a store or restaurant I should be supporting their economy, since I am not at home. Washington doesn’t have a state income tax, so their taxes come in through sales tax. It’s the way it works, and if I don’t like it, I shouldn’t have left Oregon. I am not going to be the prick who expects others to accommodate me when I am on their home territory.

In traveling around my own country, as well as British Columbia (Canada), I have learned to go with the flow, as they do things differently wherever I am going to. Just because things are done differently from where I come from, doesn’t mean they are wrong, and doesn’t give me the right (or entitlement) to force them to do things like we do where I come from.

Traveling is a huge learning experience, which will include some culture shock, and at times force you into new situations that are unfamiliar. If you didn’t want to experience a different way of life that was not totally familiar or completely different from your own, then you should have just stayed home, in your own familiar surroundings.

Keeping up The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger

Hey Everyone!

Since I have entered my 30’s I have been debating on continuing the whole “The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger”, where I take them with me and photograph them on my adventures, or do I want to leave that behind in my 20’s.

There’s a part of me that wants to keep it going because it’s fun to look back on and see all the places I have been, and seen in the different seasons. There’s also a part of me that wonders if there is a right time to stop, and if so when? Is it too childish for someone of my age to be taking miniature stuffed animals with me on adventures and taking pictures of them?

Going Back to Traditional Sunblock

Hi Everyone!

Over the course of the past year or so I have bee testing out different brands of mineral based sunblocks. I am not paid for any of this, and all he sunblocks I have tried I bought with my own money.

I have tried Babyganics, Badger, and Baby Bum brands of the mineral based sunblocks.

I want to preface this all by saying that I have never had an allergic reaction or sensitivity to the regular brands of sunscreen. I was trying the mineral based for the sake of fewer chemicals….

Over the course of the year of trying the mineral based sunblocks, reading the ingredients, they still have a ton of chemicals in them so if it is trying to stay away from chemicals going on your skin, even the more “natural” sunscreens on the market are full of them.

In the times I have used the mineral based ones, I didn’t like how they felt going on, or having a white residue left behind no matter how hard I tried to rub it in. I also didn’t like how they felt in my skin later on (like two to three hours after application). I also don’t feel that they protected my skin as well as the mainstream brands do. I have also tried the Clinique city sheer sunscreen. It is an SPF 25 so I would be more apt to use it if it was a nice day and I was going to be out and about and I wanted a bit of extra protection but I wasn’t planning on being out in the sun constantly. The only drawback and down side I have with the Clinique is hat it comes tinted and I don’t particularly care for that.

Yesterday I was out on a hike, it was in the mid – 60’s and I feel like I was getting darker than I should have and burning within an hour of application. The bugs also loved attacking me. I don’t know if it was just me or something in the mineral based sunblocks that was attracting them. I haven’t had that much of an issue with bug attacking me since I was in Missouri, almost 12 years ago. I have never had issues like that while having traditional sunblocks applied to my skin.

I have fair skin, so having adequate sun protection is important to me, while still being able to be comfortable in warm – hot weather. Any more when I know I am going out to go hiking or to the beach, or just going to be outside for a while, I definitely try to remember to wear a hat and lather on the sunblock.

While I am not a huge fan of putting extra chemicals on my skin, for the few hours I am going to be out in the sun (which is not a daily occurrence living here in the northern Willamette Valley), and then showering when I get home. I’d rather wear sunblock and greatly reduce my chances of skin cancer from over exposer to the sun than not use anything at all.

I had stopped at Target yesterday, on my way home from my hike and picked up some regular brands of sunscreen. The Neutrogena is for my face, as it is the ultra sheer dry touch formula, since I am prone to breakouts if it is too greasy and oily. The Coppertone Sport is for the rest of my body that is exposed to the sun, like my arms, legs, neck and chest since it doesn’t matter so much if the sunblock is a little bit greasy as long as it rubs in. I know that both the neutrogena and the coppertone work for me and I don’t have any allergies to them. I also realize that 55 and 70 are in many ways over kill in terms of sunblock, but that added SPF helps it to last a bit longer between applications and help my pale skin from burning or getting darker, to me it is worth it.

Girls Who Hike

Hey Everyone!

I am back from yet another great, any by great I mean the first half was awesome, and the second half I was just ready to be done. At one point I thought “and people do this for fun?” Then I reminded myself why I was out there.

I had mad respect for the women who can hike 10+ miles in a day, and those who go backpacking, at which point they section hike long trails or even through hike trails like the PCT and the AT. That takes mad endurance.

I would love to be able to work up to having the endurance to hike the whole 7.2 mile trail of 10 falls in Silver Falls state park as well as section hike parts of the PCT and John Muir trail through the Sierra in Northern California. I would also love to do the hike at Lake Louise to the Lake Agnes Teahouse.

I keep watching some of friends hiking adventures as well as vlogs from other women hikers like Cat Gregory, who have helped inspire me to get back into hiking and that I do enjoy hiking and being out in nature.

I am pretty much still in the newbie stage, where a 3.37 mile hike has more than kicked my butt at mile 2.

If I let the whole Trail – 1, Erica – 0, and the whole my boots are still in the process of being broken in get me down, then I will for sure give up I my dreams and not get into shape and not build up the endurance I need to make my dreams of hiking certain trails happen.

I don’t expect to through hike the PCT in the shape I am in. I know that I need to keep doing these smaller hiking and mastering them and continue building on the progress I am making.

I had also taken Winnie the Pooh and Tigger with me on this adventure. I had considered leaving them home but ended up taking them.

Today had turned out to be a beautiful day, which is why I went out for a hike today. I went back up to one of my favorite spots – Mt Talbert. Coming down from the summit trail, I decided to go the long way back all the way around the mountain to get to the parking lot where I left my car. This added an extra mile and a half to my hike and a lot more ascending. On the route I usually do, once you have come off the summit, it’s pretty much all down hill from there. Going the other way on the park loop after doing the summit, and then going back the west ridge trail means descending and then ascending half way up the mountain again a couple more times before you get to where the summit trail takes off from the west ridge trail. Once I was back to that split it was all down hill from there. I will be doing that route again in the future, but I think I will have to start earlier in the day and not wait until the heat of the day, in the middle of the afternoon.

The Lull Between the Storms

Hey Everyone!

I am really trying to get back into hiking. I hadn’t really hiked in almost two years, so all the progress I had made went out the window. So I am starting all over working on building up my endurance. The hike I went on today was only 1.86 miles / 3 km hike and it kicked my butt. My hike gained 417 feet / 127 meters in elevation over the course of the first mile from where I started to the top of the mountain.

It was such a gorgeous day out. The trail in parts was a bit muddy, and other parts were dry. It had rained so much over the weekend (like 2+ inches in about 36 hours). Today was partially sunny and warm, so the woods smelled amazing and the birds were chirping. So besides the blister I got while hiking, it was an amazing day.

Like I said earlier I am trying to work on build up my endurance, so I can knock out these shorter hikes with ease, and start taking on longer and more challenging hikes.

With starting to build up my endurance, I am still working on breaking in my new boots. While I am still getting a blister here and there, one that I got on the way back down is a lot better than three that started forming on the way up on my first hike with my new boots. Overall I love my Danner boots and they fit so much better than the last pair I had. I have also put the fatigue fighter footbeds (ie insoles) back in now that I have started breaking them in and they are loosening up a bit. I think that was part of the problem with the new blister. With the insoles, the backs of my boots were rubbing a different part of my heel than they had previously, so I hadn’t thought to put moleskin on that spot.

Breaking in new hiking boots it a pain, but in the long term will hopefully be worth it if I can get the wear out of them, and have them last for a while. After I got home and got the leather cleaned up, I rubbed in some more boot dressing to help keep them from drying out, and to help them break in more.

Being one with the Beach

Hey Everyone!

This past weekend I had gone to the beach, and was able to spend 2 nights there.

The past couple weeks have been crazy preparing for the weekend away. It got even crazier this past Wednesday when I started getting things together and putting my gifts together for the other ladies.

Friday morning before I left, I had mixed up a batch of gluten free, dairy free, egg free, cranberry orange pecan muffins to take with me.

I had managed to get out f the house by about 11:00 am Friday morning, from where I headed out to Astoria. I spent a few hours there, where I got lunch and went exploring. I stopped at Fort Clatsop, and walked around a bit.

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Once I was done exploring Astoria and the forts, I headed south, stopping in Rockaway to go for a walk on the beach.

I absolutely love the beach. The beach is one place I never get tired of seeing or being at. I have been going to the beach since I was a baby, and while I have a healthy respect for the ocean and its power, I love it. On some level I guess I take it for granted like I do the Mountains, but I am still in awe of the mountains and the ocean every time I see them. The part the I guess I take for granted is the fact that I know they aren’t going anywhere, and that they will always be there any time I want to go see them and visit.

Saturday afternoon, myself and some of the other ladies went down to the beach to go for a walk. We walked at least 2 miles.

I was kind of sad Sunday knowing that I was going to have to leave and return to the City life. While I was ready to be back to having my own room, I wasn’t ready to leave the beach.

I still miss the beach very much.