Showing posts from May, 2016

National Park Tour Part 4: Montana & Wyoming

So this portion of the trip will mostly involve me being paranoid of a Leonardo DiCaprio The Revenant type bear encounter. Part one, two and three of our trip is not so much in bear country. Once we enter Montana I get the impression that I will no longer be at the top of the food chain.


After a quick stop in Idaho for an overnight stay since it is such a long drive from the Cascades (about 12 hours), we will hit up Glacier National Park. I have a few day backcountry loop planned but with my level of bear paranoia there may be some day hikes instead.


Along with the traditional Old Faithful, mudflats, and other thermal delights to be found at this park we hope to do the Sky Rim Loop, a 21 mile backcountry mountain loop...clapping and singing the whole way because NO BEARS. No thank you. 
Grand Teton

We hope to see big sky and big mountains at this park with an 18 mile backpacking loop with alpine lakes and mountain views. 
After Wyoming we will head back to Colorado an…

National Parks Tour Plan Part 3: Oregon & Washington

Parts one and two of our trip.
Oregon and Washington are amazing. I have been to both states before and am super excited to spend some time in the wilderness there. After Redwoods National Park we will head north and hopefully hit up some Oregon wineries along the way to Crater Lake and then visit some breweries in the Portland and Seattle areas on our way to other adventures.

Crater Lake

At Crater Lake we plan to do some short hiking trips and hopefully take a boating trip out to Wizard Island. Then maybe some pit stops in Portland and Seattle for a little civilization time before heading further north.

Olympic National Park

Here we hope to spend a day exploring the coast and checking out the tide pools. Then hopefully hit up the Sol Duc Trail for some mountain fun and then a day or two on the Dosewallips River Trail through an ancient forest. This park looks particularly amazing so am extra excited about this one. 
Mount Rainier

This will hopefully be our big foray into the wilderness…

National Park Tour Plan Part 2: California

Part 1 plans for our trip can be found here. California is a huge state and I can't really wrap my head around the idea that we will be walking through it next year, the entire length of it.  We are skipping some of the areas we will hit on the Pacific Crest Trail because we will be walking through them in the future. Luckily there is plenty of National Park fun to go around.
Kings Canyon
Sequoia and Kings Canyon are managed together as one awesome super park. The plan is to head up to the Mineral King area for a 6 day loop backpacking trek that involves some mountains and alpine lakes. Before that I want to visit General Sherman and check out the giant redwoods in the area. After our visit here we will head to the in-laws to visit for a bit. Yay indoor showers and mattresses!

Northern California also has some giant Redwoods and beautiful coastal trails. We hope to spend a day or two on the coast and about two days hitting up the Tall Trees area to wander through th…

National Park Tour Plans Part 1: Colorado & Utah

When the hubs and I learned that he was going to be medically retired we were like well that sucks......but then we were like what an amazing opportunity to bucket list it up while we are still on the younger side. Of course thru-hiking the PCT is the ultimate goal. But in preparation for that and because we have some time to kill until next April when we kick off our little 2k plus mile trek we have decided to tour some of this countries amazing national parks this summer.

The trip serves two purposes: 1) have fun exploring the western part of the USA, 2) try out our backpacking gear and learn some skill (okay, me learn some skill) when it comes to trekking through the wilderness. We will kick off and end in Colorado and visit some of the most beautiful areas in between. The plan is to kick it off on June 1st.

Black Canyon of Gunnison

This will be our first stop for camping and day hiking. You can backpack down the canyon but after reading multiple warnings about abundant poison ivy …

We made it

After two half days of driving we made it to Colorado!

On the way we stayed in a hotel full of character.

And were met by some incredible views and weather.

We are all very happy to be here.

And I have been here two seconds and acquired another hat.

Now the prep for National Park tour 2016 begins. Full speed ahead to adventures.

75 things I love about El Paso

Because original ideas are hard to come by and I am leaving this area I thought I would copy my friend Cat's idea of listing the 75 things I loved about living in the El Paso area. Some of the things on the list are outside of El Paso put happened because I got to live here. Be sure to check out her list of the Bay Area. She has 100 things but then she is also a bit of an overachiever ;). This is also to counteract all of my whining recently about the Army, the heat, allergies, pokey things....etc...etc....etc...

1. My amazing running friends (they by far have been the biggest happiness factor for me living in El Paso. I will miss running and brunching with them so much.)

2. The lack of snow and bitter cold
3. All the sunshine
4. Up and Running
5. Riviera's Tacos
6. Carlos & Mickey's Margaritas
7. Lazy Cow Trail
8. Tuesday night runs
9. My house's proximity to Orange Leaf
10. The 3 mile running loop on base

11. Camping in Ruidoso
12. White Sands National Monument

Last running week in El Paso

After a week full of running hills and hills with a side of hills, last Monday I felt somewhat over running. So instead I jumped on the spin bike for thirty minutes and did some body weight exercises and called it good.

Tuesday I went to Up and Running for one last Tuesday night run. My friend Michelle was nice enough to go with me on my favorite route and then was nice enough to not make fun of my when I bowed out after three miles because I was dying in the heat. Running in high 80s is just not my thing.

Wednesday I woke up like this

for absolutely no reason. And then I stayed grumpy for the rest of the day so besides walking the dog and sulking around nothing really happened.

Thursday I rallied and headed off for one last run on my favorite trail, Lazy Cow. Running to the trail, the trail and home from the trail is about 9 miles. Good enough. Saw some baby bunnies and hummingbirds so that was fun.

Friday woke up and put on running clothes and then got distracted with trying to get …

Gear up

In preparation for our eventual thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail next year and our upcoming National Parks tour bonanza we have been making our bank account disappear.
Apparently surviving in nature requires some gear. And while the husband had some of the gear and we both have packs, there has been quite a few things added to our stockpile of camping toys. One of the things that makes me most nervous about nature is the lack of conveniently located and filtered beverages. We have one water filter but I decided I needed another one because dying of giardia seems like something that could happen to me. 

I went with the Gravityworks filter because instead of me pumping water through the filter I can just stand there and let gravity do all the work. So hello, I may be the laziest backpacker ever. I also got us 3L bladders and we each have Nathan bottles, both which can hook up directly to the water filter I bought. I love it when things like that come together. And all that water on…

Freckle Face

So I was recently reminded again and then again that I have a lot of freckles. In fact every time I see a doctor of any kind they point it out. Something like "Wow you have a lot of freckles" is said. Or "You know you have a lot of freckles". Yes I do have a lot and I do know because they are on my body. Thank you Captain Obvious. No that is not what I say. I say yes I do but I wear sunscreen everyday and wear a hat when I am outside blah blah avoid the sun when possible blah blah. That being said my pale, freckly prone self is outside a lot and will continue to be outside a lot until I heed the advice of one doctor which was to stay out of the sun completely (this seems a bit unrealistic) and decide to take up dwelling in a cave or become a vampire. 
Unfortunately I recently found out that the sunscreen I was using is not really that great (read the article and get sunscreen ratings here). So I have upgraded the sun protection all around. Here is what works for m…