June 26, 2016

If you go out in the woods today- Lessons learned on the trail

As I walk out the door, I realize my pack is alittle heavy and I may need to rethink the important things and not the luxury items but then that is what this little solo hiking, camping trip is for. 
A practice run for my up coming trek on the West Coast Trail. (WCT). 

I am heading to Lake Superior to do a training day hike along the Superior Hiking Trail
Bear Bell 
Bug Spray 
And of course a 6 pack of Bent Paddle Beer on ice.

Who doesn't like a road trip on the day of summer Solstice.
The sky is blue and the clouds are floating across the sky like marshmallows. 
 I am looking forward to camping under the stars on this full moon night but first things first. 

The drive and hike: 

The best part of a roadtrip is finding what cool things are along the way. Today was no different. A place to get gas. Normal right. No. I found the cutest station that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is the only one of its kind in the USA. Bonus. It is full service 

A stop a Northern Smokehaus for some delicious smoked salmon- More about this later, and a stop
 at Duluth Pack for last minute needs or should I say wants.

One more stop at Bettys Pies and I am on my way- a must stop on route 61. I did it just for you guys to tell you about it.

Now the adventure begins:

Ok I can't make this stuff up - The 4 things I learned while hiking Split Rock River Trail on SHT (Superior Hiking Trail)
The remainder of this blog is brought to you by Roots and Mud produced by Mother Nature

1. Sunny, hot days does not necessarily equate with dry trails- I made the rookie mistake of leaving my gaiters behind in the car. They provide coverage to keep your lower legs safe and dry, but I was being a weight Weenie and decided they were not needed and I could lighten my load in my pack
 _Big Mistake _Huge. Or not!!  Women do pay a lot of money for the mud bath I endured on this section.

2. Love is in the Air- Be curious and present on the trail. Finding a wood box nailed to a large birch tree. Curiosity, of course got to the lonely Hiker ( That's Me) and I discovered many well wishes and notes of encouragement for thru-hikers or just a place to acknowledge you were on the trail- Written in pen/pencil on birch wood.
It reminded me of the grace and goodness that is still out there. What a treat if someone wrote one for you to Carry On and Hike

#3- Be Prepared for Equipment failure- imagine rocks and roots covering the whole trail. The rushing Split Rock River gushing to the brim with mountain runoff right along side you. I decide to use my new trekking poles 
Strolling along, the roots were gnarly,deep pockets of mud - My hiking poles in rhythm with my boots until I hit a big mud puddle - I soon find myself sinking when the pole was to provide stability- Oh Yeah! mud wasn't that deep but my new poles were shrinking- Lesson #3 bring a tightening tool or maybe pay a little more for Trekking Poles - Another trip to REI for me.

#4 Don't take Salmon Bites into your campsite if you want to sleep peacefully. Remember I said I made a stop at Northern Smokehaus in Duluth to pick up camp dinner. It was delicious, almost sinful. I enjoyed them with a cold beer while setting up camp. wiping my hands on my camp pants while searching for a wet cloth. All is good till I thought about the bear warning in the area. Yes - Bears and salmon go together. Opps . I burned the evidence and crawled into my warm tent with the stars lighting up the night sky- Until 2:30 Am when something brushed by my tent.. I am sure it was a small rodent but in my mind it was a Bear- looking for my left overs-  I lay quietly and listened- Ok now my mind decided it was probably a moose and I wanted to see- Out comes flashlight and a frightened solo camper. I peer out and see nothing- but then I remember that book I used to read to my kids.
 The Teddy Bears Picnic .
If you go out in the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You'd better go in disguise.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

But I survived to hike another day and a little more inspired to continue to be adventureous.

June 8, 2016

What If...

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                                       What IF
What If:  I hiked the amazing 47 miles/
74 km of the  WEST COAST TRAIL to celebrate the gift of turning 60 ?
What If:  I found someone to go with or should I go alone?               
What If : I can't complete it
What If:  My aging feet- seriously just hurt to bad
What If:  I can do it 

Was I going to let these What If's begin to age me prematurely? What If I didn't set a new goal. What if I accomplished it - I needed to find out the answers.

So many questions began with What If. Many nights I spend on the computer looking up stories and reading others adventures on WCT. Many mornings, I would lay in bed as my 60 year old husband headed out the door to train for Ironman Triathlons at 5:30 Am. Although I am not an athlete, was I going to let life just happen or was I going to lead my self to experience the fear and excitement of testing,training and accomplishing something greater than my capabilities. 

There was just something that spoke to me about being in nature and challenging myself to accomplish rather than celebrate in the traditional way one would do turning 60.

So in 60 days I will be 60

In 74 days Nina and Kay and myself will adventure on to Vancouver Island to conquer the WCT. 

The West Coast Trail (WCT) is a mystical, hauntingly beautiful 47 mile/ 75 km backpacking trek on Vancouver Island. It winds thru rain forests, first nations land, thick bogs and ocean shelves. The trail was built in 1907 as a way to rescue shipwreck survivors along the Pacific Rim.
Yes it is considered to be the best hike in the world.

 I would love to have you follow this journey with my 2 soul sisters and myself as we blog, pack, train and experience this amazing feat in front of us- You can add your email at the bottom of this if you would like updates.

Because What If - we inspire you to find your What If