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The First Trove of James Webb Images

On July 12, 2022, NASA released the first images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, our lens into the deepest visible regions of space. Fred R. Barnard, who coined the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”, was never able to consider the massive scale of the universe as he lived during the time before Pluto’s discovery. Needless …


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MIRI, the Mid-Infrared Instrument

Since its launch in late 2021, scientists, astronomers, and space enthusiasts anticipate the results gathered by the James Webb Space Telescope, its advanced technology promising to unravel some of the greatest cosmic mysteries.   An armament of the most advanced scientific instruments ever assembled rests onboard the JWST, concluding a deployment stage that lasted several months, in preparation to begin …


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NASA Identifies First Three Objects For Direct Imaging

In December of 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope launched into orbit, deploying its advanced systems to survey the Cosmos. One of the JWST’s missions includes the direct imaging of exoplanets, and while there are potentially infinite objects to assess, the greatest minds at NASA have zeroed in on three primary candidates based on their unique characteristics: 1. Exoplanet HIP …


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5000 Exoplanets and Counting

Dubbed a Cosmic Milestone, on March 21 NASA’s planetary odometer confirmed the discovery of 5000 exoplanets existing outside of our solar system. While a significant marker, astronomers believe that the Milky Way Galaxy holds an abundance of additional new, undiscovered worlds, some estimates ranging in the hundreds of billions. From Rocky Worlds and Ocean Planets, to Super Jupiters and Super …


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The JWST Orbits the Earth

Did you know that Utah has one of the highest concentration of International Dark-Sky Association-certified locations in the world? Our own backyard sports some of the finest locations to stargaze and view meteor showers, and it’s never been a better time to obsess over Outer Space. The Year is 2022, and mankind’s greatest achievement in astrophysics technology orbits the earth, …


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Think you’re leaving no trace? Here’s something you might have missed

When backpacking in alpine environments, or anywhere for that matter, I’m a stickler for following Leave No Trace principles. Let me rephrase that, I’m a pain in the bottom about it. Yet until recently, I didn’t realize I was inadvertently violating one of those principles – Leave What You Find. I’ll explain. There is a statement under that subhead that …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Conservation | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

FlipBelt Hydration Belt Review

  Heaving myself through the living room window, I prayed the neighbors wouldn’t call the police… My keys were laying somewhere in the city park after falling out of a running belt that didn’t have a key clip. Not a successful end to a short run. “Such are the hazards of gear testing,” I mused. I also promised to return …


Posted in Gear/Product Review, Trail Running | Tagged , | 6 Comments

My [growing] Collection of Top Utah Hiking Trails

In this post I share my top Utah hiking trail posts organized by area, season, difficulty and even one for dogs who hike. Most I published on Ski Utah’s blog under my name or as the “Yeti,” their ultra cool mascot. The lists are simple collections of the most popular hikes or others I’ve discovered are worth lacing up your …


Posted in Hiking, Utah | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Hydrating for Extreme Adventure

Headaches, nausea, and confusion are wearing you down and you can’t continue. “I have to turn back,” you mumble, calling an end to your bucket-list adventure trip. Months of hard work and training are wasted, and you ask yourself how this could happen. The answer is likely dehydration. Dehydration, commonly perceived as a heat-related illness, can strike under many other …


Posted in Fitness & Health, Hiking, Winter Sports | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

From farm to my table: Sun Basket (really) delivered

Whoa! This is one product review I’d like to volunteer to do over and over. Sun Basket was that good! That it included food delivered to my door…score! Eating healthy is an integral part of a comprehensive fitness plan, yet it is often the most challenging – especially when the week gets busy. The holidays were chaotic for us this …


Posted in Gear/Product Review, Healthy Meals | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Keeping it real: 10 images of Burning Man 2015

For one week per year, an ancient lake-bed filled with alkali dust becomes the third largest city in Nevada. When it’s over, not a speck of debris can be found. It’s the largest Leave No Trace project in the world. Nearly 70,000 people, rich and poor, young and old, straight and gay, heavy and slim, make the journey to the …


Posted in Photography, Travel/Culture | Tagged | 3 Comments

Why it took 13.1 miles to believe I’m a runner

I’m a runner. There, I said it. I wouldn’t believe it until I ran a half-marathon, but now I can’t deny it. I didn’t run just any half, I ran the North Face Endurance Challenge Series, one of the toughest out there…a trail run, beginning at 6,900 feet, and climbing to nearly 9,000 feet. Running a half-marathon at any age …


Posted in Fitness & Health, Trail Running, Trailrunning | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

A menu for adventure: Staying active and well fed

  I like to eat. This mostly has to do with my active lifestyle; I burn calories fast when I’m running, climbing, or paddling. Because I’m on the go constantly, I have to pack healthy food to avoid eating convenience-store crap or restaurant food. The problem is keeping the food cold and yummy while I’m working or playing. Sometimes my …


Posted in Adventure Travel Tips, Fitness & Health, Gear/Product Review, Healthy Meals, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

What to Expect at the Alta Lodge

I’m always on the prowl for hangouts with local flavor. Even though Steve and I ski at Alta most of the winter, I had yet to visit a single business other than the on mountain cafes. Finally a few folks got wise to my single-minded visits (powder skiing) and invited me to spend the night. Of course I accepted, but …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Salt Lake City, Travel Planning, Utah | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Using photography to share and inspire

I was deeply honored to be featured on Nikon’s Image Chaser Blog recently. They asked me to share how I use photography in my writing and blogging to share my travels and adventure sports. They kindly allowed me to republish the story here. Their blog is excellent and I suggest heading over there to check it out, the link is …


Posted in Photography | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Columbia Sportswear Men’s Loch Lomond Omni-Dry® Waterproof Jacket

My last two waterproof shells were not good long-term investments. Both were from popular and otherwise reputable brands. Both were sold as technical outdoor shells. Both cost a lot. One leaked at the seams right from the start. Not sure what the problem was exactly – the seams looked good and were taped. Darn thing leaked like a sieve in …


Posted in Gear/Product Review | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Sun Dog: A moving and inspiring ski film (VIDEO)

Sun Dog, a short film produced by DPS Cinematic, is easily the best short bit of adventure cinema I’ve seen in an exceptionally long time. It had me all misty eyed at the premiere and I’ve watched twice since. Now that it has been publicly released, I’m excited to share it with you! Take five minutes and enjoy! In the …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Winter Sports | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Finding strength on Lone Peak

Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses. – Marilyn vos Savant Utah’s Lone Peak tops at out 11,263’ and is considered the most difficult 11,000+ peak in the Wasatch Rage due to the mileage and vertical gain. It is an imposing peak, visible from Salt Lake City to Provo. With an average grade less than …


Posted in Hiking, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , | 5 Comments

30 facts about my life, mistakes, and triumphs

Warning: This is a personal post, if you’re not into that kind of stuff, pick one of my adventure inspired posts to read instead, I won’t be offended. “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ― E.E. Cummings It strikes me as odd that anyone would want to interview me. Yet, I’ve given two this …


Posted in About Me, Life and Happiness | Tagged | 8 Comments

14 ski resort events delivering holiday cheer

  Here is a fun piece I wrote for Liftopia.com on holiday events. ~ Enjoy! ‘Tis the season for skiing powder! Oh, and the holidays are upon us as well. I’d rather bury my head in the snow than deal with shopping and, luckily, there are some festive ski resort events taking place across the U.S. and the Canadian Rockies. …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Winter Sports | Tagged | Leave a comment

What’s in my pack: A seriously rugged camera

I play hard, get dirty, wet, and spend full days outside in below freezing temps – usually with a camera in hand. Photography is an important part of my life, but I have no patience for a camera that slows me down or takes crappy images. I need a rugged camera that also takes killer photos. I’ve found a few …


Posted in Gear/Product Review, Photography, What's in my pack...and what's not | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

5 Ways To Overcome Fear On The Slopes

The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. ~ Nelson Mandela Fear is no fun. And learning to ski or ride for the first time, or leveling up to new a challenge, can bring it up. It doesn’t matter that a run is an easy green; if it’s new for you, …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Life and Happiness | 6 Comments

Gear Review: Osprey Variant 37

My old climbing pack finally retired this year; worn thin and never really all that comfortable, I might still use it for abrasive slot canyons where getting another hole in it won’t bother me. This summer I started looking around for a pack that would be good throughout the year – on ice, rock, or light mountaineering. While there are …


Posted in Climbing, Gear/Product Review | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Podcast: Solo adventure tips and safety

After a bit of a break, I’m back up and recording on the podcast. My break is not without cause. Let me share… For the last month, I’ve been eyeballs deep in building my business, Active Explorer Media. Actually, it’s more like formalizing something I’ve been doing for years. In addition to writing, I’m expanding my social media coaching services. …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel Tips, Backpacking, Podcast | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Outdoor goodie giveaway!

I’m excited to share that I’ve agreed to be a brand ambassador for Potable Aqua, and its parent company, Wisconsin Pharmaceutical. Who is Wisconsin Pharmaceutical? You may be more familiar with their Coleman branded first aid kits, bug repellants, and Sting Eze. I’m approached by many brands to do reviews or they simply want me to promote their product. I …


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Unexpected beauty: Rummana Camp, Jordan

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. ~ Mary Ritter Beard Opening my eyes inside the canvas tent, it took me a moment to recollect where I was. It was a disorienting feeling brought on by a combination of deep sleep, a nine …


Posted in Camping, Hiking, Jordan | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Announcing The Active Explorer Podcast

For the first time in a while, I have a big announcement to make. No, I’m not moving again… But I am adding a new way to explore and learn about outdoor adventure and fitness, The Active Explorer Podcast. I’ve been in the “thinking about it” mode for over a year and figured I’d just dive in. Is that I’ll …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Fitness & Health, Podcast | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Edge of Time, Estes Park

This rock is located in Jurassic Park, a popular climbing area near Estes Park, Colorado. I hiked to the area several years ago with my dad. If you look closely, you can see a top rope rigged. On the day I took this picture, there were about a dozen climbers on the various rocks. Back then I hadn’t learned to …


Posted in Climbing, Colorado | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Canyoneering in the Kingdom of Jordan

Rushing water pushed me off the rocks for the third time, so I finally accepted a hand up the short waterfall. We were a couple of miles up Wadi Ghwayr in Jordan’s Dana Biosphere Preserve. Wadi refers to a valley, stream or channel that is dry except during the rainy season. In this case, it was a slot canyon. While …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Canyoneering, Hiking, Jordan | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Hiking Utah’s Mount Olympus (and telling Asthma to stick it)

You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity. ~Walt Schmidt Step pause, step pause, each one just little higher than the last. The trail seemed to have no end of “up” and I was struggling. About that time, and hiker training for a rim-to-rim-to-rim run of the Grand Canyon lapped me for the second time. “Really!?!?” I shouted at …


Posted in Fitness & Health, Hiking, Salt Lake City, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

DPS Wailer 112RP review and spring ski sale tips

This post was written by Steve Seliger, an adviser and contributor to our site. A ski review in March!? Absolutely. Many people believe (I among them) that March, April and May are the best months to be thinking about and / or buying your next set of boards. Why? A few reasons:  One is that you can score some amazing …


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Night Skiing in Utah: Eight hills that deliver turns after dark

Looking for more time to ski? Let the sun set and shred into the night.  These eight Utah ski resorts turn the lights on for skiers and riders allowing more time to play, often with fewer crowds and lower rates. Night skiing offers an option to locals who work during the day allowing them to miss the weekend rush. It …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Utah, Winter Sports | Tagged | 3 Comments

An Aerial Valentine: The World’s Most Breath-Taking Locales

By Chris Oquist – BanyanPilotShop.net While I’m no Anthony Bourdain, I like to think that I’m somewhat well-traveled. This Valentine’s Day, I’m offering up some of the most breath-taking locales I’ve had the pleasure of viewing from the air. Ditch the roses and chocolates, these are the gifts that will be remembered forever. Nazca Desert If you and your significant …


Posted in California, Flying, International Travel, North America, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The OmniGames in three minutes [VIDEO]

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. -Vince Lombardi While working on yesterday’s OmniGames post, we quickly found that there just wasn’t a way to fully relay the feel of the games in one post, so we added a video. The two go together. The …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Downhill Skiing, Park City, Utah, Winter Sports | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The OmniGames: Finding common bonds and inspiration in the outdoors

This post, while mostly written in my voice, was a collaborative effort between Andrew Commander and myself. A middle-aged flight instructor, a student, and a multi-million dollar corporation walk into a bar… What do they have in common? Nope, not a joke, and the student almost couldn’t get in because he was under-age. I’ll leave the bar unnamed to protect …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Park City, Utah, Winter Sports | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Red Butte Gardens Loop: A trail and patient friend

I’ve written briefly about this hike in my post, Five great early winter hikes in Salt Lake City, but I didn’t discuss it in depth. I didn’t share how this simple, beautiful, trail has helped me feel and process my emotions. It’s odd to think of a trail as a friend, but I do. I’ve grown a lot since moving …


Posted in Hiking, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Where to dive and what you’ll see in Bora Bora

Scuba diving in the Tahitian Islands offers divers a rare treat, and Bora Bora’s offerings are some of the most dazzling. Due to the strikingly clear water and impressive coral reefs, the lagoon and waters around this tiny caldera teem with large and exciting marine life all year long. Part of French Polynesia, Bora Bora boasts an aquatic-centered tourist experience …


Posted in Bora Bora, Scuba Diving | Tagged | 2 Comments

Seeking Powder Hounds: Heli-Skiing the Northwest

Enjoy another epic guest post by Alan Carr, an aviation aficionado and winter sports enthusiast. He currently works with GlobalAir.com to provide resources on aircraft-related topics. For more of his writing, read Flying, Fishing and Sleeping Under a Wing: Fly-in Camping for Every Pilot. If you’ve never been on a heli-skiing adventure, chances are your first foray into the sport won’t …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Flying, Winter Sports | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Finding the perfect ski boots: No pain, no gain

We’ve all heard the saying “no pain, no gain,” and I’ve certainly noticed it to be true with sexy heels, but recently I felt first hand the true meaning of the phrase. I bought ski boots. Whoa mama, the process of custom molding the liners to my feet hurt, BAD! Before I get ahead of myself, I’ll share what led …


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Does life balance mean giving up my passion?

Life can’t ever really defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer’s lover until death – fascinating, cruel, lavish, warm, cold, treacherous, constant.  ~Edna Ferber, A Kind of Magic, 1963 I’m dealing with a personal struggle. Sometimes a commitment to caring for ourselves means important things fall through the cracks. This month I’ve …


Posted in About Me, Life and Happiness | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Benidorm for Animal Lovers

Benidorm, Spain, has long been a famed holiday destination, especially popular with the British in search of sun, sea and sand on their getaways. It is a favourite with adults and kids alike, equally known for its nightlife, and for many fun attractions such as the water park, Aqualandia, and theme park, Terra Mittica. The landscape surrounding the resort is …


Posted in International Travel, Spain | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Five great early winter hikes in Salt Lake City

We’ve already had a good amount of snowfall on the Wasatch Mountains covering some of the higher trails that I haunted throughout the hot summer months. I’m not giving up hiking just yet however. Now is a perfect time to hike some of my favorite trails along the “Front Range” of the Wasatch. These are also great hikes for early …


Posted in Hiking, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Books on my nightstand

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ― Oscar Wilde If can’t be outside doing it, I’m reading about it. Nighttime, bad weather days, long airplane rides… These are the times I bury myself in a good book. While not all of my reading material relates to the …


Posted in Gear/Product Review | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s in my pack: The Compounder II Shell

I have a jacket fetish. Well, it’s accurate to say I have an outdoor gear fetish and jackets happen to be a big part of that. When I’m hiking during a changing season, it’s hard to pick the right jacket to keep me warm but not over-heat me. Rain resistance and a hood are big pluses too. Yes, I want …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Gear/Product Review, What's in my pack...and what's not | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Playtime at Snowbird Ski Resort: Oktoberfest and epic views

Seriously overworked with a case of sleep deprivation, I drove up Little Cottonwood Canyon for a needed break at Snowbird Ski Resort. My plan…meet with fellow blogger Joshua Riggins for an afternoon of Oktoberfest fun, connect with the Ski Utah crew for dinner on Hidden Peak, enjoy drinks at Aerie, and spend the night in the Cliff Lodge. My hair …


Posted in Salt Lake City, Uncategorized, Utah, Winter Sports | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The MHM Fifty-Two 80 Backpack: Bells and whistles galore

For this review, I sent the MHM Fifty-Two 80 Backpack out with a tester I knew would work the pack hard over two trips. By the end of the two trips, I had a good review in my inbox, but I couldn’t pry the pack out of his hands. He was determined to use it on his upcoming summit of …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Backpacking, Gear/Product Review | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Summer fun on the slopes: Canyons Resort Mountain Bike Clinic

Do you know that deep grind you get in your gut you get before you face something that scares you? I know it well. It hits me before I do something related to heights, or when facing an emotional challenge. Okay, there are times I’d rather roll uncontrolled down a steep mountain than face a something emotionally painful. This week …


Posted in Bicycling, Mountain Biking, Park City, Utah | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Flying, Fishing and Sleeping Under a Wing: Fly-in Camping for Every Pilot

I could taste the trout. My friend George reserved our campsite in advance, obsessed with the fact that access to the airstrip was limited to those arriving to Nehalem Bay by plane. We had big plans to rent a boat, fish, hike Neah-kah-nie Mountain, and pitch a tent by his plane. Before we flew in to Nehalem Bay State Park …


Posted in Camping, Flying | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

The value of persistence: Glacier’s Red Eagle Lake

A couple of summers ago I visited Glacier National Park and hiked to Red Eagle Lake. I’d already put on a lot of miles before that 17-mile day. The mosquitoes were relentless at the beginning of the hike and I had a lot on mind. Basically, I questioned myself for heading out. When I got to this bridge, it felt …


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Calling Utah home and more good news

Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. ~ Joseph Campbell I love my new home state. From skiing to rock climbing, Utah worked its way into my heart over several visits and now I’m thankful to be a resident. After nearly six months in Salt Lake City, …


Posted in About Me, Winter Sports | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Explore the Gambia: Nature Opportunities

African destinations continue to be a popular choice for holidaymakers looking for a little more adventure than the typical short haul summer spots, and with Gambia flights from flythomascook, you can enjoy what this west coast country has to offer for less. While the stunning coastline and beautiful weather provide much of the appeal for a visit to Gambia, it’s …


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Finding a clear view: Butler Fork to Mount Raymond

It is not the eye that understands, but the mind. ~ African proverb A rocky knife-edge rose up ahead of me like the spine of a large monster. Okay, I’m being a little dramatic because I really don’t like heights. I stood there alone, wondering if this really was the trail to Mount Raymond. “Seriously, what the….?” I muttered under …


Posted in Hiking, Life and Happiness, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

7 signs you’re obsessed with hiking

The first clue I had a problem was that, after two months, I hadn’t unpacked any boxes because I was waiting for a rainy day – not fully comprehending I had moved to a desert. Then there was the issue that I had no social life. After moving to Salt Lake City I noticed that, now that I had a …


Posted in Hiking, Life and Happiness | Tagged | 10 Comments

Wildflowers overtake Alta Ski Area – photos document colorful invasion

An invasion of plant life dressed in bright uniforms of red, purple, yellow, pink and white took over the Alta Ski Area this summer. A contingent of hummingbirds and bumblebees provided additional support to the assault… Okay, I’ll stop with the silliness. “Stunning, vibrant, and off the rails,” are a few of the terms I’ve heard used to describe the …


Posted in Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Solo expression: Challenge Buttress

Rarely do we get to express ourselves as purely as we’d like to but when it does happen, it’s truly a thing of beauty! Recently, many things have been put into an intricate perspective for me and I am continually learning how grow with them. It seems all too often we get trapped in a negative space when others aren’t …


Posted in Climbing, Gear/Product Review, Life and Happiness, Salt Lake City, Uncategorized, Utah | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Ski Holidays: Top Five Festive Options

It may still be the summer but it’s scary how quickly Christmas can creep up on you and if you want this festive season to be an unforgettable one, you could consider one of the all inclusive ski holidays that are available to book online at the moment. The mountains are a perfect choice for a family holiday during the …


Posted in International Travel, Travel Planning, Winter Sports | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Photo escape: Solo climb swing

The outdoors has long been my place of solace, the place where I go to work through emotions or simply revel in gratitude. Typically, I need to be solo to reap those benefits. The Active Explorer’s new climbing contributor, Brandon Aegerter, has also expressed a need for solo time in his post Climbing: From personal challenge to a way of …


Posted in Climbing, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Photo escape: A smokey sunset in Millcreek Canyon

Fires near Salt Lake City have filled the valley with an unpleasant haze recently. Last night after dinner, my friend and I drove to the top of Millcreek Canyon, mostly to correct he fact that I had never been there.  To our surprise, the visit was timed perfectly to catch a sunset made more dramatic by smoke in the atmosphere. …


Posted in Photo of the Day, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Blogger seeks a balanced life and finds a new destination

The world can not be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey…very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be home. ~ Wendell Berry Is your life so busy it’s out of balance? Harder question, do you really want a …


Posted in About Me, Life and Happiness | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Gratitude on the Triple Falls Trail, Oregon

The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. ~ Albert Einstein A self-indulgent whim hit me and I hit purchase on a flight to Portland, Oregon. Thoughts of cooler temps and a visit to Columbia Sportswear’s headquarters filled my head. I’d seen photos of hikes in the Columbia River Gorge area and it looked surreal. On …


Posted in Hiking, Life and Happiness, Oregon | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Free to fall: The Psicobloc Masters Series climbing competition

Wearing neither a harness nor rope, the climber stretched her arm toward the distant hold using every muscle in her body to stay connected to the overhanging wall. Gravity won, pealing her off the wall to a splash landing in a pool 30-feet below. Shortly after, another climber reached the top of the 50-foot wall only to leap off voluntarily. …


Posted in Climbing, Park City, Utah | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Climbing: From personal challenge to a way of life

This post is written by my dear friend, Brandon Aegerter, who relays how climbing grew from a personal challenge into a lifestyle. Look for more climbing posts from him in the future as well, so please give him a warm welcome with a comment below! Go beyond boundaries today: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone! I must …


Posted in Adventure Lifestyle, Climbing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Family travel:How to do Disney on a budget

  Walt Disney World may be the most magical place on Earth, but it’s also among the most expensive. Here, we show you how to visit Florida’s House of the Mouse without sacrificing your life savings. (Here’s a hint: It’s not as difficult as you think.) 1. Choose your travel dates wisely. In other words, don’t go during the summer …


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Photo escape: Sunset and wildflowers at Alta Ski Area

I picked my camera up for fun last night after nearly three months of only shooting work photos. A friend had invited me to view the wildflower bloom and sunset at Alta Ski Area about 35 minutes from my home in Salt Lake City. Realizing I hadn’t had my Nikon outdoors since I moved here, I gladly accepted and loaded …


Posted in Hiking, Photo of the Day, Photography, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Five ways to make enemies at a public campground

Folks who enjoy camping often find time with nature appealing. They like watching wildlife, relaxing by a fire and escaping the noise of city-life. Public campgrounds are full of these unique people and offer wonderful opportunities to express your inner jerk. Take your talents out of town and into the wildness using some of these proven techniques for making enemies …


Posted in Camping, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 27 Comments

Photo escape and quote: Contemplating risk

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt I’ve been giving this quote a lot of thought lately because I had a …


Posted in Life and Happiness, Photo of the Day | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Nature’s show: The Wasatch Wildflower Festival

My first summer in Salt Lake City has been a joy, wildflowers of all colors, shapes and sizes are already lining trails throughout the high Wasatch Range and will soon reach their peak. I just found out that coinciding with nature’s show is the 2013 Wasatch Wildflower Festival taking place July 26, 27 and 28th. “The Wasatch Wildflower Festival is …


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Tough facts about the journey to find happiness

“I want your life,” he said. “It wasn’t always so good and the road to this place wasn’t easy,” I responded. When I woke this morning, I was excited. Today is another day of living the life that I designed, planned, and worked very hard to achieve. I’m not special, others inspired and set an example for me to follow. …


Posted in About Me, Life and Happiness | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

Hiking Alta: A ridgeline picnic above Cecret Lake

I didn’t realize that ski resorts offer a variety of outdoor recreation during the summer months. As the temperatures soared well over 100 degrees in the Salt Lake Valley, I had already started seeking out higher and higher trails to escape the heat. My hike to White Pine Lake is a good example. When a new friend invited me to …


Posted in Hiking, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Photo escape: Cooking school at Mesón Sacristía

Attending a cooking class at Mesón Sacristía de la Compañia in Puebla, Mexico, was one of the highlights of my 2012 travel year. Chef Alonzo Hernández taught us how to prepare mole poblano, a classic Pueblan sauce rich with the flavors of chili, roasted tomatoes, and bitter chocolate. It’s not a simple process, and the ingredient list was long. One …


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White Pine Lake: An alpine escape in the Wasatch Mountains

The spring snow-melt means more hikers on the trails and I find myself journeying higher and higher to find barely thawed trails with more quiet. Pondering my topo map, I spotted White Pine Lake sitting at nearly 10,000 feet of elevation, one of the highest in the Wasatch Mountains. Feeling confident that at least a small part would be covered …


Posted in Hiking, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Quality meets ethics: Icebreaker’s Tech T Lite Merino Shirt

I cherish gear that performs and I have no patience for gear that doesn’t. In most cases, I look for items that can multi-task for economy of money, space and weight. Luckily, my work has the perk of allowing me to test a lot of new products. For the last month, I’ve been testing Icebreaker’s Tech T Lite line of …


Posted in Gear/Product Review, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Fly camping tips and tricks: The podcast

Several weeks ago, I had such a good response to the photo of my parents fly camp that I posted, that it gave me the idea to record a Fly Camping episode over on my podcast at AME High. Fly camping is simply camping with your plane, and is also called airplane camping. I guess you were on to something, …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Camping, Travel Planning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Two lakes, one hike: Dog and Desolation Lakes

I have come to see the nonsense of trying to describe fine scenery. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne Some hikes just aren’t long enough. That was the case when I hiked to Dog Lake in the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City. The hike had nice elevation gain and a little bit of snow to trudge through, but at 4.8 miles round …


Posted in Hiking, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Photo escape: Observation Point, Zion National Park

Zion National Park completely impressed me when I visited over Thanksgiving weekend. While there, I hiked up to Observation Point to take in one of the classic views of the canyon. By the time I arrived, the sun was directly in my face, so most of my photos could be better. However, in this image, the sun makes the canyon …


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A wrenching goodbye aids African elephant conservation

The long fight to save wild beauty represents democracy at its best. It requires citizens to practice the hardest of virtues – self-restraint. ~ Edwin Way Teale Our family said a bittersweet goodbye recently. No, it wasn’t a funeral. My parents had to sell their Cessna 182, a four-seat, single engine plane with lots of memories. It wouldn’t have been …


Posted in About Me, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Clean or dirty, the Omni-Freeze ZERO is my go-to outdoor shirt

Have you ever had a shirt that you can’t get washed fast enough to wear again? Or you just dig it out of the hamper and wear dirty because it feels so good? I never really did until now. Columbia Sportswear sent me a box full of goodies to test when they invited my to join the Spring #OmniTen Team, …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Gear/Product Review | 8 Comments

Five steps to making fitness a habit

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. -Jim Ryan Fitness isn’t about finding the right shoes, diet, or gym. While all of those things may be tools in your journey, the battle is won by creating a habit. New routines take time to become habits and feel right in your day-to-day life. Six weeks into …


Posted in Fitness & Health | Tagged , | 3 Comments

A museum on the trail: The Natural History Museum of Utah

Park once, take a hike, and then explore a museum. A hiking trail and museum may seem unlikely partners, but in Salt Lake City, the concept works brilliantly. Marking access to one of my favorite trail systems is the Natural History Museum of Utah. The location was chosen to highlight the junction of the urban and natural environments. I’ve used …


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Waking up on the summit of Grandeur Peak

  Your trials did not come to punish you, but to awaken you. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda Stepping onto the trailhead to Grandeur Peak I had a head-full of thoughts swirling through my mind. My hiking buddy for the day was Indy, a border collie with unique red merle coloring. He belongs to a former boyfriend, so his presence also brought …


Posted in Hiking, Life and Happiness, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Staying safe with the ten essentials of hiking

With hiking season in full swing, I keep finding myself referring to items you should pack for a hike or other backcountry adventure. The list has been around for a long time, and because my goal is to provide a handy resource for readers, I’m going to re-publish an excellent article by the Mountaineers. They are kind enough to allow …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Backpacking, Hiking | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Photo escape: A second look at Many Glacier Valley

Sometimes the best images aren’t the first ones we notice. Tonight I decided to go back through my shots of Glacier National Park looking for “second round” picks. I was surprised at the great captures I hadn’t paid attention to initially. If you’re not familiar, Many Glacier Valley is on the east side of the park. While you can see …


Posted in Glacier National Park, Hiking, Photo of the Day, Photography | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Photo escape: Riviera Maya sunrise at the Le Reve

In September, I was one of a group of bloggers hosted by the Riviera Maya Tourism Board. We stayed at the Le Reve Hotel and Spa which not only offer lux boutique accommodations and awesome food, but some of the most spectacular sunrises I’ve ever seen. I would wake before dawn and wander down to the beach with my camera …


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Adventure film review & giveaway: Tell it on the Mountain

Sometimes the urge to take a long walk in nature is irresistible. For years, I have had a really long walk on my list of things I plan to do, thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I’ve picked away at sections, and this was supposed to my summer to do the whole thing, but I embarked on other adventures instead. For now, …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Gear/Product Review, Giveaway, Hiking | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Stepping up my fitness with CrossFit

Today I felt a need to take a break from all of the hiking and skiing posts I’ve been writing so I’m sharing some lifestyle stuff that led to a shift in my fitness routine. I’ve been in a season of change since before I left Florida. I can’t say exactly when it really started to really take off, perhaps …


Posted in Adventure Lifestyle, Fitness & Health | Tagged , | 6 Comments

My first taste of backcountry telemark skiing

Free the heel, free the mind… I didn’t think I would like skiing, now I dream about it. The joy of skiing wasn’t immediate when I took lessons in January. The first two days really challenged me and I wasn’t completely thrilled with being around so many people. Part of that issue had to do with the beginner slopes I …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Salt Lake City, Telemark Skiing, Utah, Winter Sports | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Photo escape: Fly camping

Not all camping trips need to start from a car or backpack. My parents opted to fly to this destination. In fact, they are not alone, there is quite a network of fly-in campgrounds and resorts across the nation. Some are unofficial, while others market themselves to the flying community. Have you heard of, or even tried fly camping before?


Posted in Camping | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

What’s my pack: The Geigerrig Rig 1210

A good daypack is like a friend on the trail. The right one will care for and nurture you. The wrong one is a burden. Geez, sounds a little like a relationship. Anyhow, I’ve hiked with many different models, even from the same manufacturers, and no two are the same. In fact, I’ve determined you can’t have just one. This …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Gear/Product Review, What's in my pack...and what's not | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Joining Columbia Sportswear’s 2013 Spring #OmniTen

  A funny story leading to some big news…. It’s no secret that I’m passionate about the outdoors and outdoor gear. So when I heard Columbia Sportswear was trying to ship me a surprise, I was pumped. Just one problem…I just moved and THE BOX went to my old address. My dad tried to pry it from the delivery driver’s …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Gear/Product Review | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Photo escape: Backcountry Telemark skiing

Having moved to Salt Lake at the tail end of snow season, I’ve pushed to fit in all I can before the snow gives way to grass. Several weeks ago, I headed out snowshoeing with a friend (a post I have yet to write), who wore Telemark (tele) skis. I found myself immediately envious of the flexibility they provided and …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Telemark Skiing, Winter Sports | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hiking Devil’s Garden, Arches National Park

The entrance into Arches National Park is less assuming than others I’ve visited. The signage and buildings meld into the landscape so well, I almost drove right past. After paying my fee, I drove the switchbacks up the hillside and leveled off in another world. Red dirt, stone towers and erosion-carved cliffs opened up before me and it was all …


Posted in Arches National Park, Hiking, Utah | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Icebreaker giveaway: Too good to keep to myself!

I spotted this Icebreaker giveaway and couldn’t keep it to myself. Actually, I think it’s the first time I’ve just passed on a giveaway (vs. when I host one on the site). Here are the details pulled from their press release: From Friday, May 3 to Friday, May 31, Icebreaker is giving away these favorite tees every week, as well …


Posted in Giveaway | Tagged | 2 Comments

Photo escape: Delicate Arch, Arches National Park

I knew well before I moved to Salt Lake that my first road trip would be to Moab and Arches National Park. This weekend I loaded the car with all of my camping gear and hiking boots and set off for a spectacular drive southbound. Admittedly, I drove the canyon on Interstate 6 just south of Spanish Fork way too …


Posted in Hiking, Photo of the Day | Tagged , | 4 Comments

A short hike with great views: Mount Van Cott, Salt Lake City

My sister drove from Florida to Utah with me then stayed on a few days while I settled into my new home. Hiking and a visit to Ruby Snap Cookies were top priories while she was here. Looking for a short route near the city, low enough to be clear of snow; we opted for Mount Van Cott, a 6,348-foot …


Posted in Hiking, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Closing day at Brighton Ski Resort: Costumes, dummies and snowsports

As a kid, I was the wallflower sitting in the corner of the classroom. Well, for the brief period of time I wasn’t living on a boat being home schooled…. Okay, on to my point, I’m not naturally outgoing, I have to work at it. That said, few things make me more uncomfortable than dressing up in a costume. Seriously, …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Downhill Skiing, Salt Lake City, Utah, Winter Sports | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Spring Hiking Basics

Winter is over and you’re anxious to break out the hiking boots. Hang on a minute. Spring hiking brings a few considerations you should plan for before hitting the trail. Planning Ahead Check your gear – Go through your daypack and make sure you still have all of the 10-basic hiking essentials packed and in working order. Spring is also …


Posted in Hiking | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

My journey toward a life worth living: A challenging move

Warning…. I’m about to get personal, so if that irks you, it’s time to sign off. This post is about the challenges surrounding my recent move, and all of the support that made it all come together in the end.   First an apology. The last few weeks have been some of the most challenging I’ve faced in years so …


Posted in About Me, Adventure Lifestyle, Life and Happiness | Tagged , | 24 Comments

Photo escape: Wet spring hiking

Snow melt swells streams as temperatures warm in the spring, especilly in steep canyons. This weekend my sister and I hiked up Mule Hollow in Big Cottonwood Canyon just outside of Salt Lake City. The crossed a small stream no less than 10 times each direction…we quit counting. Laura shot this photo on our way back down the trail so we were on …


Posted in Hiking, Uncategorized, Utah | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Independence of the Seas: What’s on Board

This guest post is sponsored by ThomasCook.com. We appreciate their support of this blog! If you’re looking for a cruise that keeps you occupied during the days and the evenings, Independence of the Seas cruises offer something for everyone. From action packed afternoons to glamorous nights, a cruise with Royal Caribbean is one that will be remembered forever. As one …


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Photo escape: A sandy campsite on the Lower Wisconsin River

Last summer, I canoe camped for the first time. We paddled along the lower Wisconsin River for most of the day stopping to swim and have lunch along the way. One of the most notable qualities of this river is prevalence of gold sand beaches along not its only banks, but also covering the islands in the middle of the …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Camping, Paddling, Photo of the Day | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Hiking the Jurassic Coast of Devon

Today’s guest post has me ready to plan a hike along the South West Coastal Path of Devon, wouldn’t you agree??   There are many spectacular walks in the world, and one of Britain’s finest hiking trails has to be the South West Coastal Path that runs from Minehead in Somerset, through the whole of Devon and Cornwall and finishes …


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Photo Escape: Exploring Riviera Maya’s Rio Secreto Cave

Last fall I explored the adventurous side of Mexico’s Riviera Maya region with several other bloggers. While there, we toured a spectacular cave system called Rio Secreto. To read about this cave and some of our other adventures, check out my posts, Don’t just lie there… Six adventure activities in Riviera Maya and Feeding my adrenaline addiction in Riviera Maya. …


Posted in Caving, International Travel, Mexico | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Great places to camp and get active in the UK

Today’s guest post has some excellent tips on planning an adventurous or active vacation in the UK. Personally, I want to see the mountain in the photo above! Enjoy ~   The UK is a great place to get outdoors. There are so many beautiful, interesting landscapes that just beg to be explored on foot, by bike or even on …


Posted in Bicycling, Camping, England, Hiking, International Travel | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

First hike of spring: Mount Wire via The Living Room, Salt Lake City

I’m not in Florida anymore. Standing atop a retired beacon tower at the summit of Mount Wire, my view spanned from the Wasatch Range across Salt Lake City west to the Oquirrh Mountains. Then the realization hit me, this is my new home. Our hike up started at a trailhead located on the east side of the University of Utah …


Posted in Hiking, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Photo escape: Appalachian Trail Hwy 64 to the NOC

Whenever I’m going through a tough time, I run for the hills. Literally. Most every major life decision I’ve made happened over the course of a long walk. Nearly three years ago, going through a divorce, I headed off to the Appalachian Trail feeling the need to walk off some heartache. Spring hiking in the North Carolina mountains has been …


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Photo essay: Brighton Ski Resort, Utah

Utah’s Brighton Ski Resort attracts a laid-back mix of snowboarders and skiers. It was the first mountain in Utah to allow snowboarders and caters to them to this day, so no snobbery here. It also features terrain for all abilities, offers child-care for families, and night skiing is available in the park and pipe areas. I enjoyed watching all of …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Salt Lake City, Utah, Winter Sports | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Seven new outdoor products that have my attention

Outdoor recreation manufacturers converged on Salt Lake City recently for the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market (ORWM). They brought their newest and best products, some never seen on store shelves, to entice retail-store buyers. They also brought killer swag, costumes, elaborate booths, food, and a number of epic after-hours parties. The Active Explorer crew attended to get a look at the …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Gear/Product Review, Salt Lake City | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My first iPhone video adventure

Always looking for a new adventure, I decided to try producing video today. Okay, it’s not exactly an adventure, but it sure was a challenge. To help, I sought out the expertise of Rachelle Lucas, editor of The Travel Bite, whose video credits include the Travel Channel and more. Our first project was designed to teach me just the basics …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Spanish cities to explore

This guest post gives suggestions on how to plan an itinerary that will allow you see some of Spain’s premier cities by flyng into one and departing from another. Enjoy! Spain is such a varied country that it is unsurprising that it attracts visitors from all over the world. The choice of places to see and things to do is …


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It just got real….I’m moving!

It just got real… I wasn’t sure when the right time would be to make this announcement. But when I loaded all of my trail maps and hiking guides into a box and scheduled a POD for delivery to my driveway late next month, it seemed like a good time to share that I’m moving. And it’s no small move …


Posted in About Me, Adventure Lifestyle, Life and Happiness, Utah | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Learning to ski: Dress for success on the slopes

No one learns well when distracted by shivering and numb fingers. Clothes can make a difference between enjoying the experience and being miserable. This post is a companion article to my Learning to Ski post published a couple of weeks ago. Frankly, the original post got too long so I had to chop this section out. However, clothing is a …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Downhill Skiing, Salt Lake City, Utah, Winter Sports | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

A ‘Bolt’ of innovation by Goal Zero.

There are countless ways to build a flashlight and the folks at Goal Zero have taken the time and really put some thought into the ‘Bolt’ and their take on this essential tool. Included with your Bolt are, a USB cable, A/C wall adapter and users guide. Billet aluminum with an abundance of machining and knurling produce a body that’s …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Gear, Gear/Product Review | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Unusual activities to try in La Plagne, France

Today’s guest post features a few unusual activities found in La Plagne, France. Enjoy! La Plagne in France is a brilliant place for a skiing or snowboarding holiday, but that’s not actually the main reason I want to go there (though it certainly helps!). What really caught my attention about La Plagne was its brilliant set of unusual activities. One …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Downhill Skiing, France, International Travel, Winter Sports | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Photos of the day: Three bloggers kayaking the Wekiwa

For the past week, I’ve completely slacked on blog posts. First I had a few typical “life” events crop up, and now I’m stricken with an upper respiratory bug that has the unexpected side effect of making me forget how to spel. So today, I’m going to keep things simple and share a few photos from a recent kayaking trip …


Posted in Florida, Kayaking, Orlando, Paddling, Photo of the Day | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Orlando Wetlands Park: Trails, wildlife, and wastewater treatment

The first time I hiked at the Orlando Wetlands Park it didn’t fully sink in that the area was actually a 1,220-acre wastewater treatment project. I mean, it’s absolutely gorgeous and full of wildlife. This visit, I grew more curious as I noticed culverts directing water flow from section to section. In another area, I saw what looked like a …


Posted in Birding, Conservation, Florida, Hiking, Orlando | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Snowshoeing the North Fork of Idaho’s Snake River

This post is both an account of our snowshoe trek along the North Fork of the Snake River and a preliminary review of Easton Mountain Products’ Woman’s Hike snowshoes. Falling face first into the snow, I guess I could have benefited from a pair of poles. Instead, I laughed it off and struggled to get my snowshoe-clad feet back under …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Gear/Product Review, Idaho, Uncategorized, Winter Sports | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

New motivation: My successful year working out at home

This morning I woke up with a serious motivational issue. The Sumatran coffee was soooo fine and my cat Artie snuggled up in my lap to sleep. Thoughts of working out began to fade from my mind. Then I considered just how little time exercise takes out of my day and what a big difference it makes. If I could …


Posted in Adventure Lifestyle, Fitness & Health | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Choosing the right size tent

I don’t like elbows in the ribs or being snuggled close by a tent-mate I don’t like that way…. Put simply, packing too many people into a tent is a good way to ruin a camping trip. Manufacturers label with the number of people they will fit – with no room to spare. Why? Tent sizes are based on floor …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Backpacking, Camping, Hiking | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Learning to ski: Three days of fun at Brighton’s Snow Sports School

I do not participate in any sport with ambulances at the bottom of the hill. ~Erma Bombeck This quote pretty much sums up why I avoided learning to ski until well into my 40s. Eventually I ran out of stupid things to do to my body, and I needed something to do in the winter, so it was time to …


Posted in Downhill Skiing, Salt Lake City, Utah, Winter Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Turn again to Turkey

Let’s face it – for most people of our generation, Turkey has had something of a “PR” problem. It must be said that this has been largely unjustified and the tide is now turning. But there’s quite a lot of tide to turn with many of us carrying around far too much psychological baggage caught up with such factors as …


Posted in Turkey | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Cravings: Vibrant 3-Layer açaí bowl

I was rushing through my morning when my friend, Ėlf Ellefsen, surprised me with an exceptional breakfast. It was as pretty as it was nutritious, and I still don’t know how he knew I was about to skip the most important meal of the day. After devouring the bowl of goodness, I felt energized for hours. It had three layers, …


Posted in Fitness & Health, Food & Drink, Healthy Meals | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Photo of the day: Log crossing in the Desolation Wilderness

While I’ve had fun this winter playing in the snowy mountains of Utah, I can’t help but look forward to summer hikes in the Sierra Nevada mountains as well. The wildflowers and lakes, the mosquitoes…well I could pass on those. Regardless, we already have a few trips planned for summer and I’m looking forward to them. Photos like this one, …


Posted in California, Lake Tahoe, Photo of the Day, Photography | 2 Comments

Coffee Craving: The Rose Estb in Salt Lake City

Frosty morning air made me walk a little faster toward The Rose Estb (I’m following their lead by abbreviating Establishment), a coffee spot I’d been hearing about for months. I was so chilled and under-caffeinated I started imagining the flavor of what I hoped would be a primo cup of java from a block away. The Rose Estb is located …


Posted in Coffee/Tea, Food & Drink, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Managing fear while learning adventure sports

  Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~Dale Carnegie Boots planted on the ledge, harness checked, and my hand holding the rope in a brake position over the bar rack, I took a deep breath to settle …


Posted in Adventure Lifestyle, Adventure Travel Tips, Rappelling/ Ascending, Winter Sports | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Dressing for cold weather travel on a budget

Last week I boarded a direct flight from 80-degree days into a winter storm warning. I didn’t have the funding to purchase a new winter wardrobe so I had to improvise. I pulled clothing layers and boots from my backpacking gear and bought a warm coat at a discount shop before leaving Florida. I’m staying reasonably warm in below freezing …


Posted in Adventure Travel Tips, Travel Planning, Winter Sports | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Want to travel more? Let remote office tools set you free

If you could work remotely, would you spend more time traveling? If the answer is “yes” then you are where I was just over a year ago. I knew I wanted to travel, but I still had to keep a business running, so I set out to find the remote office tools I needed to free me from my desk. …


Posted in Life and Happiness, Location Independent Lifestyle, Travel Planning | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Top ways to get active in Majorca

I’m pleased to share another fun guest post, this time on active travel to Majorca. Enjoy! There’s nothing like a sunny island blessed with beautiful beaches to get even the most sports-shy person to want to stretch their legs and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you love trying lots of activities at home or you’re simply hoping to make the …


Posted in Majorca, Snorkeling | Tagged | 1 Comment

Six reasons to stay in a hostel on your next trip

Hostels are a popular choice for budget travelers across the world. Contrary to popular belief, they are not just for youth; you will find all ages and even families. While saving is a big advantage, it isn’t the only reason to choose a hostel; there are many other benefits to choosing a hostel instead of a hotel, even if you …


Posted in Travel Planning | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

My new adventure: Learning snow sports

I enjoy all four seasons. I spend spring and summer hiking in northern latitudes, during the fall I’m camping and caving further south, and I fill my winters with hiking and kayaking in Florida. What I’ve been missing are snow sports. It’s no surprise that I’ve never spent time in snow. Raised on a boat in the South Pacific and …


Posted in Utah, Winter Sports | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Florida’s landscape in black and white

After 25 years of hiking in Florida, I’ve developed an appreciation for the small details in the landscape, which others may miss. Florida’s landscape is often nothing but a sea of green and to the untrained eye. However, one of the things I love most about Florida’s landscape is how the light plays through the trees, reflects off the water …


Posted in Florida, Photography | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Changes on the horizon: My 2013 goals

I’m a big believer in keeping my goals front and center, so I keep a vision board near my desk. It helps me stay focused on what steps I need to take to achieve my dreams. With the New Year approaching, several friends and I met to update our boards. It was a lot of fun comparing goals and looking …


Posted in About Me, Life and Happiness | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

What’s in my pack: Snuggly Toes foot warmers

Throughout the year, I receive items to test. Most are from large manufacturers or retailers. However, three times this year I received items from small businesses that have developed innovative, awesome products. I can’t help but get super excited when I get to be a part of what they are building – the American Dream. The first I reviewed was …


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Photo of the day: View from Observation Point Trail in Zion

The changing color of the rock in Zion was nearly as impressive as the size of the cliffs. Sometimes the color shift was so sudden it looked like it had been striped by a painter. Unfortunately our hike on the Observation Point Trail had us shooting photos into the sun most of the day. Next trip we plan to time …


Posted in Hiking, Photo of the Day, Utah | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Restart your workout: Returning to exercise after a break

Returning to exercise can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you get back on track. Staying fit hasn’t been easy lately. Holiday parties are in full swing, I got sick, and I’ve been stuck at my desk most of the month. When I noticed a little “muffin-top” showing above my pants, I knew I’d better get back …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel Tips, Fitness & Health | Tagged , | 2 Comments

All-inclusive ski vacations in Italy… a simple getaway

I’ve had fun adding more international guest-posts to the blog recently. This one explores Italy’s all-inclusive ski resorts. Enjoy…   Italy is a beautiful nation rich in culture and an ideal choice for an all-inclusive break. The country is a popular winter sports destination and boasts some excellent resorts if you’re after a truly luxurious getaway where you don’t have …


Posted in Adventure Travel, International Travel, Winter Sports | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

My favorite travel moments of 2012 [VIDEO]

2012 was a good travel year for me – especially the last half! My hard drive is full of great images that overwhelm my borderline ADD, so I challenged myself to select just three or less images from each destination to share with you in the form of a 2:10 video. Let me know what you think… Enjoy! For a …


Posted in Adventure Travel, International Travel, Photography | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Exploring the Greek Island of Rhodes

Today’s guest post has me adding a new destination to my travel wish-list…. Enjoy! Greece is an eternally popular holiday destination that enthralls and delights visitors year after year, and it’s certainly not hard to see why. From its ancient architecture and mythical tales of gods and beasts, to its golden sands and soaring rugged mountain peaks, few places are …


Posted in International Travel, Travel Planning | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Out on a ledge in Zion National Park

“Nope, no way, I’m not climbing out on that rock so you can take a picture,” was the last thing I said before climbing out on that rock just off the Observation Point Trail in Zion National Park. Confession time, “The Active Explorer” is afraid of heights, not all heights, just natural ledges when I’m not on rope. So, when …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Hiking, Utah | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Road trip music for the Active Explorer

Since the late 1930’s when Route 66 was completed, road trips have become a staple of the American people.  I have fond memories of my parents packing up the station wagon (and later the mini-van), ushering my brother and I into the back seats,  and trekking across America to some distant family member or long awaited vacation destination.  We had …


Posted in Travel Planning, Travel/Culture | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Don’t become a tick-borne illness statistic…like me

At least two dozen tiny nymph ticks clung tenaciously to my ankles and legs by the time I checked halfway through my hike. That was two and half weeks ago. Now I’m suffering the effects of tick-borne illness including a miserable rash extending from my ankles to my thighs. When I found the ticks, they were so small that there …


Posted in Adventure Travel Tips, Fitness & Health, Medical | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Pathfinder Outdoor Survival Guide Set Giveaway

  A few weeks ago, I reviews a set of Pathfinder Outdoor Survival Guides. To read all about them, click here: What’s in my pack: Pathfinder Outdoor Survival Guides. I’m excited that the publisher has offered a full set for me to give away so a lucky winner! Use the Rafflecopter app below to enter. Don’t forget, by completing all …


Posted in Giveaway, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

London wine and dine: The best restaurants and bars in Shoreditch

Enjoy this appetizing guest post highlighting the best restaurants and bars in Shoreditch, London. When you think of a night out in London, you may think of Leicester Square, Covent Garden or the West End. Perhaps Camden comes to mind, or the alternative streets of Tottenham Court Road? It’s surprising how fabulous the bars and restaurants are if you move …


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Fuel for adventure: Dining in South Lake Tahoe

Hiking in the Lake Tahoe area this summer certainly worked up my appetite and being a bit of a foodie, I set out to find where the locals eat in South Lake Tahoe. Of course, I couldn’t hit them all in one trip, so I progressively visited places over the course of three weeks, usually before or after hikes with …


Posted in California, Food & Drink, Lake Tahoe, Travel Planning | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Photo of the day: Classic Florida wetlands

The Florida landscape includes more than sandy beaches. I spend a fair bit of time hiking in Central Florida, and some of my favorite landscapes are Florida wetlands. This photo was taken in the Orlando Wetlands Park this February, and I feel it epitomizes beauty of my favorite Florida scene. On this hike/walk we saw dozens of alligators, birds and …


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Winter travel to Paris, France: Exploring French culture and food

I love escaping crowds whenever possible. After reading this guest post, I’m ready to finally visit Paris – in the winter! ~ Enjoy   While the City of Lights is a sight to behold in the summer months, Paris sparkles even more in the winter. The dazzling lights shining through a light blanket of snow, the festive holiday atmosphere and …


Posted in International Travel, Travel Planning, Travel/Culture, Wine | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Caving TAG: Years of tradition and a few changes

Sometimes life forces us to “reset” and start over. How we deal with these events is an important key to happiness. Refuse to adapt, and you limit yourself. Last month I made my annual caving pilgrimage to the 35th TAG Fall Cave-In. The event derives its name from the region where Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia converge in the southeastern United …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Alabama, Caving, Rappelling/ Ascending | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

What’s in my pack: Pathfinder Outdoor Survival Guides

Could you save your own life? I spend a lot of time alone in the wilderness and I’ll admit sometimes I worry about what I would do if I were injured or lost for a few days before help arrived. The reality is I’d be stupid if I didn’t think about what could go wrong and have a plan. Accidents …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Gear/Product Review, What's in my pack...and what's not | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Five reasons to hike Utah’s Lake Blanche Trail

At over 8,800 feet, my lungs were objecting to the continued uphill trek toward Lake Blanche in Utah’s Wasatch Range. Okay, I’ll tell it like it was – I was huffing and puffing like a 3-pack-a-day-smoker. I’d been working out, and did some extensive hiking at altitude over the summer, but none of that helped. Feeling a bit humbled, I …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Backpacking, Hiking, Salt Lake City, Utah | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Solo Backpacking the Hoover & Yosemite Wilderness

This funny and inspiring post written by my adventurous sister is about her first solo backpacking trip through the Hoover and Yosemite wilderness. I loved reading it because I experienced many of the same things on my first solo trip, which you can read about here. Enjoy!     Day 1: Heading Out…Solo It’s the perfect time for a backpacking …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Backpacking, California, Hiking | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Six fitness tips for adventurers

Are you fit for adventure? Notice I didn’t ask if you look good in a swimsuit. That’s because being fit for adventure isn’t about a perfectly trim figure. It’s about much more. Strength, nutrition and  cardiovascular endurance are all important facets of fitness. The good news, it’s not expensive, complicated or boring. However, it will require getting off the couch …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel Tips, Backpacking, Fitness & Health, Hiking | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Photo of the day: A thought for your weekend

This photo of my pack and poles was taken on the Appalachian Trail. What adventures do you have planned this weekend ?  


Posted in Photo of the Day | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Doing it in a dress…

Last week you might have noticed a few pictures of me caving in a dress, and rightfully, you may have questioned my continued sanity. Well, there was a reason I went out on a limb as the ultimate caving nerd – I’m fundraising for a cause called Do it in a Dress. Do it in a Dress is global movement …


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Don’t just lie there… Six adventure activities in Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya, known for its alabaster beaches and blue water, is also home to a variety of adventure activities. Some are adrenaline packed while others are relaxing forays into the natural side of the region. So when you are sick of just laying there, get up and find adventure. I recently visited the area on a fast-paced adventure trip with …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Caving, Mexico, Rappelling/ Ascending | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

An open letter to my readers…

May I ask a favor? It would mean a lot to me if you could take a few minutes to provide me some feedback. I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about how to share more of my passions in The Active Explorer. However, this blog is nothing without you the reader, so the next logical step is …


Posted in About Me, Adventure Sports | Tagged | 8 Comments

Photo of the day: A steep approach to Albert Mountain

On a solo Appalachian Trail backpacking trip, I came upon these stairs leading up…way up. I was approaching Albert Mountain in North Carolina, and the last third of a mile to the summit climbed nearly 500 feet. Part of the climb had stairs, while other parts were a rocky grab-the-tree-branches scramble. Sadly, this photo doesn’t give a good perspective on …


Posted in Appalachain Trail, Photo of the Day, Photography | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Five favorite drinks from my travels

I’ve logged thousands of miles over the last year and along the way I’ve found several drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, that I enjoyed. Some drinks need to be enjoyed in the context of a place or experience or they lose their charm. For example, most of the time Summer Shandy wouldn’t be my first pick because I’m a dark …


Posted in Food & Drink, Mexico, Travel/Culture | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Photo of the day: Why I hike

Yes, a car ride to the mall would be an easier outing, but I’m more interested in epic views, tranquil lakes and nature. My sister shot this photo of me next to Dardanelles Lake south of Lake Tahoe. It captured my contemplative mood as I took in our surroundings and asked, “how did I get so lucky?” Did you enjoy …


Posted in Hiking, Lake Tahoe, Photo of the Day | Tagged , | 1 Comment

What’s in my pack: A Gobi Gear Hoboroll

There is never enough room in my backpack or my suitcase. I do my best to organize and compress things to a fraction of their original size, but the first time I dig around looking for something that inevitably is at the bottom of my bag, all of my efforts are for naught. I utilize compression sacks in my backpack …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Gear/Product Review, What's in my pack...and what's not | Tagged | 1 Comment

Cravings: The Mount Dora Historic Inn’s peach ricotta pancakes

There is something inherently romantic about a historic bed and breakfast. I’m not sure if it’s the feeling that time has stopped, like stepping into another era, or if it’s all of the pretty furniture and accessories. I especially like themed rooms with lots of small details that I would never think of adding in my own home. Then there …


Posted in Florida, Food & Drink, Mount Dora | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Feeding my adrenaline addiction in Riviera Maya

In case you missed it, I’m an adrenaline junkie. Well, I guess it’s hard to miss if you’re a regular reader of this blog. So when an invitation to experience Riviera Maya’s adventurous side I could hardly contain myself. First, I took a few deep breaths before replying via email so it wouldn’t be too obvious how excited I was; …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Caving, Mexico, Rappelling/ Ascending | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Returning to Riviera Maya

This May, I visited Riviera Maya to attend the Word Travel and Tourism Council Summit of the Americas. While I was thrilled to be part of the event, I was restless to get out and explore the more adventurous side of the region. This part of Mexico offers numerous adventure activities from snorkeling to rappelling into deep cenotes. Thanks to …


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Photo of the Day: Where boots go to die

The first thirty miles of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) north of Springer Mountain acts as a shake down for many hikers. Even as an experienced backpacker, with well broken-in boots, I lost a couple of toenails thanks to this section. At Neels Gap, the trail literally passes through Mountain Crossings, an outfitter that has made its reputation helping A.T. hikers …


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Photos of the day: Paddling the Chattooga River

Over the last 11 years, I’ve rafted, kayaked and backpacked along the Chattooga River in northern Georgia and South Carolina. The Chattooga is known for its whitewater and for its role in the movie Deliverance filmed along the river in the 1970s. In 1974, the 57-mile Chattooga River was declared a National Wild and Scenic River. No motorized vehicles are …


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Tahoe hiking: Bay View to Azure Lake

A little background before I launch into this post. I was raised an only child by a pair of VERY adventurous parents. I knew since I was 11 years old that I had a half-sister (that the last time I’ll use the “half” part) somewhere but I had never met her. About a year ago, Laura found us and it …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel, Hiking, Lake Tahoe | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Combating stereotypes: Why I’m no ‘proper’ lady

Two personal posts in a month, this is a first. However, I received some very nice feedback from the last one so I guess you don’t mind them too much. Bear with me for a little rant. prop·er adj. 1. Characterized by appropriateness or suitability; fitting: the proper knife for cutting bread; not a proper moment for a joke. 2. …


Posted in About Me, Adventure Sports, Life and Happiness | Tagged | 18 Comments

Learning to enjoy a slower pace on Elbow Cay, Bahamas

Sometimes I’m a little too energetic for a destination. I can’t just lay by a pool or sun on the beach. I’m more like a shark; I need to move, so when I visited Elbow Cay, I had to learn to slow down. It took a day, a few drinks, and a stunning sunset before I managed to relax. If …


Posted in Travel Planning | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Photo essay: Tarpon Springs, Florida

As many of you know, I get restless when I’m not traveling so I frequently look for a dose of culture near home to tide me over between trips. This January, I decided to do a photo project on Tarpon Springs, Florida. Tarpon Springs is notable for having the largest concentration of Greek-Americans in the US (based on 2004 census …


Posted in Florida, Photography, Travel/Culture | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Photo of the day: Two Medicine Lake, Glacier National Park

When I returned recently from three weeks of traveling, preceded by two other trips to Mexico, a friend posted on my Facebook wall that it must be nice to be home. I didn’t reply because I’m not one to be negative, but I wasn’t happy. I wanted to keep going. Don’t get me wrong, I looooved the places I visited, …


Posted in Glacier National Park, Photo of the Day | Tagged | 8 Comments

Canoe camping on the Lower Wisconsin River

I love camping and paddling, but until last month, I had never combined the two sports. The Wisconsin River was the perfect introduction to canoe camping. After about a 3.5-hour drive from Chicago, we were greeted warmly at Wisconsin River Outings in Boscobel, which provided our canoe and transport. We piled our gear into their shuttle and headed to the …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Camping, Paddling | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

No time? Un-pause your life and hit play

Instead of a literal journey, in this post I share a little about my personal journey. Many people think they can’t have adventure or travel in their lives, or let it go for some reason. I used to be one of them. Perhaps my story will inspire at least one person. I’ve skipped most of the details on how I …


Posted in About Me, Adventure Travel Tips, Life and Happiness, Travel Planning | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

GEIGERRIG hydration pack & filter giveaway – CLOSED

    Proper hydration can mean the difference between a successful adventure and a painful failure. I’ve written on this topic many times, most recently as a featured contributor to the Hydration Summit: Hydration at the Extremes: It’s Not Just a Heat Issue Hydration Considerations for Adventurers Over Fifty During the summit, I became familiar with GEIGERRIG, a hydration pack …


Posted in Giveaway | Tagged , , | 46 Comments

Capture the colors photo essay

Earlier this month I was nominated to enter the TravelSupermarket.com Capture the Color contest by Ted of Traveling Ted. It was a lot of fun digging through my photos looking for each color. I also realized that I should use the color-tagging feature in Lightroom, but what fun would that be? The hardest part was choosing just one photo for …


Posted in Photography, Rocky Mouontain National Park, Wildlife | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Cravings: Puebla’s luscious cremita

Sweet, velvety cremita quickly became my favorite dessert while visiting Puebla, Mexico. It’s a simple custard-like dish thickened with cornstarch. Once home, I longed for a portion of the delicacy and literally squealed when I discovered the recipe in our packet from a cooking class we attended at Mesones Sacristía de la Compañia. However, I quickly realized that several details …


Posted in Dessert, Food & Drink, Mexico | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Photo essay: The boutique hotels of Puebla

Few modern hotels have distinguishing features. However, in Puebla, all of the hotels we visited were in interesting historic buildings. The architecture alone was enchanting, and the rooms were tranquil refuges from modern glitz. Historic and avant-garde features combined to create fascinating contrasts, each making the other more interesting. Additionally, each property included a restaurant serving both classic and contemporary dishes. …


Posted in Food & Drink, Mexico, Travel Planning, Travel/Culture | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The Dos and Don’ts of Summer Heat Safety

The recent heat wave across the US has affected people not accustomed to, or prepared to deal with, extreme heat, so I thought this would be a good time to discuss the basics of heat safety since, like me, many of you are outdoor enthusiasts. Some of this info may seem elementary, but too often we forget the basics. As …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Fitness & Health, Medical | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

What’s in my pack: A pair of Holeys clogs

There’s a story behind my camp shoes. After backpacking for several days on the Appalachian Trail, my friend and I headed to Damascus, Virginia, also known as Trail Town USA, due to the convergence of four scenic trails: the Appalachian Trail, Trans-America National Bicycle Trail, The Iron Mountain Trail, and the Virginia Creeper Trail. Damascus is also known for its …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Appalachain Trail, Backpacking, Hiking, What's in my pack...and what's not | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The Matterhorn: A challenging walking break

Occasionally I accept sponsored guest posts if they offer useful information on adventure travel such as this one by Explore! ~ Enjoy!   There are many places in Europe you can choose for a walking holiday this summer, but few will allow you to walk in the shadow of one of the most recognizable and stunning peaks on the continent – …


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Cantona Archaeological Site, Puebla, Mexico

Treading silently along ancient roads where 80,000 people once passed engaged my imagination. I pictured the streets full of people going about their daily routines, never thinking their home would later be abandoned, encased in centuries of accumulated soil and plant growth. Cantona, a Mesoamerican archaeological site located roughly 58 miles from the city of Puebla, was deserted sometime after …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Conservation, Mexico, Travel/Culture | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Hometown culture: Breakfast at the Hindu temple of Central Florida

I’m a bit of a vagabond. Even at home, I sometimes have the urge to explore and try new things, which I satisfy by looking for local destinations rich in immigrant culture. My mom is particularly adept at finding unique experiences right under our nose. She recently asked me to join her for a traditional Indian breakfast at the Hindu …


Posted in Florida, Food & Drink | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Robert Redford speaks on sustainable tourism at WTTC Americas Summit

It’s a viscous circle. Tourists seek unspoiled destinations but then threaten the very places they enjoy. Sustainable tourism is more than a public relations buzz-word, it’s industry survival. Celebrated actor, director and environmentalist Robert Redford, brought star power to this important issue at the recent Word Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Americas Summit. “Tourism is a wonderful business, and it …


Posted in Conservation, Mexico | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Caption this adventure photo

Okay gang, I chuckle every time I look at this photo of my son taken during a kayaking lesson. I can’t imagine what he must of been feeling at that moment! How about YOU give me a caption? Just leave a comment below. For the record, I didn’t take the photo. There are some things a mom doesn’t want to …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Kayaking, Photo of the Day | Tagged | 3 Comments

A trail of contrasts: Mills Lake, Colorado

This trail report is a re-post from my original blog, Trail Ridge Outdoors. Enjoy!   Dark clouds flowing over the mountains discouraged most of our group from hiking to Mills Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), but my aunt and I weren’t about to miss this hike. A Twitter friend, @RMNP4MS had recommended it highly. We began our hike …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Colorado, Hiking, Rocky Mouontain National Park | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s in my pack: CLIF Bars

I depend on complex carbohydrates and protein to fuel my body for adventures sports, but sometimes it’s a struggle to consume all that I need. To conserve space and weight, I look for compact sources of nutrients, such as energy and protein bars. However, I must be honest; some of them taste awful or are too dry to chew. I …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Gear/Product Review, Trail Food, What's in my pack...and what's not | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Peaceful paddle

Sometimes I find a place I can only call meditative. It’s where I just want to sit down and ponder life or journal in one of my (too) many notebooks. This photo, taken near Wekiwa Springs, Florida, shows one of those places. When I look at it I just want to see what is around the bend.  


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Posted in Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel, New Zealand | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gear review: Sauce Chill Toque hat

As a member of the Outdoor Blogger Network, I recently had the opportunity to review the Sauce Chill Toque hat and I must say I was impressed. Sauce allowed me my choice of color so I chose the Purple Pinwheel pattern. It was bright and cheery. My first test of the hat was during a brisk walk on a 46 …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Gear | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

South African Boma Bread

Enjoy this guest post by Rachelle Lucas, aka @travelblggr ~ Thanks Rachelle!   “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” — James Beard There is something about sharing a meal together around a camp fire that seems to instantly bond friendships. I don’t know if it’s the glow of the embers, warming up next to the heat, the food …


Posted in Camping, Food & Drink, South Africa | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

St. Nicholas Cathedral, Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Tarpon Springs, Florida, has the highest concentration of Greek immigrants in the United States. St. Nicholas Cathedral is beautifully decorated with illustrations of the Greek Orthodox faith. My camera didn’t do it justice.To learn more about the area, read my Examiner.com article: Tarpon Springs, Florida: On and off the beaten track.  


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Muddy TAG cavers support conservation

“Fire, fire, fire…,” chants the crowd, as a longhaired man wearing bat-print pajama bottoms launches a flaming arrow into the 20-foot tall bonfire. It lights with a loud ka-thump! About then, another lovely fellow wearing a red ball gown and blond wig allows me to take some glamour-shots of him before moving on into the revelry that lasts into the …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel, Alabama, Caving, Conservation, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A close encounter with Florida’s manatees

As I slipped into the water, the cold took my breath away, but soon the wetsuit did its job and I felt better. At first, I couldn’t see anything due to disturbed silt, but then a large form materialized in front of me and there I was, just feet from an adult manatee. I stopped a few feet away and …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel, Conservation, Florida, Snorkeling, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

A job with a view, Glacier National Park, MT

The drop-off behind this surveyor on the Going-to-the-Sun Road is at least several hundred feet. I’m not sure I could turn my back on it and work! Needless to say, he has the best view EVER!  


Posted in Glacier National Park, Photo of the Day | Tagged , | 7 Comments

6 gift ideas for your adventurous Valentine

One of the most popular articles I’ve written was “17 Gift Ideas for Adventurous Women – From ‘Biners to Bags”. Here is a more romantic take on gifts for your adventurous Valentine – male or female. SPOT GPS Messenger – Show both that you care about your Valentines safety and that you are interested in their travels. The Messenger not …


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Backpacking, Gear | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

No bombs!

One of my favorite events each year is the TAG Fall Cave-In held each October. It’s a unique (not used lightly) event and therefore requires a few signs that would seem out of place anywhere else. To view a full set of photos from the event visit my Flickr album.  


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What’s in my pack? A K-mart grease pot

This is a new series where I will discuss one item I carry either in my backpack, day-pack or camera bag, as well as one I don’t. I came up with the idea after being asked repeatedly what I carry. What items are “must haves” is very individual, so these are just my preferences. Perhaps you will find some new …


Posted in Backpacking, Gear, Hiking, What's in my pack...and what's not | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Lower Two Medicine Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana

I took this shot from Highway 49 between East Glacier and St. Mary. It was about 6:00 a.m. Needless to say, the sun rises early there during the summer.


Posted in Glacier National Park, Photo of the Day, Photography | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Cold Spring Shelter on the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is supported by a series of shelters which provide a convenient alternative to pitching a tent. Some are nicer than others. Cold Spring is best described as “historic” and it has a good dose of character. The walls are embellished with years of graffiti, the roof has a few drips, and the mice are friendly. All …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Appalachain Trail, Backpacking, Hiking, Photo of the Day | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A hometown Christmas at sea

For years, my friends and family suggested I write about my childhood at sea. But, putting those many memories on paper was an overwhelming thought. Finally I decided the best way to approach the task was to do what I’ve always done, plug my nose and jump into the deep end! This piece takes place just after my 14th birthday …


Posted in About Me, Sailing/Cruising, Travel/Culture | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Trip Report: Backpacking California’s Evolution Valley

Laura Manina, my sister and fellow backpacker, shares her experiences and tips on backpacking a 57-mile loop to the Evolution Valley. Many thanks to her for this great post and pictures! You can learn more about her travels with her husband, Mitch, on CruisingSailors.com. ~   Evolution Valley. First, it was a suggestion, and then it was an item on …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, California, Hiking | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Eating my way across Charlotte County

I travel to eat. At least it seems that way sometimes because I’m completely obsessed with trying local cuisine. My recent trip to Charlotte County, Florida, indulged my closet foodie. This is a region of Florida is known for its seafood. However, like most places, you need to know where to go. My trip was hosted by the local visitor’s …


Posted in Florida, Food & Drink | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Arizona Trail Petroglyphs

A few years ago, Mom and I did some hiking in Arizona. This photo shows some of the petroglyphs we saw on the rocks along the trail. I still think they are some of the coolest things I’ve seen while hiking!  


Posted in Arizona, Hiking, Photo of the Day | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Exploring natural Florida at Babcock Wilderness Reserve

I’m exploring Charlotte County, Florida, this week thanks to the Charlotte Harbor Visitors and Convention Bureau. The reason I am so interested in this area is that it offers abundant adventure travel options. Our focus during this trip is birding and eco-tourism.  Today we visited the 90,000-acre Babcock Wilderness Preserve via a converted school bus run by Babcock Wilderness Adventures. I’ll …


Posted in Birding, Conservation, Florida | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Photo of the day: Why I cave

People ask what I enjoy about crawling around in dark, sometimes muddy, caves. Perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is my answer.            


Posted in Adventure Sports, Alabama, Caving, Photo of the Day, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Photo of the day: Wood warbler

I met this little guy in Wekiwa State Park last weekend. Now I just wish I had a longer lens…  


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Hiking to Rawhiti Cave, New Zealand

A guest post by Amy Heritage – Thanks Amy!   The next time a guide book mentions a ‘one hour walk’ for people with a ‘moderate level of fitness’ I’m going to regard it with caution. This is how the trek to Rawhiti Cave is described to tourists by the New Zealand Tourist Board. Truthfully, it is a short walk …


Posted in Caving, Hiking, New Zealand, Travel/Culture | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gear review: MSR Pocket Rocket

Over more than two decades I’ve tried several styles of backpacking stoves for my adventure travels. Most recently, I’ve been using a simple alcohol stove, but missed the level of flame control provided by compressed gas models. When Appalachian Outdoors asked me to review the MSR Pocket Rocket, I jumped at the chance. The last compressed gas stove I owned, …


Posted in Backpacking, Gear, Hiking | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments
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Posted in Photo of the Day, Photography | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Book review: Becoming Odyssa, Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

  This is the first book review on The Active Explorer, and I couldn’t have had an easier one to write — I absolutely loved this book!  ~ Erika   I felt brave the first time I stepped onto the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) solo. Let’s face it — it’s different for a chick on the trail than for a guy. …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Appalachain Trail, Backpacking, Hiking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Six Things to See and Do in Eastern Glacier National Park

Information overload. That’s the typical response when visitors arrive on the eastern side of Glacier National Park, Montana. When a friend asked what he should see during his one-day visit, I was stumped. “One day?” I confirmed in awe, “but there’s so much to see!” Once I wrapped my head around his question, I suggested mixing sightseeing, with a sampling …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Beer, Food & Drink, Glacier National Park, Hiking, Travel Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Blown away: Glacier National Park’s Cracker Lake Trail

I wrote this post as part of my MatadorU writing course.  Our assignment was to flash-back from today to a memorable event. The trail to Cracker Lake was one of the most memorable I’ve ever hiked, especially since it was the windiest – at least 40 mph, maybe more. Enjoy. My coffee is hot enough to be a little painful …


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Hosteling for the first time: Lessons learned

The clerk at Brownies’ Bakery and Hostel handed me a padlock key from across the counter, and pointed toward a set of worn, painted stairs to the second story of the log building. Upstairs, I found my way through the dim living room, decorated in style that can only be described as early-American-garage-sale, to my room down the hall. It …


Posted in Adventure Travel Tips, Travel Planning | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Small town frustrations

During a recent trip, I became briefly frustrated by the small town where I was staying. As I began venting on paper, it hit me just how hospitable these sometimes-isolated hamlets are. By the end of the page, I felt downright silly, and now that I’ve been home for over a month, I’m aching to return. Do you enjoy staying …


Posted in Travel/Culture | Tagged , | 3 Comments

A backpacking trip, or a personal journey?

For the past month, I’ve been locked in a vacation state of mind. My heart is still on the trail, but my brain and body are hard at work writing, and making a dollar at my day job. The Appalachian Trail has a way of keeping your heart. Each time I return to the trail it takes longer to pull …


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Backpacking logistics part 2: Planning and resupply

Planning a backpacking trip can be confusing… How many miles should you plan to hike each day? How will you re-supply food and fuel? These questions are interrelated and can be tough to answer if you haven’t had much experience with backpacking or adventure travel. Daily mileage impacts food planning, but as a new backpacker you won’t know your pace. …


Posted in Adventure Travel, Adventure Travel Tips, Backpacking, Hiking, Trail Food, Travel Planning | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Backpacking and hiking logistics, part 1: Transportation

“You wanna go where lady?” Is what I expected on the other end of the phone-line when I started calling around for a ride to the trailhead while planning to backpack a section of the AT. Instead, the reply was, “Sure! I drive backpackers up there all the time.” My adventure planning was off to a good start. Sometimes the …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel, Adventure Travel Tips, Backpacking, Hiking, Travel Planning | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

From gym to trail: Adjust your workout for backpacking

It’s time to think about fitness for backpacking. Throughout the cold winter, you dragged yourself into the gym and resisted becoming a couch potato, lifted weights, walked the treadmill, and maybe took a fitness class or two. Now that the spring flowers have bloomed and you’re thinking of adventure sports and backpacking. Be careful. You’re in great shape, sure, and …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Backpacking, Fitness & Health, Hiking | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo: Committed to conservation

“We only exhibit animals that thrive in Florida’s climate,” explained Jason Davis, the Lowry Park Zoo’s marketing manager. “We also try to display only animals that need our protection, rather than just pleasing the public.” This zoo excels at serving the needs of animals, and in the process, it delights spectators as well.  In 2009, Parents Magazine named Tampa’s Lowry …


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One Day, Three Florida Springs

Flowing under much of Florida is a subterranean river.  It is our water supply and the source of over 700 springs dotting the landscape.  Some of the springs feed large rivers such as the Rainbow River and the Wakulla.  Others are little more than small pools.  Occasionally springs connect to the underground aquifer via passages large enough to dive through.  …


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Myakka State Park – Adventure for the whole family

Two hours from Orlando is a park that will make you feel like you stepped back in time, the Myakka State Park.  But it’s not just a pretty view, this park has plenty of activities to keep the whole family busy for days. The park is located east of Sarasota and surrounds the Myakka River, which winds through 58 square …


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Solo on the Appalachian Trail

The sound of gravel under the tires of the hiker shuttle faded.  I was alone at the Deep Gap trailhead to begin a solo hike on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. Instead of silence, I heard the low drone of bees visiting blooms around the trailhead.  One signpost indicated the trail leading south and another to the north.  The …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Hiking | Tagged , , , , , | 30 Comments

Adventure in Northeast Georgia

  Two hours north of Atlanta, Rabun County, Georgia, and the surrounding areas offer a variety of activities from whitewater rafting to unique dinning. My son and I spent four days packed with activities in Rabun County last summer. Our base was the Tallulah Gorge Campground. Located on the north rim of the Tallulah Gorge, this campground offered wooded campsites, …


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17 Gift Ideas for Adventurous Women – From ‘Biners to Bags

Do you have a girlfriend, sister, mother or grandmother who is more adventurous than traditional?  If so, you may have already stumbled a few times choosing a gift.  If she prefers backpacks to Coach bags, or wet suits to evening gowns, this article will help you get started on your shopping list.


Posted in Adventure Sports Gear, Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Rappelling/ Ascending | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Beyond Ramen: Three Cookbooks for Backpacking

Just how many packs of Ramen Noodles can one person eat in a week?  I tried to find out during college, and didn’t want to repeat the experience while backpacking.  There are good premade dehydrated meals available, but they get expensive when packing for a long trip.


Posted in Backpacking, Food & Drink, Hiking, Trail Food | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Slippery When Wet – Caving TAG

Enjoy this post on my favorite adventure sport, caving….   Flat on my belly, I was laying in an underground puddle trying to push myself under a collection of stalactites without causing damage.  The icy water soaked my coveralls and made the going easier. I think the saying is, “slippery when wet.”  Using my toes to propel me, I slid …


Posted in Adventure Sports, Bats, Caving, Conservation, Rappelling/ Ascending | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments