Monday, August 20, 2012

Ready for hiking season!

Welcome back Fall! And by fall, I mean the temperature is under 90s most days for the high. With the fun of summer plans and lack of hiking weather, I've fallen behind in blogging but now I hope to be back full swing.

To start, I wanted to talk about cleaning your gear. The right habit is to clean your gear after every hike.   This allows you the opportunity to evaluate your gear as well for tears or punctures.

For those who are more of a dayhiker, like myself, here's my checklist of cleaning after a hike
  • Turn my daypack inside out. There are always some crumbs in there somehow
  • Empty any water out of the pack. I have totally forgotten to do this and gotten things wet by accident!
  • Make a list or email yourself any supplies you need to restock. Did you use a bandaid or notice you forgot your knife? I email myself (sometimes on the car ride back) with these reminders so I can get supplies during the week
  • Place gear back in my gear basket. I have a basket next to the packs where we put all the gear we take with us. Before every hike, I go through the basket to make sure everything important is in our packs. This is really helpful when you are switching between packs, but if I know my next few hikes are with the same pack I may skip this step. 
  • Clean my hiking boots. There's a great article here on boot repair if you want more info. In short, I use a boot brush to clean the bottom and give the shoe the once over for any damage. 

But my gear has been abandoned for the past month or two and I've forgotten any mental reminders I have made, so this past weekend I took to airing everything out. This was a great chance to freshen things up and make a checklist of any repairs or additions I want to make while summer sales are still going on. Having a carport was an advantage here - I could hand everything up and not heat up in the sun.

For better articles on maintaing your gear, check out:

Section Hiker - Backpacking Gear Maintenance - Make Your Gear Last Longer

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Georgia dayhiking: Vickery Creek Trail

With a limited amount of time on our hands, I went looking for a trail that was not too far from home but had some decent length to it. Enter Vickery Creek Trail. Located near the Chattahoochee River National Recreation area, this trail complex is close to Atlanta and has a series of trail paths you can combine for a length that suits you. Many trail sites list this as a 6.5 mile trail and I suppose if you hiked every bit of trail it would be that long, but we did the outer route and a few detours to end at 4.0 miles on the dot.
In summary, if you're looking for a family hike or an simple stroll, this is a great hike that won't require an extended car trip.

The map of Vickery Creek. There were maps posted throughout the trails and at every fork so you shouldn't get lost.

The dams were really cool! The first one we came across at a bridge, the second one was a minor detour to go see.

A very inviting trail.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Airplane Bento

Something about being 30,000 feet in the air makes everything better. That's why I'm saying this is my best bento ever. No matter how much I ate in the airport, I always want to buy the in-plane snacks. They look so tasty! However, I hate spending $3.00 on a pack of M&Ms or $7.00 on a cheese tray that is hardly big enough for a child. So I've started to make my own airplane snacks that include the foods that I am tempted to buy.

In this bento we have:
- 2 fun packs of peanut M&Ms
- Pretzel Crisps
- Pepperoni
- Chocolate Chip Chewy Bar
- Red Pepper Hummus
- Laughing Cow Cheese
(Plastic knife not pictured)

This bento accompanied us to while flying from ATL to SLC. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Quick update

Hello followers! I just posted a new post and I'm sorry for the lack of posts. I was busying conquering some amazing trails in Yosemite! I can't wait to add those updates to the blog so look forward to some more posts in the upcoming weeks.

Georgia Dayhiking - Blood Mountain

My latest hiking adventure was Blood Mountain. Plenty of people have written something about this trail (this person wrote a novel or you can just read this general overview). The original goal was to hike around 8 miles the first day and then finish the downhill the next day. Unfortunately the 10% chance of rain that day turned into a 200% chance of thunderstorms. Not to mention, this trail turned out to be much more strenuous than we thought.

My husband and I have done plenty of difficult trails, but this one got the best of us. Between the elevation and the rain, we made the decision 5.5 miles in to turn back and make camp at the creek. I do not regret the choice, especially when the next round of thunder and lighting started moving in. Yet even as the skies roared, I hesitated make the decision because I would not admit defeat. What won me over was my gut.

It's been said before and I'll chime in to the chorus: the best thing you can do is follow your gut. If something does not feel right or safe, in hiking or in life in general, stop and listen to your instincts. You've gotten this far, so maybe that gut is good for more than drinking beer.

Enough talk! Onto the pictures taken before the rain, that is.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

No bento box required

I was working late and asked my husband to bring me a snack. The result was a reminder that you don't always need a bento box to make a big impression with food displays

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dayhiking Pack List and Rainy Day Blues

It's raining this weekend and while I could hike in it, I prefer not to. Not only do you get uncomfortable, but I don't want to be in a downpour 6 miles away with a river to cross. The best prevention is avoiding a bad situation. So instead, I wanted to cover what I keep in my day pack.
I see TONS of lists on long hiking gear lists and found some dayhiking lists (see below) but they are harder to find and probably what more people are doing.

For my pack, I have a camelback bag that's probably about a 30 liter bag. The very back of the bag has a separate compartment for a 1.5 liter camelback.

Below is the gear that lives in my bag for all hikes -
Starting at the top left and working down, row by row we have:
  • Extra hair band
  • Headlamp with extra battery
  • Lip balm w/ SPF
  • Notepad
  • Cell phone
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Beef Jerky (or some food/snack)
  • Trail map (I typically pick it up from the visitor center)
  • Sun Block (Yes, I have two - 30 and 70 SPF)
  • Bug spray
  • First Aid tape
  • Pens and pencil 
  • Wet ones, travel size
  • First Aid and survial gear
  • Emergency blanket
  • Emergency Whistle - It's a five in one!
  • Rei microfiber towel
  • Sunglasses (not pictures - they live on my head)
Then my maybe gear list includes:
  • MSR water filter
  • Rain coat 
  • flip flips
  • Hat (not pictured)
  • Swiss Knife (not pictured)
I know there are a lot of other things people encourage you to bring, but I've never really needed anything outside of this list. In Georgia, the cold is not an issue so I don't bring a warm hat or gloves. The rain feels pretty good, so I rarely pack my coat but it's nice to have the option. I include my flip flops when I'm breaking in new shoes. After a few bad blister situations, I rather have them on me then wish I did. My husband has a good knife, so while it's not the best practice I typically don't have one in my pack.

Here's what some other people suggest:
-'s Dayhiking list
- The's list with weights
- Erik the Black has what I consider one of the best lists

I think next week, I'll break down the first aid and other emergency gear. Until then!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A week off..sort of

Sorry for the lack of posting last weekend and no, I did not even get to hike. That's because I was busy doing something just as fun and a bit more important:

That's right! I have a badass job and part of it is planning Commencement. To see all the fun of the day, check out the Flickr album and the PhotoStream. I have some ideas for this weekend's post that are a bit more technical so keep watching!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Red Top Mountain Dayhike

Another weekend, another hiking trail! This past weekend we went to Red Top Mountain. Located in Lake Allatoona, you have some pretty lakeside views throughout the hike. Like many other state parks, you have your choice of trail and length. And like us, we went with the longest one we could find which would be the Homestead Trail.

The trail length is a moderate 5.5 miles but only has a 250 ft elevation gain. However, I felt like we had a nice combination throughout the entire hiking of small, semi-steep uphills followed by downhills. It's very well marked and is packed dirt the whole trail. At the trailhead, it said was a four hour trail - we did it in 1 hour, 40 minutes.  We think the 4 hours applies more to families than a seasoned hiker.  Anyway, let's enjoy some pictures!

Hiking in the woods - beautiful and serene

A scenic outlook about 1.5 miles in

Our trail map. Pictures taken at the gray pin dots

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Backpacking adventure!

This past weekend, my husband and I went on our first backpacking hike. For a trail choice, we went with Raven Cliff Falls in Helen, Georgia.

This is an easy out and back trail with a total distance of 5.5 miles. All the books say five miles, but run keeper had it being a bit longer. What I love about this trail is that you follow a creek the whole way so you have some smaller and pretty falls you can stop at along the way for lunch or a swim. The swim is key during a Georgia summer.

For camping, this trail is great for groups and all skill levels. There are spots from the parking lot to the falls so you have a lot of choice on how far in you want to be. All sites have firepits and logs already set up from previous campers. There's even a bathroom in the parking lot so if you don't go far, your could avoid going in the woods, but that is more for the wussy camper.

Anyway, below are a few pics of the adventure and of raven cliff!

Our first backpack meal!

Tent Sweet Tent

Our runkeeper map of the hike to the campground

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weekend hiking - Kennesaw Mountain

And now for the hiking side of the blog! I can't tell you how happy I am to get to write about this passion of mine. My god, why did I ever wait this long?

Anyway, last weekend I went to Kennesaw Mountain. I had only been once before the weekend prior and loved it so much I brought him back. Kennesaw Mountain offers a variety of trail lengths from one mile to a 17 mile loop. We did a six mile loop down to pigeon hill. I highly suggest this area to locals who want to just get out there. It would be a great trail to test new gear since if things go wrong you can easily get back to the starting point. Maybe i'll be back out there soon with some hiking poles...

View from Kennesaw Mountain

Top of Little Kennesaw Mountain - Love the cannons

Hiking down the trail back to the visitor center

Piegon Hill - definitely a hill, not a mountain

Bonus! We saw deer really close on our loop back!

Monday, April 9, 2012

One bento, two ways

So when you go to awesome bento sites like Adventures in Bento Making ( or Ohayo Bento ( I always notice the boxes. They always seem so nice, so fancy, so perfect for bentos. And I felt like I was at a disadvantage with my lack of boxes. So today I'm here to show one meal done two ways: in my bento and in Tupperware for the hubs. Check it out and I hope be inspired!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Being Souper

I love soups! My husband, not so much, but my lunches are for me! And with my new awesome bento box it is even easier for me to enjoy them during lunch. The challenge is that I love cream soups which directly conflicts with the 4-hour body diet.

So my new challenge to myself is to find soups that are 4-Hour friendly but I enjoy. My top two lately have been:

Edward & Son's Miso soup - This one can be found in most supermarkets (because if my Kroger has it, so does yours) but it hides in the organic section. It has 7 grams of Carbs and you can make with hot water from your office coffee maker. I'm also a sucker for Miso Soup

Gazpacho - There are like a million different ways to make this, but either way you blend it (ha!) it's just veggies in a food processor. Tomatoes can get your carb count up (I saw from 4g to 7g on the web per serving) so make sure you incorporate plenty of other veggies like peppers and cucumbers so you don't end up with more carbs than you planned. 

Cool Cucumber Soup - It's hot in Georgia so I need some more cold options. This is the most cheater of the soups because of the yogurt but I've learned to let Greek yogurt slide into my diet because it's very high in protein (for 9g of carbs, you get 23g of protein) and it is a perfect sour cream substitute. I use the Healthy Foodie's recipe for this soup.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

She's alive! and she's changing things up

This year has not been a good blogging year for me. Maybe it's because I've been so happy (and busy) with my life I'm not getting around to it as much as I should. I still have been making lunches in my new bento box, but I would not use "pretty" to describe them.

So I'm taking a page from Brandi who runs Brandi Nell the Southern Belle to make my blog more of what I am doing and loving but still keeping the bentos in them. You'll still see my attempts at bentos and healthy options, but look for more of my other love - hiking.

Today I want to share a recipe that I found on Dirty Gourmet that is excellent to go on hikes and in bentos, Grit Cakes.

They're great for hikes because you can pack them along for a morning bite and great for bentos because of all the shapes you can make them. I hate grits but I love these grit cakes.

This past weekend, my husband and I warmed up by hiking up Stone Mountain. I wish I had these cakes along to enjoy at the top!

He told me I wasn't looking happy enough at first, so here's my top of the mountain dance. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bento dieting

New year and I'm back! I have not been very good about blogging lately, but it's a new year and a new kickstart on the diet so here I am. I'm learning that I'm good at dieting in the first three months, then it's about maintaining until the holiday season (which is magical no rules time).

Anyway, for christmas my husband got me the coolest bento...the Mr. Bento Lunch Jar! Now it's easier to make meals that I can have small portions and big protein in. Below is my first meal in my new bento. Moving clockwise we have a salad, my "snack pack" consisting of almonds, olives, the some fruit roll and salad dressing, then it's turkey chili and we end with Tomato soup

The salad I now make as a big ziploc bag at the start of the week and just pour in portions throughout the week. The soup is from the organic section (Pacific Natural) and comes in a carton so I also just portion a bit every lunch day. Throw in some leftovers and we have a super fast and healthy lunch!

4 hour diet note- I found the lowest carb soups to be the organic ones. Even when it was a creamy soup, it had at least 5 less carbs than Campbell's or Progresso.