Trail Food

Fall is right around the corner and that means I will be wearing my hiking boots much more often. This excites me more than you could ever imagine. I really struggle with what my favorite outdoor sport is but thankfully they do rotate quite nicely with the change of seasons. Summer normally means all water sports. Spring and Fall is all about hiking.

I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about trail food. We like food that is easy to prepare, light weight, and affordable.

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Some Options:

nuts

beef/turkey jerky

crackers(denser the better, less crumbs)

dried fruit

tuna pouches

chicken pouches

single serve canned beans with pop tops

chocolate

energy bars

applesauce pouches

instant potatoes

instant rice

oatmeal (in cups)

tortillas

hard cheeses

no bake granola balls

freeze dried meals

dried soup packets

nut butters

squeeze jam

trail mix

hot chocolate

Condiment Options:

hot sauce

mustards

pesto

olive oil

salt/pepper

spices

salsa cups

brown sugar

Depending on the length of your hike, you can mix and match many of these items to prepare a pretty nice meal while on the trail. Some requiring you to carry water and a cooker and some require no water or heat to prepare at all. If you are a cold weather hiker you can carry almost anything without the need for refrigeration. This gets much more difficult when the temperature is warmer and some items may go bad without proper refrigeration.

What do you carry when you hike?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Littel Girl’s Wishes Are Granted

Nothing makes me happier when I see a spark in the eyes of a child who loves to be outdoors. Even at a young age you can tell if you have one of these children or not. I have a family that I offer childcare to that has one of these children. She is just shy of three years old and often tells us that she wants to do the things we do, such as kayak, standup paddle, hike and go fishing. She helps me pack supplies every Friday for whatever it is that we have planned for our weekends and every single Friday she says she’s going to come too. I knew this past Saturday we were going to have a pretty low key day at the beach so our son could give paddling a try so I asked her parents if we could borrow her for the day. They happily granted us this request which meant her little wish was was going to come true. She was finally going to get to kayak, standup paddle and go to the beach with us.

We packed up our supplies as usual adding her water shoes, suit, towel and PFD right along side of our gear. We talked about what we were all going to pack for a picnic, who would all be coming along and so on. We made a list for her mommy and daddy of all the supplies she would need to bring Saturday morning. And, I also added, that she needed to go to bed like a good girl and sleep a long time because Saturday would be her big day.

She showed up Saturday morning and we all packed into the truck and off we headed…to the beach. Upon arrival, she could not change into her suit fast enough. We hauled all our gear to the edge of the beach, laid down some safety rules (no entering the water without a life jacket on) and then it was play time.

Her first wish was to try kayaking. We did bring our recreational kayaks for her to ride with one of us in but my husband was the first one in his whitewater kayak. She immediately ran to him and he just sat her on top of his kayak skirt and she was all smiles.

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We eventually got her to get into a recreational kayak with me and we paddled the lake for a bit before she said it was time for the standup paddle board. She wasted no time hopping on but was a little more unsure about this ride than the kayak. I think she expected sides on the board and obviously there are no sides to hold you in.

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Her biggest wish was to paddle by herself. She is three and it’s all about independence so my husband granted this wish but dropped down to his knees because she was not brave enough to stand.

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She was one happy little girl, doing all these big girl sports. After some time though, the little kid came back out in her, my husband and my son. They all joined her in building a sand castle together.

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We called this Addie’s Island and it even had a waterfall!!!!

About two hours into our day her little belly started to get hungry so it was picnic time. I knew exactly what she all asked for and most of it was granted along with a few of her favorites, like green peppers and hummus.

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We really all had the best time. She was a complete angel the entire day. She enjoyed playing in the sand, getting to ride alone in my husband’s kayak while we spun her in circles and even using her big muscles to paddle with me really fast to beat my son back to shore for our picnic. It was a wonderful day!

I should point out, this is typically not part of what I do for my daycare families. I don’t often see this spark in a child anymore and it is quite heartbreaking that many kids will never get to experience things like this in their lifetime. This is the same child that requested to come hiking with us one day and we also granted her this wish back in Spring. Since then, her parents have followed along and have taken her camping for the first time and also on a few hikes. I am so proud they are encouraging and granting her the opportunity of an active lifestyle in the outdoors.

I am also very thankful they granted us the opportunity to have this day with their daughter. The big hug, kiss and thank you I received when I went to put her into her car seat before leaving the beach for home made me so proud. I am quite sure she will remember this trip for a long time.

A big Thank You goes out to her mommy and daddy:)

 

Get Up and Move Challenge- August Update

How have you all been doing on the Get Up and Move Challenge?

Are you hanging in there?

Have you tried anything new you care to share?

Do you wonder why 30 minutes now seems so minimal but back in January 30 minutes of movement seemed like forever?

I hear you if that is the case. I will forever remember when I first started exercising(years ago) and I started with a walk around a one mile block near our home. I was exhausted, like drop dead done!!! I just think back to then and smile now. What was I thinking, doing that to my body. Giving it no activity for so many years and then thinking it could actually walk one mile. And now I expect so much more of this body. And yes, I will admit, sometimes I expect too much and pay the price.

Let’s see what I have all done this month to move for 30 minutes. First of all, I rarely just move for 30 minutes. Exercise is a release for me and 30 minutes is never really enough.

Anyhow, I have done my daily afternoon workouts as always Monday-Friday. This involves a thirty minute stationary bike ride and weights. I also walk Monday-Friday every morning with my daycare kiddos for one mile if the weather allows. Granted, this is at a toddlers pace, but its still a mile. Typically, two nights a week we attend the gym. This is 30-50 minutes of cardio and an hour of weight lifting. We walk together at least two nights a week for three miles. And one night a week we have been playing disc golf, so basically more walking.

Then when we get to our weekends, that is when it could get somewhat crazy. We have paddled for a few hours down some rivers in our kayaks this month.

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I have paddled for a few hours on my stand up paddle board.

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And we have hiked some great trails with steep elevation to add to our calorie burn.

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We have attempted to start geocaching again but the bugs are still so bad that we hope to return to that in the near future.

I can say I am pretty happy with all the activity I have achieved this month. I confess, I have been nursing a sore knee since our vacation but at this point I am hoping it’s just old age. I am quite stubborn about taking it easy when it comes to pain and I really do try to listen to what my body tells me. It’s just that my brain sometimes over rides that body and tells me I can do it and that is when I pay the price. So for now, I plan to take it easy on that knee for a bit and maybe just stick to walking for a week or two. We’ll see how that goes….

I would like to leave you all with a reminder that exercise does not have to be time in a gym that you dread day in and day out for a certain amount of time. Now is the best time to get outside and try something new. If you are a parent, don’t use your kids as an excuse not to exercise. No matter what age they are, there are ways to be active with them. Strollers, wagons, bikes, balls, walking, playground workouts while your kids play, backyard games, basketball at a local park…..I could go on forever. In all honesty, it probably would not hurt your children to be a little more active also. If you are older, start with something small and find something you enjoy. A walk with a neighbor, walk a pet, bike ride, kayak rentals, join a walking club near your home, buy yourself a set of hand weights for your home…..and so on. Anything is possible. Just put your mind to it and do it. You will not regret it.

Tell me what you have done this summer.

Anything fun and exciting?

If you took on this challenge, tell me what you have noticed. Do you feel better? Do you have more energy?

 

 

 

Rollin Ridge Disc Golf Course

Recently we made the short drive to Reedsville, WI to play at one of our favorite disc golf courses. Rollin Ridge Disc Golf Course is one of the best courses we have ever played on.

This course has hours among hours of work put into the grounds to make this course extra special. You can play from 6 a.m. until midnight. You can camp right on the same property for a minimal price which also includes your fee to play the game whenever you wish. They have a very nice clubhouse and a huge selection of discs that can be purchased if you wish. The fee just to play the game is $5 per person and is paid on the honor system right outside the clubhouse.

Baskets are fun and strategically placed. Making it quite the challenge compared to your typical disc golf course.

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My husband and son went to one of our regular courses the day before to see if our son would be able to finally throw with his correct arm or not. Thankfully, he is far enough in his recovery from his broken collar bone that he did quite well here. And just like old times, he beat us all. He may not have complete accuracy yet, but his distance has not suffered much with this set back. He has studied this sport and had become very good at it until he decided to attempt his skateboard stunt that bit him hard and sidelined him from most summer activities.  So it was great to see him playing again and giving tips to our neighbor whom is fairly new to this sport.

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This look she gave him says it all. He sounds like he knows what he is doing, now if only she can do what he said and it flies the way she wants it to fly.

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We played 18 holes and were quite tired by the end. The tees are much longer than anything we play near our home and many of the baskets are hidden and not located until you get closer to the actual basket. So this was a challenging course for myself personally, but fun.

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We lost no discs in the water hazards, gained one new disc in the clubhouse and had a great, fun, active day as a family just like old times. I can’t tell you how great it is to see our son finally able to start getting out and enjoying what is left of summer.

 

 

 

 

While On Dry Land We….

This was a water free weekend for us and I can assure you we do not hope for many of these. Even though we did have some fun this weekend, it just did not happen in a body of water anywhere.

After planning all week to finally get our son to a beach and let him see if he was able to paddle a recreational kayak (not his whitewater kayak quite yet) mother nature seemed to have a better idea for us. He has not touched a paddle since his accident and misses kayaking so much. However, with storms predicted mid afternoon, cloudy conditions  and wind on Saturday…this all meant the beach was not a good idea. That was ok, but then Sunday mother nature thought it would be funny to predict a high of 72 degrees (which it never reached) in the middle of August….which also meant the beach was off limits. I would have froze. And in our home, when mom is not happy no one is happy.

Instead we made a trip to our favorite veggie market Saturday.

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Stocked up on cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, corn, zucchini and one peach for my hubby. Then we came home and started cooking. First we made fire roasted salsa,

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then refrigerator pickles,

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and I used a wonderful idea from Jen and decorated a store brand hummus for a get together we had planned for Saturday night. I also plan to make our favorite zucchini bread this week with my daycare kiddos. They love to do cooking activities.

While we are on the topic of food, let’s talk about our dinner plans that happened Saturday. We invited our neighbor over for some taste sampling before our camping trip we will be taking together for the first time in the near future. She had never had a freeze dried meal and we have an entire case for emergency purposes. You know, in case I have a bad day and feel the need to hike up a cliff away from it all….not the natural disaster type of emergencies, we are not that organized here:) Anyways, we picked out three of our favorites and prepared them at home for dinner and we each had a little of all of them. Along with the meals, I also served that jazzed up hummus, salsa, chips, veggies, and spinach dip.

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Her reaction to the meals before preparing them were amusing but when she was served a sampling of each she was even more skeptical of the outcome. Much to our surprise each meal passed her approval.

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She is even talking about trying a few of her own now that she has a little experience with this form of food.

Switching the topic from food to camping brings me to my wonderful buy of the weekend. Since our last camping trip at Copperfalls State Park, my husband and I decided to invest in two self inflating sleeping mats. I think we are either getting old or the ground is getting harder, either way we needed something to make us feel more mobile in the morning. Well, I am proud to say, I came across a spectacular buy and could not believe it when I found them. We shopped around locally testing out various mats and had our minds set on Therm-A-Rest  Basecamp mats.

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Although, at our local sporting goods store they were quite costly coming in at $109.00 each, so I came home to research how cheap I could find them online. The best I could do online was $98.00 for the size we wanted and that was still to much for my frugal mind to spend. Then I just happen to drive past another store near the grocery store I needed to go to on Saturday. I thought, what the heck, it does not hurt to check, right? In I went, found the correct size right away and saw a red sale sticker for $69.99 and could not believe my eyes. I even had the sales associate do a price check and he happily came back and said, yes that is correct….SOLD I took two immediately. So of course we had to do a trial run and see if they would be comfy all night on hard ground. So hubby and I camped out on the floor Saturday night and could not have been happier. No hip or back pain at all. I was thrilled:)

As for Sunday, we decided to take a drive to one of our favorite disc golf courses. It’s a little bit of a drive but worth it. I will share all the good information later this week regarding the course and how we did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apostle Islands Sea Caves and a Great Family Friendly Hotel

The last day of our vacation was spent taking the grand tour of the Apostle Islands sea caves. We boarded the boat at 10 a.m. and returned to the dock at 1:15 p.m.. We traveled with Apostle Islands Cruises.

We were two of the lucky 37 people allowed on the top deck for prefect viewing of everything around us. (If you want to be on the top deck, be in line early, it is first come first serve.)

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They took us around many of the islands, pointing out facts about each one along the way. I saw a commercial fishing boat in action for the first time and could not believe the amount of sea gulls waiting for a hand out.

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We eventually came upon the caves. Simply amazing!!!! I really have no words to explain how magnificent they were.

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The cruise company made sure to make enough passes so that each side of the boat could get close up pictures They were patient and a wonderful company to have traveled with.

****A word of advice, if I may. Bring a lot of sunscreen and water. Top deck is VERY hot and you are up there for many hours.

After our tour we tried to find somewhere to have lunch, but being it was a Saturday, everything was so busy with tourist we decided to head back to Ashland and have lunch there.

****Another word of advice, plan ahead, buy your tickets ahead for any tours, and make reservations ahead if you plan to be there on the weekends.

After lunch we headed back to our hotel, which I cannot say enough good things about. We have stayed at many AmericInn’s all over the state of WI and this is by far the most unique one yet.

This place could easily be a vacation destination all by itself and for not a lot of money. Besides the typical hotel rooms, they offer an indoor splash park (sorry no pics, we stayed far away from the kiddos,after all, it was my vacation too), free breakfast, and everything was clean and the staff was friendly.

Then you go to the back yard of the property and prepare to be amazed. Remember I said that they offered inner tubes for play time on Lake Superior, well that is not all they offer for FREE!!! Take a look….

A patio with chairs, tubes, life jackets, fishing poles and free bait in the lobby to fish with. A gas grill and charcoal grill for guest to use. Free smores ingredients to roast over a nightly bonfire.

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Yard game with a fun director on staff in the evening so parents can relax and kids can have fun:)

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A dock to fish off of or to sit and watch the sunset, which is what we did.

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A beach with chairs and two paddle boats are also parked behind the bush that you cannot see.

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And they even supply bug spray and sunscreen.

This was our picnic dinner our last night. We ate, played cards, and watched the sunset.

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They also have free bikes to use on the local trail near the hotel. And believe it or not, they even offer bug window cleaner for these nasty bay flies that these poor people found all over their vehicle one morning. (We made sure never to park next to any light posts)

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I really would seriously recommend this hotel to anyone, with or without kids. It had everything you could think of and then some.

And I do want to give a BIG SHOUT OUT to  the Honda Dealer in Ashland,WI. We ran into a little issue with one of our tires and showed up on the doorstep of their dealership 20 minutes before they closed for the weekend. They helped us, made our repair, and had us on our way again in a matter of minutes. What started as a little issue could have made our trip home a disaster but thanks to them, we made it home with no problems at all. Thank you so much!!!!

That was our summer vacation. Busy, active, fun and relaxing. Just like we like it. It’s just too bad we have to wait another year to plan another one…or maybe not.

If you have any specific questions regarding the Bayfield/Ashland area, Copperfalls State Park or any trails we hiked let me know. I will do my best to make your trip to this area as memorable as our is:)

 

 

 

 

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore-Bayfield, WI

On the third day of our vacation we woke up, packed up all our camping gear and were on the road by 8 a.m. to our next destination, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Bayfield, WI.

As much as we love the outdoors and hiking, it was time for a little sight seeing and relaxation. We actually spent two days in this area. The first day we did lots of walking, some shopping, took tons of pictures and picked up our tickets we had ordered for a tour of the Apostle Islands sea caves the next day.

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We ate lunch at The Pickled Herring overlooking Lake Superior and had a delicious meal.IMG_0478

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By mid afternoon we headed back to Ashland, WI which was where we had a hotel booked for the next two nights. We checked in, looked over the grounds, and stopped at a local grocery store for some picnic items we needed for the next day.

After all that, we took advantage of blow up inner tubes offered by the hotel and my husband and I floated out into Lake Superior and drifted around for about two hours. It was so relaxing and refreshing.

We eventually figured it was time to head back to our room and change to venture out for some dinner. We found ourselves back in Bayfield, WI at a restaurant that was recommended to us while shopping that morning. Maggie’s is just a little building with flamigos everywhere. Even the building itself is painted bright pink.

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It was a fun place, packed from wall to wall, with great service. They have a very unique menu with many different items you typically would not find anywhere else. I enjoyed one of their specialty pizzas.

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After another big day, it was back to our hotel for a good nights sleep.

Tomorrow I will share the grand tour of the sea caves with you and tell you about the terrific family friendly hotel we stayed in.

More to come…