Film Project: Don’t Date A Girl Who Treks

Marinel de Jesus 1

By Marinel de Jesus

Editor note: Click here if you haven’t yet read the original post ‘Don’t Date A Girl Who Treks’.

And now to announce a very exciting film project to promote women who love the great outdoors, Marinel shares this exciting development in her own words…

 

BACKGROUND

A few months ago, I attended an outdoor film festival in Washington, DC that focused on the adventure films that were produced by artists from all over the world.  The work presented was certainly admirable.  I was inspired.  A few months later, I watched yet another outdoor film festival and found myself, yet again, inspired.

However, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disconnect.  The first time around I felt the same feeling but couldn’t understand what it was about.  It was after the second film festival event that it became evident to me that the past two showings I watched were lacking in two things that mattered to me: (1) hiking or wilderness backpacking and (2) women.  It was at that point that I vividly recall noting this concern to my male friends who shared their honest opinion that filming an activity that focuses only on hiking isn’t as exciting or “sexy enough” as climbing, mountain biking, skiing, and all these other adrenaline filled sports.

“Okay, they have a point,” I begrudgingly said to myself.

Months later I was trekking with three guys in the Caucasus Mountains of the Republic of Georgia who were from Egypt, France and Sweden, respectively.  I raised the same question as to why there’s a lack of hiking or backpacking film documentaries at such events.  The answer was similar to the first.

I never asked my male friends about the women aspect.  After all, I was already dismayed at the responses dismissing the idea that pure hiking or wilderness backpacking as the subject of a film fails to even meet the standards that would compel any filmmaker to produce such kind of film.   So, I pushed the idea aside… but ONLY for a moment.

Film Project

Hiking with women trail leaders on the Kilimanjaro trail, Tanzania.

Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks

Film Project 3I was in China’s remote trekking trails in yet to be discovered Tibetan Autonomous Region of the country when I met May.  She was from Thailand who once trekked up the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.  As money was an issue, trekking or traveling for her was a major expense.  By fate, May and I met in some of the most remote trekking regions in Sichuan Province of China.  We ventured out to do the 30 kilometer high altitude pilgrimage trek in Yading Nature Reserve.  It was a trekking region that has yet to be fully explored by trekkers from the western world.  You can read our adventure in full HERE.

The piece, Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks, was inspired by May and all the wonderful solo women trekkers I’ve met in over a decade of trekking in the U.S. and abroad.  To be clear, the piece is not so much about dating, but rather it’s meant to be a way to celebrate women and their love for the mountain trails.  May was one of them.  To not be able to pursue her passion as often as she would want given the location of her home in Thailand that is devoid of mountain trails is a disappointing reality, to which I can fully relate.   In the small city she lives in, life is simple and money is difficult to come by.  For someone like May, it’s a devastating notion to accept the fact that she is unable to pursue her passion as easily as she would like due to her responsibilities in taking care of family members and the lack of finances to afford traveling to hike up mountains.  Personally, I would go crazy without regular access to mountains!

Our meeting was in 2014.  Yet, even now, May still reminisces about our pilgrimage trek in China.  In her correspondence, she often dreams about hiking up mountains, whether within her home country or outside of it.  I figured if May cannot trek an actual mountain, then I can bring the mountains to her from all corners of the world – thru the film project that is now underway.

The FILM PROJECT

Just shortly after writing Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks, I decided in September of 2016 to open my Brown Gal Trekker blog to the public.  I soon came to find out that the world seems to agree that women certainly must be celebrated for their passion and commitment to the outdoors.  I was thrilled to learn that the world echoes the same sentiment that I’ve had all along, and as a result, Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks was published by Dave’s Travel Corner (a pioneer website for independent-minded backpackers), Huffington Post and WHOA Mag (a publication that promotes women in the outdoors).  At the same time, the piece was promoted by various leading entities in the hiking world including BestHike.com and Hike Like a Woman.

Film Project 4You can find the publications via the following links:

Dave’s Travel Corner

Huffington Post

Whoa Mag

Women Who Explore

In late October, 2016, Bernard Chen, an award-winning photographer who I met months ago as part of the Great Himalaya Project (which still is currently a project via Brown Gal Trekker), reached out to me regarding ideas for future projects.  I then brought up to him the idea that has been brewing in my head, which is to create a short film based on Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks by showcasing women trekkers globally through a collage of photos and videos submitted by the trekkers themselves.  Bernard was thrilled at the idea.  We both agreed it’s a perfect means of promoting outdoor women from all walks of life and their presence in the media.

As the idea sank in my head that day, I recalled the earlier conversations about the boring nature of a film on hiking.  Then, my mind redirected me back to the feeling of disconnectedness that I experienced from the lack of female hikers depicted in the media. But then, I felt  a surge of excitement knowing that the landscape of the outdoor media world will change, soon enough.   That change is right within our control.  We just need to make it happen.

Film Project 2

SUBMISSIONS

This FILM PROJECT is a collaborative endeavor that is made possible through the help and support of female trekkers worldwide and various leading female-led outdoors entities such as Hike Like a Woman, Animosa, Fat Girls Hiking, Women Who Explore, Adventure Some Women & Camping for Women.

Hence, if you’re a female trekker who has photos or videos that you wish to submit, please send them to bgtrekker@peakexplorations.com

In addition, please provide us with the following:

  1. Your name
  2. Short background story on your photo
  3. Short answer to the question, “What does hiking or wilderness backpacking mean to you?”
  4. Your blog site (if you’re a blogger)

You’ll be notified when your piece is selected via e-mail.  Credit will be given to your submission.  You can subscribe to BGT’s blog if you wish to get updates on the project.

Also, we are raising funds to create the film.  Your donations are welcome!

Start by clicking here to check out some really cool T-Shirts that highlight the film project.

 

And also check out Marinel’s company that take adventurous women on some very impressive treks across the globe:

Peak Explorations

 

Camping for WomenCamping for Women is a proud supporter of the Date Date A Girl Who Treks film project.

We see this as a significant project to showcase the many amazing, diverse and talented outdoor women all over the world.

We are encouraging as many of our subscribers and readers as possible to take a proactive role in supporting this wonderful initiative.  Just can’t wait to see many of your images featured in the film!

 

Don’t date a girl who treks

 

Dont Date a Girl Who Treks

Don’t date a girl who treks

By Marinel de Jesus

She’s the girl with the uneven tanned body

Scorched skin from the rays of the sun from trekking the high passes.

She’s the girl with the high cut boots

And a pair of trekking poles that she depends her life on

She’s the girl who catches the sunrise and sunset

For either of them will suit her just fine.

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For this means you wake up at some ungodly hour

and race your feet to the tops of the mountains.

God forbid if she misses the sun’s spectacle

You’ll see her purse her lips in utter disappointment

__________________

But fear not

Because as soon as she sees the majestic peaks before her eyes

She will smile again in no time

She’s the girl who knows her summits’ names

And their heights from sea level

Her favorite numbers are those that begin at 3000 and above

In meters to be exact

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She will ask you where you are from

And feels a bit torn

When you come from a place closer to sea level rather than a range

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

Because she will not want you to wine and dine her

But rather would desire more of your time

As she would have you hike with her in the middle of nowhere

All day and all night.

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

Her heart is already taken

By those named Himalayas, Andes, and Alps

Unless you are willing to join in her pursuits of them

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She’s armed with gear you have not even heard of

Like her spot or go girl

And you must be curious to see how she uses them

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She has her battle scars called blisters that she wouldn’t want you to notice

When strolling in flip flops on a beach

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She will bask in the wilderness without a bed

Eating dehydrated food and trail bars

Find you appealing only when you can brave no shower for days

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For her soul is already full

Of memories of peaks and summits

Really, you’re just there to take a photo of her on top of one

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For her longing for mountains is constant

And you will hear an earful of it all the time

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She loves to be present in the moment

Rushing is for the city life

While allowing time to pass by slowly reminds her of that freedom

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For there will be no wild parties or hang overs

Just a meditative moment in the woods

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She will eventually go off the beaten path

And you will have to be there to save her

In times when she needs a helping hand

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For her sense of direction is via a trail map

Place her in a city and she’s lost

And you’ll be stranded in no time

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For she lives life to the fullest

If you cannot catch up to her when she flies

Then don’t think she’d even shed a single tear

If you tell her goodbye

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She will go exploring on her own when her heart so desires

And will only return to you when she finally misses you

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She finds beauty in any situation

Even when the rain is pouring

Or the wind blowing too strong

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For she finds purpose in hiking the tallest peaks

Even if it means risking her health

Or risking her life

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For her creativity can take you to far off places that you never imagined wanting to go

In taking risks she finds a sense of aliveness

Be prepared to match her fearlessness

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For beyond the layer of toughness

There is a heart full of love and longing

For someone like you to cross her path

To share her adventures with

__________________

And if you’re lucky enough to date a girl who treks

She will have you join in her world of trekking

You will marry the mountains like she did

And in return

Her loving you is as honest as her passion for trekking

Your relationship will be treated as holy as a pilgrim’s kora

She embraces challenges like it’s another summit to overcome

And every single day you will savor the sunrises and sunsets like they were your last

She will challenge your limits only to become better each day.

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For she will make you live and appreciate an irregular life

And fill it with so much magic that you will never ever want to walk off trail

without her by your side.

__________________

Brown Girl Tracker Logo Dont date a girl who treks 1

Click on the Brown Girl Trekker logo above to see so much more from Marinel de Jesus.

Crown Jewel of the Winds: Titcomb Basin, Wyoming, USA

Titcomb 1

By Nicole Atkins

Titcomb Basin is one of those destinations that will leave you changed. It’s nestled in the Wind River Range, in Western Wyoming. The primitive nature of the Winds has a way of arousing the deepest passions of your creative soul. With their jagged edges and unforgiving storms, they remind us who is in charge.

Titcomb 2

The Winds are notorious for unpredictable weather. So come prepared for any kind of adventure. The 15-mile trek to the basin can be hiked in a day. But to really appreciate the scenery, plan on spending 2-4 days making the ~30-mile round trip.

With a net elevation change of 1260 feet, it’s a moderate-to-difficult hike. You’ll start from the Elkhart Park trailhead in Pinedale, WY. Make sure you have a vehicle that can handle dirt roads.

After 4.5 miles you’ll reach Photographer’s Point. Prepare for some of the most beautiful mountain vistas you’ve feasted your eyes upon. Grab a snack and head downhill. In another mile, you’ll reach Eklund Lake and Barbara Lake. If you haven’t fueled up yet, you’ll want to. There’s a steep mile climb before you reach the next amazing viewpoint, looking down on Seneca Lake.

Titcomb 3

Some people set up camp at Seneca Lake. The Winds are home to bears and other critters so be sure to bear-proof your camping area. At this point, you’re 9 miles into your 15-mile trek so it’s a good stopping point.

Titcomb 4

Otherwise, continue past Little Seneca Lake. One more climb; after about 2 miles you’ll be looking down at your reward, Island Lake. She’s a beaut. Island Lake is another popular place to set up camp.

Titcomb 5

The push to Titcomb Basin is only another 3.5 miles of easy rolling terrain. Once you get there, drink it in. You can spend a day or so exploring the basin, or go beyond the basin to Gannett Peak (the tallest peak in Wyoming).

Titcomb 6

Take a dip in the lake if it’s a hot day, you earned it.

Titcomb 7

Give yourself time to deal with weather changes and mosquitoes (if it’s summer). They’ll eat you alive. Above all, take in the splendor that surrounds you.

Titcomb 8

When you’re ready, pack up camp and head back toward the trailhead. The story you’ll take with you is will be one of your favorites for years to come.

Titcomb 9

An Amateur Dirtbag’s Guide to Zion in the Winter

Winter in Zion

By Emily Pennington

“I feel bad about Ben,” J.C. muttered as we tip-toed down the razor’s edge of Angels Landing. “He would have loved this.” I nodded, squinting as I peered off into the brittle, orange canyon, 1500 feet below. At that exact moment, a pair of bouncy, brunette pigtails inched over the top of the trail where the chains meet their steep demise, carried by Emma, who looked nervous, wild, and full of vertigo. Ben’s curly head of hair followed shortly behind, smiling. I laughed out loud, grinning like a maniac. Emma had faced her fears and hoisted herself up nearly a thousand feet of wet sandstone to share this moment with us, suspended in the clouds as the sun began to wash itself over the striped walls of Zion National Park. Welcome to Utah.

Zion in Winter 4

In an epic bid to stretch the possibilities of weekend roadtrips away from Los Angeles this winter, I recently found myself planning my first trek to Utah and its fabled Zion. I’d been hearing about the place for the better part of a decade, clumped, red sandstone hoodoos littered with Pinyon Pine trees forming bright, panoramic canyons of enormous scale.

When you look up “best national parks to visit in the wintertime” online, Zion pops up high on every list, and it’s easy to understand why. The snow-capped rock formations create an all but subtle juxtaposition of copper and white that spans for miles in every direction, plus, the possibilities for off-trail peak bagging are huge. Despite snow melt causing unsafe sandstone conditions for many of our climbing objectives, we still had a gorgeous and varied January tumble through the park, and I hope these tips and highlights can serve to illuminate your own journey!

Zion in Winter 5

First of all, Zion National Park has winter weather that varies greatly. A friend of mine climbed Angels Landing in the snow over New Years, but upon our arrival at the trailhead 2 weeks later, we encountered merely wet, slippery sandstone. Temperatures can vary between 20 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you’re either dodging ice and snow or watching were you put your hands when you rock scramble so that stable-looking holds don’t crumble in your palms. There are also several chunks of the park, much like Yosemite, that are higher elevation, and therefore hold more snow and lower temperatures than the main canyon where the road traverses though.

Zion in Winter 6

We jumped on a ton of trails during our brief time in the park, and I sincerely feel that Angels Landing is the absolute best. You trudge up switchback after switchback cut into the edge of Zion’s main canyon before ascending an incredibly exposed class 3 route up the neck of a massive sandstone behemoth. There are signs everywhere informing you that 6 people have fallen from these cliffs in the last 10 years, so you feel like a complete badass when you push onward, death in your rearview, and begin to ascend the chains.

Honestly, it reminded me quite a lot of the Half Dome trail in Yosemite, an infamous and equally sketchy climb up the steep back of a massive dome. And, much like Half Dome, the crowds make the trail much scarier than it needs to be. Wear boots with good tread, take your time, and screw your head on straight when you need to pass people on the chains.

Zion in Winter 2

If you happen to make it to Zion when it’s below freezing or dry and without snow, there are a multitude of easy, off-trail class 3-4 scrambles to spice things up and satiate your danger bug. Cave Knoll and Firepit Knoll in the Kolob Terrace section of the park are bubbling over with alien landscapes, stacked, round hoodoos sitting like rust-colored teardrops in every direction. The ten mile drive to reach this sparsely populated section of the park will truly make you feel as though you’ve time-traveled into the wild west, with valley homesteads and ranches dotting the horizon.

Checkerboard Mesa was also high on our list of class 3 rock climbing in Zion, but after post-holing up to my thigh as we tried to navigate the drainage around to the back of the rock mass, we decided to call it and take awestruck pictures of the completely unreal texture on the wall’s front end. If you find yourself on the less popular east side of the park, I implore you to jump out of your car and hike off trail a bit near Checkerboard Mesa. The solitude and bizarre rock shapes are noting short of inspiring.

Zion in Winter 7
I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t take a minute to say it plainly – it is absolutely imperative to remember that, no matter how awesome or easy a route looks, climbing on wet sandstone is never a good idea! I can’t tell you how many times a member of my group grabbed a jug on a canyon wall to hoist themselves up, only to have it break off in their hand. We had at least 5 or 6 climbing objectives that we had to scrap last minute due to the quality of the rock that week in the park. If this does happen to you, do not despair! Angels Landing, The Watchman, parts of East Rim Trail, and the West Rim Trail were all jaw-droppingly beautiful and ready to be hiked.

If you only want a quick excursion or are with family or a less athletic group, the one trail I would implore you to check out is the Canyon Overlook Trail. We sped over to watch the clouds disperse just as the sun was setting, and the way the light trails meander through the Triassic canyon is pure magic.

Zion in Winter 8

With all my weekend warrior road-trips, I try to keep costs down as much as possible. One thing I adored about Utah that I haven’t found quite as close to the national parks in Cali was the abundance of cheap, clean motels that offer a free breakfast. For a thrifty $40-50 per night, you can get a double bed room in Hurricane, UT and drive a mere 20 minutes into Zion each day. I’m a backpacker dirtbag at heart, and we were blessed with weather that would have made camping within the park’s boundaries possible, but there’s something emboldening about knowing I’m going home to a warm bed that makes me push harder and longer in the snow, unafraid of wet gear.

Zion in the Winter 1

I used to get cranky living in Los Angeles in the wintertime. I felt stifled by the fact that all my favorite trails were covered with snow while I was held captive in a smog-ridden constellation of concrete that the sun beat down upon as though time’s essence held no weight. Then, one day I realized that we live in an absolute mecca for road trips, and my quest to become a weekend warrior, in earnest, begun. Winter shouldn’t keep anyone from exploring some of our nation’s greatest treasures. It’s often the most magical time to visit the national parks, and you’re sure to see things that summer simply cannot provide. So go on, declare a snow day. I dare you.

For more information about climbing in Zion National Park and off-trail rock scrambling, check out SummitPost.org

http://www.summitpost.org/

The cheap hotel I stayed at in Hurricane, UT (and would totally recommend for late night hot-tubbing) can be found here.

https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/days-inn/hurricane-utah/days-inn-hurricane-zion-national-park-area/overview

7 Unique Getaways for Outdoor Adventurers

Unique Getaways 1

By Phoebe Hodina

Searching for unique getaways that still have a connection to the great outdoors? Well being in nature doesn’t always have to include a tent. Sometimes it can be a yurt, igloo or treehouse!

Unique getaways that give you a totally different experience

Here’s a list of retreats that will give you some great stories not only from their locale, but from your accommodations as well! Some are a little more rustic than others, but all are completely original.

Yurts

Yurts (also known as ghers) are traditional to Central Asia, and were popular with nomadic tribes. Many people in Mongolia still use them today. They are movable, covered in felt, round, and supported by expanding wooden slats.

There are retreats all over the world that allow you to stay for a reasonable price… It wouldn’t yurt to give one a try!

  1. A Garden Yurt
    Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany  

This is an original Afghani yurt, but with both electricity and candles. As a guest, you have access to part of a garden, a swimming pool, and nearby walking paths. All for the price of $34 a night, you can find it here.

Unique Getaways 2

image credit: Air BnB

  1. A Yurt on a Quiet Hill
    Bellecombe-en-Baugues, Rhone-Alpes, France  

Spend some time at one of many cool unique getaways in the mountains of France! Nearby there is trekking, mountain biking, climbing, and skiing. And the view, is worth the journey. You can book it on Air BnB here.

Unique Getaways 3

image credit: Air BnB

 

  1. A Blissed-Out Czech Yurt
    Pšov, Karlovy Vary Region, Czech Republic

This yurt is is located in Chlum, a small village in Western Bohemia near Zlutice, a small town. It’s a good place to relax, but also nearby cycling, horseback riding, fishing, ranching, and nearby countryside towns. You can book it here.

Unique Getaways 4

Image credit: Air BnB

Igloos

  1. Classic Igloo Villages, With a Twist

Ötz, Austria
Austria has a unique igloo resort at Schneedorf. Guests stay in snow igloos and have access to snowmobiles, skiing, snowshoeing, fantastic mountain views and so much more. There are even igloo construction workshops.

Unique Getaways 5

image credit: Ozytive

  1. Northern Lights and a Glass-Domed Igloo

SAARISELKÄ, FINLAND

Sure you could make your own igloo in your backyard… or you could trek north to really have a unique experience. While not exactly a traditional igloo, these glass-topped domes let you see the northern lights while snug in your bed. In fact, the Kakslauttanen Artic Resort has a whole host of unique getaways accommodation available. Prices range based on accommodations and time of year.

Unique Getaways 1

Treehouses

Get off the ground, and into the trees! Staying in a treehouse is a breeze.

  1. Treesorting

Southern Oregon, United States
Out N’ About is a tree resort getaway in the Pacific Northwest. Among the obvious attraction of staying in a super-cool treehouse, guests have the opportunity to go participate in a variety of “Activitress” such as ziplining, hiking, horseback riding, and river rafting.

Unique Getaways 6

photocredit: Tripadvisor

  1. Spherical Bliss

Qualicum Beach, Canada

These handcrafted, gorgeous suspended spheres taken the idea of a treehouse to new heights. The Free Spirit Spheres let you sway into your blissed-out sleep.

Unique Getaways 7

photocredit: Free Spirit Spheres

Dry but delightful: Hiking in the desert

Hiking in the desert

By Lynley Joyce

Deserts are dry, dangerous and often barren.  So why would anyone go hiking in the desert?

It’s because deserts can also be stunningly beautiful with a wide range of plants and wildlife tenaciously hanging on to the rugged and sometimes dramatic landscape.

Desert trails

Hiking in the desert 2If you are considering hiking in the desert, the United States hosts some of the world’s best desert walking trails, and there are plenty to choose from.  Most are in the Southern and Western states.  Popular spots include Big Bend’s Outer Mountain Trail in Texas, just about anywhere around the Grand Canyon and national parks such as Canyonlands, Arches and Zion in Utah.

The United States haven’t cornered the market on desert walks, though.  Australia boasts some scenic routes through its red centre. There is the Larapinta trail in the Northern Territory, the McDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon, to name a few.

For adventurous travelers to Africa, the Namibian desert offers many hiking in the desert options ranging from gentle strolls to challenging treks.  South America’s deserts also include some desert hiking trails.

Water

Water, or rather the lack of it, is obviously the biggest issue when walking in desert or semi-arid areas.  Hikers usually need to carry all their own water.  There’s no way to get around it: it’s heavy, so most people only do shorter desert hikes.  Each person needs at least a gallon/ 4 litres every day, or up to 1 ½ gallons / 6 litres if it’s hot. Most people could only carry enough for a two day hike at most.  Many people stick with day walks or shorter walks.  For longer walks with no reliable water sources along the way, hikers have to organise water caches to collect every second day or so.

Hiking in the desert 3Check with locals such as national park rangers if there are local water sources that can be used for drinking.  Some deserts may have springs, oases or other water sources but they can dry out.  Just about all water in the desert should be purified by tablets and/or filtering.  Take sterilisation tablets or a filter with an iodine resin.  Desert rivers, such as the Colorado River, can be silty and so difficult to purify. Some water sources may also have contaminants which filtering cannot remove.

Ironically, when it does rain in deserts it can lead to dangerous flash flooding.  Dry river beds are not the place to pitch a tent.  They can flood if there is rain anywhere in the catchment.

Hiking in the desert: Be prepared

As well as having enough water, desert hikers must know a bit about the area they are going in to.  They need to take good topographical maps, a compass and maybe an EPIRB or similar.  It can be easy to get lost in the big wide world, and the lack of water makes this super dangerous. Most of us can last a while as long as we keep warm and have water.  People can die from dehydration in just days.

It’s important to be prepared even if just planning a quick foray in to the desert.   Just about every day the rangers in the Grand Canyon National Park have to rescue people who have taken on more than they bargained for.

Time it

Hiking in the desert 4Avoid deserts in summer as they are way too hot.  Many deserts and semi-arid areas can be delightful in spring when wildflowers bloom.  It’s worth researching the best time for hiking for specific areas.

If it is hot, consider walking early in the morning, resting during the middle of the day in the shade, and walking again in the late afternoon and evening.  As well as escaping the worst of the heat and glare from the sun, the sideways sunlight and shadows can add to the landscape.

Some places are good for moonlit walks, if the tracks are clear.  For example, some of the shorter hikes in Utah’s Arches National Park can be amazing by moonlight.

Keep the energy up

Most hikers crave salty and protein rich food.  There are salt tablets but most people use a hot hike as an excuse to get stuck in to the salty snacks we should avoid most of the time. Too much salt though can lead to extra thirst and the need to carry more water.  Nuts, most seeds or legumes, salami or meat jerky are great protein rich foods.

Sun and heat

When you go hiking in the desert, expect heat and glaring sunlight during the day but it can get extremely cold at night in deserts due to the lack of cloud cover.  Campers may be able to skimp on wet weather gear and a full tent in a desert, but they should be prepared for cold.

Cover up with light weight and light coloured clothes to both block the sun and to reduce evaporation. Light long sleeved shorts and trousers are probably the best way to go.  They provide protection during the day and can help with warmth at night.

Sunglasses are essential.  Take tape to repair them if needed – usually medical tape from a first aid kit will do the job. Deserts tend to be windy places, and sunglasses can help prevent grit and dust in eyes.

Sun screen is another must. Even when wearing a hat, it can help protect skin from wind burn and the dryness. It’s also a good idea to take a decent moisturiser – maybe the end of a tube so as to not carry too much extra.

If someone does overheat, find a shady sport, rest and drink plenty of water.

Hiking in the desert 5

Further Information:

The following are links to some additional information available online:

http://www.desert-survivors.org/des_hike.html

http://www.desertusa.com/

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Backpacking-Water-Filter-Reviews

http://www.epirb.com/

Camping in Less Developed Areas: A Simple Guide

Less developed areas 1

By Oceana Setaysha

Camping in less developed areas can have its fair share of challenges.  Here are some things to consider before you travel to a non-traditional camping destination.

Explaining Camping In Spots People Don’t Camp

There are so many things to love about camping. However despite its ubiquitous nature in many Western countries, it’s not practiced widely all over the world.

That means that sometimes when you go to other countries, often less developed areas, it can be difficult to explain what camping is, and why you want to do it.

less developed areas 2Why Don’t People Camp?

In many developing countries, travel is a luxury that few can afford. When people do choose to travel, it’s often a pretty big deal and tends to involve pre-organized accommodation, hotels, resorts, homestays and more.

The idea that a person with the opportunity to travel would intentionally spend their evening sleeping outside in a temporary structure isn’t just unlikely, it’s difficult to comprehend. Travel is seen as a status symbol, particularly in less developed areas. So by extension the places people stay, where they eat out, the vehicles they travel in and so on are all signs of their wealth and standing in the community.

Explaining The Draw Of Camping

Trying to explain the draw of camping comes in a couple of levels. First, you have people who might have heard of camping before, or seen it in a Western movie, and are therefore open to the idea. Then you have people who haven’t heard of camping, or seen it, but can be swayed with some explanation and information. Then you have group three, who simply cannot (and often will not) take the time to understand camping.  This group of people will continually offer other options to save you from spending the night outdoors.

camping-984038_960_720Unfortunately, encountering the third group can be a challenge, but for groups one and two it’s not impossible to explain just why you want to camp. Learning a few local words will often help you out, particularly in less developed areas where English is not a commonly spoken language.

The message you want to get across here is not necessarily that you’re trying to save money. Rather that you want to experience the natural environment in a purer way. Lots of compliments about a country’s natural beauty tend to go down well in all local groups. Explaining that you’re eager to see the stars, the sunrise or similar might also be a good idea. Talking too much about how you want to save money isn’t likely to get you very far.  Particularly so in countries that survive on a tourist dollar, so don’t focus on this.

Finding Spots To Camp

When you’re travelling in less developed countries, it pays to do a little bit of research prior to arriving.  This is to get an idea of where you might find camping areas. Camping on private land is fraught with complications, as it would be in any country.  So it’s best to avoid this unless you have express permission from the landowner.

camp-439277_960_720In Asian countries, you’re likely to have more luck looking for camp spots on the grounds of churches, temples and mosques.  This is provided that you present yourself respectfully and seek permission from the head of the temple. Many backpackers have found Buddhist establishments to be the most open to the idea of camping.  However even then there are no guarantees that you’ll be allowed to stay.

Outside of these sorts of establishments there are also national parks.  These parks often provide grassed areas for free (or very cheap) camping. Of course, national parks can be a bit out of the way, and they aren’t always available.

You can also chat to local businesses, particularly accommodation and restaurants, to see if you can swap camping for other things.  Things such as a small cost (less than the price of a room).  Or even a loyalty promise (to eat at the restaurant/café everyday).

If you’re heading to an area where you haven’t done any pre-research on camping options, don’t arrive too late in the evening or afternoon. Arriving later in the day doesn’t give you as much time to explore your options.  The last thing you need is not finding yourself somewhere to stay. If this does happen, ensure you have some local currency on you in order to barter for another accommodation option.

When camping in less developed areas, always remember:

When you’re a travelling camper, it pays to remember to maintain a positive attitude at all times. Some people can become rude, angry or frustrated when they hear you want to camp instead of utilizing local accommodation.  This is even if that accommodation is overpriced and not as comfortable as your camp set up.

In instances like this just keep your cool, and understand that you might not always be able to camp. That being said, there’s no point allowing yourself to be bullied by others.  So be assertive, but friendly, shaking off any rudeness, and continue getting on with your adventure.

To obtain more information and read further about adventure-related destinations, there is not a lot available.  However we have managed to find the inexpensive book Adventure Travel and Trekking available through Amazon.

less developed areas 5

The Colorado Trail: Hiking Review

The Colorado Trail 1

By Phoebe Hodina.

Options of getting there:

By air and/or car.

The Colorado Trail 2Best time(s) to visit:

July has the best wildflowers, and summer months are usually the best times to visit if you’re going to camp. The fall can be lovely, but may be a bit chillier.

Climate/weather/temperature & appropriate dress:

In the mountains, be aware that temperatures can vary quite a bit from night to day. Dress in comfortable, moisture-wicking layers and prepare for rain and shine.

Main attractions/Must dos:

The Colorado Trail runs almost 500 miles from Denver to Durango and is divided in 28 segments. From the trails, there are multiple points to do additional trails, visit different areas along the way, and even climb some 14ers (mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation).

 Image result for colorado trail map

Key Highlights of the Colorado Trail for me:

I loved the changes in scenery along the trail… I passed through dense forests, patches of aspens and fields covered in wildflowers. There were so many moments that took my breath away. Sometimes from exhaustion, but mostly from the scenery.

The Colorado Trail 3Things that make this experience different or unique:

I loved the diversity in scenery, and the outstanding mountain views. The Colorado Trail takes hikers through the spectacular Colorado Rocky Mountains, through incredible mountains with lakes, streams and diverse ecosystems. Trail goers travel through six areas of wilderness and eight mountain ranges at a peak of 13,271 feet. Throughout the trail, the average elevation is over 10,000 feet, although it varies quite a bit throughout.

A unique aspect of the Colorado Trail is that it is one of the select long-distance trails that allows mountain biking throughout most of the trail (with the exception of six areas). Top mountain bikers consider the CT to be a world-class long distance trail for the sport.

Things visitors should be aware of:

As with any kind of outdoor excursion, follow your intuition and remember to make good decisions. Come prepared for the wilderness. If you are a beginner, try to avoid traveling alone, and bring along an experienced companion.  To travel the entire trail (486 miles), you will need about 4-6 weeks.

Transportation to and from the trail head, and resupply of food and fuel is overall the biggest challenge. Keep in mind that there are some long stretches where resupplying is difficult. Wear your sunscreen, and plan your route carefully.

Also, keep in mind to start hiking early in the day. Thunderstorms can begin as early as 1pm in most afternoons. Mid-July to mid-late August carries a higher risk of torrential downpours in the afternoons, with lightning as a possibility.

The Colorado Trail 4While here you should:

Colorado is a wonderful place to experience American culture and outdoor recreation. Denver is a major city with its own unique culture and attractions, and Durango has a historic downtown area. Frequent visitors in Colorado will take various outdoor tours that include white water rafting, climbing, fishing, hunting, and more.

Budget considerations

Make sure to budget for transit, hotel accommodations, gear, supplies and for any recreational tours that you plan to take. Overall, the trip can be as affordable or as luxurious as you make it. There are no permits required for the Colorado Trail. Short of burning your dollar bills, you won’t be spending money while you are on the actual trail.

Facilities/nearby activities:

The Colorado Trail Foundation does an excellent job of maintaining the trail. There is also the benefit of dispersed camping, with little regulation around where to camp, and open fires are sometimes allowed depending on the area.

The Colorado Trail intersects with a number of 14ers whose trails are right off the path. If you are interested in summiting a few peaks—this is a great place to do it. I took an excursion from the trail to climb Mt Elbert, a 14er.

If coming here, don’t forget to bring:

Your map or guidebook, as well as supplies for backpacking.

Reviewer’s rating out of 10:

10 – The trail is well maintained and easy to navigate. Some areas are less well marked than others, but overall it’s a great time.

Relevant website:

The Colorado Trail Foundation – maps, guides, resources

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Haven’t Heard About Geocaching?

Geocaching 1

By Oceana Setaysha

It’s A Camping Activity You’ll Love!

If you’re an outdoors person, if you love camping, hiking and long walks out in the wilderness to nowhere in particular, then we have a new hobby you’re going to love. Not only does it fit perfectly into all the things you already enjoy, it actually improves them, helping you find unusual and hidden places you may not have come across otherwise.

It’s called geocaching.

 

What Is Geocaching?

Geocaching 2Geocaching is the world’s biggest treasure hunt.

Or at least, that’s what how the largest community of geocachers describe it. Basically it’s like a game of hide-and-seek that you can play on a phone or GPS out in the world, but instead of looking for a person you’re looking for a ‘cache’. Caches are containers hidden in all kinds of places, and they are the playing pieces of the geocaching universe. Globally there are more than 2.7 million geocaches, varying in just about every way. Sometimes they’re the size of a fridge magnet, other times they’re as big as a moving box, always hidden just out of sight.

The aim of geocaching is to find a cache using the GPS coordinates, or the Geocaching app, and then sign the logbook inside. When the cache is a bit bigger, geocachers often leave behind little knick-knacks to trade and swap. These are called ‘swag’ and are an unnecessary but fun part of geocaching.

Ok that’s the basics, of course there is more to learn, but we’ll cover as much as you need to get started!

 

Why Will Geocaching Improve Your Next Camping Trip?

Geocaching might sound a bit geeky, but the truth is there are so many reasons to try geocaching, and so many ways for this cool activity to make your next camping trip something really spectacular. Here’s just a few of them:

 

Geocaching 6You’ll See New Places:

Geocachers are placed by passionate hikers and campers just like yourselves, except unlike you they’re often local and have a strong knowledge of the area.

This means they know about amazing little places ‘just off the beaten track’ that you might never have found yourself.

 

Geocaching 5It’s A New Challenge:

If you love hiking in one area, but you feel like you’ve done all the hikes and camped in all the places, geocaching will give you a new lease on that environment.

Almost everywhere is home to at least a few geocaches, meaning you can ‘discover’ a location all over again through the game.

 

Geocaching 7There’s A Sense Of Adventure:

Finding things is just fun, that’s why Easter Egg hunts were always such a ball. The same goes with geocaching, and when you join the game there’s a new sense of adventure to every place you go to.

It’s hard to stop yourself from checking nearby caches, and you’ll always be on the lookout.

 

Geocaching 3You’ll Join A Worldwide Community:

Depending on where you cache, geocachers might not run into each other that often. But as a community they are tight-knit, friendly and always happy to share a geocaching story or experience. Joining the geocaching universe unlocks a whole new group of outdoor lovers to share your passion with.

 

Are There Really That Many?

Yes, there absolutely are.

Instead of chasing numbers about how many geocaches are in each continent or state, we thought we’d just show you. As we said before there are about 2.7 million geocaches hidden all over the world, and that number grows every day as more and more people join the game. Here is a map of the United States (and surrounds) that shows you just what that means. You can see this yourself on the Geocaching.com website, and the more you zoom in, the more caches appear.

Geocaching 4

What Are The Costs?

Upfront, the costs for geocaching can be absolutely nothing. Geocaching.com offers their own free app so you can try the game out for absolutely nothing. If you like it, you can buy the paid app, which has more functionality, or even get a premium membership. The cost of the membership varies from country to country, but in the United States its $29.99/year. If you have your own GPS, you can program it quite easily to find geocaches, and you’ll need a premium account for this.

 

When Can I Start?

Why not right now? Jump onto Geocaching.com and see what caches are near you. Familiarize yourself with the game and then get planning for your next trip. Believe us, it will change the way you camp!

Geocaching 8

Taking Camping Gear on an International Trip

International Trip 1

By Shazia Chiu

Preparing for an international trip is often a lengthy process. Packing, making sure you have all the proper travel documents, finding someone to watch your pets or home, and making arrangements at your destination takes time and effort.

If you anticipate camping at all during your trip, you’ve probably thought about renting or buying camping gear in-country. However, a bit of extra effort before your trip can save you a lot of money and help you avoid the stress of dealing with unfamiliar gear.

International Trip to where?

Before you whip out your camping supplies, do a bit of research to make sure that the country you’re visiting is camper-friendly. Some places, especially third-world countries, don’t have the facilities for safe and comfortable outdoor living. Other areas such as some Scandinavian countries have free camping, which means that you can your pitch tent wherever you want with few exceptions.

Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to start gathering your gear!

Backpack

Finding the right backpack for your camping supplies is a crucial first step. As you choose a backpack, be sure to think about the size of your gear, the length of your international trip, and the luggage policies of your airline. If you have compact, high-end gear, a pack between 50 and 70 liters should suffice. If your packing list includes specialized items for particular sports or you’re embarking on an extended adventure, look into packs with a higher capacity.

International Trip 2

You’ll want a sturdy, reliable pack to help ensure that your valuables stay safe. If you have specific questions about picking a backpack, outdoor sporting stores usually have representatives who can give you helpful pointers.

Now that you’ve got your pack, you can begin thinking about some other camping fundamentals: tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, clothing, and cooking equipment.

Tent

Packing a tent can be a bit of a hassle, but in countries with campsites you’ll be able to save yourself a lot of money on accommodations by being prepared. If you’re concerned about a tent being too heavy to pack, don’t fret–there are tents on the market that, when stowed, are slightly larger than a 20-ounce waterbottle! These tents can easily slide into a backpack between clothing and gear, or they can be secured to the outside of a pack.

International Trip 3

Check the weather conditions of the country you’re visiting to get an idea of how strong of a tent you’ll need. In windy areas, it’s not uncommon for tent poles to snap if they are poorly made. No one enjoys waking up with their roof on their head instead of over their head! A sturdy tent that is easy to set up and pack away is well worth the extra cost.

Camping somewhere dry and warm? Ditch the tent and opt for a hammock instead! Most hammocks are easy to transport because of their size and durability.

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags come in a range of shapes and sizes. Each bag has a temperature rating that explains the optimal conditions for its use. Above all, make sure that you bring a bag that will keep you cozy and warm. Keep an eye on the weather in your destination. Be sure to look beyond the major cities and towns since you’ll likely be staying off the beaten path as a camper.

International Trip 4

Small sleeping bags with down feather filling are a great choice for most environments. If you’re worried about getting cold, pack some thermal underwear and pick up a liner that fits inside your sleeping bag. These items will keep you toasty regardless of the weather.

Pack your sleeping bag toward the bottom of your backpack so that its weight is supported by your hips. As a general rule, heavier items are best at the base of your pack.

Sleeping Pad

Your sleeping pad should be small enough to fit next to your sleeping bag in your pack. It is important to find a pad that can be easily rolled or folded up since it is an item that you’ll use each day you camp. During your international trip, your sleeping pad may get holes or tears. It’s helpful to bring along a small patching kit or some heavy-duty tape so that you don’t end up sleeping directly on the floor.

Lightweight Clothing

Bring lightweight clothing that can easily fit at the top of your bag, or in between gear, if necessary. If you anticipate camping for multiple days in a row, you might want to think about getting dirt-proof and water-proof items that are meant for extended outdoor use. Although these items often cost a pretty penny, they can last for years in all sorts of terrain. If your travels take you to a cold environment, don’t forget to pack easily-overlooked essentials, like socks, gloves, and a hat.

Camp Stove

Camp stoves are among the trickiest pieces of equipment to travel with. Restrictions vary depending on your origin and destination, but as a general rule, it’s extremely important to remove all traces of fuel from your stove before attempting to take it with you on a plane. Fuel cannisters generally can’t come with you in checked or carry-on baggage. Plan to buy fuel once you arrive, or ship cannisters to your destination in advance, if possible.

International Trip 5

Many countries have incredible spots for camping. Taking your own camping gear on an international trip allows you to take advantage of every possible camping opportunity that comes your way!