Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Barefoot Running

So now I am completely intrigued by the barefoot movement- particularly barefoot running after spotting the Vibram Fivefinger shoes yesterday. By the way, I am seriously going to try a pair- they are too much to resist.

photo credit 802

Anyway, back to barefoot running. Barefoot running is based off the idea that we all basically ran around and did things barefoot before we started wearing shoes. When you do run barefoot, you tend to put more force on the balls of the feet versus the heel. Since the heel is often a major cause of foot pain (plantar fasciitis good read here) this seems to somewhat work logically.

Does it work for real? I am still pretty skeptic, but ready to listen to the arguments. I think with my bad knee I would never go for the full run with some Fivefingers on, but I'd tempt fate with a hike or two.

What about you? Are you a yay or nay on the barefoot movement?

Read my initial thoughts and giggles about the Vibram Fivefinger here.

Still Soaking

It's been raining off and on for several days here in the Northeast. We're still soaking a bit, but it hasn't stopped me from getting out and biking. Not quite the rain power we constantly had last summer. It's more spot showers with breaks of sun. I can take that any day.

The Line

Drying Out

Women's Wilderness Institute

I stumbled across the Women's Wilderness Institute off of someone's twitter feed and thought I would share. The Institute features multi-day outdoor trips for younger girls and women. Some of the most intriguing? How about the Fruita Singletrack Sampler? Or maybe the Backcountry Fly Fishing? I've always had fly fishing on my bucket list.

What I really like about the Institute are the trips for girls. I think getting outdoors and learning new skills in completely unfamiliar situations is such a great skill. As a kid myself, I attended boy scout adventure camps and learned backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing, and mountain biking. I remember my summer trips to be loads of fun filled with laughter and aching legs. What could be better?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beauty and the Bike

Beauty and the Bike is a wonderful campaign to improve conditions for cyclists in England. The campaign started off to uncover why British girls stop cycling and low and behold- they determined it was the biking infrastructure- or lack thereof.

I certainly live in part of the US that has a very poor infrastructure for cycling. We live off of several main roads which makes for excellent work commutes for some, but very bad cycling for the rest. I've found myself cycling less and less because the roads are so dangerous and the last thing I wanted to do was pack my bike into my car to go for a bike ride.

Anyway, Beauty and the Bike has a wonderful site here and here and a great video documenting the cycling dilemmas for young cyclists in England. I love the parts where the young girl's eyes light up as they say - "it's the independence- it's the freedom."

Because those are the same reasons that I ride.

Vibram Fivefingers

Have you seen the new barefoot running wear called Vibram Fivefingers? Now I feel like I tend to be pretty up on the trends and willing to try new things, but I can't really decide if I should laugh or try the Fivefingers on.

So yes, you are looking at a shoe that separates all the toes- alas the fivefingers part. And it is basically an invisible shoe- not a whole lot of padding, cushioning, or support. Not the shoe for weak ankles it looks like.

But are you as intrigued as I am? I feel like I need to go to a store and try them on. Not sure they would ever go hiking or running with me, but you could probably convince me to do some swimming and cliff jumping with them. For the main product page for Vibram Fivefingers check here, recommended uses check here, and a video here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Finding the Right Triathlon

I've been contemplating entering a triathlon for years, but haven't quite found the right one. Often I'll hear about a triathlon the weekend before the actual event and I'll either not be in good enough shape for the run or for the swim portions. I've seen quite the hype about Iron Girl Triathlons, which looks like a lot of fun, but sell out quickly and are in very few locations.

Also, for me- the right triathlon needs to be more mountain. Mountain bike, trail running, type of a thing. This year I think it is going to be the Tully Lake Triathlon in Northern Massachusetts. The event features a 5 mile canoe or kayak paddle (score 1!), 7.5 mile mountain bike ride (score 2!), and 4.5 mile trailish run (score 3!). Looks like my kind of event.

If you know of any other similar events in the Northeast please let me know.

Camping Recipes

Over the next several weeks we are packing up and moving to a new part of the state. Since it is sort of crunch time, I am going to be recapping some of my past posts with a sprinkle of a new post here and there. Hope you don't mind!

Here is a recap of my camping recipes:

Chicken and Gravy with Mashed Potatoes While Camping

Chicken and Gravy Recipe

Fruit Cobbler

Fruit Cobbler on a Jetboil

Campfire Pizza Making

Campfire Pizza I

Campfire Pizza

Campfire Pizza II

Campfire Cakes

Orange Campfire Cakes

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Notes from the Weekend

Busting Outdoors

Busting Outdoors


A few hints of Spring in the air.

Outdoor Sites for Parents and Kids

Recently I've been coming across some great sites for outdoor parents and children. Thought I would pass them along:
  • Discover the Forest an ad campaign brought to you by the FSDA (Forest Service) for children that includes fun ideas of things to do outside (a neat downloadable booklet here) and other great tips.
  • The Outdoor Parent is a great little blog I stumbled across last week. Interesting, original articles about getting out with your children, tips, links, and even a great page for children here.
  • Also, REI has a page for children which I've mentioned before. The page includes a downloadable "passport" to adventure which is essentially a nature/outdoor journal for kids. Super fun.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Women's Adventure Magazine

While I am just as sad as the next girl that fewer and fewer magazine subscriptions are in my mailbox, I am happy to still read Women's Adventure Magazine every month online.

Check out this month's issue online here. Love the Editor's Choice article with the female athletes as paper doll cutouts- cute stuff!

Sugar Shack

This weekend is Club Day at Eastern Mountain Sports which means sweet discounts on EMS brand gear (you can also enjoy the discount online). I've been thinking about buying this tent called the Sugar Shack. Our faithful EMS Tristar has lasted over ten years across New England and California, but we are barely going to squeak another year out of it.

Several years ago we had to order new poles because of wear and tear and I have started to notice lots of tears in the netting and mold on the fly. I'm very good about caring for my tents- airing them out every time etc. but I think age is finally getting to ours.

Good Morning Fire

our tent

Toliet Papered in the Wilderness

our tent tp'd

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Place Called Mountain Bike Heaven

For years I have heard rave reviews of what many New Englanders deem to be the best biking in New England. A little slice of mountain bike heaven in the northern area of Vermont called the Kingdom Trails.

Now- I still have not made it to this piece of mountain bike heaven that so many of my friends go on and on about, but this year I have high hopes. Especially since Women's Specialized Demo Tour will be there in May and the Specialized Women's Safire mountain bike has been calling to me.

I'll definitely let you know if the name holds up to the reviews. But truth be told if I drive all the way up there for a weekend of mountain biking- I just may never come back!

GSI Coffee Drip

Let's get to what really matters for outdoor product reviewing- coffee!

I know you are like enough with the coffee experimenting and camping right? Well I am still in search of coffee perfection on camping trips and I have high hopes for this the GSI coffee drip. I've tried this for coffee making, but in the end just carry around a plastic filter thing.

This one would be really ideal because it is collapsible.

Ready for This

I've been ready for camping for quite some time now. It's tough when there is always something else that could be done. My next several weekends are already booked up, so camping may have to wait just a little bit longer but biking won't. Here I come weekend!

Tent by Campfire

Old Favorite Bike

Happy Belated Earth Day! Sorry for the short posts these days.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bet You Wish You Were From New England

I'm just saying that because this event kicks-it. Really. The New England Mountain Bike Film Fest.

It's a great evening of watching films, that attracts locals and pros alike to New England. It's fun, it's laid back, it's really making me want to finally buy a better video camera. As if that wasn't enough, check out NEMBA's events here. Drool-worthy really.

Seek The Peak

I typically try to avoid over crowded trails at peak times (think Mount Washington in July), but this event might just get me out amongst the people.

Basically, it is a fundraiser for the Mount Washington Observatory which includes a hiking Mount Washington, a concert, and an after party. Typically anything that includes food after a long day outdoors wins me over. So this is an easy must-do on my list. Check it out here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Daddy Longlegs

The Daddy Longlegs (the Pholcidae- I think) has long been an okay spider in my book. They're not particularly jumpy (hate that kind), or hairy, or thick- which are all spider qualities that I like to avoid. Great information about the Daddy Longleg here as well as other spider facts here.

Daddy Long Legs

Daddy Long Legs

Daddy Long Legs

Daddy Longleg Island

Random story- one summer I was doing a multi-day canoe trip with a group of about ten people. I was dying, dying to go the bathroom for like two hours. We finally paddled our way over to a small island in the middle of the lake.

I hopped out of the canoe, scrambled through the pricker bushes and ran into the middle of this island. I was so happy to be peeing- that I hadn't noticed the entire island was moving. Yes, moving. Moving because there were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Daddy Longlegs running up and down the trees, over my feet, in all the leaves.

Now, I can deal with Daddy Longlegs, but I can't really deal with a few hundred Daddy Longlegs. Needless to say- I hightailed it back to the canoe and paddled the heck out of there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cycling Events

Riding with a group, for a cause, or at an event is some of the most motivating cycling out there. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has a fabulous website and calender. If you are anywhere near the northeast you should really check it out.

Some of my handpicked events include the Women's Ride with distance options 5, 15, 25, and 50 miles.

Also, the Lobster Ride and Roll- mainly because I love lobster. Last year when I rode part of the Maine seacoast on my bike trip I devoured seafood regularly. So I really know for a fact that seafood and cycling go perfectly together! (Check out my bike trip by days: day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5, day 6, also read about the killer campfire pizza)


I came across this beautifully illustrated children's book during my yard saling over the weekend. I particularly like it because they are all the common backyard insects and critters. I thought I would feature an insect a day (or maybe more!). Enjoy!



Some firefly facts:
  • Fireflies are "distasteful" and somewhat poisonous for other vertebrate predators.
  • Light is produced through a process called bioluminescence.
  • The light emitted is also considered to be a warning sign to hungry predators, since the chemicals the fireflies contain is so nasty tasting and poisonous.
  • Tropical fireflies synchronize their flashes of light, so they all blink in unison. Apparently in the US you can see synchronized fireflies in parts of South Carolina, Tennessee, and in parts of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Year of Misty

I'm excited to say that this may be the year of Misty. We've been trucking her around with us everywhere. She's enjoyed the glory of parking lots empty of cars, fields with no baseball players, and woods without another person in sight.

Scouting Around

She has also given up her many mini-bad-behaviors. Things like chewing the seat buckles off when you leave her in the car. That one will stop you from bringing your dog along.

I think she has finally realized that just because you see an old man in the woods and he probably smells fabulous and is super nice-- you shouldn't jump all over him. This is a dog who doesn't even jump on me when I come home, but she finds old men irresistible. What the heck?

Scouting Around

Lastly, I'm not sure if this is a warning breed, but there have been very few squirrels and chipmunks around lately. Thus, Misty has been around a lot more lately. Small furry critters are her true passion in life.

So, you see, this very well maybe the year of Misty. The year she explores new forests, swims in new rivers (ha! doubt that), and camps in between new trees. Yes, this should be a good one.

Scouting out Spring

It's really, truly, finally, hitting me that the winter is done and spring (yes!) is here. I put away my heavy winter coats yesterday and can't wait until my crazy schedule lets up a bit.

We spent the weekend scouting around going on jaunts through the woods. See the green is just beginning to peak out.

Ground Level Spring

It's funny how green is so much more sharp and noticeable this time of year. It' hard for me to determine if it's because my eyes have seen such little green lately or because it is the only green in a sea of browns.

Either way it's lovely.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Things I love

The weekend is getting closer...I can hardly wait. In the meantime, somethings I've been loving lately:
  • A&W rootbeer with aged vanilla (there is no comparison)
  • Ranger Rick Magazine (did you know that RR tweets? for real)
  • My new iTouch. I'm hardly ever this up with the technology. Except, maybe I'm really behind because it is all about the ipad these days...Anyone have any app recommendations? Especially anything outdoorsy/referency-ish?
  • My Terry cycling knickers- I've been getting my money's worth out these lately.
  • Ruffwear's dog blog
  • Weezer's Ratitude album
  • Must I mention the Safire women's mountain bike by Specialized?
  • The fact that my butt is the sorest it has been in months? Sometimes sore bike butt hurts so good.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Can You Say Heck Yeah

This sweet little movie titled Women of Dirt will be making it's Boston debut on April 21st. Check out the deets here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Wants

New season, new wanting, perhaps some new backpacks. I've been eyeing Osprey backpacks for years and I think this might finally be the season for a new backpack. The few times that I got out last year with my old gigantic clunker really made me realize how old-school my packs are.

Anyway, here's what I've been loving lately: The Osprey Women's Ariel pack 75 (pictured above, found here). Perfect for longer trips.

The Osprey Women's Aura backpack 50 (the 35 is pictured here, found here).

I'm even loving this mini backpack- Osprey Talon 22 (here).

I tried the Aura 50 on this weekend at a store and let me tell you people- like butter. The pack fits like a glove because of all the adjustments on the straps. They come in several torso lengths. And my favorite part, that backpack designers of the world need to know- the top torso strap that goes across the chest is fully adjustable. So, you can decide exactly where you want it to rest. Perfection I tell you. Perfection.

A Thing Called Mountain Biking

Remember when I used to ride my bike and write about it? I barely do myself it has been so long... I think I'm back to blogging again. Blogging has always come in fits and bursts for me, but this bike season is looking promising as I suit back up and head back out again.

The Long Bridge

I've been mainly road biking for the past month, trying to build back up the biking legs. Yesterday, I went on my first legal mountain bike ride- whoo-hooo! Legal in the sense that many of our trails here in New England are closed until mud season is over. One by one they are starting to open back up again. So it looks like more mountain biking and less road.

Hope your season is looking fun and starting early!