Monday, November 22, 2010

Unconventional Thanksgiving

We slept under the stars

We're planning on having a very unconventional Thanksgiving in these neck of the woods. Why you ask? Weirdly, we had turkey two weeks ago because of an unexpected visit home from my brother. So we stuffed ourselves before stuffing day.

Since then we've been planning on having an unconventional Thanksgiving. Maybe go camping. Maybe just do a night hike nearby. Either way it will be sans turkey. What about you? Plans? Are you in a turkey-less country? Do tell...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cross Country Skiing

I regularly mention that I want to start cross country skiing. Growing up I skiied regularly on nearby trail networks on some very old school skis. Think metal clamps and springs that go around the outside of the boot- yikes! Hurts to think about still. Anyway, I want this year to be the year that I start gliding again...


To learn more about cross country skis and skiing check out the following sites:

Freakin Finally

Freakin finally it is Friday! Just. Got. To. Make. It. Till. 5. In the mean time, dreaming about the places I love to go...

Mountain Top New Hampshire

Mountain Top New Hampshire

Mountain Top New Hampshire

Betty Jumping

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Women's Adventure Magazine

Women's Adventure Magazine just launched their Winter edition. Read it online here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How to Avoid the Ho-Hum

I've saved this post for hump day- because let's face it- even the most active & energetic of us outdoor peeps get the ho-hums. Late fall/ early winter tends to be when the ho-hums set in for me. I think it is a combination of darker days & cold winds that brings it on. So here are some strategies for avoiding the ho-hums:

Night Hike

When I transitioned from full-time student to full-time worker I had to start mixing up the work week. Monday through Friday is so dull. But Monday to Wednesday's Night Hike in the woods- to Friday's night hike up nearby peaks is sooooo much more livable.


Survival experts always tout the motivating, let alone warming, powers of having a fire. Well sometimes a little bit of campfire is needed to ward off the ho-hums. Give it a try- got your own backyard with a firepit? Have a nearby cheapy campground or state park with firepits? Fire em (or one) up and watch the ho-hums fizzle out.

Out of Focus Campsite Maine


Seriously there is nothing that a few cartwheels can't cure. I cartwheel on mountain tops, walking the dog on the sidewalk, and even during hike & bike push fests.


TP Your Friends Tent

Sure it's a total waste of TP but it brings the hilarious back to camping as an adult. Plus, who's to say you can't reuse all that TP?

Toliet Papered in the Wilderness

Biking at Night

Biking at night turns the tamest trails into something wildly fun. There is something so appealingly dangerous about limited vision while whipping through the woods on two wheels ;)

Smores on the Grill

Some nights I'm so dead on feet that I just can't gather the energy for the above jaunts. These nights I try to keep the ho-hums away by grilling up some smores on the grill. I find the best way to grill smores is to: put down graham cracker with chocolate and two marshmallows on top, heat for 3-4 minutes with cover on, remove and place another graham cracker on top. Voila! Peanut butter or nutella are nice additions too.

Marshmellow Toasting

My Fall & Winter Without the Gym

Yup, I'm still humming along on my year without the gym. I manage two to three evenings of running during the work week, at least four days of walking Misty, and I play all weekend. So far I am still biking through the cold and hope that I can survive the months of January and February (that is when I traditionally fall apart).


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Revisiting Winter Hiking

Gosh- I've sure been thinking about and getting ready for snow this year. Traditionally, I am more of a warm weather person since biking is one of my favorite sports, but every year I find myself loving the snow just a little bit more.

This year I am really interested in doing a lot more cross country skiing. So I'll probably be posting a bit about skis and jaunts through the woods. In the meantime, I thought some of my newer readers might enjoys some of my previous tips on getting outside in the winter.

Enjoying the View

Winter Hiking: Traction in Snow and Ice

This Way She Says

Top Ten Winter Hiking Tips

Snow Face Dog

Also check out Winter Campers here. Lots of good tips and ideas for camping in the cold.

Turkey Time

We actually celebrated Thanksgiving a few weeks early this year. So after our turkey, stuffing, and pie we had to do a few laps.





Monday, November 15, 2010



Hope you had a great weekend! We did some exploring and adventuring and a little bit of cartwheeling. Here is the game plan this week on Betty Mountain Girl
  • How to Avoid the Ho-Hum
  • Bike Buying Mistakes to Avoid
  • More tips and tales!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cold Weather Camping Tip #1

Adam Catching Playing Tic-Tack-Toe

Cold Weather Camping Tip #1- Entertainment becomes essential

Try headlamp tic-tac-toe or writing your name with light...




Osprey Aura 50 Backpack: Product Review

We did a much longer thru hike of the Wapack Trail this weekend. The weather was ideal- in the high 50’s. I packed an assortment of layers in case we might need something- but didn’t really load the Aura up with a ton of weight. So how did the Aura perform on a longer trip with more gear? Here are my thoughts:

Osprey Aura Backpack

Osprey Aura 50: Balancing the weight

Even though I wasn’t carrying what I would consider a heavy pack for our ten mile hike, I still had a substantial amount of water and food (which as we all know tends to be the heaviest part of our gear). With that in mind I found that it really is all about the weight distribution for the Aura backpack. It doesn’t have the stiffest frame in the world, so how you pack your things really impacts comfort.

Osprey Aura 50: Compartments

The Aura backpack’s real selling point is the well thought out compartments. The top pouch is super roomy which is great for sticky a rain jacket or your mess kit. The waist belt include two small mesh zipped pouches for things like chapstick and tissues. There are also plentiful tie downs for sticking a sleeping pad or tent poles.

The Aura Backpack Final Thoughts

I would definitely recommend considering the Osprey Aura backpack in the 50 if you need a roomy day hiking pack or small backpacking pack. Overall, the pack fits very nicely and has many well thought out features. The only cautions would be to really pack the backpack carefully when not carrying a full load- or else it just gets awkward and wobbly, but then again most large backpacks will when not fully loaded. Lastly, I wish the price point was a bit lower ($199). Osprey’s packs are generally pricier than your EMS brand or REI brand pack- so sometimes that could really hamper your decision.

Osprey Aura

Osprey Women's Aura Backpack

Osprey Women's Aura Backpack

Osprey Women's Aura Backpack

Side Pockets

More detailed specs here and here.

Disclaimer: Product Reviews are based on opinion only and are not intended to condone, encourage, or promote a product. Some products are sent to me by the manufacturer or affiliates and are mine to keep. I mention this specifically on products sent to me. Compensation and/or product and/or services never interfere with the review of the product. Otherwise, products and services are purchased by me for personal use. The backpack was purchased by me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dear Santa- Love Misty

Ahhh! We made it

Dear Santa:

I would really love some new kicks. You may recall that I have some nice Ruff Wear Jackets (below), but really they are SO three seasons ago. Plus, you got me the wrong size and I practically swim in the softshell.

Misty on Piper Mountain

I know some dogs think it is redic that I wear a jacket, but they don't shiver and shake when temps hit the single digits. So please get me this jacket in size medium please. Kisses.

Plus, I like tops of mountains. Tops of mountains are slippery in the winter even for dogs with all four legs. I want to try these crazy boots- even though I'm not sure I like how tall they look.

Thanks Santa!

Slobbery Kisses,


I Dream of Weekends

How did the time change go for you this week? We're still in recovery. Losing the hour of sunlight after work has been the worst part. Now it is inevitably dark when I get home. The only real choice I have for exercise is either walking or running. So mainly I've been keeping up with my running and avoiding the gym (as mentioned in this post).

I still haven't worked out exercising first thing in the morning yet. That is something that I used to do pretty regularly when I had a the warm cozy gym to go to. Okay, the gym is definitely not warm and cozy, but I somehow managed to get myself on one of their little rat machines much easier than I can get myself to pound some pavement first thing in the morning.

In the mean time, I dream of weekends. Weekends are for exploring and adventuring.

Osprey Aura Backpack

Monday, November 8, 2010


This week on Betty Mountain Girl

The Foot Fam

  • Osprey Aura 50 Backpack Review: Longer Weekend Trips
  • Tips for Cold Weather Camping
  • Highlights from the Doggy Bag

Asolo Stynger Hiking Boots Product Review: Hiking

Reviewing the Asolo Stynger hiking boots may be old news to some of my readers. I am guessing that many of you already own a pair of the Styngers. Regardless, there are probably one or two of you without a pair of these hiking boots and that needs to change. Here are my thoughts on the Asolo Styngers:

Asolo Stynger Hiking Boots

Asolo Stynger Hiking Boots- Waterproof

I know that seems like a given right?! I mean who buys hiking boots these days that are not waterproof. The Styngers have almost a double layer of waterproofing- given that the suede-ish top layer is highly water resistant and inside is a lining of Gore-tex giving these boots a double- pow of waterproofing.

Asolo Stynger Hiking Boots- Supportive

The Stynger's have an excellent, excellent, excellent supportive sole and ankle support. I have what is considered "flat feet" meaning that my feet tend to pronate in when walking. I slide a pair of Sore Dawg's or Spenco Backpacking insoles in and I am good to go.

Asolo Stynger Hiking Boots- Lightweight

I think that the surprising lighter weight of the Stynger's is my favorite part. Somehow Asolo has managed to balance support with weight to come up with the perfect solution. I've trekked hundreds of miles with my Stynger's and never once felt like I had on heavy clunky hiking boots.

How do the Stynger's do backpacking? We'll cover this next week on Betty Mountain Girl! Check back in!

These Boots Were Made for Walking

These Boots Were Made for Walking

Disclaimer: Product Reviews are based on opinion only and are not intended to condone, encourage, or promote a product. Some products are sent to me by the manufacturer or affiliates and are mine to keep. I mention this specifically on products sent to me. Compensation and/or product and/or services never interfere with the review of the product. Otherwise, products and services are purchased by me for personal use. The boots were purchased by me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Hope you all had a fabulous weekend- because we sure did! Lots of fun planned for the week... can't wait to catch up.

Stop Please

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pull Out Your Woolies

I think you all know exactly how I feel about Merino Wool- diiiiiivine. This time of year is perfect for pulling out your woolies before heading out. Here are some of most recent favs.

SmartWool NTS Mid Weight Bottoms

I haven't yet splurged on these bottoms yet, but I can often be found drooling over them online and in stores. A friend on a recent bike trip described her pair of these SmartWool bottoms as sooooo worth it.

Wool Buff

I've always thought that Buff's were a pretty handy item to bring hiking and camping- particularly as the weather turns cooler. I was psyched to see that they recently came out with a Merino Wool Buff. I've sported mine on a few rides and hikes and find it to be a smart investment. It's always "just right" in a pinch for my ears, head or neck.

Ibex El Fito 3/4 Knickers

I scooped a pair of these up at the recent Ibex tent sale. These things will make you wonder why you ever thought you could or should wear spandex. They're comfy, warm, and slick looking. About 500 times better than spandex. I am now converted to Ibex for biking.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Get Ready

I can't even believe that winter is almost here. While I tend to be more of a summer/fall/spring person than a winter person- every year I aim for becoming more of a winter person. (These pics are from this past winter :)

The team

Snow Face Dog

I've definitely learned that the best way to befriend winter is to get outside frequently. Forget the frigid temps and biting wind- there's some sun at least!

The Almost Snowball

The Almost Snowball

Take That Leash Off Me!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Osprey Women's Aura 50 Backpack Review: Initial Thoughts

I hemmed and I hawed for weeks before buying the Osprey Aura 50 backpack. I've admired Osprey's backpacks for years for the high quality and thoughtful design features, but just never got around to trying one out. I finally took a jump off the deep end this summer and purchased the Aura 50 for day hiking, weekend backpacking, and light traveling. Here are my thoughts so far:

Osprey Women's Aura Backpack

Osprey Aura 50 Backpack: Size and Dimensions

So far I've done an easy backpack weekend and several day hikes with the Aura. I've found the actual pack size (what I can stuff in) to be just right for me. For years I've been a bit of a Goldilocks with my backpacks. I've got some that are just too big for weekend trips and some that are just too small for day hikes (I know really?!).

Osprey makes the Aura backpack in several sizes: 65, 50, and 35. I just the Aura in a 50 because I needed that "in between" backpack size. I tend to be a very light packer for weekend backpacks.

Dead Forest Hike

Osprey Aura 50 Backpack: Fit

Most of my outdoor jaunts with the Aura backpack have been on the shorter size (think under 8 miles per trip), so I'm not 100% sure of how the fit would be on a longer trip or with a heavier pack. Since the weather has now turned much colder in New England I plan to try the backpack out on a few colder (thus heavier backpack) trips. More to come! I'll be reviewing more specifics about the fit, compartments, and comfort on both longer day hikes and weekend backpack trips. Subscribe to my blog (see left hand bar) to catch all the details.

Osprey Women's Aura Backpack

Technical Info from Osprey:

  • LightWire Allowy Frame
  • Breathable mesh
  • Side vents
  • Medium features roughly 3000 cubic inches of space
  • In: 25.5 x 14.5 x 11.75
  • Cm: 64.7 x 36.8 x 29.8
Disclaimer: Product Reviews are based on opinion only and are not intended to condone, encourage, or promote a product. Some products are sent to me by the manufacturer or affiliates and are mine to keep. I mention this specifically on products sent to me. Compensation and/or product and/or services never interfere with the review of the product. Otherwise, products and services are purchased by me for personal use. Backpack was purchased by me.