Saturday, March 23, 2013


We got our tent in the mail today! A Marmot Astral 2P! It’s lovely, and roomy enough for the whole family. We will be testing it out in Bahia Honda next month! It's a bit on the heavy side, but we got it for a good enough price I hope we will be able to handle the weight.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Christmas in March

We had a goody bag full of Patagonia jackets and gear waiting for us at home after spending 9 days on the St. John’s River! Feels like Christmas!

Chase and I participated in this Transformational Learning Opportunity offered by our school. We spent 9 days aboard a houseboat living with 10 other students. It was really a great opportunity and it really changed my perception of how we treat our natural resources. Here in Florida, everything is about water. We studied and learned about our extensive freshwater spring system and how our actions are impacting these fragile and ancient ecosystems. Conserve water, y'all!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Will you come with me to the mountains?

Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?
~C.S. Lewis

I love this quote from C.S. Lewis. I feel like he really captures what it means to go into the mountains on foot. It may be something you feel like you regret at first because it's so difficult, but living a shadow of a life isn't gratifying, and maybe it's worth sacrificing your comfort to actually feel alive.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rain Jacket

Bought my own first piece of (potential) gear today; a rain jacket! This was the Deal of the Day on REI, and I couldn’t resist. This Sierra Designs Wicked jacket weighs only 10oz, and is apparently wind proof! There isn’t any insulation, so I’m hoping the size will be big enough to layer underneath. And if I decide it won’t work for the long haul, at least I’ll have a bright purple rain coat to wear around town (okay it's pink).

Monday, March 4, 2013

REI Grand Opening Gear Haul

Of course, the first gear we buy is for the dog. :)

With all of the goodies we earned from REI for going to the grand opening events, we were able to buy the REI Ultra Dog Pack that is normally $75 for around $50, and even then I was able to use promotional and gift cards to cover the rest of the cost. I ended up only paying $6 out of pocket for it. We're having a hard time deciding which size to go with. Sheila is a standard Australian Shepherd weighing around 50lbs. The pack says to measure around the deepest part of the chest, and she is just at 27in. This puts her in a “small” pack, which holds 8.5L. The pack fits very well in all areas except for the strap around her belly. It’s just a little too tight, and I’m worried about how it is going to affect her. There is a much more expensive Ruffwear pack online, which we might order just to see if it fits better. 

The other items we picked up with our promotional gift cards include these sweet REI dog food and water bowls. They pack down slim and fit well even in the small dog pack. My only concern is that the rim around the water bowl does not dry quickly, but I’m sure it is not that big of a deal. We also purchased two 0.5L Platypus bottles that fit nicely in the dog pack, that way she can carry her own water.

Also, I bought a nalgene (my first!) just because. We received something like 5 Camelbak Eddy water bottles for free, but I have an addiction and I’m not ashamed.

Friday, March 1, 2013

REI Grand Opening

My dearly sweet trail partner and partner-in-crime is currently braving the 48 degree weather (brrr!) to stand outside for a chance at a free Camelpak bag with a REI gift card inside! I’ll be joining him tomorrow morning, and perhaps even Sunday morning for the free loot. Every little bit helps!

We will also be signing up for the REI membership and even a credit card or two. So stoked that REI decided to put in a store just as we were deciding to thru-hike the AT!