Aspen Road and Mountain Bike Tours

Aspen and the surrounding area provide spectacular and sometimes quite challenging terrain for mountain and road bikers. You will want to keep in mind, a good part of Aspen is comprised of wilderness area – The list below will provide you with information for available rides. You can also call the local Forest Service office at 970-925-3445 or visit the National Forest website. Keep in mind: Mechanized vehicles are not allowed within the Wilderness boundaries and this includes Mountain Bikes -

Recommended Mountain Bike Rides

Smuggler Mountain Road - Follow Neal Street to King Street to Park Street to smugglersSmuggler Mountain Road where the trip begins.  At the fork in the road (approximately 1 ½ miles), take a left.  This road travels uphill for one and a half miles to the Smuggler Observation Deck. Going left will connect you with an entire network of trails:  Smuggler Mountain Road to Hunter Creek Trail andSmuggler Mountain Road to Lenado Trail.

rio Grande trail

Rio Grande Trail – This trail begins behind the Post Office on Puppy Smith Street. The first two miles are paved.  The trail then crosses Cemetery Lane becoming a dirt trail at that point.  The trail proceeds northwest to Woody Creek. For more information on this trail and a map please visit Lay Some Tread. (EASY) We recommend biking to Woody Creek Tavern for lunch in our Day to Defy Ordinary Itinerary.

sunnysideSunnyside Trail – The trail begins on Cemetery Lane.  Follow Cemetery Lane from Hwy 82 where the road crosses the Roaring Fork River.  Approximately ¼ mile beyond this point, you will see the trail beginning on the right.

brush creek trail

 

Brush Creek Trail – The trail begins behind the tennis courts on Maroon Creek Road.  It crosses Buttermilk Mountain and finishes in Snowmass.  As this trail crosses private property, it is VERY important that bikers stay on the trail only.  Failure to do so could jeopardize future use of this trail.

The town of Snowmass has a variety of mountain bike trails to offer, some of our favorites include the Rim Trail, Tom Blake Trail, and the Government Trail. Click here for a link to their trail map.

Mountain Biking Essentials list

Spare Tubes or a Patch Kit
Even if you’ve gone tubeless, I usually have at least one tube and patch kit in my pack on a long ride. It’s a little quicker and easier to replace a tube than patching a tube on the trail. If the popped tube is worth salvaging, I’ll patch it up later when I get home from the ride.

Bike Pump
You can’t fix a flat tire without a pump. I use the Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Pump because it’s very small and lightweight, but still powerful enough that it won’t tire you out just pumping up your tube. Or for an even more minimalist and time-saving option, a CO2 inflator is worth checking out. I’d recommend keeping a couple of full cartridges on hand if you’re going this route.

Tool Kit
You can assemble your own, or pick up a pre-assembled kit. At minimum, it should include the following:

  • Tire levers
  • Allen wrenches
  • Bike-specific multi-tool
  • Chain tool. A multi-tool does in a pinch, but if you need it, you’ll be glad to have the specific tool. And speaking of chains …
  • A few links of chain and a quick-link

First Aid Kit
You’ll probably need it when you don’t have it. Keeping a bike-specific first aid kit stowed away in your pack enables you to be at least somewhat prepared for the unexpected. One item that has come in handy time and time again is a towel. I like to throw a couple Lightload pucks into my pack. They are as the name implies light 0.01 lbs, they take up almost no space and are surprisingly durable. Check them out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB-iPiqGQ0c

Light
On a long ride, one setback can leave you racing to beat sundown. A headlamp or handlebar light is good to throw in the pack. If I know I’ll be cutting it close, I’ll bring my NiteRider Pro 1200 along for the ride.

CLOTHING

As many of us know from staring at forecasts all winter long, the weather won’t always turn out how you expect.  When heading out on that all day ride, there are a few things I always try to carry with me.

Extra Layer or Jacket
A long sleeve jersey or a light cycling jacket with a bit of weather defense is a good choice. Depending on where you ride you may opt for more or less wind or water protection. For my longer rides I like to pack my Norrona Fjora Aero 100 Jacket because it is lightweight, packable, and breathable, yet still provides enough protection for the random storm.

Extra Socks
Are you expecting a little mud or water on your ride? Socks are easy to throw in the pack and would be nice to change into on your lunch break or when things dry out.

Gloves
It seems like every time I forget my gloves, I crash and cut up my hands.  Keep them in your pack so you don’t make the mistake I’ve made too many times!

Sunglasses
Even if it’s not a sunny day, glasses with clear or light-colored lenses are essential protection, coming in handy when you roll through a cloud of gnats or are banging through an overgrown trail. No-slip nosepads and grippy temples on sunglasses are kind of a must so they’re not slipping or bouncing around on your face. Interchangeable or, better still, photochromic  lenses are ideal for changing light conditions over the course of a long ride.

FUEL

Water
Hydration packs are the best option for these long rides. But if you already have a regular pack and aren’t looking to get a new one, you can do what I did and just purchase a hydration bladder separately.  For long rides, you’re probably going to want a three-liter one.

Drink Mixes
To go all day, it’s good to have more than just water.  An extra water bottle with a Skratch Labs mix will keep you replenished and less fatigued so you don’t get sloppy at the end of the trail.

Food
Aside from packing a sandwich for lunch, energy bars are good to throw in the pack. I usually bring a couple Clif Bars with me, but protein bars and energy gels will also keep you pedaling.

GEAR HACKS

Your pack is stocked and ready to go, but there’s always that off chance you’ll need to get creative to in order to make it down the trail. Zip ties are at the top of the list when it comes to bike gear hacks—they’re small, lightweight, and can be used to fix all kinds of things—like busted derailleur hangers, flapping fenders, and broken shoelaces—well enough to get you down from the mountain.

Be sure to bring along the other gear hack hall of famer, duct tape. If a zip tie can’t fix it, duct tape probably can, from sticking things onto your bike to bracing or splinting injured body parts like wrists or ankles. There’s no need to weigh down your pack with a huge 60-yard roll; bring along one of these emergency-sized rolls or wind 4-5 feet around a golf pencil or small stick and throw it in with the rest of your gear.

My own personal don’t-leave-home-without-it item is my wallet. And not only for the obvious access to emergency funds; a business card tucked into my wallet once came in handy on a ride on the Wasatch Crest Trail. After a second flat on the same tire, I discovered a small slash in the sidewall (the replacement tube blew out because of that hole).  It was a long way back in either direction, so we needed a quick fix.  I took the card out of my wallet (which I just happened to have with me), folded it up, and placed it on the inside of the tire against the slashed sidewall.  I aired up the second tube inside of that, and it held for the remainder of the ride. Since then, I’ve always made it a point to bring my wallet along instead of leaving it in the car, because it just might save the day.

- See more at: http://www.backcountry.com/explore/whats-in-the-pack-mountain-bike-essentials#sthash.Hn56Onn4.dpuf

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Love everything about the outdoors except wasps?

Wasps can be a problem in your home; sometimes they can even sting and cause lots of pain and discomfort! Your yard imagescan be a “dangerous” place for you to relax. Sometimes wasp can even lead to great injuries in case you are allergic to their stings.

To try and keep the wasps off your home there are many ways which you can employ for you to get rid of them. The best way for you to go about it after you discover your home has been affected by the wasps is to look for natural ways that will help you to get rid of wasps.

This is due to several reasons, for instance, after you decide to make use of natural ways you will save your money in trying to keep the wasps off as well as avoiding any health complications in your home. The following are natural ways that you can use to get rid of wasps:

1.Use Soap Sprays

This is a method that you can easily apply in your home after you notice wasps are increasing in population. First, you need to identify the nests and prepare a solution of soap and other detergents that you use in your home.

With the help of a garden hose you can spray the nest with the solution. This will kill the wasps naturally hence making you get rid of them easily.

While spraying them you should be careful not to be stung by standing in a strategic position where they will not notice you easily.

2. Avoid Substances That Attract Wasps in Your Home

There are substances such as foods rich in sugar which wasps like a lot. After you make an effort and avoid throwing those foods in your home you will reduce attracting wasps to your home. Other foods that attract them include meat and pet foods. In case there are left overs of such foods in your home you should try and keep them in a bag that is sealed well to avoid cases where wasps may end up being attracted to your home.

3. Grow Plants That Deter Wasps

Plants such as wormwood, eucalyptus, mint and citronella are natural wasp deterrents. If possible you should grow those plants in your garden where they will deter away the wasps. Apart from the plants chasing away the wasps naturally they will also add beauty to your garden.

 

4. Put up Fake Nests

Wasps are known to be very territorial. After you but up a fake nest in your home you will reduce chances of wasps putting up nests in your home because they will think another colony is already established there. There are several materials in your home which you can use and come up with a fake wasp nest or buy a new one.

5. Block-off Underground Nests

Sometimes wasps can build an underground nest in your home. You can easily get rid of wasps in a natural way by blocking all the entrances of the wasps. When blocking the entrances and exits you need to ensure you block all of them so that you will deny the wasps access to food which will make them die over some time.

To ensure you block the entrances and exits completely you can decide to use a cover and add grease to make it a tight seal.

6. Hang a Sandwich Filled With Water

You can easily keep the wasps out of your house by hanging a sandwich filled with water. This will make the wasps think there is a spider web on your door which can trap them.

This is a simple trick that you can use to keep wasps out of your home easily. The sandwich is very easy for you to design and it will lead you to getting rid of wasps easily without killing them where they will migrate to other places away from your home.

7. Traps

For you to reduce the population of wasps in your home you can decide to come up with glass wasp traps which you can use and trap wasps in your home. When making use of the traps you need to use attractive baits which will enable you attract a lot of wasps so that you can reduce their population and even get rid of them completely.images

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Our Pick For The Top 10 Best Day Hikes

Chesler Park Loop, Canyonlands National Park, Needles District, UtahChesler Park Loop
This loop in Canyonlands’ Needles District is a full-value 11 miles of desert: You’ll tiptoe past cryptobiotic soil, across slickrock, dip down and into a couple washes, and into Chesler Park, a flat meadow surrounded by “needles,” the red-and-white striped pinnacles up to 100 feet tall.
Click here to go to the official site

Half Dome Cables Route, Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaHalf Dome Cables Route
The stout 16.5-mile round trip hike (via the Mist Trail) hike leads to the cables up Half Dome’s back side, where you’ll take in a view of the entire Yosemite Valley, and head over to stand on top of the Visor, the granite perch sticking out into the abyss over Half Dome’s Northwest Face. Don’t hate this hike because it’s popular.
Click here to go to the official site. 

Angels Landing, Zion National Park, UtahAngels Landing

The Angel’s Landing Trail (photo, above) is a kind-of via ferrata in that you’ll hang onto log chains bolted to the rock on this route’s most-dangerous sections (hikers have fallen and died here). This might be as close as most of us get to climbing one of Zion’s big walls, minus all the technical rock gear and the portaledge.
Click here to go to the official site.

Presidential Traverse, Presidential Range, New HampshireThe Presidential Traverse
The only thing prouder than tackling the dozen-plus peaks of the Presidential Range in a day — at minimum 20 miles with 8,500 feet of elevation gain — is doing it over two or three days in the winter. But if winter suffering isn’t your thing, find a stable weather day in the summer or early fall and bounce along the ridge high above New Hampshire on whatever variation you choose — south to north, vice versa, summiting all the peaks in the range, or summiting just the peaks named after presidents. Any way you do it, it’s one of the biggest hiking days you can have in New England — in both views and exertion.
Click here to go to the official site

Glacier Gorge trail to Mills Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoGlacier Gorge trail to Mills Lake
Maybe the fastest and mellowest way into Colorado’s alpine scenery, this 2.8-mile stroll only gains 700 feet on its way into the aptly named Glacier Gorge. Mountainsides sweep thousands of feet down to the series of lakes at the bottom of the U-shaped gorge, and the first, Mills Lake, may be the best place for lunch in the entire park. Walk onto the rock peninsula that pops out into the middle of the lake for the best view. The trail continues another 2.2 miles all the way back to Black Lake if you feel up for another 700 feet of elevation gain and the weather is stable.
Click here to go to the official site

Grandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon National Park, AZGrandview Trail to Horseshoe Mesa
If you want the full canyon experience from the South Rim, you can try to hammer out the 4,400 feet of elevation down to the Colorado River and back up in a single day among the crowds on the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails — or you can do this moderate hike and get the best views without dragging yourself on a desert death march. The Grandview Trail stays out front in the canyon, not dipping into side canyons or drainages, ensuring that the views never let up here. The short, round-trip six-mile hike still covers 2,500 feet of elevation loss (and then elevation gain on the way back up to the South Rim), so pack a lunch.
Click here to go to the official site

Tall Trees Trail, Redwoods National Park, CaliforniaTall Trees Trail
You know the redwood trees you can drive a car through? Yeah, they’re not on the pristine Tall Trees Trail, which tours a grove of majestic trees as big as any you’ll see in Redwoods National Park (up to 360 feet tall and 12 feet in diameter). To keep it that way and to protect the enormous redwoods there, the Park Service locks the gate six miles up the road from the trail and issues permits (and the combination to the lock) to only 50 cars per day. The entire hike here is only 3.7 miles, but takes a half-day to execute, including the 45-minute drive from the park visitor center where you’ll grab a first-come, first-served permit/key to the castle.
Click here to go to the official site

Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords National Park, AlaskaHarding Icefield
This hike tackles a steep 4.1 miles alongside the active Exit Glacier, the only area of Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park that’s accessible by car, and leads to a one-of-a-kind viewpoint of the Harding Icefield, the largest icefield in North America at 300 square miles (or 1,100 square miles if you count all the glaciers descending from it). Peer into an Antarctica-worthy stretch of snow and ice, as far as you can see, a look back into the last ice age. The trail passes through areas of salmonberries, which means you might see a black bear on your hike — a nearly daily happening on this trail.
LINK Click here to go to the official site

 

Knife Edge, Katahdin, Baxter State Park, MaineKnife Edge
Katahdin’s iconic summit is famous for Thoreau’s writings about it and also famous for being the end of the 2,184-mile Appalachian Trail. Its “Knife’s Edge” might be the most famous ridgeline in the Northeast — the trail is only three feet wide with a thousand-plus-foot drop on either side. But don’t worry, that part only lasts for 1,500 feet. Start at the Roaring Brook Campground and take the Helon Taylor Trail 3.2 miles to the summit of Pamola Peak, where the Knife Edge leads to Katahdin’s summit.
Click here to go to the official site

 

Garnet Canyon, Grand Teton National Park, WyomingGarnet Canyon
Hiking into nearby Cascade Canyon is more popular, but Garnet Canyon delivers with less crowds: A half-day climb on good trail and a short bit of scrambling right into the heart of the Teton Range, in the shadow of the Middle Teton and the Grand above. Starting at the Lupine Meadows trailhead, you’ll climb more than 2,600 feet into the canyon, passing fields of wildflowers on your way up above views of Bradley Lake and Taggart Lake. Just over four miles of steady climbing takes you into the steep-walled canyon, winding around boulders and along streams, Depending on the time of day, you’ll be sharing the trail with climbers headed for the Middle and the Grand Teton.
Click here to go to the official site

Spray Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, WashingtonSpray Park, Mt. Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier’s trek up to Camp Muir is a sort of mini-Everest Base Camp trek for PNW dayhikers, and it’s certainly one of a kind — but Dan Nelson, author of the guidebookDay Hiking: Mount Rainier National Park, says his the best hike on the mountain is off in the northwest corner of Mount Rainier National Park, starting at Mowich Lake. He says what makes this 7-mile round-trip trek special are the meadows going from subalpine to alpine, colored by swaths of wildflowers and sparkling blue ponds, and the awe-inducing views of Rainier whenever it appears.
Click here to go to the official site

 

 

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A Master Camping Checklist…

From beginners to veterans – a checklist can make the difference between a camping trip that is as fun as you hoped, or one you suffer through.

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Free printable camping checklist. From lists for camping gear and supplies, to food and kids clothes. Happy Campers Camping-Checklis

You should have your camping checklist in hand as you load your camping gear – and turn those checks you made when you gathered your gear into “Xs” that will let you know you actually loaded it – instead of remembering to gather it, and then leaving it on the garage floor when you actually packed to leave.

From the “Master” camping gear checklist for the trip organizer, to a personal gear list the kids can do – these free printer-friendly supplies, and equipment printouts will help ensure nothing gets forgotten.

It can also help you avoid taking gear you don’t need. Why carry a heavy Dutch oven when you will only be using a frying pan? As you scan the list below, don’t get overwhelmed – remember, you will not need everything on it. It is intended to include everything you might need, not everything you have to take.

 

What To Bring: Gear

Packing for an overnight trip requires more gear than a day hike. (Print out a gear list to make sure you pack what you need.) When you’re first starting out, you may want to rent or borrow gear before making such a significant gear investment. Keep in mind, though, that items like backpacks need to fit you well for maximum comfort, meaning borrowed or rented gear might not be as comfortable as gear that’s been fitted to you.

More gear means more weight – a pack loaded with the necessary gear, food and water generally weighs between 30 and 40 pounds for a 2-4 day trip; longer trips require heavier pack loads, but that doesn’t mean your pack has to weigh you down. The key is packing what’s necessary without creating an impossibly heavy pack. Ultralight gear can help, if your budget allows, but sticking to the basics will allow you to backpack comfortably without spending thousands of dollars on new gear. Remember every pound counts!

Clothing

If there’s one rule for clothes in the backcountry, it’s layer, layer, layer. That way you can add or peel off clothing if you feel too cold or too hot. Make sure to avoid cotton: it’s a poor insulator when wet, making you feel colder and increasing your risk of hypothermia. Look for synthetic or wool materials instead.

  • First (base) wicking layer: Tops and bottoms made of wicking material like Polypropylene, Capilene, Thermax, SmartWool or other fabrics help carry moisture away from your body and insulate even if wet.
  • Second (middle) insulating layer: Warm insulator, like a fleece, down jacket or wool sweater (or a combination of these).
  • Third, weather-proof layer: Windproof and waterproof pants and jackets made of water-shedding, preferable “breathable” material, like GoreTex is essential.

Other clothing to bring includes:

  • Hats: Both a sun hat and a warm knit wool or fleece hat for cold nights.
  • Gloves: lightweight in summer, insulated in colder months.
  • Non-cotton t-shirt and long-sleeve shirts; lightweight pants and shorts, or convertible hiking pants.
  • Underwear.
  • Socks and sock liners: Use hiking-specific socks for better cushioning and breathability; thin liner socks help prevent blisters (critical on long hikes!).
  • Boots: Take a look at the article Finding Boots for your Hiking Feet for some tips on what to look for in fit, style, material, etc. And remember, fit is critical, so try on lots of styles! If it’s not comfortable in the store, it certainly won’t be on the trail.

Backpack

You’ll need a backpack that will provide enough space for all your gear without causing you discomfort. In terms of size, you should choose a bag with a volume between 40 and 70 liters (2400 to 4200 cubic inches) for most 2-4 day trips, and a pack of at least 70 liters (4200 cubic inches) for trips 5-days or longer.

For comfort, style is less important than fit. There are two general styles, internal and external frame, and either one can make a perfect backpacking pack. The key is to make sure that 80 percent of the pack weight is carried by your hips. This is ensured by proper fit, particularly with internal frame packs. Get good advice from an experienced outdoor gear retailer and try on many varieties to find one that feels best.

Tent

To find a tent, consider when you’ll be camping, where you’ll generally go and how many people will use the tent. For most backpacking, three-season tents work great. They’re a snap to set up, are great in most weather, and their parts can be split up between your backpacking buddies to reduce weight. Take a look at this page on How to Buy a Tent for tips on purchasing your first tent.

For extra protection, you can opt to bring a ground tarp. Just make sure the it’s two inches shorter than the edges of the tent, since larger ground covers can funnel water to you, leaving both you and your tent soaked.

Sleeping Bag and Pads

Choosing the right sleeping bag and pad can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a long, uncomfortable night followed by a tired, miserable day.

Sleeping bags are generally rated with a degree, which indicates the lowest temperature at which the sleeping bag will keep you comfortable (e.g. a “20 degree” bag should keep you warm in temps above 20 degrees). When choosing a bag, keep in mind that even in summer, night temperatures can dip below freeing in the mountains. This means it’s a good idea to choose a “three-season” bag that’s rated between 0 and 15 degrees – it’ll keep you warm even when cold and, if it’s too warm, you can always unzip it slightly to let in cooler air.

Sleeping pads insulate you from the cold and from any rocks or roots on the ground. Many backpackers like Therm-a-Rests or other “self-inflating” pads, but if you’re looking to save weight or money, an inexpensive closed-cell pad can often fit the bill nicely.

The Essentials and First Aid Kit

On top of the big ticket items, there are a few smaller pieces of gear that you should never enter the backcountry without. You’ll find more details here, but for the meantime make sure you always pack these Essentials:

Map and Compass (See above)

First Aid Kit (read here for what you’ll need)

Extra Layers and Rain Gear

Firestarter and matches

Multi-tool or knife

Flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries

Sun screen and sunglasses

Extra food (see below)

Water and a way to purify it (see below)

light weight super absorbent towel (I happen to like the Lightload Camp Towels they are inexpensive and super absorbent)

A note on First Aid:

Before heading into the backcountry, make sure that your First Aid kit is well stocked, and check to make sure nothing’s out of date. It’s also a good idea to take a Wilderness First Aid (or better yet First Responder) course so that you’re prepared in case of emergency. Find out more about that here.

Other Misc. Items

  • Small plastic trowel (for digging “catholes” where you’ll do your business) and toilet paper
  • Biodegradable camping soap, toothpaste and a sturdy hand towel 
  • Duct tape (not required, but useful; wrap it around your water bottle for easy packing)
  • Plastic bags for trash
  • Repair kits for tent, stove, sleeping pad, etc.

What to Bring: Food and Water (and the kitchen!)

Water

It should come as no surprise that water is one of the top Essentials. Backpacking can be hard work, and you’ll need to keep hydrated, especially on hot days. A good rule of thumb is to drink a liter and carry a liter at all times, that way you can be sure to have extra in case of emergency.

Of course, you can’t just drink water straight from the stream. Even the purest looking water can contain pathogens like giardia, which can cause serious illness in the backcountry. Luckily, there are a number of ways to treat water to make it safe for drinking. The simplest and most effective method is simply bringing water to a boil. (No need to wait a certain length of time after it starts boiling- the heating process is enough to kill any pathogens). When you’re not at camp, though, you can use chemical water treatments or filters to make water drinkable.

Food

Eating is pretty important when you’re burning around 5,000 calories a day, if not more. It’s so important, in fact, that we’ve dedicated an entire section to backcountry cooking, including recipes and meal ideas. One thing to think about when shopping for backcountry foods is weight to calorie ratio. Look for lightweight foods, like dehydrated refried beans or hummus mix, rice, and noodles, that will fill you up and give you energy without loading you down. Avoid cans, bottles or bulky packaging that you’ll have to carry out later. If you have the budget for it, pre-packaged dried meals can be a good choice, though certainly not a necessary one, as this article points out.

Freeze Dried Food
Prepackaged meals are easy to prepare, weight little and are quick to clean up. They aren’t cheap, however, and quality varies.

Breakfast options range from the old standby — instant oatmeal — to more creative ideas, like homemade granola, instant soups, toaster pastries, or even pancakes laden with fresh mountain huckleberries. Hot cocoa or Tang can make waking up on a cold morning that much easier.

Lunch is almost always eaten on the trail and usually consists of dense, calorie-rich foods such as bagels, cheese, nuts, salami, trail mix, dried fruit, powdered hummus, jerky, M&Ms, drink mixes (such as powdered Gatorade) and energy bars. Snack throughout the day to keep energy levels higher and to avoid feeling full.

Dinner is probably the most flexible of the meals. Once you make camp, you have plenty of time to prepare more involved recipes, if you so choose, or you can keep it simple with pre-packaged mac-and-cheese (just make sure to bring dehydrated milk) or dehydrated refried beans with instant rice. If you have a sweet-tooth, you can even opt for backcountry desserts.

Cooking Gear

Your backcountry kitchen can be as complex or simple as you choose. The most basic kitchen needs little more than a lightweight backpacking stove and fuel, a pot and pot grip, a large metal spoon (for cooking), and bowls, spoons, or even dutch ovens.

Stoves generally break into two categories: white gas and butane/propane. White gas stoves have a metal fuel bottle you refill with camping gasoline, and these generally burn hotter than canister stoves. You usually need to prime the stove, which adds time to the cooking process.

Canister stoves are simpler to light. Fuel is contained in a sealed cylinder that you toss out when empty. Some downsides include more expensive fuel, and more waste. But canister stoves are extremely lightweight and easy to use. Both options are very lightweight and work quite well for most backpacking trips.

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The Benefits of Hiking to Your Health

Hiking CoverWe here at Lightload Towels are huge fans of anything that takes us outdoors, into the wilds, but hiking holds a special place in our hearts, literally! You know hiking is good for your health. But do you know just how good it is? If you are heading out for a hike this Fourth of July weekend, take note of all the good you are doing for your body. Oh and be sure to bring along a couple of our hand towels to mop up the glow of exercise!

For adults, regular aerobic exercise such as hiking leads to:

  • Improved cardio-respiratory fitness (heart, lungs, blood vessels)
  • Improved muscular fitness
  • Lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of high cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Lower risk of colon and breast cancer, and possibly lung and endometrial cancer
  • Increased bone density or a slower loss of density
  • Reduced depression and better quality sleep
  • Lower risk of early death (If you are active for 7 hours a week, your risk of dying early is 40% lower than someone active for less than 30 minutes a week.)
  • Weight control; hiking burns up 370 calories an hour (154-lb person)

Kids get many of the same benefits, including:

  • Improved cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness
  • Better bone health
  • Less chance of becoming overweight
  • Less chance of developing risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Possibly reduced risk of depression and feeling less stress, more ready to learn in school
  • Sleeping better at night

What’s more, hiking exercises almost every part of your body: legs, knees, ankles, arms, hips and butt, abdominals, shoulders and neck. “Hiking exercises your body and your mind, and nourishes your imagination,” says Ignacio Malpica, a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer in Boulder, Colorado. “It creates awareness in your eyes and ears and the rest of your senses.”

How Much Time?

How much activity do you need to reap these incredible health benefits? Experts say getting active for  just 150 minutes a week – doing “moderate-intensity” aerobic exercise such as moderate hiking or brisk walking – leads to most of these benefits (reducing risks of colon and breast cancer requires another hour a week). That’s only 2½ hours a week. And you don’t have to do it all at once. Sneaking in a lunchtime hike up the hill near your office counts toward your total, as long as you’re active for at least ten minutes.

If you take part in more vigorous aerobic activities, such as running, dancing, or hiking uphill or with a heavy pack, you need only half that amount of time, or 75 minutes a week, to get health benefits.

For more tips on Hiking, Biking and much more check out our website www.lightloadtowels.com 

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Escape the City with a Towel

Urban Escapes is a great way to get away from the city and do outdoorsy stuff like hiking, climbing and boating. Lightload Towels is a proud sponsor. Urban Escapes Founder Maia Josebachvili says:

I brought a three-pack of light loads with me while backpacking in the Himalayas in Nepal for a month. They were awesome! Didn’t weight a thing (which I really appreciated at 18,000 ft) and were just as effective as a regular towel. I’ll be using them again for sure!’

Check out National Geographic’s Urban Escapesuggestions. http://on.natgeo.com/1lsNQXO

Please contact Urban Esapes if you are an outdoorsy person living in the New york city area

-Maia J.
Maia Josebachvili
Founder and Guide
Urban Escapes
212.609.2547

Check out www.urbanexcapenyc.com

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Fun Facts for Hikers

 

What is it about hiking that has us on our feet?Hiker

There are more then few folks who just don’t get it. After all it is an awful lot of work and in the end it’s not like your getting anything from it. Of course I totally disagree, the rewards for all that toil is often a view that can be seen from no where else but the top of that next rise, or a sunset that is beyond beauty. The more tangible benefits are of course an elevated heart rate (in a good way), fresh air and open skies and a chance to explore places not everyone gets to see. Still, not everyone buys into that. So we thought we would look at a bigger picture of hiking, and find the following nuggets of hiking facts, stats, averages, and other numbers:

7,325: Miles. Sum length of the Triple Crown (Appalacian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails combined)

420,880: Feet. Elevation change in the 2,663 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.

46:11:20: Time, days:hours:minutes. Record set by Jennifer Pharr Davis in 2011 for the fastest through-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

5: Pairs. Shoes used up by Davis on her record-setting trek. That’s a new pair every 9 days.

31 million: Americans. According to the American Recreation Foundation this is the number of Americans who hiked a trail in 2007.

4,600: Miles. Longest hike in the U.S., North Country National Scenic Trail. From Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota to Crown Point, New York.

16,368,000: Feet. Length of Continental Divide Trail. That’s 3,100 miles.

734: Miles. Sum of the length of all hiking trails in Glacier National Park.

10: Essentials. As dictated by The Mountaineers, a climber’s organization, in 1930 for establishing what you need to react positively to an accident or emergency, and to spend an unexpected night outside. In order: Map, Compass, Sunglasses and sunscreen, Extra clothing, Headlamp/flashlight, First-aid supplies, Firestarter, Matches, Knife, Extra food.

2003: Year. The Mountaineers updated their 10 Essentials in the 2003 edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills to the following: Navigation (map and compass), Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen), Insulation (extra clothing), Illumination (headlamp/flashlight), First-aid supplies, Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles), ulta-light towels/blankes, Repair kit and tools, Nutrition (extra food), Hydration (extra water), Emergency shelter

1989: Year. A river guide started a little company that makes sandals. Chaco. You know the one.

10-20: Percentage. Suggested backpack weight for children as a percentage of their body weight. For example, a 50 lbs child should carry backpack that weighs 10 lbs — or until they start whining about numb arms. Which ever comes first. Keep the peace. Try bribery with candy, then move on to reducing weight.

31: Satellites. The Global Positioning System (GPS) operates on a constellation of 31 satellites that orbit the earth on 6 orbital planes at an altitude of 12,600 miles in a fashion that puts nearly all points on the planet in line of sight with at least 6 satellites at any given time.

14,505: Elevation. Mount Whitney is the tallest peak in the 48 U.S., and also the tallest “hikeable” peak (vs climbable) by a trail 22 miles round trip.

6,288: Elevation. Tallest hikeable peak in New England, Mt. Washington.

13: Length. Miles of longest slot canyon, Buckskin Gulch in Utah.

800: Approximated average. Number of hikers who would hike Half Dome on a busy holiday or weekend day in Yosemite before the current permit system went into place. The NPS now allows just 400 people on the trail in a day, and a permit is required.

21: Distance. A rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon using South Kaibab and North Kaibab trails is 21 miles long. A hard 21 miles.

517: Calories. Man weighing 190 lbs will burn this in one hour of hiking.

440: Calories. A woman who weighs 163 lbs will burn this in an hour of hiking.

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Mark Beaumont’s around-the-world bicycle adventure

If you are into cycling at all you have no doubt you already know about Mark and his amazing feats. I had not heard about him until recently (I know I live under a rock) and was amazed, astounded and dumb struck at this particular adventure of his.

I ran across this when I was searching for what to pack for a long bike trek. I came up with the obvious suggestions and the mantra repeated over and over again light lighter and lightest.  All of which made me think of LightLoad Towels (duh)  Anyway I just had to share Mark’s story with you.

This is Mark’s story and a link to his website.

Mark Beaumont’s around-the-world bicycle adventure

The hub for Mark’s expeditions, events, charity work and much more. You can follow Mark’s projects timthumb (2)here and through social media. Broadcasting about adventure, culture, travel, sport, and human endeavor from all corners of the world

What is worse than hearing rats scurrying around your hotel room getting into your bike panniers at night? It might be waking up the next morning with rat turds on the pillow.

That episode in India kind of strips the glamour off the idea of bicycling around the world in pursuit of a world record. It’s just one of many experiences recounted in Mark Beaumont’s book “The Man Who Cycled the World,” recently released in the US.

The Scotsman was the second in what has seemed a rush of bicyclists seeking a Guinness World Record for bicycling around the world.

Beaumont accomplished his feat in 2008, completing his grand adventure in 194 days and 17 hours. Remarkably, he shaved 81 days off the record set by Steve Strange in 2005. At least four others have since tallied faster times on paper, but not all made the record books. The current record holder, Vin Cox, accomplished the feat in 163 days.

Professional adventurer

The Scotsman started his career as a professional adventurer at age 24,when he set off on his 18,296-mile quest. Growing up on a farm and with

timthumbhis university years behind him, Beaumont hit on the idea of the global bicycle ride and figured he could get sponsors if he was going for a coveted world record. He also landed a deal with BBC for a documentary.

Beaumont wrote and published this book, “The Man Who Cycled the World,” the year after he finished his ride. Broadway Paperbacks, an imprint of Crown Publishing, brought the book to US audiences in 2011 and sent me a copy to review.

In reading it, I was struck by how much Beaumont missed by pushing himself to cover 100 miles a day on his bicycle. There are countless times when he talks about being near famous landmarks or destinations, and he just keeps pedaling.

In Thailand, for instance, he catches a tailwind and refuses to stop, in spite of constantly passing road signs for tourist destinations. “The sea was just through the trees to my left and had been for two days, but I hadn’t seen it once.”

No romance

Head-slapping unbelievable is his response to an attractive and “fun” marine biologist he met soon after landing in Australia. As they trade daily texts as he heads across the continent, she offers to take a week off and take a road trip out to his location. At first it seemed perfect, but he writes:

“I called her again that night, having decided against it. It was hard to explain, and it sounded ridiculous even as I tried to, but I needed to be left in my own world.” Later, he thought about changing his mind, “But I knew in the long run I would regret anything that might slow me down. I was here to race.”

So race he does, across four continents. His human contact is often limited to hotel desk clerks, cooks, waitresses and waiters, and whoever is sitting next to him on the stool at the diner.

But people are often drawn to people traveling by bicycle, and he occasionally acquiesces to offers to share their home or meals.

Illness, soreness

Beaumont must have kept a detailed journal, as there are descriptions of the terrain, the local foods, housing, traffic and his condition — all things you expect him to dwell on as he spends hours alone on his bicycle.

Throughout his adventures, Beaumont suffers gastrointestinal attacks, bicycle breakdowns, sore muscles, and various other aches and pains. After riding his bicycle across many countries in all types of weather,
his worst experience comes in Louisiana, where he is hit by a car driven
by an old woman and robbed in his hotel room all in the same day.

Daily centuries

He goes into detail about suffering from saddle sores most of his trip. No wonder, as Beaumont’s target of 100 miles a day takes a toll.

We’ve all ridden centuries, but not day after day after day. Obviously, he doesn’t achieve this goal every day, but he makes the attempt. It often means lots of night riding, camping at the roadside, or riding into strange towns in foreign lands late at night with no idea where to stay.

In the final days of the tour, Beaumont admits to exhaustion as he nears Paris. It’s almost like his goal of riding 100 miles a day has become paramount, and the fact that it enabled him to encircle the globe is just a side issue.

“I still didn’t feel the least bit excited about the finish; I was simply too tired to care. My every thought was focused on making the next mile, knowing that eventually I would get there.”

Beaumont did get there and realized his achievement. But he didn’t stop moving.

More adventures

Soon, he was back on his bicycle to pedal the longest mountain chain on the planet, at the same time climbing Mt. McKinley in Alaska and Aconcagua in Argentina. That adventure also became a book, “The Man Who Cycled the Americas.”

This past summer, he was the member of a crew that rowed to the North Pole. Next, starting in January 2012, he’ll join a team of six seeking to break the trans-Atlantic rowing record.timthumb (1)It sounds like Beaumont isn’t interested in slowing down, at all. I’ll be interested to hear about his next adventures. You can check up on him at MarkBeaumontOnline.

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Hut-to Hut Backcountry Bike Treks

Camp Towels for Bike Treks

Camping has never been easier with a three pack of lightload Towels. Use one towel for the cook-set, one for the first aid kit and the other for general use. “Pack it in and Pack it Out” so the next campers can enjoy a good clean site.

I have been looking for different types of overnight/longer then a day biking treks when I happened on this one. Now I have done the winter hut-to-hut cross-country treks so I am not sure why this never crossed my mind, but I have to say now that I have seen it I am obsessed.

This was presented as a non-camping option and given some of the regions there is good reason to opt for the hut overnight.  Hut-to-hut touring is an activity of which Colorado is king. There you can tackle a fat-tire adventure beginning in the southwest corner of the state (in either Telluride or Durango), and wind up a few days later in Moab (okay, that’s in Utah, not Colorado). The trips are organized by San Juan Hut Systems, whose mission is “to provide low-impact, human-powered, lightweight backcountry travel opportunities for the independent, health-conscious adventurer at a practical price.” The distance from one hut to the next is generally about 35 miles; the terrain ranges from dirt roads and trails in the alpine vastness of the San Juan Mountains, to desert canyons and slickrock. Each hut is stocked with food and utensils, water, a cookstove, and sleeping gear.

Another Colorado option: Take one of the trips organized out of Fruita by “The Hut Guy,” who, according to the Colorado Backcountry Biker website, “spent years scouring hundreds of miles, identifying the premier mountain biking trails in western Colorado.” As a result, it says, Colorado Backcountry Biker offers self-guided, budget-friendly bike trips on which you can spend two or three nights in fully stocked huts, and by day experience some of the best mountain biking in the West. Options include riding on the storied Tabeguache Trail, with baggage transfer from hut to hut and other amenities that are somewhat luxurious, considering the backwoods setting.

If you are more of a do-it-yourselfer — or haul-it-yourselfer (your own food, sleeping bag, etc.) — there are some great trail rides to the huts maintained by the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. Not all thirty of the system’s huts are reachable by mountain bike, but a lot of them are. These huts are relatively large, sleeping an average of sixteen people, and come equipped with wood-burning stoves and propane burners, cooking and eating utensils, and mattresses and pillows.

Up in the great Pacific Northwest, Cascade Huts offers self-guided multi-day trips in Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest. Again stocked with supplies to enable lightweight riding, the huts line a loop around Mt. Hood that ranges from 135 to 160 miles in length, depending on the exact route chosen. And to the north of there, in Washington state, the five Rendezvous Huts in Methow Valley offer rustic but cozy accommodations for summer cyclists in a location that, come winter, is one of the premier Nordic skiing destinations in North America.

In Washington’s geographical counterpart on other side of the country, Maine Huts & Trails has big plans over the coming years to enhance the mountain biking possibilities it makes available. As it says on their website, “we envision offering mountain bikers a wide array of trails, from short, easy riding along our hut access roads and other dirt roads to technical singletrack deep in the backcountry. Riders will eventually be able to ride for several days along a variety of trails, staying overnight in the Maine Huts … [and, in fact] cyclists are already finding some great riding along and proximal to the MH&T system.”

Gear List

The Basics for Camping:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Camp pad
  • Small tent, bivy sack, or camp hammock
  • Food (or a nearby dining establishment)
  • Personal items: toiletries, hand towels and camp towels etc

Deluxe Gear List:
Perhaps you’re not a minimalist. Just remember: everything you bring adds weight to your bike. If you have much hill climbing or a lot of mileage planned, you may want to reconsider how much you take along.

Deluxe Camping Gear List:

  • Route map(s)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camp pad or air mattress
  • Small tent, bivy sack, or camp hammock
  • Camp pillow or stuff sack, bath, hand and cook towels
  • Cooking equipment (small stove, cookware, utensils) including food, camp towel
  • Camp chair
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Pocketknife
  • Waterproof matches

Deluxe Personal Gear List:

  • Toiletries
  • Two sets of bike clothes
  • Two sets of off-the-bike clothes
  • Raingear
  • Cold weather gear
  • Shoes/sandals
  • Bathing suit
  • Towel

Other possibilities:

  • Books
  • Camera
  • Playing cards
  • Sports equipment
  • Fishing gear
  • Radio/iPod/MP3 player
  • And more!

This about wraps up the hut-to-hut riding opportunities my research turned up. If you know of others, feel free to add them to this list.

 

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Ultimate Summer Camp Packing List

Everything your child needs for summer camp.

Summer Camp Packing

Packing for camp is an art form. Unlike sending your child for a sleepover at a friend’s house, a stay at a resident camp can last from a week to an entire summer, with a camping checklist of things equally as long. So before you zip up that knapsack and send him on the bus to summer camp without enough underwear, check out this summer camp packing checklist.

Things to remember while packing for camp.

Before packing for camp, check with your child’s camp packing list provided by the organization. There may be things like bedding that you’ll need to include in your child’s gear.
Next, wash all new clothing before packing and remember to mark everything your kiddo will be taking, from socks to soap cases, with his name or initials.
Now, armed with an empty truck and your camping checklist, calculate how much clothing your child will need. The Summer Camp Handbook recommends you pack your youngster enough clothes to last one-and-a-half times the number of days he’ll be at camp for camps that run a week or less (they probably don’t provide laundry service), or the number of days between laundry service for camps longer than one week.

CAMP PACKING LIST
Here are the things you and your child will need to pack for a typical summer camp:
• Bandanna/scarf
• Hat
• Glasses/contacts and cleaning solution
• Prescription medication
• Sunglasses
• Goggles for swimming
• Dress clothes and coordinating belts and shoes
• Light jacket
• Jeans
• Raingear or umbrella
• Shorts
• Sweatshirt
• Swimsuit
• Swim shirt with UV protection
• T-shirts
• Tank tops
• Underwear
• Sweat pants or warm up pants
• Pajamas
• Cotton bathrobe
• Bras
• Athletic support (jock strap)
• Boots
• Cleats
• Flip flops
• Shoes plus a spare pair
• Socks
• Bedding — check with your camp checklist for what, if any, to bring for bedding
• Hand towels (I found that the Lightload Towels are perfect for camp. They save space so you can put a dozen in)
• Beach towels — can be used for bath or swimming (Lightload Towels again are perfect)
• Shower caddy
• Comb or brush
• Deodorant
• Feminine hygiene products
• Bug repellant
• Lip balm
• Nail clippers
• Shampoo and conditioner
• Shaving cream and razors
• Soap in carrier
• Sunblock
• Tissues
• Toothbrush, toothbrush container, and toothpaste
• Camera
• Flashlight and spare batteries
• Laundry bag
• Reusable water bottle or canteen
• Writing paper, pre-addressed envelopes, and stamps or calling card
• Spending money (but check with camp for policies)
• Comforts of home, like a family photo or a stuffed animal; just be sure it is replaceable
• Entertainment, like books, hackey sacks, and deck of cards
• Small backpack or tote for day-trip

According to The Summer Camp Handbookauthor and psychologist Dr. Christopher Thurber, the first thing on your camping checklist when packing for camp should be to give yourself plenty of time to help your youngster pack for camp.

Also, remember to make it a team effort. “When you pack together and take your time, your excitement about summer camp can rub off on your child while also ensuring that nothing is forgotten when it comes to checking off your summer camp packing list.” That way, you can relax knowing junior has everything he needs while away and can focus on having fun!

We want to thank SHEKNOWS PARENTING for including us on this list!

 

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