Sunday, January 31, 2016

Five Reasons to Fall In Love With Winter Hiking

It's no secret I love winter hiking. I don't have to worry about getting overheated like I do in the summer and it gets me off the couch and out of the house. It's definitely a fun way to cure cabin fever.

1. Great Way To Stay Warm In Winter

I know it sounds counterintuitive, right? I mean when there's snow and ice on the ground, it's cold. However,  with all of the moving I do hiking, I stay really warm without having to dress in heavy clothing either. Usually a nice running jacket with a long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt underneath and a pair running tights or hiking pants is all I need. I always keep a little extra clothing and gear in my backpack just in case I get stuck. I don't want to freeze to death from lack of planning.

2. Not As Many Obstacles

Spring and summer trails always have rocks or tree branches to trip over.

Besides my trusty friend, I don't have to worry about tripping over anything. A good pair of snowshoes keeps me from sinking in the snow. Many of the popular trails are packed enough that I only need my boots.

3. Get Healthy and Stay Fit

When I discovered I could burn more calories in cooler temperatures than warmer ones, I thought I had hit the jackpot. Hiking is way more fun than hitting the gym and I get a caloric burn bonus. Yay!

4. Few People and Fewer Bugs

The trails near me are still busy enough during winter that I always see somebody but there aren't nearly as many people as spring and summer. Even better, I don't have to battle mosquitos, flies or those pesky gnats I swallow every time I open my mouth.

5. Amazing Views
You have to make it to the top or at least the saddle to get some of the most breathtaking views  but it's so worth it and the most rewarding thing about hiking.
Breathtaking view of Wasatch Mountains ©Trudy Zufelt

View of Salt Lake Valley from Mt. Olympus  ©Trudy Zufelt

Things to remember when hiking in winter:

  • Stay hydrated - Your body still sweats and needs liquid. It's tempting not to carry water but don't.
  • Stay fueled - Always carry some food even if you're not going to be gone long and eat during the hike. I always forget and lose steam close to the top.
  • Dress in layers - Carry a pack with extra clothes or just to have a bag to shed the extra clothes when you get too warm.
  • Don't disturb the wildlife - I've seen moose while hiking and with their size and strength, I'd rather not get too close.
  • Check the weather forecast - You don't want to get stuck on the top during a blizzard or find out the temperature just dropped 20-30 degrees and you're not prepared.
Leave a comment about what you love about winter hiking.

#JingleVoxBox From Influenster

Products received at no charge.

My favorite thing about being part of Influenster is the fun of getting a Vox Box in the mail. What is a Vox Box? A Vox Box is a box full of products that I get to try for free. Some products I've already tried and use like the Ore Ida Tater Tots I received in the form of a free product coupon. Some products I've never heard of like the Hallmark Itty Bittys. It's fun to open the box and discover what's inside. I don't have small children anymore so I got to give my Olaf Itty Bitty away to one of my nieces.

I was thrilled to get a travel size sample of Cetaphil. It's a brand I've tried in the past and love. Now I have the perfect size to take with me while I travel. I also loved getting some samples of Biscoff cookies. I don't usually eat them so it was a nice treat. I'll admit, there's always one product I don't fall in love with but it's still fun to try them anyway. I'm not a fan of false eyelashes so I would never have bought a set of the Kiss True Volume Lashes. I doubt I'll buy them again.

The NYC New York Color eyeliner pencil worked well enough that I would use it again and I like that I can find the brand at my local mass merchandiser. Thanks Influenster for letting me try the Jingle Vox Box. Now if they would only send me a box full of outdoor items to try.

Monday, January 25, 2016

ZestWear Calf Compression Sleeves Review and Giveaway

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

I will be the first to admit running is not something I do everyday. I love to hike and cycle as much or more than I like to run and more often than I would like, I end up at the gym on an elliptical machine. No matter what I choose for exercise, I find that my calf muscles always end up fatigued. I started using compression socks and sleeves within the last year at the suggestion of my physician husband and have found they really help with my fatigued muscles.

 Even more important, is that compression sleeves help with the ankle swelling I get when I hike at high altitudes. I have tried many different brands of compression sleeves so I have a lot of experience in which to rate and compare the Zestwear Sleeves. I like my compression sleeves to have a tight enough fit to actually provide a good compression but not so tight that they're uncomfortable. These sleeves are perfect for my biggest requirement. I've never tried the graduated compression sleeves and I like these better than those that aren't They have more compression around the ankle which is really where I need it the most to help combat swelling during hikes.

While it's cold outside now, I don't want my compression sleeves so thick that they are hot and uncomfortable. I like to use them in warmer weather too. The Zestwear sleeves have just the right amount of thickness. They are light and have plenty of stretch to fit over my calves. I don't have stick thin calves like many runners so I always worry how compression products will fit. The medium size fit perfect and I wouldn't want to go any bigger.

I had no trouble with washing these sleeves. I would never put them in a hot dryer but I do wash them in cold water with like colors and fabrics and hang them to dry and they keep their shape and compression well. Overall, these have become my favorite pair of compression sleeves for the main reason of the graduated compression where I need it the most.

Rating: ★★★★★

This product can be purchased on Amazon. My readers can receive a 20% discount on Amazon until Feb. 8, 2016 by using the following codes:

 Code LP57AIVF for a 20% discount of size MED
 Code W8UUTY4S for size LARGE

Sweepstakes Details:

Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. No purchase necessary and void were prohibited. Contest ends Feb. 8, 2016 at 11:59 EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Wuxian Ultra Light Telescopic Carbon Hiking Trekking Pole Review and Giveaway

Product received at no charge to facilitate review.

Unfortunately, my balance gets worse as I age. That can be scary when hiking on slick trails or in rocky areas. One thing that has really helped is the addition of a hiking pole. Sometimes, two poles are more than I need and can add an extra burden of one more thing to carry. I've found one works for balancing and a second is not necessary.

I've been looking for a lightweight carbon trekking pole to replace my aluminum poles but the cost has turned me off. One thing that always irks me about outdoor gear is paying a lot of money only to find that it is made in China. I always wondered if I could get gear for a lot less if I purchased it directly from China.

At Gear Best I can purchase outdoor gear at a fraction of the cost directly from China.  I wondered if the quality of the gear would be as good as some of the more recognizable brands.

What I found with the Wuxian Ultra Light Telescopic Carbon Trekking Pole is that I can get a solid outdoor product, comparable to a mid-range brand, at about 30-40% less than the cost of those midrange brands. Most outdoor retailers sell poles as a set while the Wuxian Pole is sold as a single item. This is great for me as I'm happy with one. For those who prefer a set, it's still cheaper to buy two at $15.32 per piece than it is to buy a mid-range brand elsewhere. 
The Wuxian Ultra Light Telescopic Pole is quite a bit lighter than my aluminum poles. I give it five stars based on weight. I am impressed with the suspension system which really does reduce vibration. As far as adjustability, the pole adjust for several heights which is nice when my husband wants to borrow it. The handle is covered in cork which makes a softer grip than plastic and it keeps my hand from slipping.
The only minor complaint I have is that the the pole has to be twisted to adjust in the open position and sometimes is hard to figure out how to lock it. Once I figured it out, I haven't had any problems and it does seem to hold the position well so far. 

Overall, I'm happy with my new trekking pole and hope to have many more mountain adventures with it. It's already kept me from several falls and I anticipate it's going to save me from several more.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Sweepstakes Giveaway Details:

One of my lucky readers will win one trekking pole from Gear Best. Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the rules on the Rafflecopter form and agree to them. Sponsor is responsible for prize shipment and not blog owner. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 22, 2016

Moscow Mule Copper Mugs by #TheKickingMule: REVIEW

Product received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.
I've seen copper mugs at some of my local retailers and I've been awestruck with them. They are really beautiful. The Moscow Mule Copper Mug by The Kicking Mule is no exception. I love the way it looks. I wish I had a some hooks in my kitchen as it would look really pretty as a set of four on display. The hammered texture adds to the beauty of the mug. It fits with my outdoorsy personality.

The Moscow Mug can only be used for cold drinks. I like the larger 16 oz. size. I've tried it with fresh squeezed lime aid and I love how the mug takes on the temperature of the drink which seems to keep the drink colder a little longer.

I also like that the mug does NOT give off a metallic taste as I feared it might. If anything, I think the my drinks taste refreshing in it. The mug can't be used in the dishwasher but can be cleaned with soap and warm water.


My readers can receive a 10% discount on this mug when purchased on Amazon. Use code 4JY4EVQ4 with the following link:


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Church Fork Peak Millcreek Canyon - 1 of 26 of New Year's Peak Goal

We wrote about our New Year's goal a few weeks ago and we are on our way to make it happen. Kalina's plan is to climb 26 peaks this year for her 26th year and and I plan on doing at least 16 of those. We rarely do them together and I'm letting her take the lead in getting the peaks done first. While most of our peaks will be in Utah because those re closest, we have plans to tackle a peak in Oregon together in the spring. Last week, we celebrated our first peak, Church Fork Peak in Millcreek Canyon, Utah.

The peak is just past the trees.
Though considered a minor peak in the Wasatch Mountains, Church Fork Peak is anything but easy in the winter. At an elevation of 8306 feet, I still managed to get altitude sickness on my first attempt. Kalina had no problem. With her friends, they cut the trail for me on my days later attempt.

The best peak access is from the Burch Hollow Trail and though the trail gets plenty of traffic during the winter making winter boots and microspikes sufficient, the turnoff to the peak will require snowshoes.

The peak is about 3.5 miles from the parking area for a total of 7 miles round trip. It's much easier to access during the spring and summer when the snow melts but makes a beautiful winter hike.

With an elevation gain of about 2300 feet, be prepared for a decent climb.

View of surrounding peaks from the peak
While it's tempting to start at the Church Fork Trailhead, don't. The Burch Hollow trailhead is shorter. and worth parking up the canyon a little higher. The parking lot is 3.6 miles past the pay booth on the north side of the road and the trailhead is well marked with a sign. Follow the Pipeline trail until the trail turns to a sharp right which takes you up the ridge line.

We made a left at the little Burch Hollow Trail sign about a mile and a half up the trail. It's a little hard to see. Also, the trail may or may not be packed down here so unless your familiar with the area, I wouldn't attempt this trail alone as not a lot of people make the turn. This is where snowshoes become necessary.

As always, the top of the peak provides awesome views of the other peaks in Millcreek Canyon. 

Stay tuned for peak number two.

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