As you may know I have two young daughters. Grace is 7 and Gabby will be 5 very soon. Both girls love the outdoors and have experienced them from a very young age. Grace in particular has taken a special liking to nature, animals and being outdoors and would like to share her experiences just like her dear ole dad does. So, today begins the first of what will be a very often and interesting segment on HikingForward.com "Grace's Adventures". Grace is very excited to share her experiences, her new knowledge as well as her gear likes and dislikes with other like minded boys and girls out there. We hope you enjoy!
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Hi my name is Grace. I am seven years old. I want to share some stuff with you. Today I went hiking with my dad. Today was sunny and mild. We saw a huge cliff and deep river. We saw a bunch of trees that were laying on the ground. My dad explained why the trees were all over the place. The reason why was because the river floods sometimes and causes the trees to fall. We saw a couple trees bending like a rainbow and we walked under them. After that we sat on the side of the cliff and ate our granola bars and drank our water. I got to use my new backpack from REI that I got for Christmas today. I like that there are little secrets pockets to keep my stuff safe in my new backpack. I have a hiking stick that I used today that has many badges from the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah and Acadia National Parks as well as the Appalachian Trail. I love my hiking stick. After the hike we went to go find a geocache in the park where we hiked. The geocache we found was big and had a trackable it in that we took and will move on our next hiking trip.
I hope other junior rangers are outdoors and I would love to answer any questions that little or big junior rangers would like to ask me.
After today's #hikerchat (which by the way if you haven't done yet is a blast! takes place on Fridays at noon eastern) I asked out there on Twitter if anyone knew how to fix a problem with my Leki Khumbu Aergon Trekking Poles. You see the button leg under the Speedlocks kept collapsing even under very little pressure. I have tightened both the clear lock and the Speedlock as much as it can be tightened and still the pole collapses at will. Most of the time it collapses like I said under just walking conditions and others under pressure conditions. (this is not helpful)
Well upon sending out the call for assistance I tagged Leki's USA Twitter account and wouldn't you know within a few minutes they suggested an email to their service email.
I emailed promptly, and got a detailed response within minutes! I was informed that the company would be sending me two new legs both and upper and a lower and the Speedlock components. I was delighted with the great customer service and the speed in which they responded. I am also happy to know I can depend on my poles again.
So this weeks PROPS! go to LEKI USA!
The weeks wag of the finger goes to FEDEX! Yes, FedEx. Typically I adore getting packages. I work from home so the UPS, USPS and Fedex folks break up my day. I'm not sure if I am the only one that does this or not but when you order gear online, do you wait impatiently for the tracking number then knowing full well that the package won't arrive for 4 days still check the tracking page to see where it is? No? Damn I am sick!
Anywho, due to the generosity of my loving family and wonderful bride I received a host of REI gift cards for Christmas. I spent much of Christmas break researching new packs. I finally settled on the pack I wanted to only find out it was on back order! Ugh! Right? Finally last week I ordered the pack and as you already know, I watched as the pack made its way from the REI distribution center to my house tomorrow (Saturday) via the online tracking system. Or, so I thought. With the anticipation of playing with and packing my new REI Crestrail 70 building I checked it one last time this afternoon in wonder, "hmmm where might it be now?" ... ESTIMATED SCHEDULED ARRIVAL WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2013!?!?!?!?!?! UGH!
So we wait. Will post when the bag finally arrives. Fingers crossed on Wednesday and stay tuned for a full review of the bag.
Have a great holiday weekend all.
Keep Hiking Forward!
Take less then 10 minutes of your day and immerse yourself into the possibilities the AT can bestow upon you. Go ahead. I dare you to watch the video and not feel an insane desire to feel what they are feeling, see what they are seeing and wonder when was the last time you even came close to feeling that totally free.
You watched it, didn't you? I was right wasn't I? Good news is you still have two months to prepare!
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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources just announced yesterday that all of the state recreational areas and state parks that have campgrounds, camp sites and group campsites will now all be reserveable on www.reserveamerica.com. Up until a few years ago you could not reserve any sites online. In order to reserve a campsite a snail mail or in person reservation system was in place. A couple years back rv style sites with power and water or just power were added to Reserve America, but not all sites were available. This latest addition now incorporates state park primitive sites. This is huge especially during the office season where at most parks there aren't paid staff around as their used to be to properly gain access to the site and pay for it.
Now I want to reserve a spot and head out this weekend!
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Here is the information from IDNR:
IDNR and Reserve America have joined together to bring on-line camping, cabin, group camp, and shelter reservations. The new system is available by using the Reserve America website www.reserveamerica.com and using a Visa or a MasterCard.
IDNR camping and shelter reservations will no longer be taken through the mail or over the phone.
Reservations for regular campsites and group campsites require a $5 non-refundable reservation fee and payment of the full camping and utility fees at the time the reservation is made. For more information on our fees, please review our camping fee information.
Payment of the entire camping and utility fee amount will guarantee that the reservation will be held for the entire length of the stay. Shelter reservation fees are $25.
Campsites can be reserved for a maximum of 14 nights per 30-day period and reservations must be made between three to seven days before the campsite is needed, depending on the facility - see the chart below (Days in Advance for Reservation).
Reservations for Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends may require a two-or three-night minimum stay reservation. Some facilities will require a three night minimum stay for Columbus Day.
The reservation fee is $5.00, plus the entire camping fee for each camp site reserved. This $5.00 reservation fee is non-refundable unless the campground is closed by the Department of Natural Resources.
Thanks to my friends at the Sangamon Valley Chapter of the Sierra Club for hosting their Annual Stone Soup Hike! It's always a easy way to start the year off on the right foot. LITERALLY! Even though the temp never got above 20 degrees this morning the wind stayed away and the sun was shining! We hiked for about forty-five minutes through the untouched snow and got an early morning peek at the Sangamon River. I am happy to report this morning that the river looks healthy and is flowing nicely (thanks to recent rains and snow). The last year has not been kind to the river nor my paddling opportunities. Hopefully the rain and snow will help keep the river up and navigable in early spring.
Oh and can't forget the soup! Nothing like a warm bowl of community made soup to help warm your stomach and your soul after a nice hike and on a cold winter day.
Also finally got to use a gift from last Christmas the wife got me but I never go use last winter due to the mild conditions and it was the perfect day to utilize it. My set of Kathoola MICROspikes worked awesome and dug into the solid ice along the roadways and that covered portions of the trail. The metal teeth on the bottom of the MICROspikes kept me on the trail as we approached some slick areas above the river. I also felt that my feet were kept warmed by having the MICROspikes on, maybe because my feet actually were coming in contact with the cold wet ground as they if I didn't have them on. Hadn't thought about this as an added benefit of the system, but on a cold day we all know there is nothing worse then cold feet and toes. I had on good socks and liners today, but felt that staying off the ground even by a fraction or a inch might have helped keep them warm.
I hope every is enjoying you day and that you get out to enjoy today like I did as well.
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