Love Note to the Peach State

love note to the peach state

Oh Peach State, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways—mountains, swamps, beaches, rivers, pinelands, farms, waterfalls, museums, gardens, rich history, beautiful people. The list goes on and on. You hold so many special places and experiences within your boundaries. I know I left. I’m sorry. It was time. Twenty-two years we spent together—living life and weathering its ups …

Exploring Cathedral Gorge State Park

Back in May, I set out on another mega road trip to regain my Val-ness. After Overland Expo in Arizona, I mozied my way to Great Basin National Park in northeast Nevada. I then headed south to Cathedral Gorge State Park and a vastly different landscape. Cathedral Gorge State Park… Cathedral Gorge is a popular Nevada destination for it’s dramatic, …

The PURE Electrolytic Water Purifier by Potable Aqua

On the Hell Hike and Raft last year, I overhauled my hiking hydration scheme to include my Potable Aqua PURE electrolytic water purifier. As a Potable Aqua Brand Ambassador, I had the lovely perk of getting my hands on it prior to its release so I could put it to the test. The basics… The PURE is a small device …

Great Basin National Park

My western adventure was a fairly loose mess; largely unplanned and willy-nilly. After my exit from the surprisingly wintry experience at Overland Expo, I ventured into the Silver State and mozied my way towards Great Basin National Park, a place I’ve long wanted to visit. Nevada’s weather is notoriously volatile and proved it with conviction while I was there. I …

Foundations

val in real life

Back in March I wrote about why it’s important to keep your bucket full. But I realized my thoughts at the time were an incomplete picture of the tools needed to weather unfortunate life events. A full bucket is actually about creating a foundation. When your bucket is full or close-to-full, it means you’ve been mindfully living your life. That …

Hell Hike and Raft: Goo, Boobs, and Stinky Feet

You heard me right. This review is about goo, boobs, and sweaty, stinky feet. And I know you’re probably bracing yourself for what’s ahead and grateful the internet doesn’t come with Smell-O-Vision. The crew members of the Hell Hike and Raft received a variety of products to test on our journey. There were core items like our Teton Sport packs …

Hell Hike and Raft: Teton Sports Hiker3700

As members of the Hell Hike and Raft, we all received the Teton Sports Hiker 3700 backpack. Given that my previous backpack was a big “Old School” beast from the 90s, I skipped just a few generations of gear technology improvements, so exploring this new offering was quite a treat. Specs and features… The nuts and bolts are as follows …

Celebrating Winter

Here in the Peach State, winter is a conundrum. The respite from summer’s brutal heat is welcome yet we don’t have the benefit of snow to liven up our outdoor adventures. In fact, snow here is quite catastrophic… just sayin’. But as hard as cold, rainy, dreary winter weeks like this one has been, I still actually appreciate winter in …

Hell Hike and Raft: Hydration

The Hell Hike and Raft had a lot of great sponsors. Figuring out how to share it all with you has been a bit daunting. But since I’ve finished the story of the hiking portion of the trip when staying hydrated was an individual matter, it’s a good time to break down the products we used that had to do …

Hell Hike and Raft: The Seven Devils – Part 3

Remember how I said that on Day 2 I began loving this journey? Well on Day 3, we finally found out what the “hell” part of the Hell Hike and Raft was all about. Frozen… We awoke to freezing temperatures. Being from the Deep South, it’s not something I’m accustomed to dealing with often and to such extremes. With frigid …