Eight Years of Geocaching

I began geocaching on my birthday in 2009. That means in a few short weeks, I’ll celebrate eight years of geocaching. I need to confess, however, that I’m not a rabid geocacher. I go through ups and downs with being engaged. In spite of those waves, I’ve always enjoyed the unexpected places geocaching takes me, the people I meet, and …

Discovering the Nature of Nevada

When I lived in the southeast, I spent a good bit of time immersing myself in the nature of the Great Smoky Mountains. That included becoming a Certified Southern Appalachian Naturalist (SANCP), through a program that gave me the opportunity to understand the intricacies of the natural environment there. Then I moved to Nevada. Other than the basic concepts of plant …

Celebrating National Monuments For All of Us

Today marks the 111th anniversary of the 1906 Antiquities Act which gives presidents the ability to designate national monuments. National monument designations preserve historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest. It is the starting point to potential national park status later on. Some of our greatest treasures—places like Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton, Olympic, Arches, …

A Jillion Miles with a Thule Roof Box

thule atlantis 1600xt - val in real life

For quite a few years my trusty Subaru Forester has served as the main adventure-mobile for my explorations with Fred and George. She’s been in semi-retirement as life has moved on but this week “Blubaru,” as she’s known, is headed out for her first cross-country trip in a couple of years. George and I will be trekking from Georgia to …

Getting my Nevada State Parks Passport

nevada state parks passport - val in real life

I spent many of my years in Georgia exploring the vast offerings of its state park system. Much of that was with Fred and George in tow as we pursued the Parks GeoTour and History Trail GeoTour geocaching challenges. Through that effort, we got to know the state and the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites in depth. Now that …

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 …

Healing and Joy

Right now in my life, my biggest task to address everyday is healing. Of both the physical and emotional sort. Everyday is a mental tennis match between knowing I’m getting better and the weariness of what my life is right now. Because the progress is so gradual and grudging, I have to force myself to look back a week, two …

Hell Hike and Raft: The Snake River

In the last Hell Hike and Raft episode I mentioned that after the brutal third day of hiking, the waters of the Snake River were more than comforting, they were rejuvenating. We embraced the new rhythm of the trip but it was an abrupt change from the challenge of the hike to floating down the river, basically in the lap …

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 …