Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Category Archives: Hiking

A Weekend Escape to the NC High Country

A Weekend Escape to the NC High Country

Although we’d had plans made for the past few weeks already, I was pretty pleased when I saw that our weekend getaway to the NC mountains aligned with Charlotte’s first (of what will hopefully not be TOO many) 100 degree days. This particular escape was one of my favorite types of trips – a hybrid family/climbing/hiking weekend that makes for all sorts of fun and variety. After enjoying a gorgeous Grandfather Mountain view with our morning coffee, the CragDaddy and I headed up to the Linville Gorge for a “crag-date” at Hawksbill Mountain.  (Thank you to Bebe and Papa Joe for…Read the rest of this entry →

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Every Trail Connects…

Every Trail Connects…

Recently I joined forces with REI to promote their #everytrailconnects campaign.  Their campaign will provide $500,000 towards trail projects at 10 different locations across the country.  For my part, I’ve been asked to reflect on my own experience with trails, and why they are meaningful to me.  (For REI’s part, keep reading!) I sort of hesitate to admit it, but I haven’t always been “all about trails.” As a rock climber in my pre-kid era, I always thought of trails as merely a necessary mode of transportation to get to the base of the cliff (where the adventures would REALLY…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Weekend of Waterfalls (and Climbing) in the High Country

A Weekend of Waterfalls (and Climbing) in the High Country

We may have had a cool and pleasant spring this year, but summer in the Southeast is shaping up to be H-O-T!  Here lately the thermometer has hit 90 before lunchtime and the humidity has felt downright smothering.  That meant that the only logical place for weekend adventures was the higher elevation areas in the western part of the state, where daytime highs were literally 20 degrees cooler than back home. Our agenda was pretty open-ended.  We really just wanted to escape the heat and get some good family time together.  The past few weeks have been very hectic, and…Read the rest of this entry →

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3 Climbing Milestones in 1 Weekend!

3 Climbing Milestones in 1 Weekend!

We finally had an entire weekend free to head up to the New River Gorge, which of course meant it was going to be snowing and in the THIRTIES (after highs in the 60’s the weekend before…).  But at least the weather was good in our neck of the woods, even if it did feel more like a warm winter day rather than spring.  And even though we had to settle for Plan B, it ended up being a weekend filled with important milestones! The whole family marched up to Red Wall at Crowders Mountain on Saturday morning.  Steve had his sights…Read the rest of this entry →

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DIY: Homemade LARABars

DIY: Homemade LARABars

Recently I posted about all of the changes our family has made in the direction of sustainability, specifically when it comes to making our own food.  We’ve been able to eliminate almost all of the processed food that was in our diet on a regular basis, and meanwhile have been saving money – win, win!  And one of the biggest money savers has come with our ability to make Larabars at home with nothing but a food processor. For those of you not familiar with Larabars, they are delectable RAW energy/protein bars made with often as little as 3 ingredients.  There…Read the rest of this entry →

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How to Keep Warm on Winter Climbing Days

How to Keep Warm on Winter Climbing Days

Contrary to popular “non-climber” belief, the best weather conditions for climbing often occur during cold weather.  The crux moves on your project on a hot (or worse yet, hot AND humid) summer day can easily feel several letter grades harder than it would on a cool, crisp winter day.  With that in mind, sending odds can sometimes be dramatically increased for those that are willing to brave the cold.  And while how cold is “too cold” to climb varies from person to person, here are some ideas for turning miserable, finger-numbing weather into perfect sending conditions.  (Unless of course you’re a mountaineer…in…Read the rest of this entry →

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If Babywearing Was Like Car Shopping…A Comparison Post

If Babywearing Was Like Car Shopping…A Comparison Post

Over the past 4.5 years I’ve logged a lot of mileage with tiny people on my back, front, and shoulders (and in my belly for that matter, but that’s a different post entirely!)  I’ve worn a baby everywhere from weddings to pools to mountaintops (but never while climbing…which is what so many insane misinformed people tend to assume…)  Babywearing has been something near and dear to my heart for so many reasons.  Along with a laundry list of physical/emotional benefits, it’s arguably one of the best ways to bond with baby…and hands down the easiest way to get things done…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Hike/Camp/Climb Kind of Weekend in the High Country

A Hike/Camp/Climb Kind of Weekend in the High Country

After enduring a week of daily 90+ temps at home, our family was more than ready to head to the mountains for the weekend!  An indecisive weather pattern kept our plans in limbo until the very last minute, but Mother Nature was on our side, providing us with a delightfully refreshing escape from the heat! HIKE:   Our objective was the Boone Fork Trail, a 5 mile loop through surprisingly diverse terrain.  We made our way through rolling meadows teeming with beautiful fritillary butterflies, then dropped down into the “dark forest” (Big C’s words.)  There were more than a dozen very…Read the rest of this entry →

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Adventures at Landsford Canal State Park

Adventures at Landsford Canal State Park

Although traveling far and wide for an adventure fix is always exciting, I for one am equally delighted to find fun places to explore that are close to home (ie, day-trippable for me and the kiddos mid-week.)  Even though we’ve been in the Charlotte area for over 3 years now, I’m pleased that we are no where close to crossing off all of the interesting places to discover off of our list.  One such place that had been on my radar for a while was Landsford Canal State Park.  I’d found out about it last summer when we bought our…Read the rest of this entry →

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6 Ideas for Nature Hunts with Young Explorers

6 Ideas for Nature Hunts with Young Explorers

While I’ve written before on the many benefits of unstructured outdoor time for children, you might find that your green hour time needs a refreshing boost every now and then with a planned activity.  Also, the added challenge of a trail “assignment” can make for happy hikers!  But just because an activity is planned doesn’t mean it has to be elaborate or complex, especially for younger kiddos.  By nature kids are creatures of curiosity that love exploring (whether it’s out in the woods or rifling through that drawer in Mommy’s office they aren’t supposed to be into…)  And I don’t…Read the rest of this entry →

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How to Make Hiking Fun For Kids

How to Make Hiking Fun For Kids

My little guy (almost 4) has been a great hiker since around the age of 2…when he wants to be, that is.  Some days he can run circles around us with endless amounts of energy, other days all he wants to do is snuggle with mommy in the carrier.  So far it hasn’t been a big deal – when he wants to hike, we hike at his pace, and when he wants to hitch a ride, we happily oblige.  But with baby #2, all of that flexibility is about to change.  In the coming weeks, climbing approaches will now involve…Read the rest of this entry →

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Toddlers on the Trail – Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Toddlers on the Trail – Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

…And don’t forget a few steps off trail to go look at that mushroom under the log… In the past year we’ve gone from hiking with an enthusiastic little Cragbaby who loved to take in the world from the confines of his backpack carrier to chasing after a headstrong toddler that wants to do it “on my own.”  In some ways its a lot easier (when C decides to hoof it there’s an automatic 30 pound decrease in pack weight…).  But C’s newfound independence has also opened up a whole ‘nother can of issues that we’ve had to work through.…Read the rest of this entry →

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A Peachy KEEN Start to Fall with Toddler Hiking Boots

A Peachy KEEN Start to Fall with Toddler Hiking Boots

When I first showed Cragbaby the brand new box of Keen Alamosa WP Hiking Boots that had arrived on our doorstep together with my twisted X boots and shoes, the first thing he said was, “Peachy Keen.”  Really, he did.  But it probably had more to do with his current infatuation with the “Veggie Tales” theme song than his knowledge of 1950’s slang.  He tore open the box and enthusiastically jumped into my lap so I could help him put on his shoes.  While I crammed his wiggly little toddler feet into them, I told them that these were his…Read the rest of this entry →

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What Corner of the Earth Smiles at YOU?

What Corner of the Earth Smiles at YOU?

“This corner of the earth is like me in many ways I can sit for hours here and watch the emerald feathers play On the face of it I’m blessed when the sunlight comes for free I know this corner of the earth, it smiles at me.” – Jamiroquai Perhaps I’m dating myself a bit by admitting this, but one of my favorite musicians is British acid jazz/funk guru Jamiroquai.  In fact, as I wrote this I imagined everyone reading this post pensively while listening to the song in question in the background, but then I realized that would out…Read the rest of this entry →

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On Choosing a Crag (Part 2)

On Choosing a Crag (Part 2)

“On Choosing a Crag (Part 1)” discussed some tips for choosing a great crag with a perfect approach.  This is the continuation of that post – applying those ideas to real life scenarios.  The following is a compilation of several baby and kid-friendly climbing areas that our family frequents throughout the Southeast. STARTER CRAGS –  From local jaunts to world-class rock, these areas are great first time crags suitable for the whole family, regardless of age. Pilot Mountain, NC – Certainly not a destination crag, but easy access and short approaches make it a great first-time spot. Sandrock, AL –…Read the rest of this entry →

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On Choosing a Crag (Part 1)

On Choosing a Crag (Part 1)

Everyone knows that not all crags are created equal – but the characteristics that make a climbing area perfect depend on what your climbing party is looking for. Who cares about the approach, you might say – don’t you just go where the climbing is good?!? It seems like a no-brainer for most folks…however since Cragbaby came along, we’ve realized that there is more to a great day than just great climbing. Here’s a list of the factors we consider when we are gearing up for a day out on the rocks. Distance – Remember that short little legs tire…Read the rest of this entry →

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Green Hour Connection: On the Go Tips!

Green Hour Connection: On the Go Tips!

Some days its not always easy to fit in some Green Hour fun. Juggling errands, appointments, naptimes, and mealtimes make for a hectic enough day as it is, without trying to throw in some unscheduled outdoor time, right?  Today’s Green Hour post is about how to green up even your busiest of days!  You might not have hours on end of free time at your disposal, but everyone has a few minutes here and there – and if you plan it right, that’s plenty enough to recreate and restore your spirit before tackling the next big project.  Here’s how to make your Green…Read the rest of this entry →

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Falls Lake Trail – Crag Preparation Hike #3

Falls Lake Trail – Crag Preparation Hike #3

So we went on another hike this weekend, this time along a section of the Falls Lake Trail, which is a 23 mile trail that skirts around Falls Lake north of Raleigh.  This trail is also part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which is a collection of connecting trails that extends all the way across the state of North Carolina from, you guessed it, the mountains to  the sea.  We did a 5 mile-ish section that started at Blue Jay Point Park, which is about a 30-40 minute drive from our house.  This was the farthest away from our house that…Read the rest of this entry →

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Preparation for Crag – Hike #2

Preparation for Crag – Hike #2

So we have a tentative goal to get Canaan out on a climbing day trip sometime towards the end of May.  To do this, we figure we need to take lots of baby steps (no pun intended…:) ) in order to make sure he is ready for the long haul of a whole day out and about.  We started out by taking a hike with BeBe and Papa Joe last Friday in celebration of his due date.  It was a leisurely3.5ish mile hike along a smooth trail.  It took us a little over an hour – so not really any…Read the rest of this entry →

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