hiking

Sweat, don’t fail me now

Last weekend I hiked to the summit of Silver Star Mountain, an awesome Lord of the Rings-esque peak that gave me and my buddies a shining view of five (FIVE!) mountains in the area–Mt. Rainier, Mt. St Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and tiny little Mt. Jefferson. It was only about three miles up to the top, but the 4000+ ft. elevation gain coupled with the 85 degree heat made the trip something to brag about.

As a future RD, I’m obligated to promote water and electrolytes on excursions like these. We were all sweating like water faucets and most of us ran out of water by the end. (Note to self: buy a camelback.) Water will usually do the trick for anything under an hour. But….

Gonna be out for longer? Braving exceptional heat? Pack some salty snacks! Sodium is the most-needed electrolyte for endurance events, but potassium, chloride, and magnesium are important too. Salty trail mix, bananas, dried fruits, and peanut butter (magnesium fights fatigue!) are great snack choices when you’re out on the trail. I’m not necessarily opposed to things like Gatorade and Gu gels, but it is possible to get what you need from whole foods without some of the added sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners that come with commercial electrolyte-replacement products.

The most important rule? Drink more water than you think you need. Make a conscious effort to take a swig of water every fifteen minutes. Believe me, you don’t want anything holding you back from that summit view!

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It’s the Great Outdoors

Things to do in your lifetime #594: Go camping.

Boulder Lake, Oregon is one of the best places I’ve ever camped–and I say this after spending the entire night and day fending off a steady freezing rain. But look, how could you not like this?

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Rule #1 of camping is that you must have a dog. Dogs provide security, fun, and general adorableness. That’s Seven down there, lounging about!

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Rule #2 of camping is that you must have good food. Hearty and delicious food will keep you warm and fend off the low blood sugar grumps on your extreme hikes and other explorations around the campsite. Seriously, load up. Some vegan camping fodder I live by are KIND bars (almond coconut, specifically), PB&jelly sandwiches, and any of the vegan fare from Backpacker’s Pantry. I sampled the Katmandu Curry this trip, which was delectable and oh-so-easy to make. Just add boiling water, let it sit, and fuel up! This one was filled with veggies, rice, some potatoes, and mouth-watering spices.

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Rule #3 of camping is to be spontaneous and have fun. As my friend Ashley demonstrates, this might mean hopping in an inflatable raft and using a cutting board to tour the lake even though it is raining and cold. This was one of those moments in my life where I realized that keeping a smile on your face and having some fantastic friends makes life joyful.

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Rule #4 of camping is that you must always, without exception, have ‘smores and a roarin’ campfire. Be sure to get enough firewood right off the bat so you don’t have to go trekking around in the dark looking for dry branches. This, and the tarp that my friends and I ingeniously tethered to the trees above our heads, provided a pretty comfy shelter.

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I had to bite the bullet after this trip and get a seriously warm sleeping bag for myself. My criteria were for it to be cheap, synthetic (no down feathers here, please), cute, and lightweight. After some contemplation at REI, I settled on the Marmot Sunset 20. Weighing in at just 3 lbs 9 oz, rated at 23 F, and cute to boot, I can’t wait to break it in!

Until the next camping trip!