Kamloops Engagement Photos

As some of you may know, Harley and I recently got engaged. Since we are young and on a tight budget we decided to call a good friend and ask her to snap some photos for us. I then edited the photos myself.

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Looking over Kamloops Lake, British Columbia

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Outfit Details
My jacket: The North Face
Jeans: American Eagle
Boots: Timberland

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My Top 5 Favorite Hikes in Kamloops

Kamloops is the perfect central location for so many amazing hikes and outdoor adventures. Here are my top 5 picks for you to enjoy.

Battle Bluff

This short but sweet hike gives extremely rewarding views over Kamloops Lake and the Thompson River. The rocky bluff sits high above the lake making you feel like you’re on top of the world! Directions to the hike can be found here.

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Battle Bluff, Kamloops, BC

Sunset Trail

This one is a personal favorite of mine for a quick after work adventure. True to it’s name, this hike rewards the most stunning views while the sun is setting. There are a few different ways to access this trail. I typically use the directions that are on this page if I am in a time crunch to get to the sunset in time.

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Sunset Trail, Kamloops, BC

 

Gibraltar Rock

For a more challenging hike, head out to Paul Lake Provincial Park and enjoy the landscape that Gibraltar Rock has to offer. This hike takes you up to a high vantage point that offers 360 degree views of Paul Lake. Find directions here.

Mt. Buse

Mt. Buse is a very unique hike that rambles up an old road and eventually grants views of small lakes, the Kamloops valley, and rock formations. After the hike is done you can also cross the road to explore some old abandoned houses. Find directions for Mt. Buse here.

Kamloops Rest Stop

This one is not so much a hike – but one of my all time favorite scenic locations near Kamloops. Drive 30.7 KM west of Kamloops, just past Tobiano Golf Course, and pull out at the BC Rest Stop on the right hand side. Enjoy the network of trails that branch off from here and over look Kamloops Lake.

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Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see all of my adventures. Thanks for following along!

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8 Tips For People Who Are New to Hiking

I’ve been lucky enough that I have been going hiking my entire life, to me it is second nature. I know what to do, what to pack, I know the lingo… it’s easy for me. It was eye opening for me to have a conversation with one of my closest friends who told me I should write a blog for people who have never gone hiking before. I took her on her first hike ever (Bears Hump in Waterton National Park, Canada) which then inspired her to do more hiking. She told me that if it weren’t for me she wouldn’t know lots of simple things about hiking, I thought this was a great idea!

How did I get into hiking? I was raised a hiker. I was going on hikes since the day I could walk. I look back and am amazed at the ability that I had as a child. It is my opinion that raising your child to hike mountains is a gift that your child will have for the rest of his/her life. When I was about 15 I didn’t want to hike anymore. My friends weren’t with me, it was a lot of work and it wasn’t “cool”. When I was 17 I made a new friend, Drew, who had never gone hiking before but thought it was so cool that I had. He got me stoked, and I took him on 3 mountain scrambles that summer. His first mountain summits. The passion the mountains brought out in Drew made me excited to start hiking again. I haven’t been off the mountains since. It is never too late for you to start, the online community is an amazing place to reach out for help, tips, suggestions and even a hiking buddy!


 

1: Terminology

Ready for a quick English lecture? Here is your crash course on all of the hiking lingo that you need to know to get you started: 

Hike vs. Scramble vs. Climb:

  • A hike is classified as a long, vigorous walk on a trail.
  • Scrambling is off-trail, route finding may be requires, rocky slopes sometime steep and loose, often requires use of hands, carrying amounts of “exposure”, stream crossings, bushwachking.
  • A non-technical summit is one that is reached without the need for certain types of climbing equipment (body harness, rope, protection hardware, etc), and not involving travel on extremely steep slopes or on glaciers. However, this can mean negotiating lower angle rock, traveling through talus and scree, crossing streams, fighting one’s way through dense brush, and walking on snow-covered slopes.”
  • Climbing requires proper training and equipment, do not attempt this unless you have both of these things!
    Never do anything that makes you feel so turn back if necessary. It is not worth it!

Other important terms:

  • Scree: Scree is very loose rock. When climbing up scree it can sometimes feel like you are taking 1 step up and 3 steps down the entire time. Scree can be intimidating for beginners but can be a lot of fun to go down once you are comfortable!
  • Maintained Trail vs. Route Finding: A maintained trail typically easy to find and follow, is kept clear of obstacles like fallen trees, and nearly impossible to get lost on. Route finding involves more skill and knowledge. The trail may not be visible or marked and you may need to bushwhack and use navigational skills.
  • Cairn: A cairn is a pile of rocks that are a sign of being on the correct path. There is usually a cairn at the top of a mountain summit – add a rock to mark your accomplishment!

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2: Choosing a hike

It is important to take elevation and distance into consideration when choosing a hike as I mentioned above. Remember that lots of hiking locations are very remote and you will most likely not have cell phone service. Be sure to bring proper directions on your hike. The way is not always as clear as the books sometimes make it sound so always bring the book or a copy of the directions with you. It is possible to buy detailed maps for most hiking areas. This can help you identify where you are, where you are going and what you are seeing along the way. My bible is the Don’t Waste Your Time book. It comes with separate booklets to take on each hike. Be sure to consider what you want to see the most (lakes, alpine meadows, waterfalls, forest, mountain vistas etc…) and find a hike that matches the distance and elevation gain you want with what to see.

 

3: Distance and Elevation Gain

When picking a hike it is important to take into consideration the distance of the hike. A swift hiker walks about 4km/hr. This is fast! The average hiker walks about 2.5 – 3 km/hr. When you do your first hike time yourself so you know how fast you are and so that you can see how you improve. Elevation is another factor in choosing a hike. The higher the elevation, the harder the hike will be. 500m gain is a doable but challenging day hike for a beginner. 1000m is a hefty day hike for anyone. 1500m would be for fit, strong and swift hikers. If you are new to hiking or you need to work on your fitness level don’t take on a hike that is too far or too steep right at first. Keep it enjoyable. You can always go farther and higher next time.

4: Group Hiking VS. Solo Hiking

I myself would not recommend solo hiking, Especially not for a first hike! Hiking with a friend is always safer and a group of 4 is even better.

5: What to Pack

Check out my blog post here for information on what to pack for a hike and here for great food suggestions for a day hike. These two blogs should cover you on what you should pack. Important tip: remember to pack lots of layers for both bottom and top, this includes a waterproof layer for on top of your clothing incase it should rain. Don’t forget that the weather in the mountains can go from sunny and hot to cold and snowing in a matter of minutes so pack for EVERYTHING, no matter what the weather is like at the trailhead. Also, don’t forget to pack lots of water, a good ballpark is a minimum of 1 L per 3 – 4 hours out.

6: Proper foot wear

Sturdy footwear is a must. PLEASE do not wear Toms on the trail. Runners at the very least for easy hikes and if you are planning on doing anything more advanced than easy I IMG_8693.JPG
strongly suggest investing in a pair of hiking boots with proper ankle support. I have had many “close calls” that I am sure would have resulted in twisted ankles had I not been wearing hiking boots. Make sure to wear thick, wool socks in your boots (I wear Smart Wool, Icebreaker or Darn Tough).

 

7: Wildlife

Do some research on the wildlife in your area and know how to deal with an encounter. It is rare that you will run into an animal on the trail but it is crucial that you know how to deal with the situation should you see one. It does not matter how busy the trail you are planning on hiking is, always be prepared. As an example, where I do the majority of my hiking there are bears. When hiking in bear country it is important to make lots of noise so that you don’t take them off guard, carry bear spray and know how to use it, do not leave any garbage on the trail (doing this will attract bears and also littering isn’t cool) and remember that you are in the bears home so respect it! The more knowledge you have about bears and what to do in the event of an encounter can actually make you relax more while hiking in bear habitat.

8: Safety

This is a recap of everything I have just talked about. Bring lots of food/water, pack proper clothing, bring bear spray, know where you’re going, don’t push your limits, hike with a friend, bring proper directions. Don’t forget to have fun!

 

 

 

The Perfect Food for Hiking

When hiking it is important to remember to pack lots of food. I always like to pack plenty of snacks and smaller food items instead of one big food item so that I can be eating along the way of the hike. I love food so much and I get HANGRY so I have to make sure I pack enough of it. Never make the mistake of not bringing enough food…. Trust me, everyone you’re hiking with will thank you. So here are some ideas of what you can pack on your next hike:

Sausage: A suuuuper easy thing to pack when you go on a hike. I just buy a pre cooked sausage, cut it into slices, and throw it in a bag. Good to go. Pair it with some cheese and crackers if you’re feelin’ extra fancy.

Egg or Tuna Salad: This pretty much speaks for itself. A very filling and protein packed snack.

Chocolate: It’s always great to have a treat for yourself for when you reach a summit, lake or pass. I love packing some chocolate in my bag for this occasion. This 4 ingredient recipe is a favorite of mine and it’s the perfect desert.

PEANUT CHEW – EATMORE

1 cup creamed honey
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups salted peanuts

Line a 10” X 15” jelly roll pan with foil. Combine the honey and chocolate chips in a large, heavy saucepan. Place the pan on low heat until the chips start to melt. Stir often. Turn the heat to medium-high. Stir continually until the mixture starts to boil. Remove the saucepan to a hot pad. Add the peanut butter. Stir until the mixture becomes smooth. Add the peanuts. Stir until mixed well. Pour the mixture down the centre of the prepared pan. Use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly to the sides and corners of the pan. Let the pan sit on the counter for several hours. Put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes just before cutting. Store in a container with waxed paper between the layers or wrap individually in the plastic wrap. Makes 24 bars.

Special Drink: I never do a hike without a special drink in my bag that I can look forward to drinking at the top. It could be whatever you like – an iced tea, Gatorade, energy drink, whatever you want! I always start thinking about my drink half way up and once I get to the top it’s the most amazing thing ever.

Nuts/Dried Fruit

Cheese

Veggie Bag: My favs are snap peas, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and cucumber. But pack whatever you’d like!

Fruit: Orange, peach, cherries, grapes etc…. you know what fruit is, you can figure this one out.

Avocado

Hard Boiled Egg

Emergency Bar: Something like a Lara Bar or a Cliff Bar, for if you run out of food and need more energy.

What’s In My Pack?

Having the proper hiking gear is key to a safe and fun day out in the mountains. I have made a list of my essential hiking gear that will hopefully help those of you starting into hiking and unsure of what you may need when you go out for a day.


Backpack – A good backpack is essential for an enjoyable day hike. I am a Deuter fanatic, because their backpacks fit my shape perfectly. I wear the “futura” pack and it holds 30 Liters. This pack also has a ventilation system in the back so I don’t get too hot and sweaty when I am hiking. There are lots of good backpacks out there and it’s important to find the one that works the best for you. I ALWAYS ask a staff member for help when I am finding a new pack, they know exactly what to look for and how it should fit you.


Boots – I can’t stress how much a good and sturdy pair of hiking boots will help you when you’re hiking. Ankle support will protect you from rolling or twisting an ankle and will make your hike a breeze. I wear Vasque boots but it is important to choose a pair that works for you and feels comfortable on your foot. Always pack moleskin and duct tape in your bag incase you get a blister or a hot spot from your boots.


Socks – My ride or die hiking socks are Smart Wool. Invest in a pair, it’s worth it!


Bear Spray – Bear spray is a must when you are hiking in bear country. Have bear spray and know how to use it. I use Kathy and Craig Copeland’s audio book Bears Beware! This audio book is great because it gives you so many simple ways to be bear aware. I have never had any close encounters with a bear and I am sure that the tips I was given in this audio book are why!


Poles – Poles are something I never used to use but now I can’t go without them. They are great to have as a safety backup, incase someone has an injury and needs a little bit of extra support, and they are also great when your legs or knees get tired. I have the ladies Carbon poles from REI. I love them because they are super lightweight so when I strap them to the side of my pack I barely even notice them. However, if you are taller than 5’7” I would recommend getting the men’s version of these. I am 5’7” and they are perfect for me, any taller and they might be a bit short for you!


Book – Don’t forget to bring your hiking book or printed instructions so that you know where you’re going and you don’t get lost!


Clothing – Proper clothing is a must since the weather can always change in the rockies. Clothing items that are ALWAYS in my pack are Kühl long pants, a base layer long sleeved shirt (my go to for this is either an Icebreaker or Arcteryx), my Arcteryx rain coat, Patagonia rain pants, Patagonia fleece zip up, mittens, a toque and a buff. Make sure to bring lots of layers so you can add or shed clothing accordingly. I almost always start the day off in shorts and a t-shirt and change as the day goes on. Some of my favorite clothing brands for hiking in are Lululemon, Mountain Hardware, Patagonia, North Face, Arcteryx and Icebreaker. Again, choose clothing that works for you and just make sure that you have all of the essential layers.


Water – Packing plenty of drinking water is crucial. I love platypus water pouches for this purpose but any water bottle will do. Just make sure you bring water and lots of it!


Miscellaneous – Other objects that I never go without are: a headlamp, first aid kit, power bar, electrolyte water mix, sunscreen, a hat, whistle, compass, a camera and a buddy!


I hope that I didn’t miss anything on this list. I would love to hear what your hiking essentials are! Thanks for reading!

 

3 reasons why your next trip should be to Southern Arizona

I am done school so I FINALLY feel like I can write a blog post again! I recently got back from a 1 week trip to Arizona and I loved it. It is the first time I had been to the southern area of Arizona. I flew into Phoenix and I stayed the week in Tucson. So here is a quick post on 3 reasons why YOU should go to Tucson.


1 – An Outdoor Playground
This city is surrounded by natural desert and mountain beauty. It is sandwiched between Saguaro National Park and Sabino Canyon as well as the Catalina Mountains and Oro Valley to the north of the city. You can drive a couple of hours to get to other beautiful areas like Chiricahua National Park. There is no shortage of hikes to do in these beautiful parks, I could have easily spent another week in the area.  


2 – Beautiful Weather
Being from Alberta I am not used to the heat that Arizona brought with it. This being said, it was amazing for hiking since there was never a bad day. I would say that April and October are the best months to go to Arizona, this is when it is not SO hot but it is certainly hot enough. Also, April is a great month to see the cacti and spring trees and flowers in bloom – so colourful.


3 – Great Food
The food in Tucson blew me away. Not even just the restaurants, but even from the grocery stores. We bought most of our meals at Whole Foods or Sprouts on our way home from hiking. They both had an amazing selection of organic, fresh and local foods. As well they had an expansive deli selection so it was easy to just grab something from the deli on the way back from a hike. If you love Mexican food, check it out in Tucson. Tucson is home to the most authentic Mexican food north of the border. The highest concentration of these restaurants is found within a 23-mile area. So many great options to check out!  


There are a million reasons why you should explore this area, and why I want to go back. These were just the top 3 highlights for me. I hope it inspires you to plan a trip of your own!

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Stay Free – HikingCorry

5 reasons I used to hate hiking and 5 reasons why I love it now

“Hiking, again, seriously?!” 16 year old me thought that life was so tough. Going hiking every weekend was my idea of hell. I couldn’t wait until I was an adult so I could make my own decisions – and those decisions would be not to hike! Fortunately I have changed a lot in the past 5 years and have turned into a mountain loving hiker. So here are 5 reasons why I used to hate hiking and 5 reasons why I have grown to love it.


Why I hated it: 

1 – So. Much. Physical activity.
Hiking is strenuous, both on the body and the mind.  As a teenager I did NOT enjoy this level of activity. I wanted to sit on the computer in the basement for hours on end, not be outside enjoying wilderness.

2 – No cellphone for 8 hours?!
The idea of not being able to text my friends for an entire day seemed like some kind of sick torture. Why wasn’t there any cellphone reception in the mountains? I would still bring my phone to the top of the mountain, and I would still try and get service. FYI as much as you try, cellphone service in the deep of the rocky mountains is not an easy thing to come by. 

3 – Socializing with real people.
Teenagers aren’t known for their extraordinary communication skills, and I was no exception. I did NOT want to have to go to the mountains and talk with real people for hours on end.

4 – Waking up early.
In order to get to the mountains at a reasonable time I would be woken up at 6am, and I wasn’t very impressed by this. I would sleep the whole car ride and then be torn away from the car to climb a mountain in a zombie like state, the whole time day dreaming of sleeping the whole way home.

5 – “The end is near”
These four words deceived me many times in my childhood of hiking. Everything looks so much closer when you’re hiking, but what looks like 20 minutes will often take 2 hours. I just wanted to be done the hike already so I could check my text messages!


Why I love it now: 

1 – No cellphone for 8 hours!
In a world that relies on technology, cellphones and social media it can be hard to go a day without. Most people are guilty of spending too much time glued to technology – I know I am! A day out in the mountains is so refreshing because it is not possible to use your phone for the duration of the day, not only that, but because you are out enjoying nature you don’t even think about technology.

2 – Refreshment for the mind and soul.
I am an over thinker. I think of every possible thing that could go wrong in every possible situation. Except when I am out in the mountains. It’s completely refreshing for my mind to not worry about anything for an entire day, and when I get back to real life I am left with a refreshed mind.

3 – Fun physical activity.
Running around the block 10 times is not my idea of a fun time (although I applaud you if you enjoy that!) To me hiking is a fun way to get exercise without completely focusing on the fact that I am exercising the whole time.

4 – Stress Relief.
Hiking is the healthiest way that I am able to relieve stress. It would be just as easy to drink a bottle of wine every night but that wouldn’t make me feel any better about life (although a glass every now and then doesn’t hurt). When I am hiking I feel stress free and that’s a hard feeling to get in the bustle of every day life.

5 – Quality times with quality people.
Some of my best relationships have been formed out on a hiking trail. Being out in the wilderness gives you the chance to get to know someones raw and true being – without a filter. It’s a great way to get closer to someone you have known for a long time, or to start a brand new relationship with someone.


I am glad I went through the “hardships” of hiking as a teenager. They taught me a lot of things like persistence and perseverance and eventually gave me a sense of balance and peace in my life. Now I look back and realize I really didn’t have it bad at all, I had a great upbringing full of life and opportunity, and I appreciate it so much. So no matter what stage in life you may be in, I suggest you try a hike for yourself and see how it benefits you!