The Trees They Are a-Swayin

“It is fun to watch the trees sway. Almost like they are trying to touch each other. Back and forth, back and forth ever so slowly reaching out but their branches are never long enough to fully embrace. They long for each other, stretching to one another, trying with every push of the wind to touch more. I look up from my tent and watch them as the sun fades.”

Excerpt from a journal entry dated 4/17/13 during a backpacking trip in Red River Gorge in Kentucky. __________________________________________________________________________________________

We will be moving into the mini camper at the end of the week allowing me to watch the trees sway and reach for each other every night. Although things are changing for us trees no matter the species, usually remain the same. Strong and stable, rooted into the ground watching the world change around them. This thought has always helped me to feel grounded when my world is being up rooted in some way. Bob Dylan said it best “the times they are a-changin,” so I must hold on to a tree.

(Me Huggin Trees)

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Other Doings:

Macabi Outdoor Travel Skirt Review – Finally, It’s done!

Check Out Our Etsy Store TravelandTrail – Full of Fun Travel Finds!

Other Flashback and Or Pre/Post Appalachian Trail Posts:

My First Backpacking Trip

Flashback to Kansas: August 4, 2015

The Lost Vacation


Macabi Outdoor Travel Skirt Review

Reviewed By: Snuggles


Specs For A Size Medium Skirt Long

Weight:  11.1oz

Functions as a Skirt, Pants, and Shorts via Pant Clip and Wading Snaps

100% Nylon (SPF 25+) which wicks away moisture and is fast drying

Elastic Waistband, Drawstring and Belt Loops

Two Over-Sized Pockets, One Zipper Security Pocket, One Small Inner Pocket

Packs Into Own Pocket

Available In A Wide Variety of Lengths, Colors and Sizes


30 Day Return Policy

Overall Impression:

Love it! This skirt is amazing to wear for anytime day wear, hiking, riding, or for most types of adventuring. It is fairly easy to convert into each of the three styles after a little practice locating all hooks/attachments. All three options of skirt wear are non restrictive allowing for full range of motion. The material is durable, light weight and breathable allowing for easy packing (skirt packs down into its own pocket) and maximum comfort even while lounging around. There is plenty of storage room in each pocket including a secure zipper pocket which is great to stash money, keys, or even a phone.

Skirt Form:

Obviously this is the starting form the skirt comes in. It’s airy and very comfortable. I ordered mine in a “long” length so it gracefully flows right over the top of my feet (I am 5’6).


Easily transforms into the pants with the use of the elastic adjustable pant clip. Attach clip to the front loop found on the elastic waist band (made of skirt material) then attach to another plastic loop found on the back, underside of the skirt and wha-la! You have pants! I found the pants to again be breathable and comfy. During colder days you will have plenty of room to wear tights underneath or multiple layers.


Transforms into shorts with a few extra steps from skirt form. Button or snap each side of the skirt up to your hips using the snaps found on your right and left side. Attach the elastic clip to the front loop found on the elastic waist band (made of skirt material) to another plastic loop found on the back underside of skirt, then find the small black elastic loop on the front underside of skirt and wha-la! You have shorts! I seem to utilize the Macabi when in short form the most. Still very breathable and roomy. When ordered in a “long” length the shorts hit right above my knee (I am 5’6) I do not care for “booty cutter shorts” and shorts that ride up into my inner leg. These were total non-issues with this skirt.


Price, but then again it’s worth it. The Macabi Skirt I ordered (Original Macabi Skirt, Long, Medium) was $84.95 not including shipping. You get what you pay for, a whole lot of awesome!

It was somewhat frustrating to figure out if I was wearing each form of the skirt correctly at first as there are no exact directions given. This can simply be figured out by checking out pictures from the website or by reviewing the tags that come with the skirt. The picture on the tags included with the skirt only show what hooks and snaps are present, not exactly how to work/ attach them.

I find it somewhat distracting to have the Macabi name written on the elastic pant clip. This is right between your legs in every form of wear besides the skirt. I don’t mind telling others about this Macabi (I actually think its fun to convert it to another form for people) however I don’t like the attention I feel it brings to that area and feel it’s unnecessary. The skirt in any form would look better with just a matching solid color elastic clip. When worn as shorts the snaps also have Macabi written on them however it is not as distracting.

When worn as shorts, the seams and folds from the fabric can occasionally start to rub on the inner legs. Taking just a second to adjust the fabric is all you need to fix this issue. I also choose to wear spandex shorts underneath when converted into any form. This may not be needed by everyone but was rather a personal choice to avoid chafing/rubbing during a hike or during a bicycle ride.


Get it! Check out the website and read the reviews. Almost everyone who ordered had the same hesitation at first, price. After ordering they all wish they wouldn’t have waited so long and usually order another length or color. I am now in the same boat! The price is totally worth it for the three pieces of clothing you get all in one. This skirt totally fits my life style and I highly recommended it to any hiker or adventurer male or female.

Check It Out: 

Macabi Outdoor Travel Skirt




Macabi Packed Into Pocket


***6/7/18 MACABI UPDATES***

I still wear my Macabi Skirt often both in daily life and while on hikes. I have found random ways to wear the skirt that is not advertised by Macabi. I’m not sure how stylish these random ways are, but it does show how incredibly functional the skirt is. I have still yet to permanently stain the skirt or find any holes. I have, however, noticed slight fraying around one of my pockets.

Sometimes I do stick a wallet or my keys in the folds of the skirt by accident instead of an actual pocket. This is totally just user error on my part but it can be a little confusing with all the folds in the skirt when wearing as shorts.

I have recently just ordered a Knee Length version of the Macabi to try out since I love my original so much!

Friends From Home

The first part of this week Darwin and I had two good friends fly in from our home town in Indiana. As soon as we picked them up from the airport the adventure and laughs began. We have a long history of escapades with Caron and Mike one or both of them having joined us in various sections of our travels.

Caron & Mike A Brief History:

I first met Mike when I worked as a part-time receptionist at his business for about a year. I then started working full-time for Caron at her business for almost two years. I would have never thought my bosses could ever be so supportive of me NOT working and be so involved in my adventures….

Both joined us in 2015 for a small section of the AT in New York. It was at this point in our hike that we needed to see some friendly faces from home as trail life had become hot, hard, and soul sucking. It was also at this point that Darwin began really feeling the effects of what would be diagnosed as Ehrlichiosis. Not only did Mike and Caron help us see the fairies and hobbits in the woods as they hiked with us but they also saved us. They were the ones that noticed something was really wrong with Darwin beyond just the typical hiker fatigue. If they weren’t with us at that point, Darwin would have kept hiking until I would have ended up dragging his carcass off trail.

Later in 2015 when we were officially off trail due to Darwin’s bad tooth, lingering effects of Ehrlichiosis and the death of my mamaw, Caron and Mike provided us shelter. Not that our families would not have done the same but we found solace in staying with friends that knew trail life and were not directly related to the grief my family was experiencing. They provided us good conversation, thoughts to ponder on, laughs and true friendship in a dark time.

A couple of weeks later after we left Indiana, Caron flew out to California for a training and we were close enough to meet up with her. We spent the day in Muir Woods National Monument. We got lost in a rental car, ate tacos, cruised across the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoyed our view of the San Francisco Bay where we stayed. We were in better spirits at this point and were able to enjoy ourselves and our new path the Universe had set us on.

In 2016 we were able to met up with these good friends yet again before returning to the AT and even stayed with them after summiting Katahdin on our way back to Albuquerque.

Back To This Week:

The day of their arrival, we showed off the trailer and of course hit a few breweries. We were also able to introduce them and hang out with some of our friends who live here in Albuquerque. We stayed up late and fought with a blow up mattress and sock eaters named Bowie. Full day number one we hit some of our favorite places in ABQ and the surrounding area such as The Cibola National Wilderness and Tinkertown blowing snot bubbles of laughter and bouncing around on the floor board of the Stallion as we cruised down Route 66.

Full day number two we hit trail at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and explored the Jemez Mountains. We celebrated the fact that Caron and Mike hadn’t passed out due to the elevation and that Caron’s feet hadn’t falling off with pizza and beer. Full day number three we took our pals to Santa Fe and walked the square. After bumming around most of the day, we left our friends at their sweet hotel in order to enjoy the next few days by themselves. Darwin and I love the fact that no matter where we are or what we are doing Caron and Mike are always down for joining in the adventure and will give anything a go.

I would also like to share that although I haven’t been able to see her as often, my dear friend Julie has always been involved with our adventures from the beginning as well. The power of a good breakfast, a good book and a letter from friend goes a long way.

Moral Of This Post:  

Never Forget Where You Came From and The Friends Who Live There


friends better

(Mike, Caron, Me, and Darwin with the Clouds at Tent Rocks) 


Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Other Doings:

Currently Enjoying: The Ministry of Happiness Blog By Rev. Kane Check Him Out!

Book Review: “The Long Shadowed Forest” by Helen Hoover – Check It Out!

Macabi Skirt: Full Review Will Be Out Later This Week!

Check Out Our Etsy Store TravelandTrail – Full of Fun Travel Finds!

Other Posts About Adventures With Friends: 

The Ignored Leave No Trace Principles Of A Bowie Dog

A Friend and Mother Nature


The Lost Vacation

The following is a journal entry dated October 8th 2013. Although this was two years before we would become “Darwin” and “Snuggles” I will still use our trail names. It’s fun to reread my old journals now that I can see how the Universe was leading us to a life of travel and eventually hiking the Appalachian Trail. At the time I wrote this we had no idea what was coming. 

Darwin and I had an amazing trip planned for our next visit to the Smokies. We reserved a night of camping at Elkmont Campground (which we discovered during last year’s visit) and then a two night backpacking trip along the Little River Trail. The backpacking trip along the Little River was to be filled with history and rich with fresh air! This was one of our most desired and planned out trips. We reserved our camp spot, applied for our backcountry permits and counted down the days until our departure. Two weeks before we left it happened, the government shut down. Every government ran agency is closed and off-limits this includes National Parks. Where is a majority of our trip planned? THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK!

I am not a political person in the least however in the weeks prior to our trip, I became one. Constantly watching political figures I had never heard of before bicker back and forth coming to no resolution. I do have to be thankful that our jobs are not effected, our lively hood is stable. We did not fight for our country only to be denied access to a national monument made in our honor like some. I feel bad for being so upset when its only our vacation on the line but we have worked so hard for this and planned so long! We just wanted to enjoy a piece of land we and everyone else in the country pay for.

We decided to stick it to the government (like the man really knew or cared) and go down to Gatlinburg, TN anyways. Surely it wouldn’t be as bad as all the Facebook posts were saying; people getting arrested for entering the park now illegally. Unfortunately it was. No one was getting in and if you did get in and were caught, you really were arrested.

Darwin managed to move our end of the week hotel reservation to the day of our arrival in Gatlinburg, TN. We stayed at our favorite place Glenstone Lodge which regardless of the current circumstances, we were excited about. So here I am day three of our vacation hanging in my hammock behind our beloved Glenstone Lodge. The closing of the park is the elephant in the room that we only acknowledge occasionally but try to ignore. We have tried to make the best of our trip without the park and have for the most part been successful. At times, it’s kind of the like the park itself has shown us small glimpses of its beauty as if it’s begging us to explore, it’s tempting us. For instance, I’m currently hanging behind the lodge but also in a small area that no one seems to have noticed. I’m hanging along side a magical mountain stream that runs through the whole town. A sight also enjoyed from the park. I can only hope this is part of the same stream that runs by Elkmont which our reserved camp spot was going to be next to.

We have also explored some of the areas back behind the lodge which we have never really noticed before. We came upon an old abandoned house once owned by The Ogles (at least that is what was on their mailbox). A mystery of the mountains I suppose. Where are the Ogles now and why was their house left empty and unlocked? Much like the abandoned Timber Town in Elkmont, I wondered who these people were and where did they go? For the families in Elkmont, how did they feel once the park was established?

We have also discovered a very cool outfitter right outside the entrance to the park called the NOC or Nantahala Outdoor Center. We have seen this place a few times but never really took the opportunity to explore it. It’s huge! We spent an hour or two walking around and looking at all the gear. I geeked out looking over all the books about trails, park history, plants, etc. We also enjoyed thumbing through a trail journal of sorts signed by Appalachian Trail Hikers or hikers in general that have passed through.

We took almost a full day on a different kind of trail, a wine trail. We visited Sugarland Winery which was another place we have never taken the time to explore. We tasted a few different types of wine and were given a passport to The Rocky Top Wine Trail. With nothing else better to do besides moping around outside the park, we decided some type of trail was better than no trail and headed out to hit more wineries. We met a nice older couple from Nashville, TN and swapped travel stories with them while at Apple Barn Winery; they were there for the pies. After we visited a few other wineries along the trail we were of course feeling a little tipsie and or spirits were lifted. We returned to the lodge with our free victory wine glasses in hand!

We hit up our favorite pizza place Mellow Mushroom and ate what was supposed to be our hard-earned backpacking pizza. Although we didn’t earn it as we had wanted, we enjoyed it non the less.

And so I hang having enjoyed the pleasures of the Gatlinburg concrete jungle but still mourning the loss of a vacation that will never be.  The government shutting down did give us the opportunity to enjoy places we passed up before however it is still sad The Smoky Mountain National Park is so close to us but yet we are unable to even step a foot inside its wild terrain. It amazes me how much “man” attempts to dominate and control nature and wild places. This place was here long before man was yet know man takes control of it. Eddie Vedder sings it best….”Society your a crazy breed.”

elmonk pic

(Darwin Walking Through The Abandoned Lumber Town in Elkmont in 2012) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Other Doings:

Currently Enjoying: The Ministry of Happiness Blog By Rev. Kane  Check Him Out! 

Book Review: “The Long Shadowed Forest” by Helen Hoover Check It Out! 

??? Skirt Testing: Skirt Name and Review Will Be Out Next Week! 

Check Out Our Etsy Store TravelandTrailFull of Fun Travel Finds!

Other Pre Darwin & Snuggles Posts You May Enjoy: 

Flashback to Kansas: August 4, 2015


The Long-Shadowed Forest – Review

My favorite author and the person I turn to when in need of inspiration is Helen Hoover. I have written about her several times in my blog and have recently taken on another one of her books, The Long-Shadowed Forest. Helen Hoover left the world two years before I arrived however I have always felt connected to her. I have to sadly admit although this book wasn’t exactly bad, I did not feel as connected to it as I have her written works.

The Long-Shadowed Forest is written with an overwhelming amount of detail which felt at times like I was reading a text-book on Botany. Helen writes of the weather and its effects on the woods, fungi, and flowering plants, insects, small woodland creatures, birds and deer, etc. She documents every single step she takes outside her cabin door and every view with such accuracy, I found myself looking up every plant and unfamiliar woodland creature to really understand her. This although educational for me (learning more flora and fauna) was the same aspect that kept me from really enjoying the book. I was getting constantly getting lost in the details.

The sections of the book that Helen describes her experiences with her animal neighbors gave glimpses of her other writings. These descriptions allow the reader to see the personality of the animal yet she is still able to weave in ethology. In most of these chapters, I found it very easy to get lost in her narrative and was not distracted by the harsh specifics.

Adrian Hoover’s (Helen’s Husband) ink drawings are like small treasures hiding here and there throughout the entire book. They give character and softness to what at times are the rigid and complex descriptions of woodland scenes and the specific flora and fauna Helen writes about. His art is a very fitting piece of Helen’s work as always.

I had read several years ago that The Long-Shadowed Forest is a Hoover book that should be saved for last and I agree. I personally am not sure If I would have been so eager to read her other written works if I would have read this one first. Again this book is good but different from her others. This chemist side of her as far as documenting and reporting on a topic is very evident and to me takes away from the ease and simplistic nature of her writing style present in her other books.

If you would like to check out The Long-Shadowed Forest for yourself, you can find it on Amazon with the follow link or check it out at your local library. I would love to hear your thoughts!


Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts/Website Posts And Other Doings:

??? Skirt Testing: In Progress! I can’t wait to share more info on this!

Check Out Our Etsy Store TravelandTrailFull of Fun Travel Finds!


(DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links! This means that if you click on one of the product links and buy something, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps supports Darwin’s YouTube Channel and allows us to continue to make content via the Snuggle Diaries! Thank you for the support!)