Holiday Hike

Every person in Cane Beds liked Christmas a lot, and while they all celebrated Darwin and Snuggles began to plot.

“Today is Christmas, what we will do?” they said as they stared and the wind blew.

It might rain! It might snow! Perfect weather for a hike!

So they left with a clatter towards a trail they knew well, to hike and to hike, hike, hike.

They hiked up and up, to the top of a Mesa and gazed around, before they came down.

They looked for the Grinch so high above the town but were let down, as he could not be found.

It was time to come down.

They sang a few jingles as they skidded and slide, down the trail made of sand, and they laughed like kids!

They glanced up from their feet for a minute or two and we’re sure they saw Santa’s deer and the Bumble too!

They returned to find all quiet and calm, except for their bellies that growled, really loud.

It was then Darwin decided it was time for a feast! So he whipped up some pancakes and put peanut butter on top, Snuggles ate them fast without spilling a drop.

As they settled in for the evening it started to rain, and they snuggled in close with some hot cocoa.

Before they dozed off their day at an end, they shouted “Merry Adventures To All and Happy 20-19!”

topofmesa

(Almost To The Top, No Grinch Was Around, Only Snow and Frozen Puddles Could Be Found!)

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Recent Stuffs:

An awesome artist by the name of Abigayle is currently working on a few special pieces for Outdoor Evolution. Check out some of her current art via her Etsy Store here!

After many questions about it, I finally made a gear list for what I carried/used on the Blue Ridge Parkway! Check out the list here!

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

My Book: Mini Misadventures

Etsy Store: TravelandTrail – New Items Added This Week! 

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries

Other Holiday Posts:

A Year Of Growth

Holiday Hiking Extravaganza

A Trip To Hell

 

A Year Of Growth

I have tried to write a piece at the end of each year reflecting on the last twelve months. Usually, I write this piece as close to the new year as possible but I’m feeling rather reflective so I wanted to go ahead and put this out to the universe.

Darwin and I started the year out with our good friends who live very close to Joshua Tree National Park. We left to head back to our hometown shortly after the new year rolled in; it had almost been two years since we had been back.

From our hometown, Darwin and I made our way further down south to visit our tramily and to revisit our second home, the Appalachian Trail. We did some small hikes and lingered around Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap in Georgia catching the last few SOBOS.

I returned back to my hometown on my own while Darwin was out on the Pinhoti Trail. I was busy and floating on the excitement of just being with my family. Then finally the time came to leave again. In less than a month I would be completely on my own.

The month before Darwin started his hike on the Pacific Crest Trail he was busy custom building our new to us van The Clydesdale. Our time spent together was basically me watching him work while I handed over the wrong tool in response to his requests for a wrench.

Finally, it came, the day he left me for the call of the trail. I was honestly scared. This was the first time I had ever been completely on my own (well if you don’t count Bowie). It took about three or four weeks for me to completely adjust. I spent time with a few friends which were distractions to the fact I was already lonely. Helping hikers was also a short-term distraction but nothing could feel the void I felt without Darwin, and then it happened. I started to feel okay. I began to live, on my own and enjoy it.

Within the four months Darwin took to complete his hike, I had changed. Although I still missed him and was ready for him to be back with me, I knew I could function solo. I could handle life and all the van breakdowns it threw at me. I had met and made new friends and had experiences without him; independence and confidence that I haven’t exactly felt before were now present within me.

Returning back east, I didn’t feel pressured to do anything or visit anyone. I made the choice to spend my time with people I enjoyed spending time with. Something I can’t say I have actually done before.  While back in our hometown, Darwin and I made the tough decision to leave Bowie under full ownership of my mother. My traveling companion needed to retire.

We left to do the Blue Ridge Parkway Bicycle Tour, something I have never attempted before. I wanted to do it, and with a lot of cussing and heavy breathing, I did it!

Somehow along the way, I put out a book…life goal…CHECK!

And now here we are, back out West waiting out the end of 2018 and here I am, different from who I was at this time last year. I always wonder during the holidays “where will I be next year” and try to picture my future. If I’m honest, I don’t really want to know. I like to let the winds take me where they may.

Thank you 2018 for all you’ve taught me. 2019 I’m ready, let’s see what happens.

A Few Things I’ve Learned in 2018:

Eating a whole pint of ice-cream is helpful.

Creating something that you’re really proud of may take longer than expected.

Whatever you create, give it time and it will find its audience.

You may work on something for three years and then a bunch of its deleted, reminding you nothing is permanent.

A Mohawk will grow into a Mullet if you’re not careful.

Being alone isn’t always scary, it can be empowering.

Sometimes friends are the strangers you meet along the way.

(Random Pictures From This Year) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Recent Stuffs:

An awesome artist by the name of Abigayle is currently working on a few special pieces for Outdoor Evolution. Check out some of her current art via her Etsy Store here!

After many questions about it, I finally made a gear list for what I carried/used on the Blue Ridge Parkway! Check out the list here!

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

My Book: Mini Misadventures

Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries

Other Reflective Posts:

The Season of Reflection and Gratitude

The Things That Remain

A New Mountain, A New Year

Snuggles’ Blue Ridge Parkway Gear List

Bicycle

Surly: Ogre aka: The Prince Veronica

Bags

2 Rear Ortlieb Panniers – https://amzn.to/2SaVHBJ

1 Ortlieb Frame Bag – https://amzn.to/2rM9inK

1 Revelate Designs Gas Tank Bag

1 Surly Moloko Handlebar Bag

Sleep System

Enlightened Equipment 10 Degree Enigma Quilt

Sea to Summit Insulated Sleeping Mat – https://amzn.to/2DdbCvQ

Shelter

Zpacks Duplex (Darwin Carried)

Cook System

Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium Stove – (Darwin Carried) – https://amzn.to/2R2ixyq

Sea to Summit Spork – http://amzn.to/2nqpICn

SnowPeak 600 Ti Mug – http://amzn.to/2rvdSsc

Sea to Summit 13L Food Bag –  http://amzn.to/2ras6Mc

Water Filtration

Sawyer Micro Squeez Water Filter  – (Darwin Carried) – https://amzn.to/2BubfJN

Cnoc Vecto 2L Water Container – (Darwin Carried) – https://amzn.to/2BrS7Mw

2  CamelBak Podium Chill 21oz Water Bottles – https://amzn.to/2EEhqiB

Electronics

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp – http://amzn.to/2oNhiFD

IPhone 6 Plus – https://amzn.to/2rIcVep

12” Apple MacBook – https://amzn.to/2GqmSHi

Lacy Hardrive – https://amzn.to/2USm01q

Serfas Headlight/Taillight (USB Rechargeable)

Clothes

Specialized Centro Helmet

GooseFeet Gear Down Socks 

Buff – https://amzn.to/2ECQHTh

Winter Neck Gaiter – hand-me-down

Magellan Outdoors Women’s Falcon Lake Long Sleeve

1 Dry Wick Long Sleeve – found at a thrift store 

Women’s Running Shorts (1) – found at thrift store

Women’s Thermal Tights (2) – had them forever not sure the brand

Specialized Women’s RBX Cycling Shorts

Serfas Zen Women’s Full Finger Cycling Gloves – https://amzn.to/2rJ9P9P

Sports Bra (1)

Dry Wicking Underwear (1 pair)

Dry Wicking long-sleeved (2) – found at a thrift store

Men’s Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX Jacket

Men’s Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket – https://amzn.to/2ED8Osh

Random Winter Gloves

Toiletries:

First Aid Kit

Travel Tooth Brush & Paste

Shit Tickets & Hand Sanitizer

Old School Lady Products (Pads & Tampons) 

Chamois Cream For Her – https://amzn.to/2UVt1yH

Other 

ZPacks Cuben Stuff Sacks

Small Note Book

Mini Uno Cards

Roam Wallet – ( 20% off code “Darwin”)

 

 

(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!)

Lost In Waves Of Sand

This past weekend Darwin and I discovered a place that I have never seen the likes before, Pink Coral Sand Dunes State Park. The sand dunes started forming about 15,000 years ago as eroding Navajo Sandstone started drifting into this special area. Slowly, the drifting erosion created massive sand dunes, which are now, protected becoming a Utah State Park in 1963. Now that I gave you some technical specs if you will, let me really tell you about the sand dunes…

The road that Darwin and I took to the sand dunes had us “oohing” and “aahing” at the landscape around us before we even made it to the actual park. We felt as if we were in a world yet to be discovered; not a man-made structure in sight. Once within the park boundaries, we parked and trudged up a short trail leading up a small hill. At the top, we both fell silent, our brains trying to register what we were looking at.

Our eyes couldn’t focus on just one thing; our eyes swam over large still waves of coral colored sand below us. We had walked up the edge of a cavity of sorts and were looking into the largest sandpit I had ever seen. I immediately wanted to dive into the sand. Like an old Looney Tunes Cartoon, I had the brief perception I could swim in it. There were no sharp corners or edges; everything was smooth and soft except for the red mesas that seemed to contain the beautiful sand in a bowl.

As we walked down into the cavity, our feet half skied and half sank as we walked; we laughed like children at this sensation. The thousands of granules moving and rolling under our every step mesmerized us. Occasionally we came across tall patches of grass and other desert plant life. I wondered at their existence in such a barren land. Like in the snow, tracks both human and animal had been left behind. I like the sand, drifted around following the tracks of Mule Deer, Crows, Jack Rabbits, and Kangaroo Rats.

We lost several hours there within the waves of sand.  As the day grew older, the colors within the park changed becoming richer, providing intense contrasts between the red mesas in the background and the greens of the Juniper and Ponderosa Pines that grew at the lip of the sand. I wanted to remember every little detail, every track, every wave, and every dune; the winds, however, had a different plan.

As twilight was descending upon us, we started making our way back to the Clydesdale. We had roamed over several dunes and bore witness on the spine of one of the largest, the wind erasing our tracks. We watched as thousands of particles were blown away and a footprint disappeared completely before our eyes.

By the time we returned to the Clydesdale, our bodies were tired. We didn’t realize how much of an endeavor it is to walk in the sand for hours at a time. I felt like I hadn’t exactly walked, but was riding waves as if in the ocean. We had been captivated by the sand dunes and cared not for anything else. As we turned around for one last look, the dunes had changed their colors yet again and the wind was still rearranging.

If you can allow yourself to surrender to your child-like self and yield to time, I highly recommend the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah.
IMG_2135

 

(I took all these pictures myself!) 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Recent Stuffs:

Another Awesome Website Hope and Feather Travels

My E-Book Mini Misadventures Is Now Available On Amazon!

January 1st… Outdoor Evolution 

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

My Book: Mini Misadventures

Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries

Other Sand Related Posts:

The Last Visit To Joshua Tree

Desert-ey Things I Have Discovered and Pondered This Week…

The Desert Wind

 

 

The Blue Ridge Parkway By Foot – Review

Full Title:

The Blue Ridge Parkway By Foot: A Park Ranger’s Memoir

How I Came Across This Book:

As most of you know, Darwin and I recently completed a bicycle tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had wanted a challenge that didn’t involve hiking and I wanted to be immersed in the Smoky Mountains, so a bicycle tour of the Parkway seemed to be the perfect venture. A close friend of ours has also spent a lot of time on the Parkway, Roub. He has bicycle toured all 469 miles almost twice and this summer started hiking it. What was his inspiration for his newest feat? This book! Having an obvious interest now in the Parkway, Roub let me borrow the book of which I have now read and I’m ready to share my thoughts.

First Thoughts:

I’m going to be upfront and just say it, I LOVED this book! It has everything I love, park rangers, mountains, adventure, backpacking, history, national parks, and the list goes on! The author can be a little long-winded at times, but his details provide an amazing account of his experience.

Review:

The author Tim Pegram, is a former park ranger and the first known person to have ever hiked the Parkway. His book provides a detailed account of his 41-day journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway starting in Waynesboro, VA and heading south to Cherokee, NC.

I think one of the best things about this book is how Pegram wrote it. He weaves in stories from his ranger days along the Parkway within his narrative of actually hiking it. His vast amount of experiences as a ranger only enhance the experience.  From tracking bear hunters and speeders to dealing with the FBI and wild turkeys, Pegram has a lot of stories to share along his four hundred and sixty-nine-mile hike.

Pegram also provides an immense amount of history along with his journey. If you don’t like history don’t worry, I doubt you’ll even notice. The historical accounts fit smoothly into his journey as he hikes past mileposts, overlooks, and other landmarks. I’m not sure even the most detailed guide on the Parkway, could provide the amount of information and facts Pegram includes in his book. If you have any doubts in the extensive amount of information he discusses, simply flip to the large bibliography in the back of the book; all sources are provided and there is a lot.

At some points along the way, I did find Pegram to be long-winded, noticing at times that my mind would wander when reading. I think that like Pegram’s hike, the reader needs to take their time and wandering will be avoided. This allows the information Pegram delivers to absorb and makes the book more enjoyable.  You know going into the book that Pegram hikes the entire Parkway (just read the back of the book) so there is no need to rush to the finish.  In hindsight, I should have taken my own advice and read the book slower, to fully appreciate what I was learning and being entertained by.

Conclusion:

I wish I would have known about this book before Darwin and I started our bike tour. However now having ridden the parkway, I was very familiar with many locations Pegram discussed and could easily visualize them. Since his hike in 2003,  things have inevitably changed on the Parkway. This however makes Pegram’s book, even more special. To me it’s like a milepost, an informative piece of the Parkway in its own right. This is a one of a kind book that any lover of the Blue Ridge Parkway needs to read.

You can find this book on Amazon via this link  https://amzn.to/2EoGhXt or check your local library! 

Author Follow-Up:

Pegram returned to re-hike the Parkway in 2013, ten years after his first hike documented in this book. Read more about his second Parkway hike in his article here.

 

brp cover

(Book Cover) 

 

Other Book Reviews I’ve Done: 

Engineering Eden: REVIEW

The Long Walk – Review

Girl In The Woods – REVIEW

 

(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!)

An Interesting Place…

Since Thanksgiving, Darwin and I have been hovering around Cane Beds, AZ. We have come to the conclusion it’s not a real place but yet, here we are. By definition it’s a census-designated place, not really a city or town with a population of maybe four hundred. Try to send mail out here and the zip code will probably say Fredonia, AZ another city about thirty minutes away. If you travel only ten minutes in the other direction, you’re in Utah.

We are surrounded by amazing Red Rock Mesas, literally within walking distance of where we are staying. Within just a few short minutes we can be on a trail that is riddled with beautiful large boulders and chunks of rough sandstone. Following a trail of scree up one of these mesas will lead you to a collection of petroglyphs. A feeling of history and power, fills this special place.

Although technically still in the desert, a viewpoint from a mesa may reveal forests and white-capped mountains. Darwin and I have driven past large sections of farmland, hiked past a lake and alongside flowing water. We have found that if Cane Beds doesn’t provide the environment we want to explore, a short drive can get us there.

Our alarm clock has been the crow of roosters from a neighboring farm; crowing and rousing us even before the first glimpses of dawn have broken the night sky. Throughout the day we hear the occasional bellows of a bull or the long baa of the sheep. We have fallen asleep to the howls of coyotes conversating in the distance, proving this area to be full of a variety of animals beyond just the domestic dogs and cats that also fill the day with chatter.

The wind has been so strong it shakes the little camper we are staying in and rattles vents and windows but yet can be calm and quite within a few hours. The sky has opened and released heavy rain resulting in a battle with Caliche Mud the next day. The sun has shown and heated up the red rocks and soil causing us to sweat and yet it has also already been so bitter cold our breath has been stolen while gazing out across a snowy desert landscape.

This is an interesting place.

 

(A Muddy Clydesdale; Snow Covered Sandstone, Water Canyon View) 

 

Things To Expect In Up Coming Blog Posts & Other Recent Stuffs:

Another Awesome Website Hope and Feather Travels

My E-Book Mini Misadventures Is Now Available On Amazon!

January 1st… Outdoor Evolution 

Cool Thingys That I Also Do:

Our Etsy Store: TravelandTrail

Instagram: The_snuggle_diaries

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

Mini Misadventures

The Season of Reflection and Gratitude

Hiker Trash Holiday Gift Guide 2018