Things to Consider When Packing for a Hiking Day Trip

While you may be tempted to just put on a pair of sneakers and go, it’s a good idea to put a bit more planning into a hike and bring along some gear, even if you expect to be hiking for just a few hours. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so pack a backpack with a few essentials and make sure to dress appropriately. Also, be sure to let someone know when you leave, where you’re going, and when you expect to be back.

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Pressing the Pause Button – By Maddie Smith

We all have it: a means to reset, to press the pause button and recharge ourselves. Call it what you will, but everyone has something that can make the rest of the world stop its chaos and allow us to just be. For some, it’s the early morning run in Buffalo Park. For others it’s grabbing your harness and climbing a Sedona spire. It may be an overnight sleeping out under the stars up on the San Francisco Peaks, or a multi-day backpacking trip in Grand Canyon. It may be a daily habit, or a seasonal event that is anxiously awaited. For me, it tends to be the latter, and it’s a trip rafting down the Colorado River. Continue reading

10 Things I Learned From Spending 15 Nights In The Wilderness

10 Things I Learned from Spending 15 Nights in the Wilderness:


From April 22nd to May 8th I had the opportunity to go on an extended 17-day backpacking trip through the Aldo Leopold and Gila Wilderness, as part of a class that is a graduation requirement for my degree. No complaints from me about backpacking for class credit – and I learned a lot more out there besides the curriculum that was covered during those 2.5 weeks. So rather than write out a day-by-day log or even attempt to summarize those days into a blog post, I decided to write down some of the lessons I learned, and tell the stories that went along with them. Continue reading

Trip Planning Never Goes as Planned by Maddie Smith


Sometimes, trip prep means weeks or months of planning. Sometimes trip prep happens the night before you leave. I’ve had less than 36 hours notice to meet a crew at Lee’s Ferry to put in on the Colorado River. I’ve agreed at 9pm one night to leave at 4am the next morning for a trip to Utah. I’ve also had 6 months to prepare for a 17-day backpacking trip in the Aldo Leopold and Gila Wilderness of Southern New Mexico. Spontaneity, I’ve learned, is almost easier than long-term planning. Continue reading

Ski Trip On A College Budget



When Flagstaff wakes up to snow in early November, you can almost hear the collective expressions of excitement from college students near and far who are already busy envisioning themselves out on the slopes. There’s nothing quite like a mid-semester ski trip to revitalize you, and the fresh clean mountain air is just the therapy you need before studying all night for end-of-the-semester exams. But soon you begin to grapple with the reality of funding a ski trip on a college budget, and before you know it, you tell yourself there’s always spring; there’s always next year.

Skiing can be a pricey endeavor. Things such as ski or snowboard equipment, lodging and lift tickets can mean a hefty financial investment, and that’s why we’ve come up with some tips for planning a ski trip on a college budget. We wholeheartedly believe that the mountains are for everyone and are simply good for the soul. So grab your gear and get ready to plan your ski trip on a budget using these four lifesaving tips! Continue reading

Big B and Little b went skiing in Japan, Part 1 of 3 – Planning and Getting There.


B getting a face full! Photo Credit: Paul Ellis               

The Decision to go to Japan

Spring has sprung, bike to work week is now done and we are seven months away from the next ski season. It is time to start thinking about the next big trip. Last year about this time B was lamenting the fact that he was going to turn 50 and wanted to spend his birthday on a slope somewhere. Since B’s b-day is in August, the only place to go would be South America or New Zealand. After researching and delaying long enough, the plane tickets were so expensive that it looked like it was not going to happen, B was getting somewhat frustrated. At this point b, dealing with a grumpy spouse quickly made the suggestion, “what about Japan? They have skiing in Japan!” After more research we discovered that we could get plane tickets from Phoenix to Narita, Japan with mileage points leaving on Christmas Day and returning 18 days later. So having no other plan but to fly to Narita we reserved our seats, before either of us had leave from work to take any vacation time. We had made a commitment. Continue reading

Jackson Hole 2015 Ultimate Towner By Ron Sureck

Pre Race

You’ll find that the more you sign-up and compete in races, there is one overarching detail that stands alone – no two races are the same. A hill that you thought was going to be a problem was in fact a breeze, open water swimming is much different that laps in a pool, etc. This then highlights a new characteristic of your training which is; “adaptability is key”. Continue reading