Sunday, November 19, 2017

Stay Cool, Gear Up

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Gear

Travelling thru Zion National Park, I saw this hat in the visitor center.  It’s yet another way to stay cool in the desert or on hot hikes:

Use the link above to search for your size and color (I love the green).
As always, anything you order via links from this blog help support quality posts. I do not take advertising, but use affiliate links (which cost you nothing). If you subscribe, you may not be able to click thru, so please go to the blog and click from there.

Shoe Insole Helps Your FEET!

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness & Health, Gear, Uncommon Sense

My Feet, My Feet!

Hikers have FEET!  I have not used commercial insoles that come in the shoes for YEARS.  I’ve tried every insole I could find and, as I get older, my feet seem to need more help.  FINALLY, I found an insole that makes a huge difference.  I’ve been telling my hiking buddies about it and have enough people who have thanked me and raved about it, I feel I can recommend to my AdventureBuddies here:

Use the link above to search for your size. You want PowerStep Pinnacle Max. I tried the regular, but LOVE the Max.
As always, anything you order via links from this blog help support quality posts. I do not take advertising, but use affiliate links (which cost you nothing). If you subscribe, you may not be able to click thru, so please go to the blog and click from there.

Holiday Gift Guide Top Pick

November 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Gear, Miscellaneous, Uncommon Sense

Our Top Outdoor Gift Idea is a HEADLAMP.  See link at bottom of this post which will take you directly to our favorite source.  Why a headlamp?   Because we care….PLUS:620621_torc_spot_headlamp_web

For those of us who use poles, it’s a no-brainer.  Put in your pack even if you know  you’ll be done before dark.  Stuff happens OTT (on the trail). Explore caves, tunnels, enjoy!  Why this model?  Black Diamond Spot is lightweight, waterproof and has great features.   The red light is used at night so we don’t blind our buddies or lose our night vision.  It comes in great colors – get a bright one for yourself and your favorite hiking buddy.
But also use for:

  • Travel ~ If you’re in a hotel room and want to continue reading while your partner wants the light out – BINGO! The aim-hinge helps your neck and posture.   (So does putting your book on a pillow)
  • Safety ~ for those of us in earthquake land, we know to keep a pair of sturdy shoes under our bed, at the ready. A pair of socks goes in one and the headlamp (when not in the hiking pack) goes in   the other.  That way we have our hands available.
  • Neck Health!  Reading with a headlamp is SO much better for your neck, eyes and shoulders (for so many reasons).

As we get older (beats the alternative), we need ways to stay safe.  Once you get accustomed to using a headlamp, you’ll never go back.  But – please – use it.

Note:  when in your pack – LOCK IT  so you don’t end up with a dead battery/useless headlamp.  So read the instructions and use in health!

Custom Directions:

I find the directions a little murky, so here’s a recap:  Open with the little lever on the side &  install batteries (included).   Then give yourself a tutorial:

  • One press for strong spot. One press for off
  • 2 quick presses for double (reading) light
  • 3 quick presses for flashing lights
  • Press and hold (about 2 seconds) for red (night) light

Keep pressing (4 to 6 seconds) to lock – again – VERY IMPORTANT to keep light from accidentally going on and draining the battery – blue lock light will come on.  Press and hold (4 to 6 seconds) to unlock.

Notice battery monitor – cool huh?

Once on, if you press and hold, all lights will dim.

Power tap on side will alternate between custom dimmed setting and full strength.

This really is the coolest headlamp – now practice, have fun and please USE IT.   Aim it vs. straining your neck.  If reluctant, try reading with it and we hope you think it’s the best reading lamp ever!

Holiday Gift Guide #4 – Do you have knees?

November 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Fitness & Health, Gear

Hikers have knees.  We love our poles and they help save our knees – BUT – knees can still ache the next day after a tough hike.  When I ICE, I don’t hurt.  When I don’t ice, my knees are often quite vocal the next day.  Hit me over the head with a sledgehammer!

The problem is that they don’t hurt that day or evening, just the next day.  But NEVER when I ice.  I recently ordered a bunch of ice packs and this is the one I likeI don’t put it on bare skin.  I wrap it around really snugly and it provides some compression as well.  It’s EXCELLENT and so reasonably priced.

I can even put it in my cooler between 2 ice packs and have ice right after my hike.  Why make your kidneys pay (ibuprophen, NSAIDS, etc.) when applying ice directly helps?   Note:  You may not think you need ice because you don’t SEE swelling.  But if you have discomfort – ICE, ICE, ICE!

Also, in our opinion, EVERYONE should have a good ice pack in the freezer, ready to go.  I’ve used this on elbows, ankles, knees, shoulders….stuff happens!

Purchasing Poles Long Distance

April 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Gear, Poles

Blog Readers:  Jane is a lovely lady who is enjoying life, mobility and her poles.  She was happy to share her experience with you and I hope you enjoy reading about her adventures!  Her generous donation to her community is helping others to maintain their independence as well!

“Dear Jayah:  Living in the green state of Tennessee, I love to walk outdoors. I use my LEKI poles every time I do, even when I take the newspaper to my neighbor.

Because I wear trifocals, whenever I walk down a slant, I have to tip my head down to see where I’m going. That tilts my body forward, which is probably why I began falling face down on the sidewalk. Twice I had blood streaming down my lip. That’s when I googled hiking sticks. And found you!

First I purchased your hiking video, then I got the mobility one, too, and studied them both. My husband and I had a good telephone conversation with you, and the upshot was that you sent us a large box with five sets of poles to choose from.  With your guidance and expertise, I chose the LEKI and Mark chose Exerstriders. Then we sent the other three sets back to you in the same box. Easy.

Some might say all this was expensive. But compared to a doctor’s visit or replacing a pair of glasses or a front tooth, the dollars we sent you were peanuts.

Because at age 85 I’m beginning to have arthritis in my hands, I’ve been using the biking gloves you recommended. Their padding works just fine. Mark, age 87, doesn’t need them.

People sometimes tease me.”Are you waiting for snow?” I grin and reply, “I’m just down from the Alps.” Other friends ask me how to get poles for themselves. I don’t feel qualified to give medical advice, so Mark and I have donated both of your videos and several sets of poles to the Therapy Department here at Uplands Village, our continuing care retirement home. They plan to give a demonstration at the next Executive Chat.

Mark and I will tell about the lovely hike we just had, up and down the rocky hillside and along the bubbling creek. We do live in a beautiful, park-like spot.

See how your good work is spreading! Many, many thanks for your personal interest in my staying healthy and active.   Love and a hug,  Jane”

Pole Care

May 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Gear, Pole Tips, Poles

Take good care of your poles and they’ll take good care of you.

  • When your poles get dirty – wipe them down.
  • When your poles get wettake them apart and let them dry overnight.
    • morning dew, fog, rain, stream crossings – any moisture at all can cause corrosion
  • If you get poison oak on your poles, wash them with soap and water or rubbing alcohol, using enough soap or alcohol to cut the oil not just move it around.   Do not use Tecnu.
  • Never lubricate your poles.
  • If your poles start “sticking,” you’ll need to clean them with a pole cleaning kit – outside, with newspaper to prevent metal shavings from causing trouble.  With a little preventative care you can avoid this and you’ll keep your poles happy and healthy for YEARS.  🙂

You need to know how to take your poles apart and put them back together.  Some people are actually fearful of this and it’s a basic requirement  for pole care and travel.  It’s easy when you know how.

New LEKI Poles – Improved Comfort

August 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Gear, Poles

2014 – There’s been a re-design of our favorite trekking pole.  We love the comfort of the foam grip….it’s SO worth an extra $20 over the composite or rubber grips.  Also, the long foam grip is wonderful for frequently changing or rocky terrain – when you’re not using the straps.

The redesigned strap is sleeker and many people find it more comfortable.  Here’s photos of the 2 models we like – the Double SpeedLock and the SpeedLock Anti-Shock.  Click on the REI link below to shop REI – we get a small commission and it costs you nothing.  Thank you!

2014 Themolite-XL-Anti-shock 2014 Thermolite XL Speedlock.pg

Shop REI for Great Outdoor Gear

As always, you can contact us via the website Product Consultation Form to learn which poles best fit your body and will help achieve your goals.

Click on either photo for a close up view; click the back button to return to the blog.

Thanksgiving Hiking Pole Adventure in Utah

December 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Gallery, Gear, Travel

We arrived to RAIN in Las Vegas and snow on the roads to Moab.   Even over a foot of snow and cold mornings did not stop us from enjoying the magic of the Utah National Parks.  Our first day included 2 short hikes in Arches  (Park Avenue & Delicate Arch), then we went to Canyonlands Island in the Sky.  We arrived to find NO ONE in the gray and snow-covered parking lot.  No one had hiked the Neck Springs trail * since it had snowed.  We had to find our way by locating what we thought were cairns – little snow pyramids.  We were the footprints, so the next hikers had a clue where to go 🙂

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird

Snow-covered Cairn

Snow-covered Cairn

Natural Lichen Smiley-Face

Natural Lichen Smiley-Face

Island in the Sky, Canyonlands

Island in the Sky, Canyonlands

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Oak Leaves

Oak Leaves

We explored some new trails in Arches & Canyonlands as well as visited some old favorites.  Weather has always managed our Thanksgiving journey to Utah.  We had great gear and felt well-prepared as we headed out on cold mornings.  Yaktrax are like tire chains for your feet – they kept us  from slipping and sliding on icy trails.   Here’s a link to the ones we like:  Yaktrax Pro  Get one size larger than you think you’ll need.  We think the sizing is a bit off.

Yes, that is Bob walking down away from Delicate Arch.

Where's the trail?

Where’s the trail?

Made it to the top!

Made it to the top!

Yaktrax

Yaktrax

Bob learned rock climbing as a youth.  He talked, encouraged, even bullied me thru some of the most difficult terrain I’d ever been on.  Because of the wet conditions, the rocks were not as grippy.  I made it, but only with the help of my hiking buddy.  Putting poles “away” on packs:  You need a pack that can accommodate this.  Grips down, tips up.  Rubber tips affixed for safety.  We affix the poles by looping  a strap from the pack thru the pole straps and snugging them up towards the pack.  Regarding our packs – I often snug up a seminar participant’s pack.  It helps the pack be more a part of you and less floppy (which can send you off balance.)  It always feels better 🙂

A real trail in Needles District

A real trail in Needles District

Bob crab-walking down steep rock in Arches

Bob crab-walking down steep rock in Arches

Time to put away camera & poles so we can climb

Time to put away camera & poles so we can climb

That's an Ice Pond!

That’s an Ice Pond!

Water everywhere!  Park Avenue, Arches

Water everywhere! Park Avenue, Arches

Yes, it's a road

Yes, it’s a road

The day we wanted to go to Bryce it was 1 degree.  We managed a short loop on our last day and it was warmer and magical!  You can see (bottom middle below) the trail condition – very narrow – making pole use difficult.  We did not have our snow baskets with us 🙁

The Peek-a-boo loop is one of my favorites.  It’s short, but you’re in the Hoodoos.  To get to it and back, it’s about 3 miles – so a total of about 6 miles.  In these conditions, it took us 2 hours to do the 3 mile loop.  That’s SLOW!  You can see that it was starting to cloud up towards the end of our hike.  Nice way to end a week of hiking in Utah!  When we have more time for a longer loop, we like the Fairyland Trail.

Bryce Canyon (Large) 3 kings (Large) ice cream tops (Large)
Peekaboo sign and clouds (Large) Bryce Snow Trail (Large) Bryce Gear (Large)

and finally – with my obsession with trekking poles and cairns 🙂   I love to do a little Cairn-Topping as I hike.  Because of the storm that came thru a few days before we arrived, many of the cairns were in need of a little maintenance 🙂

Cairn and Poles (Large)

* Neck Springs Trail – the longest 5.8 mile hike I’ve ever done.  This glorious trail heads down into a canyon and then back up onto the mesa.  It’s one of my favorite hikes on the planet and suitable for moderate level hikers.  If you head to Moab, put it on your list.  Our favorite place to stay in Moab?  Aarchway Inn – tell Pam I sent you 🙂

Improve your Performance on the Trail with Athletic Compression Socks

December 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Fitness & Health, Gear

I’ve been experimenting with athletic compression socks.  The verdict is IN!

When I wear my fancy (hot pink) compression socks, my legs, calves and feet are less tired.  They really do improve my performance.

A friend who has hammer toes, uses the individual toe type (Injinji) socks and finds them extremely helpful.

I splurged and spent $50 on a pair of socks.  I thought I was nuts….UNTIL I felt the significant benefits.

There are SO many options out there.  Start by clicking the free shipping link below.  Search for compression socks.   Free Shipping with $50 Minimum Purchase at REI!

I recommend compression socks for all my clients who fly.  Get the highest compression that you find comfortable and that you can put on.  Be patient, putting compression socks on is more difficult than you might expect, but well worth the effort!

You can also check this website.

Rubber Tips for Trekking Poles: Why & What Kind to Consider

March 28, 2013 by  
Filed under DVD Updates, Gear, Pole Tips

Rubber tips are sold as optional accessories for trekking poles.  They’re NOT optional.   The travel tips that come with many poles (clear, orange or black plastic) are garbagetoss them out (or recycle them).Pole Tips from Carol at Y   In many of this blog’s updates we describe how rubber tips improve performance, prevent joint strain, increase safety and enhance your outdoor experiences.

There are 3 tips we like and they all fit on the poles we like:  LEKI, Black Diamond (2 models only) and Exerstrider.

Our product recommendations are based on an individual’s structure, issues and goals.

One size does NOT fit all.  Short poles are sold as “women’s” poles – after all, we all know there are no tall women and no compact guys….. Back to rubber tips (sorry for the rant). 🙂

  • The basic hiking tip (on left) sells for $5/pair and is perfect for pavement walking and slick rock.  They fit nicely in your pocket or pack and are perfect to store on poles when they’re not in use.
  • The bell tip (middle) adds significant stability for our mobility-challenged pole users.
  • The boot (right) is super cool and adds both cushion and propulsion for our exercise walkers.  The bell and the boot sell for about $10/pair.

When we  fit a person for poles, part of that process includes determining what tip works and feels best.  For example, a person who needs a bit more “cushion” because of shoulder or wrist issues might like the boot.  Or does the anti-shock feature “fit”?  Which grip fits and feels best?  Are trekking poles gloves indicated?

It’s not rocket science, but  finding the pair of poles that will serve a lifetime, poles with which you can develop a loving connection, is a bit of an art.   My poles are about 12 years old and I LOVE them.  They get more comfortable every year and they serve me well out OTT (on the trail).  Because I use my rubber tips when I need them, the trail tips are still razor sharp and perform as designed.

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