On a recent hiking trip through the forest, I came across a patch of wild blackberries. They provided me with a tasty afternoon snack. It’s not the first time I have eaten berries off the bush.
Someone once asked me if I was worried about animals peeing on them. Although possible, I usually eat the berries off the top of the bush, so if a deer had urinated on them, it would have to have been really tall. Anyway, that question led me to think about how we are so conditioned to buying food in plastic wrap and under florescent lighting that we don’t think about all the chemicals, pesticides and hormones that are in what we perceive as “safe foods”.
What happened to eating raw and wild?
So far this year, I have found and eaten wild asparagus, raspberries and mushrooms. I have also snacked on a local plum tree. When living in Florida, I picked and ate a pineapple that was growing alongside a swimming pool. The pineapple was warm, full of flavor, and tasted like sunshine.
Animal pee over pesticides? I will continue to snack on natures goodies any day!
I recently cycled the Tomorrow River Trail, a secluded historic rail-trail through central Wisconsin. I thought the route was going to be a relatively easy ride but it turned out to be a challenge due to excessive winds.
When I cycle, I enjoy the adventure, but I also appreciate that its a moving meditation that clears my mind and invigorates me in ways that other sports don’t. I love that its a combination of physical exercise and mindfulness.
Tomorrow River’s Trail consists of a crushed stone trail that is 29.2 miles long. It passes through open fields and tree lined paths, extending through several counties. If you want to get off the trail, there are several small rural towns to explore along the way.
Being an active biker, I try to explore a new trail each week as I love the combination of physical exercise and mindfulness. If you haven’t tried it yet, get out of your house and start cycling. There are new trails to explore!
Only accessible by boat, Witches Gulch, a narrow slot canyon in southern Wisconsin is an interesting and beautiful hike that makes you wonder if you are still in the Midwest.
Several boat tours will take you to Witches Gulch, and once there, a two mile loop hike will lead you through a hardwood forest and through slot canyons where at some points, you can actually touch both sides of the narrow canyon walls. Water has worn away the sandstone rock as it flows out into the Wisconsin River leaving behind raw natural formations.
I’m not a big fan of narrow spaces although I have hiked through slot canyons in some of the big national parks out west, but finding Witches Gulch in Wisconsin was exciting. Unlike the dry desert terrain of the southwest, Wisconsin Dells is green, lush and humid. The slot canyons are cool and temperate due to the running river and waterfall, making for an easy hike.
If you’re looking for a fun adventure on both boat and land, head for Witches Gulch. You won’t be disappointed.
On a previous kayaking trip to the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior, I had the opportunity to eat lunch in a wet suit on a sandy shore. It was the first time I had kayaked to an island and had someone set up a table and catered lunch for me. The food was tasty, but what was more appetizing was the environment that I was eating in. It was a fun adventure, not only in travel but in adventure cuisine.
I have also eaten on top of mountains, on ocean beaches, and in the desert in Death Valley. Eating can be an adventure in itself!
I’ll continue to write and blog about some of my favorite outdoor places to eat!
A few years ago, I met with a group of strangers who shared the same passion as me. Together we spent four days hiking and exploring the Grand Canyon. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. Since then, I make it a priority to travel and explore. Even if I can’t travel far away, I will explore my world locally.
I help people to make the most out of their lives and one of my favorite recommendations is to get out of your comfort zone or daily routine and have a personal adventure. It’s all about personal self care. For me, movement feels great. I love hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking and being in nature. Nature is a natural drug that feeds my body, mind and soul.
Whatever you have been postponing or putting off, do it today, or make plans to make it happen. Since I took my first hiking trip to the Grand Canyon, I have never looked back. I now search out new places, new people, new foods, new pathways and new adventures to try. Life doesn’t have to be boring. It’s up to you!
I arrived at the base of Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona, alone and stood reading the sign above indicating that I had to be prepared to rescue myself. hmmm….
I was determined to hike Cathedral Rock although I had no knowledge of the landscape or terrain. As I stood reading the sign about the possible dangers, I was reminded that I was now in Arizona, which had poisonous snakes and scorpions. I then looked up at the peak of Cathedral Rock and started to question myself. I had always been a solo hiker. I loved being out in nature and exploring, but as I contemplated going up the various pathways alone, I started having fear of getting lost, falling and breaking a limb, or getting bit by a snake. My mind went rampant with thoughts of what could go wrong. I started to have cold feet. Then suddenly, a woman appeared next to me. I turned to her and asked her if she wanted to hike with me, so we began hiking up the steep and beautiful sandstone butte together.
Hiking has always been one of my passions. I usually just show up wherever I am and start hiking, but this adventure reminded me of some of the dangers of solo exploration and how being prepared is probably a good idea. In this case, a first aid kit, water, map of the area, a compass, food, a whistle and cell phone were all recommended.
Cathedral Rock was an amazing climb. The rock formations became steeper with each step and had I been alone, I would not have ventured to the top, so I was grateful for my hiking companion who had hiked the peak in the past. She led me to the top, where I sat and watched the sunrise over the the beautiful Arizona landscape.
Wherever you are hike, be mindful of the weather and what kind of obstacles or wildlife you could encounter.
Life is meant to be explored! Be safe and have fun!
I arrived in Phoenix at 10:00pm on August 4, 2019, the temperature was 94 degrees. Luckily for me, I was flying up to the White Mountains the next morning where the temperatures were about 25 degrees cooler due to higher elevation.
Being back in a familiar place, I realized how much I had missed the mountains. I loved the smell of ponderosa pine trees in the dry arid winds of Northeastern Arizona. Back in the Midwest, summer was sweltering with high humidity. The change in scenery was welcoming. I often feel the need to leave home to find inspiration and to see the world with new eyes. Although I had moved away from Arizona, I felt in a way that I had come home.
I had traveled back for a work assignment and decided to bring my new husband of one month and one week. Together we explored familiar and unfamiliar trails, hiking rocky mountain paths around lakes and forests. Our nights were spent at a local motel called Antler’s Inn where we played evening games of horseshoes and sat around a campfire watching the sunset into the mountain sky.
The trip provided a welcoming relief from everyday stressors. I often encourage other people to travel and explore. Life can easily become mundane and dull. Although the White Mountains are not a new place or destination for me, they sparked and ignited my senses again through sights, sounds, and tastes.
Sometimes going away from home makes us homesick, and sometimes going away, brings us back.