5 Ways to Avoid Letting Rain Ruin Your Outdoor Adventure

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After the rain on Devil's Path, trying to remember
backpacking is fun! (PC: D. Herscovitch)
For a while, I thought Devil's Path in the Catskills and Mother Nature were truly out to get me. 

We faced torrential downpours on my first three pilgrimages to the area. On one backpacking trip, after gaining what felt like thousands of feet on our first day, we took a break and huddled underneath a rock outcropping looking for some sort of reprieve from the weather. It was supposed to storm for 48 hours. We snacked, relaxed for a bit, listened to the rain falling, and then continued on.

I have many fond memories like this from trips I went on despite wet weather. Even if being soaked to the bone felt terrible at the time, I still had fun. Case and point, you don't have to let wet weather ruin your trip. Here's how.

Understand Basic Thunderstorm Safety.

There's a big difference between getting caught in the rain and getting stuck in a dangerous thunderstorm. Before you leave home, make sure you understand how to deal with a thunderstorm if you're stuck in one, and if you're planning to be at higher elevations, consider coming up with a backup plan. 

Interview + Giveaway: Heather Balogh Rochfort and Her First Book, Backpacking 101

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Healther Balogh Rochfort. (PC: Will Rochfort)
You know how you can just tell when you've met someone incredibly special? I felt that way the
first time I met Heather Balogh Rochfort.

I was introduced to her on a trip to the Grand Canyon as part of a social media influencer experiment conducted by Columbia Sportswear, the #OmniTen. Her infectious energy, storytelling ability, and general zest for life made her an ideal hiking partner, and we've stayed close friends since that incredible adventure nearly five years ago.

We've traveled to places like Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, I've consulted her about all things Colorado for trip planning, and now, I'm stoked to share more about her latest big adventure - her first book! Read more about Heather, and scroll down to enter to win a copy of Backpacking 101.

AI: How did you get started backpacking?

Heather: In college, I hung out with a group of guys enamored with the mountains. Coming from 20 years of dancing, of course, I decided to tag along. On one of my first trips, we decided to pack the full distance (~18 miles) into Chicago Basin in the San Juans of Colorado.

The Pros and Cons of Trekking Poles for Hiking and Backpacking

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Picking my way down rocky terrain
in the Adirondacks. (PC: D. Herscovitch)
Devil's Path in the Catskill Mountains is considered one of the toughest trails on the east coast. Completing it requires climbing and descending over 14,000 vertical feet. You'll hike straight up, straight down, rinse, and repeat for 25 miles.

Partway through one Devil's Path adventure, my partner in crime rolled his ankle, aggravating a recent injury. The uneven terrain made it uncomfortable for him to hike, especially the series of rocky descents we had to contend with.

It was one of the first trips I brought trekking poles on, and boy did they come in handy. They helped him take weight off of the aggravated ankle, balance on the steep ascents and descents, and generally just made things easier.

Understanding the pros and cons of using trekking poles on your trips can help you decide if they're right for you.  I've found they're right for me on some trips, but on others, it's best to leave them at home. And after testing a complimentary pair of STABIL Stride poles, I'm refining my list of essential trekking pole attributes.

5 Ways to Get Involved on Earth Day

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I want to be able to see sights like this for years to come!
Though we can all make decisions that show appreciation for Mother Nature year round, Earth Day is the perfect day to focus more on what you can do to protect, preserve, and conserve our planet.

If you're not sure what to do, or need more ideas, try one or all of these, and I'd love to hear what you're doing to celebrate Earth Day in the comments!

Learn about climate issues and legislation, and make your voice heard.

After the most recent presidential election, I found myself more anxious about what would become of our environment and the public lands I hold dear than I'd ever been. I focused on figuring out what I could do and learn, and what actions I could take to support local, national, and international policies to combat climate change and protect public lands.

Start by learning more about climate change, and research legislation proposed that'll either make a positive impact on efforts to fight it along with legislation that won't. (It's actually really neat to read the text of legislation!)

Guest Post: 8 Activities for Your First Trip to Zion National Park

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Riverside Walk, image courtesy of Zion Ponderosa.
With 229 square miles of soaring cliffs, narrow canyons and striking scenery, it’s no wonder Zion National Park was one of our nation’s top ten most visited parks this year. My first and only visit there was an overnight almost ten years ago, and I’ve been itching to go back ever since. 

If it’s time to cross Zion National Park off your bucket list, or if you’re me and couldn’t accomplish much on your first and only visit there, this is the guest post for you! Take it from today’s guest blogger, Kirsten Metcalf, on behalf of this post's sponsor, Zion Ponderosa, and try one or all of these things on your trip there. 

Wander Riverside Walk. 

If you’re looking for a way to ease into hiking in Zion, or need a family-friendly trail to try, Riverside Walk is the perfect introduction to all the park has to offer. Once called Gateway to the Narrows, this easy trail is only 2.2 miles round trip, and it’s paved the entire way.

Spring Giveaway: JUMPER Threads and Working Joe

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Spring stoke was high this weekend on the trail!
This past weekend marked my first official hike this spring. I paid a visit to Mount Minsi with friends, and it was exciting to visit a place I hadn't been to in years before the summer crowds get too bad.

And what better way to continue the spring stoke than to offer up a giveaway? 

I've partnered up with ReadyYeti to host a sponsored giveaway for two awesome new brands - JUMPER and Working Joe. Scroll down to enter!

JUMPER was created under the premise that some of our everyday gear and apparel could simply be better. Though a plain white t-shirt from your favorite discount retailer might work just fine, the JUMPER team believes simple products like that plain white t-shirt can be improved through performance fabrics and intelligent designs and technology.