Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women's Melody Tights

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Spoiler Alert: My legs feel like
they're being hugged in this shot!
I'm picky when it comes to next-to-skin layers. If a piece of apparel is itchy, scratchy, or abrasive, you can bet I won't wear it.

So when I read that the Outdoor Research team describes the Women's Melody tights as "a soft hug for your legs," I was intrigued. How could it be possible for a pair of tights to be that soft?

I received a complimentary pair of the Women's Melody tights to test as a part of another season of #ORInsightLab - a chance to see what "a soft hug for your legs" really feels like. I was glad to put the Melody tights through their paces inside, outside, and at the gym to see how they performed for my first of three reviews for Outdoor Research this season.

Fit and Feel

One touch of the fabric to bare skin and it was clear the "soft hug" Outdoor Research promised I'd get when I put these tights on had been delivered. The Melody tights are constructed out of some of the softest material I've worn next to skin, outside of pure fleece.

Hiking the Catskills: Kaaterskill Falls (and the Worst Airbnb Ever)

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Starting up the trail to the falls. (PC. D. Herscovitch)
I'm completely in love with Upstate New York. My adoration is rooted in the fact that I grew up in the Fingerlakes, spent my formative years in the 1,000 Islands and Adirondacks, and discovered the beauty of the Catskills in the past decade or so.

My partner in crime and I set our sights on the Catskills for a New Year's getaway (to the worst Airbnb I've ever stayed in, but more on that later), and we knew we wanted to visit 260-foot Kaaterskill Falls while we were in the area.

The falls are a long-storied Catskill Mountains attraction and are accessible via a yellow-blazed trail maintained by the state. It's an extremely popular spot despite being the site of some controversy around safety, but nonetheless, I couldn't wait to spend some time there under the veil of new snow.

Getting to Kaaterskill Falls

The trail to the bottom of the falls is accessible via a small parking lot off of NYS Route 23A. In the vicinity of the falls, Route 23A bends, twists, and turns up, down, and around prominent, beautiful mountains.

Guest Post: Debunking the Biggest Ice Fishing Myths

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Checking the ice on the St. Lawrence River.
The thought of ice fishing conjures up images of people huddling together in freezing temperatures trying to catch fish through small holes in lake ice. Most of those who have never experienced ice fishing tend to mentally file it under the “most unpleasant outdoor activities ever” tab. 

However, ice fishing aficionados can’t get enough, which wouldn’t be the case if the misconceptions were all true. It's a pursuit I've wanted to try for a while now, and I'm grateful to today's guest post authors for helping me debunk a few myths about this super unique winter activity!

Myth #1: No one ever catches many fish while ice fishing. 

Although it’s certainly true that it’s possible to hit a bad patch of luck while ice fishing, that’s the case with fishing in general. Because fish travel in schools, once you hit a sweet spot, it’s possible to catch several fish in the course of a few hours.

Gear Review: Chippewa Women's 8" Tan Renegade Lacer Boots

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These beauties aren't in my normal footwear
comfort zone, but they sure are beauties!
Chippewa boots have been around for a good, long while, specifically since 1901. The Wisconsin-born company believes in building boots with "uncompromising quality and standard," and to create footwear that is "the finest made, most reliable, authentic and rich in heritage luxuries."

Though Chippewa was founded under the premise of creating work boots "built to honor the guts and determination of the loggers and engineers who paved the way, built the roads, and constructed our buildings," the company also carries styles that are anything but.

With respect to non-hiking footwear, I typically steer clear of styles I'm not sure how to wear, choose comfort over style, and am generally price sensitive. When the Chippewa team offered to send me a complimentary pair of their Women's 8" Tan Renegade Lacer boots to try, I knew I'd be stepping out of my comfort zone. After putting them through their paces this month, though, I'm inclined to start trying to be a little bolder with my footwear choices.

Geocaching 101: Adding a Little Extra Fun to Your Next Hike

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You never know where a cache might be hiding!
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of exploring the outdoors on my own two feet, and advocating that others do the same. Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor pastimes no matter the season, and it’s a great way to get outside, especially if you live near great trails.

But if you’re looking to add some extra excitement to a familiar trail, or ways to encourage others to spend time outdoors with you, geocaching can be a great option for adventurers of all ages. 

Geocaching is defined loosely as “the recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates.” And though I’ve primarily heard of geocaching as it relates to outdoor adventure, I’ve learned there are geocaches all around the city I live in, too. Sounds pretty neat, right?

How Did Geocaching Start?

On May 2, 2000, the federal government repealed “selective availability,” which improved the accuracy of GPS technology instantly, and gave civilians access to some pretty incredible stuff. Basically, imagine getting an instant upgrade to any and all things GPS-related - pretty neat, right?