It’s time to start thinking about Christmas gifts! I put a few of my adventure must-haves on this list. Happy Shopping!
Pack it Down Coat: This particular coat is my favorite and I’ve blogged about it before. This coat keeps me warm all winter long and is versatile for all of my different adventures. It packs down small and is lightweight making it the perfect adventure coat. Another perk is the fact that Lululemon guarentees their coats. My zipper broke last year and they repaired it at no cost, even though I’ve had the coat for three years.
Garmin GPS Mini: This garmin trackes your miles, allows you to send text messages and location to your contacts even when you don’t have service. This garmin also has a SOS feature where if you ever get into trouble you can send out a message and the authorities will be notified. This is the biggest security tool you can bring along on adventures.
Columbia Packable Rain Jacket: I never hike without this jacket. It’s waterproof, warm, and lightweight design packs into the hand pocket for convenience and it is the perfect jacket when a coat is too much. I use mine ALL the time! Mountains require you to be prepared for anything. Even on a summer day.
Backpacking Sleeping Bag: This is my favorite sleeping bag. It is ultra-lightweight, sized for women, and keeps me extremely warm. With a temperature rating that goes down to 15-degrees I found myself warm each night only sleeping in my sports bra and shorts.
LuLuLemon Beanie: This is the warmest beanie I have ever felt. I will never live another winter without it. It is absolutely amazing and worth every penny! Don’t talk yourself out of this one. You need it!
Jet Boil: A jet boil is defiantly something to save up for and purchase if you like to spend significant time outside. It boils water in one minute and is perfect for meals, hot chocolate, etc. Light and small this is a necessary backpacking item. Also, a great emergency prepardness item to keep at home.
Hiking and summer are two of my favorite things. Combining them is pure happiness in my opinion. Here are 5 great hikes to do in the summer time in Utah.
1-Lake Blanche: This is a 6.9 miles out and back trail located in Big Cottonwood Canyon and rated as difficult. This is one of the most beautiful hikes in Utah in my opinion. It includes a mountaintop lake, awesome views, and abundant wildlife. I saw two moose last time I hiked it. Plan on it taking 3–4 hours and bring plenty of water. Bug spray is always a good idea as well as a head lamp if you start your hike later in the day and you get caught in the dark. Dogs are not allowed on this trail.
2-Powerhouse Overlook: This is a 2.9 mile out and back trail located in Springville, Utah that is rated as moderate. It has a steep incline but the views of the valley are worth every step. Dogs are allowed on this trail. Trailhead has plenty of parking, but requires a capable vehicle to reach.
3- Wardsworth Trail: This is a 6.3 mile out and back trail located in Springville, Utah that is rated as moderate. I believe it is rated as moderate due to the length. The hike itself is easy. I have done this hike with my kids a couple of times. We hike a couple miles in and when they are getting tired we turn around and hike back. The trail follows a stream and even has a few backpacking camping spots along the way if you are feeling extra adventurous and want to spend a night under the stars. Dogs are allowed on this trail.
4-Lost Creek Falls: This is a 2.8 mile out and back trail located up Provo Canyon and is rated as moderate. This hike ends with a waterfall and is across the street from the popular Bridal Veil Falls waterfall. You have great views of Bridal Veil during the length of the hike. Dogs are allowed on this trail. Some hikers are confused about the location of the actual falls and turn around too soon. When you get to the top of the ATV trail where it crosses the creek and you have to start going up the streambank, look up the canyon. You’ll see a small cliff face cutting across the canyon, with a small waterfall on the right side. The main falls is hidden on the left side of this cliff.
5- East Mesa to Observation Point: This is a 6.7 mile out and back trail located in Zion National Park and is rated as moderate. This hike ends with the best view in Zion National Park. It positions you with views looking down on the famous Angels Landing. The trailhead does require an off road vehicle. You can hike on the dirt road if you don’t have a capable vehicle, however that will add an additional 3 miles to your hike. The drive up to the trailhead is long and is where you climb the most elevation. The hike itself only has about a 700 foot elevation gain. It’s not a hard hike, but man it has a breathtaking view.
Today Tiffany shares how she was in a dark place and discovered freedom by being outdoors and also taking care of herself. I got emotional reading Tiff’s story. The power of the soul and the longing it has to be at peace is amazing. Thank you for sharing Tiff!
I suffer from chronic depression, anxiety, and as a very good friend told me, a very bad habit of stressing myself out (mostly thanks to the anxiety). I’m a mother of 4 very active children, ranging in age from 7–14, that play a lot of sports and are involved in a lot of activities. My husband works full-time, I work full-time outside of the home, and up until I graduated last year I was also in school full-time. I’ve always known how important it was to take time to care of myself, this is where my own athletic desires came in to play. But, the more active my kids became, the less time I had for my own things. I started to feel guilty for taking time away from my kids and my husband, I felt like I was letting everyone down. I continued trying to be involved with my friends and athletic teams, but there just weren’t enough hours in the day.
A little more than a year ago, I found myself in a really dark place, I had no desire to really do anything. My relationships at work were strained, my home life and marriage were taking a beating, I was the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life. I would literally come home from work or school and go to bed. I thought graduation would pull me out of my funk, life would slow down a little bit. Boy did I have myself fooled. I found myself even more miserable, and the person I saw in the mirror wasn’t someone I recognized. A very dear friend kept inviting me to these hikes and adventures, at the time I had no clue that this would change my life. My work schedule doesn’t always lend itself to easy time off, but I finally managed to go on a hike with this group of women. That one hike with Get Out There Girl changed my outlook on everything, I realized that I couldn’t be a good wife or mother without taking care of myself. I realized how much I loved being out in nature and exploring; I’m not sure how, but it set me free. The ideology and mission behind GOTG is a game changer.
I’ve now been able to not only get out and take care of myself, but involve my family in the process. Some of the best times I’ve spent with my husband and children have been going out on hikes and adventures. From exploring Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, to small hikes around home, I’ve energized myself, learned amazing things about my kids, and really freed myself from feelings of guilt. I am more happy and healthy than I have been in years. While the depression and anxiety haven’t gone away, I’ve found a healthy outlet to manage them.
Today Stephanie shares her story with us. Thank you for being brave, real, and vulnerable Steph. You are amazing and I’m so grateful to know you.
One of the things I love the most about Get Out There Girl is that it gives women the opportunity to take time for themselves and teaches them the importance of self care. Which is huge! I have never been the best at self care. Truth be told I stink at it. As a wife and a mother of 5 kids (ranging from the ages of 13–2 and one with a severe epileptic medical condition) life can be stressful, busy and unpredictable. I have always just naturally put their needs and their wants above my own, which I think as wives and moms is pretty common and something we just tend to do without thinking twice. Is that wrong? No way! I think it’s extremely selfless but I have learned the hard way that it can also be very damaging. There needs to be some sort of balance with taking care of my own needs, wants and desires.
See, the problem I have is that when I do have an opportunity to do something for myself, or buy something for myself, or go on a trip or a GNO etc, I instantly feel guilt. Every single time. I have this self destructive habit and battle in mind and my first initial reaction is always a big fat NO! Why? I think because it’s the easy answer, the safe answer. So I come up with every excuse in the book to back up the “No.” Such as, not enough time, not enough money, I’m busy, or it’s selfish and irresponsible. I then stew over it for a long time. I let insecurities, guilt, fear and my anxieties creep in which then it takes things to a whole new level. Even if I end up saying yes, those feelings still linger. I overthink everything, literally everything! Needless to say, doing things for myself does not come easy or naturally. This is not something I’m proud of either. Although, I genuinely and sincerely love serving others and find great joy in caring for the needs of my family. I know it’s just as important to put myself and my needs high on the priority list. If I don’t, then feelings of resentment creep in and the victim mentality starts to take over. That is not a fun place to be.
I’m learning that the best thing I can do for myself AND for my family is to nurture my needs and to take time to do things for myself. Most importantly, to NOT feel guilty about it. I have a long way to go but I have been more intentional with it. I feel more balanced and I am able to be a better wife, a better mom and a better disciple of Jesus Christ. I am often reminded of the talk given by President Nelson a few years back. He shared a story about the oxygen mask, and that in order for us to be able to more fully take care of the ones that we love we must first take care of ourselves. I love this analogy and it speaks so much truth!
Another thing I absolutely love about Get Out There Girl is the focus it has on being in the outdoors. There is something very therapeutic to me about being out in nature. When I am in the outdoors whether it be under a starlit sky, sitting around a campfire, or hiking a beautiful trail, I feel a connection to God that I don’t feel any other way. I marvel at His creations. I find such peace and stillness that only comes from being out in nature. I felt all of these things at the Yoga retreat that I went on last year. It was so much fun! Not only was I able to go and be there with my 2 sisters and some friends, I was able to develop new friendships. I met so many women from all ages and stages of life, different backgrounds and beliefs. The unity, love and sisterhood that was felt there was pretty incredible! I learned new things, had some really neat experiences, made some deep connections, and left feeling totally rejuvenated! Oh and not to mention the yummy food!
I am so grateful that I fought off my initial “NO” (along with guilt, fear, anxiety and insecurities) and said “YES” to this opportunity that I took time for myself! I love EVERYTHING that Get Out There Girl is about and I hope to go on many more of the adventures/retreats in the future! I also just started the Self Compassion Workbook that Brittany wrote and it is awesome! I love that I am learning that self care is not a selfish thing at all. In fact, it is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and for the ones we love!
My biggest struggle, hands down, is worrying about what others think of me. I have always been a people pleaser, and, while on the one hand I’m very empathetic and caring to others, I let it cross the line of my authenticity when I try to change who I am to make others feel something.
In my journey of personal development, I have learned that there is a difference between trying to make others feel better out of love and concern for them and trying to make others feel something different than they are feeling so that I can feel better about myself. The latter is manipulation and control.
I can see where I have needed the validation of others to approve of myself. Just gaining the awareness of that need was the first step in gaining the self love necessary to love myself for who I am and not for what other people think I am.
And while I am not perfect at it because I still have that natural desire to make everyone happy, even at the expense of my own happiness, I feel a stronger inner sense of confidence and self compassion that gives me peace even when other people aren’t approving of me.
I am grateful for Get Out There Girl’s message of self compassion in the self compassion workbook because it has reinforced the principles I am learning. It feels so good to surround myself with like-minded women who want to lift and build each other up. I had an amazing experience on the March Day Retreat and hope to go on a Weekend Retreat when they start up again!
Thanks for sharing a part of your story Melissa! We love you!
Melissa is a life coach who has several mind and time management courses. She is a wonderful and inspirational person to follow. Follow her here.
Ever since GOTG was created I have heard hundreds of women’s stories. My heart has grown as I have listened to women’s struggles and triumphs. I have discovered that women want to share. For so long we (women) have put our best foot forward and only showed the parts of ourselves that we think people want to see. This is exhausting. I’ve learned that one of our deepest desires as human beings is to be seen. We want someone to see all of us and love us regardless. We want someone to see how far we’ve come and how hard we have fought to be who we are. We want someone to see ALL of us, our strengths and our weaknesses and love us. We don’t want to hide parts of us.
As I have heard countless stories I felt strongly that others needed to hear them as well. We need to connect with each other through our humanity. I haven’t met a woman I didn’t love after hearing her story. I want you to hear each other’s stories and connect. Every Monday I plan to share another woman’s story. I hope you read the stories and see the connection you have with other women. See your shared humanity. See your similarities. See the courage. See the strength. See yourself in each story.
In this very unique circumstance where social distancing is required, I find myself longing for human connection outside of my family. Last year, my most profound experience with this type of connection occurred while I attended a self-compassion and yoga retreat put on by Get Out There Girl.
Looking back, it’s pretty easy to see there was a void in my life at the time. That void was the exact reason I started following Get Out There Girl in the first place; I watched Brittany post about these retreats and I knew I needed that in my life. Still, it took me some time to take the leap of faith required to sign up. As I sit down to write this post, the warm feelings from the retreat come back to me and I wonder how to paint an accurate picture of that precious experience.
It took a lot of bravery for me to book that trip. All the reasons I needed to go brought up all my fears about actually going. It all came down to friendship and connection…it was frightening to admit how much I needed to make some new friends. I didn’t sign up with a friend. What if everyone else brought a friend and I was left out? What if they didn’t like me? What if I didn’t fit in? Where had my self-confidence gone?
The more I asked myself these questions the more I knew I needed to go. My doubts and fears were worth pushing through. Then a new retreat was announced with the theme of yoga and self-compassion, two things I desperately needed more of in my life. I booked the trip which was the best thing I ever could have done for myself.
Lots of opportunities to test my self-compassion came with our first activity. A hike. The fast pace of the other women surprised me and before long all of the other women were so far ahead of me, I couldn’t see anyone.
But I was in nature and it was beautiful. I wasn’t going to waste this opportunity by getting upset, so I didn’t. Even though I felt like I might die walking straight up the side of a mountain all alone, and although I wished I was a faster hiker, I just kept telling myself I would get there, and it was okay.
Before too long the steep hill flattened and I was able to walk on a flat path, much more comfortable than the initial ascent. Then someone noticed that I had a slower pace and she came back for me. Due to my strong desire to stay positive, I hadn’t been upset at being last, and yet this small act of kindness was not lost on me.
As I knew we would, we finally arrived at the top of the mountain and rejoiced in the beautiful view. Twice I had abandoned my comfort zone. First in booking the retreat, and second in walking up the steep hill, yet only through putting myself through that discomfort was I able to enjoy the astounding view with the other women.
We treasured our moments there on the top of the mountain. No one seemed in too big of a hurry to head back down. We took lots of pictures, introduced ourselves, told stories, laughed and joked and lingered and I rekindled my friendship with Brittany. Some had come in groups and some had come alone, but we were all there for important reasons. To get away from the regular pressures of life, to be outside in nature, to learn, to connect with other women, to feel a part of something. To have fun…a concept increasingly foreign in my day to day life.
We enjoyed a relaxing walk back to our cars, drove to the campground, ate dinner prepared by a real-life chef, and practiced yoga together. The enchanting location overcame us with its beauty and charm. We slept in tents that had been set up before our arrival. The next morning, we rejoined the yoga circle and listened to the rain pick up, nervous that the intensity of the rain would increase and cut our yoga short.
Not only did it cut out second yoga session short, but it proceeded to pound down on us. We huddled under canopies and enjoyed our lunches while the rain came down. We chatted, we sang, we laughed, we ate, we bonded.
Next, when the rain had finally settled down, we went to an art class where we painted a picture. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t paint the picture with everyone else. I didn’t want to go to the effort, and I didn’t think I would be able to make my picture look good enough, but I talked myself out of bowing out, and I did just fine. When I got home from the retreat, I put the picture up in my family room where it still sits on my mantle, to remind me that I am a person. Part of, yet separate from my family and my role in my family.
A self-compassionate workshop, was followed by our final yoga circle, the most powerful one. Then we ate one more gourmet meal and our adventure was complete.
I left the retreat feeling like my old self, more confident that I could talk to and make friends with people without so much fear of not being accepted. Inherently, people are kind. Women need each other, and when put in a situation where they have the chance, they will draw close to one another. I am a wife, and I am a mother, and I am a daughter, the caretaker of my aging mother, but I am also more than all of that. I am me. And now and then I need a chance to just be me. This Get Out There Girl retreat gave me a profound opportunity to do just that.