Snowshoeing

Have you tried snowshoeing yet?

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We believe that spending time outdoors is important year-round. Yes, even in winter! I know that instincts tell us to hibernate when the weather gets cold and the days get short, but that’s when it becomes important to spend some time outside recharging our souls, resetting our state of mind, and burning a few calories.

If you’re new to the activity, snowshoeing is a great way to spend time outside. Once you get the shoes strapped on, just start walking. It’s that easy!

But, if you want more of a challenge, that’s easy too – climb the nearest hill (or mountain), and you’ll be sweating in no time!

We can’t guarantee it, but the chances are good that trails will be less crowded during the winter. That combined with the sound-absorbing quality of snow will give you a truly peaceful experience.

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Snowshoes

This will be obvious to some, but bear with us.

Snowshoes are just “shoes” strapped to your boots that have sturdy frame and a large footprint. It’s that large base that spreads out your weight and keeps you from sinking into the snow.

Traditional snowshoes were often made with a wooden frame and a netting base made from rope, rawhide, or another natural material. Surprisingly (to me), you can still order “traditional” snowshoes customized to fit your needs!

Modern snowshoes have a frame made of metal, a plasticized cloth-like base, and straps that go around your boots. Some also have spikes on the bottom; great for preventing slips when on trails with ice or packed-down snow.

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These MSR Accents are the exact pair that I have, BUT they aren’t pictured in the photo above, because the photographer (little Sarah!) was borrowing them. I’ve used them for a few years now, and have enjoyed every adventure. They come with a steep price tag, but people love them, and for good reason. They are extremely easy to put on, light weight, and have just enough spikes to give you great traction on a variety of snow and ice surfaces. Of course, there are other shoes that get reviews & are much less expensive.

Of course, before you shop, try out the sport. If a friend has some snowshoes, ask them to take you on a walk! Check to see if the parks department, state parks, or nature centers offer guided snowshoeing walks.

If you need to rent a pair, there are a few options:

  • ski resorts : Often times, ski resorts that allow snowshoeing (more info below) will offer snowshoe rentals.
  • sportswear shops : You can also check in at sporting goods shops, particularly those where winter sports and winter tourism are common.
  • nature centers : Our local nature center offers snowshoe rentals.

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Where to go?

With a good layer of snow, the possibilities for snowshoeing are endless. I was introduced to snowshoeing by a friend* in Vermont. We put on the shoes, walked out her backdoor, and were off.

  • your favorite trail : If you have a trail that you frequent in the summer, give it a try in the winter!
  • nordic centers : These are areas that are designed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. You may have to buy a trail pass, but it will come with the benefit/security of walking on designated snowshoeing trails.
  • ski resorts : many ski resorts in the west are located on leased National Forest land. You may not realize it, but that land is open to everyone (even if you’re not skiing!). The same can’t be said for resorts on private land. So, the next time you’re near a resort, check in to see if they allow snowshoeing. It may seem counterintuitive to suggest snowshoeing at a ski resort, but I enjoy the strenuous exercise from hiking up the hills. Some resorts have started to realize that snowshoeing appeals to guests that don’t want to ski. In response, they’ve created dedicated snowshoeing trails on the mountain that aren’t as steep as hiking straight up the hill. Sometimes accessing these trails requires you to buy a lift ticket, but it’s often sold at a cheaper rate than the skier’s ticket.

The photos in this post show us snowshoeing at a combination of the locations suggested above.

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Snowshoeing with Kids

As you can see, we are always snowshoeing with the kiddos. They love getting outside as much as we do!

Unfortunately I think there’s a small window of time when we’ll be able to snowshoe with them when they’re young. Right now, they’re easy to carry. Soon, there will be a few years when they’ll be too heavy to be carried and won’t have the endurance for a good hike on their own. Then, (hopefully!) we’ll buy them their own snowshoes when they’re ready to go out with us again!

Here are a few of our tried-and-true tips for snowshoeing with young kids :

  • pick the right carrier : As you can see, we’re snowshoeing while carrying the kids. When they are really young, we prefer keeping them cozy on our front with a traditional Ergo. The Ergo’s pocket is helpful extra storage on these longer hikes. Once they get bigger, we move them to our backs and into a frame carrier.
  • keep them cozy : When they’re on your front, keeping them close to your body can help to keep them warm, and lets you monitor their comfort. When they move to your back, you lose those benefits, but it’s easy to bundle them up.  We can’t rave enough about this uber cute bear bunting. It’s great because you can keep their hands and feet completely inside. Hats easily fit under the hood for an extra layer. And it’s super durable – we’ve used it for two kids for two years each (buy it slightly big) and it’s still in great shape! We often keep their fleece PJs on as a first layer under the bunting. If it’s a particularly chilly day, we’ll layer a rain suit on top of the bear bunting. It helps to block the wind, but the combination is not too bulky for the kiddos, so they can still easily move around.
  • snacks : never forget your snacks and water! Of course, you know that. I just take something that isn’t too messy and can easily be fed to the kiddos while hiking. Animal crackers or a kiddo snack bar are easy options.
  • sunscreen : need I say more?
  • naptime : think about hiking during your kiddo’s naptime. It’s always worked well for us, and they get a relaxing nap in the fresh air.

Of course, we also love to have some fun with the kids when on a hike. Who can resist rolling down hills and romping around in a field of fluffy snow?!

snow2If you haven’t yet, we hope you’ll give snowshoeing a try! It’s a winter sport that can be adapted to all levels, from a casual walk to a strenuous run.

No matter your level, we’re sure you’ll love the time outdoors on a beautiful winter day, and you’ll earn that steaming cup of hot chocolate at the end of the day! xo

~

*Fun Fact : While on snowshoes for the first time, my friend and I discussed our love of winter foliage, and that became the name of my first blog! It’s only a bit spooky that my last post on that blog was about snowshoeing, especially since I didn’t know that it’d be the last post at the time. Talk about coming full circle! 


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Seasoned View Vol. 30

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature taken by the Seasoned sisters.

Happy last day of the first month 🙂 Hopefully, 2018 came about gently, without too much hesitation. I find I can become overwhelmed at the beginning of each year. So many possibilities and dreams and wants, where to start, ya know? I only had a few days like that this January, but each time I felt overwhelmed I turned to my meditation practice. Meditation allows me to put some space in between my thoughts and emotions and myself. It’s my mental health medicine and I cannot thrive without it. If you’d like to join, I send out a Meditative Monday email each week with a guided meditation. Sign up here. But, back to the images…

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You can upload one or all of these photos to use as your desktop background or even as phone and tablet wallpapers.  Katie captured all of these in Colorado this past month. To use the images, simply right-click on the photo, save it, and set it as your background.  Enjoy!

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Winter Break Snapshots

What a winter break we’ve had! We have one more day left tomorrow, and we’re going to do what we’ve been doing the past couple of weeks – spend it outside. It seems like we’ve really hit our stride this year when it comes to embracing the winter. Of course, it’s all about good clothes, a good spirit, and just doing it, but I’ll talk about that in another post. Today, I’m sharing just a glimpse of what we’ve been up to these past few weeks.

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We started our break in Steamboat Springs, CO (one of our favorite ski towns in the state!). We arrived at the start of a snowstorm that lasted well into the next day and maybe the day after? I can’t remember. But we still had a great time skiing and snowshoeing all over the mountain.

On our third, and final, day in town, we visited Strawberry Park Hot Springs before driving home. We had been here once last winter, and it was just as magical as I remembered.

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We arrived home the same day that Sarah and our family flew into town, and then every pitched in and helped us prepare to host a big party for C’s office. There was definitely a moment of “what are we doing?!” the night before, but in the end, the party was awesome, the food delicious, the company amazing, and the music pumping.
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The party was followed by a day of rest and then it was off to the mountains to ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad with Santa! We did this last year and I was really excited to do it again. When you arrive at the station, there’s hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts to munch on. Then you board the train and start riding with the excitement of knowing that Santa’s going to come and sit with you to say hi. It’s such a nice way to visit Santa, because there are no lines – you just wait in your seat on the train until Santa gets to you, meanwhile, the train’s moving through the beautiful Colorado mountains.
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Back in Boulder, we did more hiking. christmas_break2016_12

And snowball throwing. christmas_break2016_13 christmas_break2016_14

And then it was off to the mountains again for more skiing and snowshoeing!
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Home for more hiking…christmas_break2016_24 christmas_break2016_25

And here we are, relaxing, making our list of resolutions, and preparing for one more day on the slopes before we’re back to a regularly scheduled week.

I hope your break was full of warmth, family, food, and all of that holiday magic. xo

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Winter Photography Tips

Sarah is a professional freelance photographer – she’s always sharing tutorials. Learn how to find flattering natural light for selfies and portraits or catch tips on photographing kids and pets. See what camera Katie shoots with or check out my favorite lenses.

Live Seasoned Spring 16 Photographing Winter Landscapes08Live Seasoned Spring 16 Photographing Winter Landscapes14 We agree, it’s a little bit strange to talk about Winter Photography Tips in mid-April, but did you see all the snow that fell in Boulder this past weekend? It wouldn’t stop! With a house full of food and relatives and the fire on full blast, we enjoyed every second of the snow.  We even made it outside for a hike up the mountainside.  If you’re still enjoying wintery snowscapes, here are a few practice pieces of advice for photographing in the snow. Continue reading

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Welcome January

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A new year! Ugg/yay. I’m feeling so many feelings about the flipping the calendar from 2015 to 2016. Excitement about all to come while wanting to slow down time because I don’t want to miss a moment and there’s so much to do, but I’m sure many of you feel the same way. I’m assuming that this is a sign of old age? blah.

Continue reading

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Seasoned View: Vol. 21

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find our archive of past months’ views here.

Happy New Year everyone!  We have a nice mix of sunny and frosty for your January edition of Seasoned View. All of these images were taken my Katie or myself in Colorado over the past two weeks.  As you can see, we went on our fair share of wintery hikes and we’re suggesting you do the same- you won’t regret it.  Bundle up and get out there!

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You can upload one or all of these photos to use as your desktop background or even as phone and tablet wallpapers.  Simply click on the download link below each photo and save the image.  Enjoy!

Continue reading

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Best of the Season

At the end of each season, we take a look back and highlight our favorite posts. See previous Seasonal Bests here.

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Even though it doesn’t feel like spring, we’re happy to turn our sights towards longer days, warmer weather, and a variety of new topics starting with the introduction of our ingredient of the season next week! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy clicking back through our favorite posts of winter. If you had a fave we didn’t mention, we would love to hear in the comments!

Best of Soups & Sides

  • Sarah’s pick: I’ve been eating this crab chowder recipe for the past twenty years, but it is still one of my favorite soups of all time.
  • Katie’s pick: I never thought of myself as a creamy chicken soup fan, but we were introduced to an amazing version this winter!

Best of Desserts

Best of Drinks

Best of Crafts

  • Sarah’s pick: I have no idea how to knit, but I still love reading Kate’s Project Sweater Updates.
  • Katie’s pick: I loved everything about our new Christmas stockings, that they were so easy and fast to make, and that I know they’ll be hanging on our mantel for years to come!… now to think up a forth design for next year.

Best of Potions

  • Sarah’s pick: I know this Natural Orange Cleaner isn’t for your skin, but this potion is so cheap and helpful around here!
  • Katie’s pick: Lotion bars, as they’ve now become a staple in our dry Colorado climate!

Best of Nature

  • Sarah’s pick: I say this with painful pangs of jealousy in my heart: I love reading about Katie’s snowshoeing adventures in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Katie’s pick: I (finally) got one of the ENO hammocks for Christmas that the rest of my siblings have been raving about, so Sarah’s tips for winter hammocking really struck a cord.

Best of Travel

  • Sarah’s pick: I had so much fun writing this post about How To: Save for Travel and creating a budget and savings plan for my trip to Nepal later this year.
  • Katie’s pick: The German Christmas Markets post was such a fun read for me because it took me right back to our trip, and made me wish that I could steal away a week to visit the markets every December!
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Seasoned View: Vol. 11

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find last month’s here and past months’ here.

It’s February! One-twelfth of 2015 is over. That is totally cool with me.  One more month closer to summer says the bitter winter-hater in me 😉  Each month I post a screenshot of my desktop with one of the new seasoned view backgrounds.  Did you notice that it always looks so clean and tidy?  Well, I wanted to let you know that it’s a total illusion.  Each month My desk top really looks like this:

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Then I simply make a folder entitled everything or entire desktop or all of it and select all the crap on my desktop and throw it in there.  I wish housework was that easy!  See? All clean:

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You can upload one or all of these photos to use as your desktop background or even as phone and tablet wallpapers.  Simply click on the download link below each photo and save the image.  Enjoy!

liveseasoned_winter14_seasonedview11-1Click here for You’re Perfect.

liveseasoned_winter14_seasonedview11-1-3Click here for White Birch.

liveseasoned_winter14_seasonedview11-1-2Click here for Iced Tea.

liveseasoned_winter14_seasonedview11-1-6Click here for Chesapeake Sunset.

liveseasoned_winter14_seasonedview11-1-4Click here for Snowfall.

Hope you dig ’em and download ’em.  Happy Monday!

Oh and a reminder that I’m challenging myself to meditate a little bit.  Join in!

 

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5 Tips For Winter Hammocking

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If you’re in the northern hemisphere and it is cold, cold, cold right now, but if you still want to enjoy nature, we have a remedy for you.  Curl up, cozy up, comfy right on up in your hammock!  We’re not talking about your grandma’s macrame hammock, although those are cool too. If you’ve haven’t seen them yet, we’re talking about a more heavy-duty yet light-weight camping hammock. It’s a great way to get outside while still kind of hibernating. Let me explain.

Once you stick to these tips and jump up into your hammock, you’ll feel as cozy as a caterpillar in a cocoon.  The most important thing about having fun outside in the winter is, you guessed it, staying warm!  If you’re uncomfortable freezing your butt off you will have no fun, none! So follow these quick tips and take a trip outside, it’s time for some winter hammocking.

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Seek out the sun and hide from the wind.

  • The sun is your bestie.  We all know that, especially when winter comes and we’re begging, calling, and singing to the sun.  Find a spot where the sun is shining on you, but keep in mind that you also want to find a bit of natural shelter from the wind.  See how I’m snuggled right up against those tall grasses?  They are the perfect wind buffer.  The field of high grass extended at least a mile in the distance that the wind was blowing from, which means the wind had to travel through all that way just to get to me.  You could also venture into the woods where you’re surrounded by a barrier of trees or you could find an enormous rock or wall of some type that will offer some protection.

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Pack a pillow and a sleeping bag.

  • I can guarantee you will have the most miserable time if you don’t pack a sleeping bag.  I wouldn’t wish that hammocking experience on anyone.  Cold winter air is swirling above and below the hammock, but if you’re snuggled into a sleeping bag and your head is on a bed of down you’ll be comfy as a clam. That’s a saying, right?  There are hammock-compatible sleeping bags, but I usually just hang out for an hour or two so I don’t think one is necessary for this purpose.  There are also handy insulation pads.  You also can make your own with a space blanket.

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Bundle up!

  • Are you sensing a theme here? Stay warm! Definitely wear some warm, wool socks and a knit hat.  You’ll be taking off your boots when you climb into your sleeping bag (obviously) so you really want to make sure you have a great pair of socks on.  Throw in a scarf and some gloves and you are all set.

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Bring a warm drink.

  • You should always take water with you when you go out exploring, but in this case I like to bring a jar of tea.  I choose to pack a jar instead of a thermos or drink bottle because you can screw the lid on tight and stick it down in your sleeping bag.  If you’ve ever used a mason jar as a tea mug you know the glass gets hot, which is great in this case!  It’s just one more way to keep those toes toasty.

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Grab a good book.

  • Bring along a book or really anything to keep you entertained.  After ten minutes, I promise you’ll be warm and cozy and totally lost in whatever you’re reading or thinking about.

If you’re at all curious about what gear I’m using, here you go: hammock, seriously awesome straps, sleeping bag, and pillow.

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In the Snow with Little A

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We waited until late in the afternoon to venture out into yesterday’s snow. I admit that I had to build up my courage to face the cold temps, but after a big bowl of soup and a few layers of wool, I was ready. Alex’s mission was simple : eat as much snow as possible, and my mission even simpler : quietly follow behind the little guy as he explored.

I think we’d both declare the mission a success.

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