As part of our #YourLead road trip adventure, Alex and I made our way up to Montana to hang out in Glacier National Park for a long weekend between visits to stores.

Kam Goes to Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

Kam Goes to: Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park wasn’t on my radar until some friends of some friends went last year and came back with only amazing things to say about the park. I knew Alex and I would get to the park eventually, but after hearing more about their adventures and all the trails in the park we knew we had to get there earlier rather than later.

We started to do some basic research as we prepared for the trip and I knew it would be a park we would want to spend as much time as possible visiting.

We’ll never learn to stop visiting northern parks in early June because there will most likely be snow. We ran into snow when we visited Mt. Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park in June a few years ago, so news that the Going to the Sun Road was closed at Avalanche Creek due to snow wasn’t a surprise.

We fell in love with Glacier National Park.

McDonald Creek and McDonald Falls Crossing in Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

McDonald Falls in Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

McDonald Creek Meets Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

Johns Lake Loop Trail in Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

The photos above are from the Johns Lake Loop trail, which has great views of McDonald Falls and is located where McDonald Creek meets Lake McDonald. The trail is very well traveled and is the busiest at the bridges. This trail reminded me of hiking in the Pacific Northwest: unbelievable greens, moss at every turn, and an overcast sky. This was a great first hike in Glacier NP for us.

National Park Tip: Hiking and nature trails are very popular throughout all the parks. To get away from the crowds, go a little further! You will find that there are a lot less visitors on the trail after the first mile from the parking lot. Prepare for a longer hike and enjoy the views!

Tribe Provisions Hammock in West Glacier - Campfire Chic

We spent most of our time on the west side of the park, so staying in the West Glacier KOA (see my review of Kampgrounds of America here) was the perfect location for us. We stayed in a cabin for two nights and in a regular camping spot for two nights.

It’s very close to the park entrance and far enough off of the main road that you feel secluded from the traffic leading into the park.

We brought our Tribe Provisions hammock with us in hopes we would be able to finally use it. We spent one morning in camp to clean up a bit and relax. Alex caught me napping in the hammock and caught this photo. It was really comfortable and I like that it is wide enough that I could use the sides as a blanket to cover myself from the sun. If you’re in the market for an adventure hammock, the price of this one is fantastic.

Swiftcurrent Lake in Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

Bridge from Lake Josephine to Grinnell Lake in Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

We did end up taking a scenic drive to the east side of the park because the Going to the Sun Road was closed. I’m not even sure the van we were driving would be allowed on the Going to the Sun Road due to size limits! We measured the van and I think it is 4 inches too wide (from side mirror to side mirror) for the road.

We went hiking in the Many Glacier of the park. The trail to the Grinnell Glacier lookout was closed due to dangerous conditions. A ranger suggested we visit Grinnell Lake via Swiftcurrent Lake and Josephine Lake. You can pay to take a set of boats across the lakes if you are not interested in hiking the roughly 7.5 mile loop. You will still need to hike a bit, but not as much as walking from the trail head to the lake and back.

This hike does not have a lot of elevation gain, so it isn’t a lung-busting hike like many of the others in the park. Check with your doctor before heading out on an hike or participating in physical activity.

Another bonus for doing the full hike? You’ll also save money by not taking the boats!

You can get more details on the Grinnell Lake hike in Glacier National Park from HikeSpeak and HikinginGlacier

Kayaking on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

The weather was perfect when we were in the park: Sunny but cool enough for layers to be necessary.

It was warm enough on Sunday to enjoy a rest day of kayaking on Lake McDonald. We rented kayaks in the Apgar Village, which is close to the boating area and small beach along the shore. We spent two hours on the water relaxing and enjoying the views. We ended up floating around an area of the lake where the shore is off-limits due to nesting and we spotted a bald eagle perched on top of a tree. We could see two nests nearby and hear eaglets chirping!

Glacier National Park is bear country, and there are plenty of signs throughout the park reminding visitors to carry bear spray and to lock up food or use bear lockers. We only encountered one bear while near the park as it ran across the road as we drove near Flathead Lake! Thank goodness the van had good brakes!

While in and around the park, we ate our usual tuna sandwiches and snacks from the store. When it came to dinner (and one fantastic breakfast), we ate at: Russell’s Fireside Dining Room at Lake McDonald Lodge, Carolyn’s Cafe (seriously, fantastic breakfast!), and Glacier Grill and Pizza.

Glacier National Park will be one of the parks we hit again in the future. There is so much of the park we weren’t able to see, and I would love to spend time in the backcountry.

Have you visited Glacier National Park? What should I see the next time I go?

 

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in 2016, Adventure, Microadventure, National Park, National Parks, Travel.

I was inspired by the Ten Things I Love About You Workshop from rukristin to create a quick mini-album to celebrate my cat’s 7th birthday.

Hi, my name is Kam and I’m on track to be a crazy cat lady when I grow up.

10 Things I Love About You workshop from rukristin - Campfire Chic

Ten Things I Love About You Mini Scrapbook Album

According to Rintu’s HomeAgain account, Friday was his 7th birthday! Alex and I adopted Rintu four years ago, and I’m really thankful his previous family had a profile for him.

Rintu is a major part of my everyday scrapbooking, but I haven’t focused a traditional scrapbook page or mini-album on him. After going through Kristin’s self-paced Ten Things I Love About You Workshop, I knew I wanted to make a small scrapbook album dedicated to Rintu.

Scrapbook Album by Kam of Campfire Chic

10 Things I Love About My Cat - Mini Scrapbook Album by Kam of Campfire Chic

I bought a few chipboard mini albums from Ali Edwards’ shop with the hopes that they inspire me to scrapbook smaller stories. I love the 5×7 inch size of this album because it is small enough to store easily but big enough to get a 3×4 inch photo on the page. I also like the metal rings of this album, which allow me to add more pages if I need to in the future.

Each album comes with 8 thick chipboard pages, so I made sure to include two of my things I love about Rintu on one page. I’m glad I have plenty of photos of him so I could find ones that would be perfect for doubling up.

Small Chipboard Scrapbook Album by Kam of Campfire Chic

10 Things I Love About You Workshop from rukristin papercrafts - Kam of Campfire Chic

Pet Themed Scrapbook Album - Kam of Campfire Chic

10 Things I Love About my Cat - Kam of Campfire Chic

Supplies:

Challenge for you: Take the Ten Things I Love About You Mini-Album workshop and create your own mini-album to celebrate your love for someone in your life!

This post includes affiliate links to the rukristin shop and Amazon.com. Purchases made through these links may result in a small commission. Thank you for your support.

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in 16 Projects in 2016, Memory Keeping, Scrapbooking

Roundup of helpful articles, blog posts, and videos from around the net

This weekend’s weather forecast looks pretty promising and I’m hoping to get some time on the water. I don’t know what happened, but I didn’t go stand up paddleboarding as much as I wanted to last summer (if at all??), so I made sure to go and get a monthly membership at the Newport Aquatic Center again to motivate myself to get down the beach regularly this summer.

I’m also hoping to get some time on the treadmill this weekend to help prepare for an upcoming backpacking trip I’m going on next weekend! I was invited to take part in the 2016 Wild Sage Summit hosted by Alyx of Shoestring Adventures and Liz of Snowqueen & Scout. After reading through the bios for the other women attending this weekend retreat, I know I probably have the least amount of experience so I’m really looking forward to learning from these amazing women. Their skill sets vary and each person brings something different to the table, so I know I’ll be in good hands on this three day trip!

This week’s essential reading

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in Essential Reading

So what do you do on a two week vacation when Teton Sports hands you the keys to a van, a wifi hot spot, and a gas card? You turn to your co-pilot and say, okay, it’s Your Lead!

And then you visit some National Parks, of course.

My #YourLead Road Trip with Teton Sports

Teton Sports Road Trip Adventure - Campfire Chic

In May, I announced I would be heading out on a two week road trip adventure as a part of Teton Sports’ #YourLead campaign. I am lucky my work let me go on such a long vacation, I started a new job in March and my introductory period ends in September…a two week vacation isn’t something a lot of people get take two and a half months into a new job.

During the Your Lead adventure, Alex and I visited Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks. We had a few moments where we considered adding more parks and destinations to our itinerary, but we decided to try and make our trip as relaxing as possible.

Kam of Campfire Chic on the Your Lead Adventure - Campfire Chic

I’m not very good at relaxing, so having only a basic outline of our trip had me a little on edge. In exchange for this road trip, we agreed to “share the stoke” of going on outdoor adventures at some Sportsman’s Warehouse locations along our route. Knowing we had stores to hit and wanting to give them the courtesy of a day to expect us to arrive gave me a good framework for figuring out what parks to visit when and how we’d get there.

Teton Sports YourLead - Campfire Chic

Thankfully, our trip (and Alex’s driving stamina) allowed us to knock out three of the stores on our list during our first full day on the road, so we could spend a long stretch of time at Glacier National Park before heading to the final store on our way to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. How’s that for planning?

A map of our #YourLead adventure

Here’s what our itinerary looked like:

  • June 1 Fly into Salt Lake City, get the van, and head out!
  • June 2 Drive from Lava Hot Springs through Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Missoula, to Glacier National Park
  • June 3-5 Explore Glacier National Park
  • June 6 Drive to Yellowstone National Park via Helena, Montana
  • June 7 – 8 Cruise Yellowstone National Park, Head to Grand Teton National Park
  • June 9 – 10 Hike around Grand Teton National Park, hang out in Jackson, Wyoming, drive to Salt Lake City
  • June 11 Return the van, head to the airport, and fly home! Eat burritos to celebrate.

What was nice about this trip is we were able to adjust our schedule to what we wanted at the time. We decided to spend less time in Yellowstone NP than we planned because we hit a lot of the major things we wanted to see and we wanted to have a little extra time to hang out in Jackson, Wyoming, if we had the chance.

Originally, we were going to leave Grand Teton NP early on Saturday morning and haul ass to Salt Lake City in order to turn over the van and catch our flight, but after being nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes, we decided to drive into the city Friday afternoon to have a big dinner, shower, clean out the van, and repack our bags. It was one of the better choices we made on the trip, and it made our flight home more enjoyable knowing we didn’t have to rush to make it to the airport.

Teton Sports Your Lead Van Road Trip - Campfire Chic

So, let’s talk about this van.

The #YourLead van is a Ford Transit that two of the guys behind Teton Sports kitted out to make it a moving home. You can tell that they put a ton of thought into each part of the build from the workstation at the rear of the cab, the straps to hold your gear in the back of van, and the mounted cot organizers for the bunk beds.

I was nervous to drive the van at first (the last time somebody lent me a van, things didn’t go too smoothly) but the rear-view camera and my experience driving big cars made my transition from chief navigator to driver a smooth one. The ride was smooth and it is very easy to park…Alex really wants to buy one for us to use on weekend (and longer!) adventures.

Teton Sports Van Life Ford Transit Van - Campfire Chic

The very back of the van was like a command center.

This is where the Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator was housed (the solar panels were on the roof of the van), and that thing is a powerhouse! We were able to run the interior fan all night without the battery fully draining, which was necessary on warmer nights. We also used the battery to charge our electronics and to power the van’s interior lights.

Knowing what I know now, if Alex and I get to take Betsy out again, I will pack clear totes to better utilize the storage back there like Heidi shows in this photo. The best thing I packed for organization was a collapsible fabric box that we used to keep things handy at the front of the van. I used it to pack some snacks, travel books, and charging cables.

Teton Sports Your Lead Van Interior View - Campfire Chic

It’s a bit of a mess in this photo, but it was home!

It feels like climbing into a tiny cabin when you are inside the van. I loved the wood across the walls and ceiling of the van and the metal above the counter. The sink has a grey water reservoir that you can use to put out your campfires at night.

The drawers housed everything you need for cooking meals and some electronic goodies that we were encouraged to play with on our trip, and we used the extra space to stow our toiletries.

The bunk beds were heavy, but totally manageable for the two of us. Each bunk bed was outfitted with a super comfy camp pad and ridiculously cozy canvas zero degree sleeping bags, so going to bed each night was a treat on our tired muscles.

Road Trip with Teton Sports - Campfire Chic

The mushy side of the Your Lead Adventure

As I follow the @YourLead_Van Instagram account to see where the van is headed next, I can’t help but be thankful for the few days we got to spend driving through new-to-us national parks. Our 1,550+ mile trip showed us parts of the country we haven’t seen before and we got time away from “real life” to talk about our first nine and a half years of adventures and trips we would like to take in the coming years. I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend two weeks with my best friend and favorite travel buddy.

If you’re interested in checking out some of the gear we used while on our trip, be sure to use coupon code KamAltar at checkout for 5% off your purchase when purchasing through the Teton Sports site.

Teton Sports Your Lead Van Adventure - Kam of Campfire Chic
  Here are some of my favorite Teton Sports gear:

  • Camp pad – Because comfort is important!
  • Camping pillow (with cover) I like the small size of these and think they’re a great addition to your car kit
  • Trailrunner Hydration backpack – I like this small pack for stand up paddleboarding, because let’s be honest, I haven’t been a trailrunner since high school
  • Mountain Ultra tents – I have a 1 person tent and a 2 person tent
  • Rock1800 backpack is one of the most heavy duty day packs I’ve ever owned. This is part of the new Blackout line and it’s a great bag for everyday adventures. I like using this back when going climbing outdoors.
  • Mountain Adventurer 4000 backpack is also part of the Blackout collection and was built with input from Teton Sports’ ambassadors, like me!
  • Journey 40 ultralight sleeping bag Is a fleece-lined bag you can take backpacking, use as a sleeping bag liner if you’re borrowing a friend’s bag, and also makes a great blanket for car naps.
  • Escape 4300 internal frame backpack – my current go-to backpack for overnight adventures. I won this beauty during my first time participating in #HikerChat many moons ago (I wonder if they’ll remember that!). Like all Teton Sports gear, this baby is ready for anything so I don’t hesitate lending it out to friends who need to borrow a bag for a weekend.
  • Summit 1500 backpack After winning the bigger bag, I promptly ordered this bag to use as a daypack (it’s 25L) for weekend trips and day hikes.
  • Deerhunter zero degree canvas sleeping bag – these are the heavy duty sleeping bags we used in the van. I wasn’t sure about the canvas at first, but when you’re throwing gear around, it’s nice to know nothing is going to rip easily. We rolled our bags during the day to great a daybed type situation in the van so we could read/lounge comfortably.
  • ComfortLite inflatable pillow – a great options for anybody looking for something other than their clothes shoved into a Buff at the end of the day. I like that the pillow has a soft texture and I can adjust the amount of support it gives by inflating the pillow to fit my needs
  • Cot Organizer – something I wish I had in my college dorm to hang next to my bed! I may or may not be adding one to my standing desk in my crafty work area.

Links to Amazon.com are affiliate links. Purchases made through these links may result in a commission for me. for affiliate-free shopping, visit the Teton Sports website (use coupon code KamAltar for 5% off your order). Their shop website allows you to purchase through some of your favorite websites without going through my affiliate links. I own the products featured in this post and know that Campfire Chic readers will get good use out of them. I would not recommend a product I do not feel would benefit Campfire Chic readers. Teton Sports sponsored my trip through several national parks and I am a member of their ambassador program, which means I may receive gear to help me go on more adventures. I want to thank Teton Sports for their continued support of close-to-home adventurers like me.

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in 2016, Adventure, Microadventure, National Park, National Parks

Finding Comfort While on the Road with Kampgrounds of America - Campfire Chic

Finding Comfort While on the Road with KOA Kampgrounds

I have a confession: I like to be comfortable while traveling.

While on a big two week road trip through Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, I was able to have a few very comfortable nights (indoor plumbing! a mattress! HGTV!) thanks to Kampgrounds of America (yes, KOA!).

If you grew up with a road tripping family, you may remember seeing the big yellow KOA sign off the side of the highway letting you know that you’re about to escape the confines of your car to explore a family-friendly campground. I didn’t grow up going to KOA campgrounds, but my mother-in-law has fond memories of her family bringing their trailer to the campground, swimming in the pools, and playing in playgrounds. When I told her Alex and I would would be staying in a couple of KOAs on our trip, she started looking up KOAs with deluxe cabins for a family weekend trip.

Why KOA?

I was contacted by KOA earlier in the year to see if I would be interested in planning some microadventures around KOA locations. I was unsure at first because I wasn’t familiar with any of the locations except one in Las Vegas…I had no idea that KOA has been around since 1962 and there are nearly 500 campgrounds across the United States and Canada. Each KOA has free wi-fi access, “Kamp K9” pet park, laundry facilities, playgrounds, and a convenience store. Some of the KOAs we visited had pools, ice cream parlors, fudge shoppes, and camper kitchen.

Did you know that there are three different types of KOAs?

When I was on the phone with KOA, they told me about the different types of campgrounds include: Journey, Holiday, and Resort. Journey campgrounds are the types that are close to a highway and ready for you after a long day on the road (like our first day of our trip!). Holiday campgrounds may be a little further from the highway and have more amenities available to campers. Resort campgrounds are destinations in themselves with more activities and overnight accommodation options.

For our trip, Alex and I planned on staying in two KOAs: Lava Hot Springs in Idaho and West Glacier in Montana.

The reservation process for setting up our trip was really easy. The website is easy to navigate and there are a ton of photos and videos available for the different locations. I was able to see the layout of each campground and what the facilities look like before booking, which gave me some peace of mind since I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting myself into.

KOA Lava Hot Springs Idaho - Campground Review on Campfire Chic

Kampgrounds of America – Lava Hot Springs, Idaho 

A few days before flying out to Salt Lake City to begin our trip, I emailed the hosts of the Lava Hot Springs KOA to let them know we may be arriving at camp close to (or after!) the office closed for the evening and wanted to see if there was a protocol for late check-ins. I set a reminder on my calendar to do a follow-up call with them if I didn’t hear from them before I headed to the airport but I didn’t need to make that call. My email was answered quickly and I was briefed on the late check-in process. Around 8:00 in the evening the day we were set to check-in, one of the KOA workers called me to see how I was doing, reviewed the process again, and to let me know she was going to leave the porch light on for me so I wouldn’t be stumbling around in the dark. So sweet!

Lava Hot Springs KOA Deluxe Cabin Campground Review - Campfire Chic

We stayed in a 4-person cabin with bathroom but no linens, one of the cabin options available, since we would only be there for the night and we had sleeping bags and towels of our own. There was a large parking spot, propane barbecue, fire pit, and picnic table outside of the cabin. Inside the cabin, we found a full bed, one set of bunk beds in a separate room, full bathtub and shower, small dining table, microwave, mini-fridge, and coffee maker.

Idaho Campground KOA Lava Hot Springs - Campfire Chic

The campground is snuggled in with older trees and our few neighbors were very quiet. In the morning, we walked by the river that runs through the campground and found the trail that leads into town…right to the famous lava hot springs! Guests get a discount for tube rentals and the KOA staffers have a lot of recommendations for things to do while you’re in town, which is helpful for travelers like us who may not be familiar with the area.

West Glacier KOA in Montana - Campfire Chic

Kampgrounds of America – West Glacier, Montana 

I emailed the West Glacier KOA staff before arriving, just like I did for the Lava Hot Springs KOA, to ask about late check-in since Alex and I had a big driving day between Lava

The West Glacier KOA is considered a Holiday campground but if this isn’t a Resort I don’t know what to expect from a “fancier” KOA! As we pulled into the campground after our 550+ mile day of driving, Alex and I were instantly impressed by the size, variety, and accommodation offerings…I was ready to move in as soon as we opened the door to our cabin. The cabin was incredible and the entire facility was beautiful. The campground is adjacent to a bird sanctuary and is off of the main road enough that you don’t hear any traffic as you feel asleep. There are showers, a laundry facility, family pool, adults-only pool and hot tubs, an ice cream parlor and restaurant (both were closed for the season, we were a little too early), really nice playground, and walking paths.

KOA Campground near Glacier National Park - Campfire Chic

Since we planned on staying in the Glacier National Park area for several days, we booked a Deluxe Cabin with bathroom and linens for part of our stay and a regular campsite for the remainder of our time there. Our cabin was a four person deluxe cabin “studio lodge” and it was probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Splurging for the cabin with linens was worth it! There were plenty of towels for our stay, and the beds were all nice and cozy with extra pillows. Even better…a television so we could watch one of the NBA playoff games! Alex was really happy with that. Like the Lava Hot Springs cabin, we had a coffee maker, mini-fridge, microwave, table, and a fully stocked kitchen so we could enjoy coffee in the morning and warm up leftovers in the evening.

West Glacier KOA Deluxe Cabin Review - Campfire Chic

Not only did our cabin include a full-sized propane barbecue grill, fire pit, and picnic table, it also included a cute set of chairs with a table on our porch. We woke up each morning and enjoyed coffee on the porch as we looked out on the great view of the trees and mountains surrounding the campground. 

It was nice to have a little yard to ourselves and imagine it would be fantastic to have during an extended stay with a young family. The landscaping is beautiful and the staff keeps the area really clean. We don’t have a yard where we live currently, so it was nice to have a temporary one!

Camping near Glacier National Park - KOA West Glacier - Campfire Chic

After a few nights in our cabin, Alex and I moved into one of the regular camping spots so we could enjoy a few nights in our van while checking out the other offerings of the campground. Our camping spot was along the perimeter of the campground, so we had a ton of trees surrounding us on one side and the shower and bathroom on the other side of a wide landscaped area (which was nice, I was a little worried that we’d have a high traffic camping spot, but it was very quiet!). Our campside had a nice tent pad – an area set aside in our campsite specifically for your tent. No pesky rocks! No having to worry about being too close to the fire pit! There was also a nice picnic bench and a wide fire pit with a single bench.

I’ve been camping for years and this bathroom and shower is hands-down the nicest ones I’ve ever seen! It was all fairly new and the tiling is very nice. Each shower is a private room with a small dressing area and a shower with a high shower head (good for tall campers like Alex!). I really appreciated the extra privacy these showers allowed.

We’ll be staying in this campground again if we visit Glacier National Park in the future. The staff was really nice and it was nice to not have to stress about being comfortable while on the road.

Kampgrounds of America – Yellowstone Park / West Entrance

As we left the West Glacier KOA, my mom reminded me that the second week of June is probably a popular time for families to visit Yellowstone National Park, so I shouldn’t assume camping spots would be available in the park. Alex and I were monitoring the Yellowstone National Park website the week earlier to see when campgrounds would fill up and forgot to check the day before leaving…and the campgrounds were filling at 6:0o in the morning! Cue slight panic over not having a place to stay while we were visiting the park…and cue the a-ha! moment when realized we should look up KOA locations near the park and book a spot through the KOA app. We were saved! We reserved a camping spot in the Yellowstone Park/West Entrance KOA before leaving our camping spot at West Glacier…thanks, Internet!

I didn’t take any photos of the campground, but it is much cozier than the other KOAs we stayed in on our trip. It’s a popular campground and we can see what it’s popular. There was an indoor pool, large camp store, and even a fudge shoppe inside! We didn’t spend much time in the campground, we used it to park the van and headed out early each morning and came in late each night. We saw families spending time in the playground and mini golf area, teens gravitated toward the bike rentals, small arcade room, and coffee shack, and dog owners gathered in the K-9 park to let their dogs play off leash for a while.

There is a second KOA in the area, so make sure you know which campground you’re going to before pulling up to the office! I made the mistake of going to the wrong one first and the staff was so nice about my mix up. They gave me directions to the next one and it looked really nice, too. It even had a small pond for fishing!

We saw more and more big yellow KOA signs as we drove through Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, which was comforting to see on the long stretches of road. It’s nice to know that as we travel around the country, we can count on a KOA being nearby.

The next time you’re looking to book accommodations for a road trip, consider Kampgrounds of America as part of your adventure.


I worked with Kampgrounds of America (KOA) to experience two of their campgrounds to provide honest reviews. They provided a gift card to pay for the reservations at Lava Hot Springs KOA  and the cabin at West Glacier KOA so I could see what the campgrounds had to offer. I chose to stay in the West Glacier KOA longer and booked the Yellowstone KOA on my own dime, and wished to include those experiences in the review, too. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and the only influence the review is that I may not have chosen to stay in cabins while on my trip because we had the van to sleep in. I want to thank KOA for allowing us to stay in those cabins and for introducing us to the variety of KOA brand offerings. I only work with brands I feel Campfire Chic readers will enjoy and share reviews that will benefit readers on their microadventures.

 

{ 1 comment }

in Adventure, Camping, Review, Travel.

Today’s tips are from Beth (and Sprocket) of 3Up AdventuresI met Beth and Sprocket in Salt Lake City a few years ago and she kicked my butt on a group hike. I live at sea level, there’s no way I can keep up with this wonder woman! She regularly checks mountain peaks off of her list…and some of them are 14ers!

Now that it is summer, I wanted to feature some tips for adventuring with your pet to encourage safe practices for both pet and pet owner. Since I don’t have a dog, Beth volunteered to share some tips.

Tips for Taking Your Dog on Outdoor Adventures - Campfire Chic

Beth, you document your adventures with your dog, Sprocket, on your blog and on social media. Can you tell us a bit about your life with Sprocket and the types of adventures you take?

Basically, Sprocket is the best adventure buddy I could ask for. He’s (fairly) understanding of the fact that I need to go to work as a teacher an only starts giving me pitiful “Is it the weekend?” eyes on Thursday and Friday. During the summer and on weekends though, we’re usually out exploring Colorado (and often, the rest of the Mountain West). Our favorite thing to do is hike to mountain peaks; Sprocket is well trained to know that we’re going to go up and then when there is no more up we’re going to go down. He’s so joyful on the trail that it always helps me really settle in to being in nature.

 

In the summer and on school vacations, I usually try to road trip somewhere and Sprocket can always be counted on to non-judgementally listen me sing terribly, be totally excited about random dirt road exploration, and to wait patiently while I do some internet work at coffee shops. When he was just 12 weeks old, he went on his first long road trip so his conception of home is probably the Jeep more than anywhere. Some people might consider me overly attached to my pup but all the time that I’ve spent with him has really helped him develop into a really well behaved dog who is super easy to travel with.

If somebody is new to taking their dog outdoors (long hikes, camping trips, etc.), what 3 tips would you share with them? 

Make sure your dog is ready for your adventure: Build up to mileage, elevation, and intensity: While you might have been going to the gym every day, was Fido’s exercise confined to a couple mile walk around the neighborhood? Another place I see dogs getting into trouble is sore paws; to go from asphalt or grass to mountain scree is a recipe for disaster. Slowly build your dog up to more miles on surfaces that can hurt tender cityslicker pup pads. My pup is really comfortable on anything Class 3 and possibly on some low Class 4 stuff but you have to know your pup! No one can tell you what they’re capable of.

You’re going to plan your day around your dog: Making sure that the temperature in your vehicle is okay for your pup is key when you’re taking creature comfort breaks at restaurants or coffee shops. I usually drive through a town scoping out a spot where I can sit outside since I usually hike in the cool morning hours to avoid high elevation afternoon thundershowers; this approach may or may not work for you depending on how your dog deals with people and other dogs. I’ve also push Sprocket’s evening meal back pretty late in the day so he knows that he’s going to get fed then and we’re not usually out on an adventure at dinner time; I get super hangry and while he’s way more chill than me I don’t want him to feel bad!
Spend lots of time with your dog, it makes all the difference: I feel really lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Sprocket. When he joined my family as a tiny puppy, I was just finishing up grad school and he definitely spent some afternoons under my desk as I finished up my research project and then just a few weeks later we hit the road for a month long adventure. That road trip meant that I had TONS of time to hang out with him, start him out on short (<1 mile) hikes, walk him around towns, and get him used to people and time in the car. After that trip, he’s remained a really really central part of my life and I never leave him behind on adventures that he’s capable of. I truly believe that pays off in terms of his pretty awesome behavior on the trail, around town, and at home.

What is one piece of gear/clothing/equipment/food that Sprocket would consider an essential for his adventures?

Lots of water! Sometimes he’s just not interested in it but he’s a big black dog that uses evaporation to cool himself (aka panting). I usually carry between 2-3L of water for a good day hike (which for us is ~6-12 miles) and I probably get one of it!
Beth and Sprocket of 3UpAdventures share tips for taking your dog on adventures - Interview on Campfire Chic blog

What is one piece of gear/clothing/equipment/food that YOU would consider an essential for your adventures?

Always having food on hand is key for me! I tend to get hungry super quickly out hiking (see my hangry comment above) so I always carry a range of snacks on the trail. A lot of the time I don’t touch them but they’re sort of a security blanket to me when I’m out for a long day.

Any last words of wisdom for adventurous dog owners/pet parents?

Essentially, you’re going to get out of your dog what you put into him or her: they’re going to want to please you when you make their needs central to your activities and travels. Do your part to make sure that your pup is a good hiking citizen to better the situation for adventurous dogs everywhere.
You can follow Beth and Sprocket’s adventures on the 3Up Adventures blog, twitter, instagram, and facebook.

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in Adventure, Blog Friends, From a Beginner, Hiking, Interview

Roundup of helpful articles and blog posts to help get you blogging through the summer slump

If you read Campfire Chic a few years ago, you know I have quite a few blogging-specific blog posts in my archives. I haven’t posted about social media or growing a community in a while because there are plenty of other resources covering those topics. With summer upon us, it’s a good time to dial back a bit and focus on growing your blog and working on blogging through the summer slump.

If you’re not a blogger, don’t go away just yet. These posts may be directed toward bloggers, but many focus on themes like productivity, which may be exactly what you need right now.

This week’s essential reading:

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in Essential Reading