Episode 14: First Time Hiking Half Dome

In this episode I walk you through our first time hiking Half Dome! Gear, timing, fear of falling, and HOLY CROWDS BATMAN! I hope you enjoy this talk-through on our Half Dome experience, and find it helpful if you are planning your Half Dome experience!

Best Time to hike: April through October

Type of hike: Rigorous day-hike, or adventurous overnight with backcountry permit; out and back from Happy Isles trailhead

Distance / Elevation Gain: 14-17 miles (depending on route) / ~5,200 ft (1,585 meters)

Our Excursion: Out and back overnight at Little Yosemite Valley in early August of 2022 with clear skies day one and afternoon thunderstorms day two; ~16 miles on AllTrails app, leisurely ~11 hours hiking and rest time plus overnight; ~5,250 feet elevation gain on Garmin GPS; cables in good condition with uncrowded ascent at sunrise; fear of heights/falling overcome with minimal whimpering.

Episode 13: Mt Whitney Night & Day

Have you ever hiked in the pitch black night with nothing to guide you but your headlamp and a somewhat reliable GPS? We’ve done more than our fair share of night hiking, but Whitney wins for being the most impressive, oppressive, and exhilarating!

We scored a single-day permit for Mt. Whitney for July 31st of 2022! Now, what this means is that we were blessed with a 24-hour period in which to hike the tallest peak in the contiguous U.S.A., 14,505 ft of forests, creeks, and granite over ~23.5 miles up and back down with ~6,400 ft of total hiked ascent (according to my Garmin).  This trip was made extra-special by some dramatic weather that opened up on us with ~5 miles to go in our hike, resulting in washed out trails, washed out selves, and rockfalls booming down the mountain as though Thor was having a temper-tantrum. 
We loved a lot, learned a lot, and lucked out a LOT on this trip! We hope you enjoy hearing about our experience!

Gear List – a lot of this is our tried-and-true standards:
Osprey Tempest 20 & 22L daypacks (his & hers) with hip belt
Platypus 2.5L bladder with hose and Camelbak bite-valve
Gregory 2L bladder/hose/valve
el-cheapo trekking poles off Amazon (we will be replacing after this trip, but they’ve lasted 10+ years)
T-shirt-turned bandana from our church (gotta represent!)

Danner Trail 2650 Gore-Tex boots (LOVE!)
L.L.Bean hiking zip-off pants and anorak 
Mountain Hardwear tank top and Ghost Whisperer packable down coat
Mammut med-weight jacket
Ex-Officio unders
VS wireless medium-impact sports bra
SmartWool Liner socks and Merrell wool-blend hiking socks (extras packed for wet feet)

Asolo Agent Gore-Tex (his go-to boots)
Mountain Hardwear hiking zip-off pants 
Mountain Hardwear Gore-Tex raincoat 
Mountain Hardwear buton-down and med-weight jacket
SmartWool liner and hiking socks
Ex-Officio boxer-briefs

Stinger Waffles, Clif Bars, Clif Blox, Quest bars, some gross high-protein cookie Dan got excited about, Kind bars, dried fruit, candied nuts, Stinger Gels, candied ginger (for the win!), Justin’s Nut Butter individual packs, bagels

VLOG – Mogollon Rim Drive April 2022

In April 2022 we visited the Mogollon Rim (pronounced muggy-on, which Amanda was personally challenged to remember) in Northern Arizona, embarking on the ~45 mile Rim Road for a sunset drive. With a carload of snacks, water, and and full tank of gas, this drive is an incredible experience! Allow about 2.5 hours of drive time one-way, or bring your gear and camp off the road for a fantastic off-grid overnight excursion. As always, be responsible, respectful, and aware.

From VisitArizona.com:

Do you want to see some of the most far reaching scenery in Arizona? Stand atop a 2,000-foot drop of the Mogollon Rim and get ready to take in some truly amazing views spanning from pines to desert.

History & Nature

Stretching 200 miles from Yavapai County to New Mexico, the Mogollon Rim provides breathtaking views overlooking an expansive forest of pine trees. The rim is a true geological wonder hosting sedimentary, volcanic and metamorphic rock dating back to the Precambrian era.


Interview with Lance K – Musings on the healing power of the outdoors, faith, and other ramblings. Part 2 of 2

Part 2 of our chat with Lance – his time in Cali on his Jeep journey, musings on healing in nature and how it ties to faith, and what’s happening next with his backyard biking ventures. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get you podcasts, and to check out Lance’s Instagram @lance_rk

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Lance kriesch (@lance_rk) • Instagram photos and videos

Interview with Lance K – A Jeep Named Black Betty, Hanging in Slab City, and Sasquatch? Part 1 of 2

We were super excited to sit down and chat with our friend Lance Kriesch, a fellow outdoor enthusiast who is passionate about encouraging people to experience the outdoors and adventure. He recently went on a Kerouac-inspired jalopy road trip with his brother in his Jeep Cherokee dubbed “Black Betty,” and has some fantastic reels you can view on his Instagram @lance_rk while you listen to his stories here!

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Lance kriesch (@lance_rk) • Instagram photos and videos

Episode 10 – Mt Whitney Previsit Revisit

We are back up and running for 2022! We’ve renovated our basement and are working on the recording set-up, and would like to thank you for being here to dive back into adventuring with us!

Back in 2008 Dan and some buddies made a 10-day backcountry trek to Mt Whitney and Mt Langley; we are in for permits in 2022 to do the Whitney Portal to Peak (there and back again) together, and wanted to revisit his ’08 trip as a teaser for our big plans this year. We won’t be doing 10 days in the Whitney area, but are planning a single-day out and back to the Whitney peak (weather and health permitting) and exploring the California parks, including Yosemite and Sequoia. Sequoia holds a special place in my heart as the site of many childhood camping and hiking trips with my family, and I am so excited to get back out there to explore!

Throughout the year we will do a couple of episodes on planning our California Adventures, and we hope you will enjoy following along!

Pics from Dan’s ’08 trek below!

Finding What Drives us – a bit of wild vulnerability

We’ve taken a bit of a break over the summer leading to lots of space between posts due to travel, work, and reassessing priorities. This “break” has sparked some self-assessment and re-evaluation of my future goals. Please consider the following post as coming to you in a spirit of trying to figure myself the heck out – I’m feeling a little introspective right now, and am using this as an exercise to organize my thoughts.

I’m (Amanda :-)) writing this post in the space of vulnerability, channeling the insights of one of my favorite author / speakers, Brené Brown. I’ve been thinking a great deal about what exactly it is that drives me: what motivates me, gets me out of bed in the morning, brightens my spirit? At our church Women’s group meetings (Church in the Wild, Westerville) we’ve discussed our God-given talents and how to use them – I felt like I was stumped on trying to discover mine.

I’ve taken a multitude of personality tests over the years, mostly as part of a team activity at my places of work: on Meyers-Briggs I’m an “ENFP” – which, according to themeyersbriggs.com means that I am “energetic, innovative, friendly,” and “stimulated by new people and experiences;” but also that I tend to “over-worry,” and stress out over being forced to make decisions too quickly or plan long-term. Dan will tell you that is ABSOLUTELY true, as he wants to plan our upcoming Mt. Whitney trek over a year out (in his true ISTJ fashion, ha), whereas I would be happier to show up at the airport and pick a flight to the first wild place I see on the Departures monitor. Those of you who are planners like Dan may have just felt a wave of nausea at that thought, but I hope you realize that I feel the same nausea at the thought of being locked in to plans over a year out when anything can go haywire between now and then.

I took the Gallup Strengths-Finder survey and discovered that I am strong in “Individualization.” Broken down, that means I’m good at reading and understanding people – what motivates them, how they respond to stress, how to best engage them in the workplace. Honestly, this cracks me up because I’m evidently good at reading other people, but can’t figure out my own self. Evidently, this also means that I’m good at adjusting my personality to fit the dynamics of the people around me – in an outgoing group, I tap into my extroversion and help drive the party; in an introverted group I am able to enjoy the calm and go with the flow; when someone needs to talk I can feel that and let them drive the conversation. This also means that I tap into others’ emotions (and drama) very easily, so I have to guard myself to keep from diving down into the deep end with them.

One the Enneagram I am a “Type 8 – The Challenger,” described as self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational (good), yet also can be intimidating and confrontational (bad). I feel this type positively when someone tries to control or “instruct” my core beliefs or my freedom, and negatively when I realize I said something in a way that could be taken offensively – I need to work on my filter!

All of these tests claim to know who I am; they outline, encourage, and set boundaries for self-expectation and behavior. However, none of the authors of these tests really KNOW who I am: they don’t know that my favorite times of day are the moments when the sun is low, either dusk or dawn, when the air is cool and the birds are transitioning; they don’t know that those times are when I feel closest to God and my ancestors, and that is when I choose to focus on connecting to God. The authors don’t know that what gets me out of bed and to the gym in the early morning hours before dawn is the drive to stay fit, to keep moving as well as I can for as long as I can so that I can experience more of the gift of life on this planet.

The authors of these very interesting and engaging tests don’t know that I get satisfaction out of my donkey bumping my elbow for a nuzzle before searching my pocket for a treat; that I like that my horse is just slightly overweight because he’s living his best life doing trails every now and then and enjoying the green grass every day. They don’t know that one of my favorite pastimes is sitting on my front porch with my husband and a glass of fine scotch and watching our dogs play or our chickens peck at stinkbugs in the sunset light. They don’t know that I hiked through 15,000 feet at the Salkantay Pass fueled by absolutely nothing but pure determination after spending the night under the clearest, star-bright and frigid skies, puking into a snow pile from the stomach bug I picked up in the Tambopata. That was five solid days of hiking through the mountains to Machu Picchu without being able to hold down any food, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

They don’t know that my brother and I grew up traveling all over the country with our parents, visiting almost all 50 states before high school and a lot of amazing historical sites, or that we all both loved and resented that life experience in different ways. That I love travel and excitement as much or more than I love stability and Home – luckily I found a partner in life who feels much the same way.

I’m breaking all of this down as part of my efforts to better understand myself and my future – I’ve discovered that I am a “Jack of All Trades,” good at and interested in a lot of different experiences and knowledge. On the flip side, I get overwhelmed by too many to-dos, too many prescribed activities directed by someone else. I love animals and wildness, open skies and fresh air, feeling close to God in nature; I detest sitting in an office building, or navigating big crowds of people, and struggle with negative self-talk and anxiety. I love stories, both mine and those of other people – I want to spend my life collecting stories and knowledge to share with others, to inspire people to get out and experience every bit of life that there is out there to live – and there it is, the want in all this breakdown. It took me until this sentence to outline that want, and now I get to to refine it further.

My father passed away last June (2020), after a sudden and traumatic attack of cancer that seemingly came out of nowhere and took him too quickly. He was always a storyteller – a writer, an exaggerator, a weaver of tall tales and true life lessons. I miss hearing his stories (sometimes for the hundredth time) and bouncing my ideas off of him. As I dive deeper into exploring where life – and the journey we are on with Adventurestalk – will take us I think about how Dad would tell the story, how he would write the tale. I hope that those out there who knew him and might be listening can hear a little of his voice through our blog and podcast. I hope he would approve, and that, in those moments at dawn and dusk when I feel closest to both Dad and God, he can see the path I’m on and smile.

We want to hear YOUR stories, and, if you are comfortable, share them with the world! Please reach out if you have a funny, unique, or engaging story of travel, wilderness, or history tale that you would like to share. We can’t offer much right now other than a good listening ear and inquisitive mind, but if you would like to share your story on the AdventureStalk platform we’d love to be your guides!

Contact: AdventureStalk@Gmail.com

Subject Line: Stories to Share: Your Name

Episode 9 Big Days, Big Skies at Glacier National Park: Part 1

WHEW! It has been a crazy summer! We have been insanely busy around the farm and are way behind on getting some episodes out to you all. We hope you’ve been having some crazy adventures this summer, and that you enjoy this two-parter on Glacier National Park!

Our 2019 trip to Glacier National Park was AMAZING!  We hope you enjoy hearing about our time in Big Sky Country, and that maybe you learn something useful for your next outdoor adventure. 

Amazing geology, glaciers, wildlife, and hiking await you in the Crown of the Continent, as well as a deep feeling of appreciation for the ancestors who settled this area thousands of years before we got here. 

Episode 8 Continued – Grand Canyon Part Two – Phantom Ranch to the North Rim Lodge

In this episode we document our hike out of the canyon, the gorgeous North Rim Lodge, and gear, food, clothing for the trail.  We started this day with an AWESOME breakfast at the ranch, followed by an even more AWESOME dinner at the Lodge after some hot, sweaty mileage.  

We seriously want to go back and do it again, this experience was so challenging and rewarding!