Thursday, December 30, 2010

Upper O'Malley Trails

8 mamas, 9 kids, 2 grandmas, 1 grandpa and 1 pregnant aunt joined us for our last trek of 2010 and the decade! The sun was rising and, all the street lights still on, made Anchorage sparkle under its fresh coat of snow. There were great conversations, mamas and babes trying out new gear, the spoils of Christmas. In fresh snow the trail was a little more of a moderate uphill then the slight uphill I advertised it to be. Those using pulks got a butt burner of a work out. The 18 degree weather seemed like a balmy treat after last week's negative temps. Many actually had to shed a layer or two. It was even a whole 22 warmer than Tuesday's Skeedaddle playdate. Lia's mom and sister joined us and had a great strategy for the down hill decent - sledding! The bigger kiddos hopped out of their packs and walked toward the end.

Have a fantastic and safe start to your new year! Please email me if you have any trail suggestions for 2011!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Outdoor Baby Network & Sledding Safety

There is a fantastic new resource for parents with kids of all ages who want to raise their children with the outdoors as a key component: The Outdoor Baby Network.

I found a great blog from our very own Jen Aist, and author of the book Babes in the Woods about sledding safety.

Sledding is a quintessential winter activity for young and old alike. I know my family enjoys our local sledding hills on a regular basis. But did you know that sledding accounts for over 20,000 injuries each year? ( That is almost as much as skiing and snowboarding combined! (skiing and snowboarding account for just shy of 29,000 injuries annually) To keep your kids safe on the slopes this winter, follow these simple guidelines as suggested from the National Safe Kids organization.

1. Make sure an adult is present with your kids.
2. Avoid icy slopes
3. Use designated hills that are free from obvious obstacles like trees, cars, streets, etc
4. Check your sled for cracks or broken parts that could cause your child to lose control.
5. Always head down the hill feet first.
6. Go down the hill one person at a time and one person per sled.
7. If the sled gets going too fast, teach your kids to roll off of it.
8. This one might seem like a no-brainer, but Safe Kids reminds kids to never ride in a sled being towed by a car.
9. Wear a helmet! I work at a children’s hospital and every year we see lots of traumatic brain injuries related to sledding crashes. There is no helmet designed specifically designed for sledding, but Safe Kids advises using either a bike helmet, skateboard helmet or ski helmet. I’d go with the ski helmet as it has better protection and provides some warmth too. These come in sizes to fit pretty tiny heads too.

My kids love jumps. They love designing them and constructing them as much as love going over them with their sleds. I don’t like jumps. I could tell you stories of kids with broken legs and arms, but I think you get my point! Small jumps are much better.

With some simple precautions and a good helmet, sledding is a great way to spend an afternoon outside with your kids. One more pointer: for the over 35 back end—the inflatable sleds are way more comfortable!

Mountain Blue Eyes Fitted Nursing Tee Review

Amanda was one of the lucky moms who scored the Mountain Blue Eyes Fitted Nursing Tee. She's lived with it for a while and tested it out. Here is her review of the product:

After donning my new Mountain Blue Eyes active nursing top, I was first struck by the way that it hung on my figure. It was suprisingly flattering; a definite plus in a sea of bulky, boxy, nursing wear in my wardrobe. While in wintertime it isn't the most important feature, it is still a plus to feel confident in appearance with a "functional" garment.

 I was skeptical as to how it could improve on things that I had tried previously, so I set out to test it on a winter snowshoe with my family. Thirty minutes in, and under two layers of jacket and fleece, nature called my little one to nurse. It was a bit difficult to maneuver the layers of top with the layers of outerwear, though it provided an excellent "heat barrier" for me while nursing outdoors. My little one had no problem with access or feeling as if there was too much fabric going on-- something that has been of issue in the past. I also never felt the dreaded clammy sweat during our hike. The top moved well, was breathable per design, and never bunched up under my layering.

Once indoors and in a public venue, it was easier to test sans layering. The fabric was just the right density to offer coverage but light enough to not feel stuffy. Again, no issues with access once flaps were out of the way. Perhaps it is due to me having a top slightly bigger than my frame (I am a size 4 using a size M top), but the slits were a little off for my breast height. This was easy enough to maneuver around. I also was able to better appreciate how easy it was to unhook my nursing tank thanks to the neck of the top.

To summarize:

- flattering style
- excellent breathability
- great coverage for nursing-- I felt confident without my nursing cover
- no bunching!!


- price-- while I won this top from my hiking group, Taiga Trekkers, I would hazard that price may be a barrier from purchasing en masse (I have recommended it to several friends who seem hesitant at the price) 
- somewhat difficult to use under multiple layers while on the go

Thank you to Amanda for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review and to Mountain Blue Eyes for providing us with such great gear! You can find their products locally at the Nursing Boutique in the Providence Hospital Maternity Center. To learn more about Catherine, the amazing mama and owner of Mountain Blue Eyes, and read Lia's interview with her visit the Skedaddle blog.

Catherine did respond to her price point by adding this important insight: The reason my items are priced as they are is that they are manufactured locally and in smaller numbers. My manufacturer is 1.5 hours south of where my business is based, which I love because at any time I can go in to see in and see Bernard cutting my fabric and I can chat with the team of sewers to make sure things are being sewn to the highest standard. And if there is a problem with one of my items, we can fix it right away. This is something that I don't plan on changing - I think supporting a local manufacturing company is important and I love that my line is made in Canada! I love this too! 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Don't Forget to Register for the Kids in the Snow Clinic

Mark your calendars, REI is teaming up with the Anchorage Outdoor Family Network to present the Kids in the Snow Clinic. Join our friend and local author of Babes in the Woods, Jen Aist, to learn how to prepare both yourself and your kids for fun outdoors in the winter. She will discuss clothing from base layers to outerwear as well as gear such as pulks, strollers and baby carriers. The clinic takes place on January 4th, 2011 from 6 - 7:30 pm at REI off of Northern Lights Blvd.

Click here to register for this FREE clinic!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I would like to take a moment to thank every one of you Trekkers for an amazing first 9 months! We have not only hiked with our little ones, but created some deep bonds, supported one another through transitions, modeled healthy living and have begun to lay the groundwork for a lifetime of outdoor adventures for our children! This time of year can be full of excitement, especially for our little ones just figuring out the wonder of the Holidays, but it can also be stressful, for parents, especially when their homes may be thousands of miles away or budgets are tight. Take a few moments for yourself, whether it is a few extra minutes in the shower or letting your partner read the bedtime story instead. Making magical memories can be hard work! That's why Santa is just that, a Saint!

The frigid temps, sniffles, testy furnaces and winds have fizzled out the fun the last couple of weeks for some of us. I know I've lost a lot of steam. Next weeks temps are looking up! Let's make a valiant effort go get a head start on those resolutions and get one more hike in before the New Year.

Remember if you drink don't drive, and if you drive don't drink.

Today's Hike Cancelled

Due to the negative temps and a rash of furnace problems from many of our members, including us, we're calling it a loss. Have a very merry Christmas. Forecasts have next week looking much warmer!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Battle for Beauty

It seems on this phenomenal Winter Solstice morning the Sun and the Moon on opposite sides of the sky were competing to see who could outdo each other in sparkle. Moon, after last nights spectacular lunar eclipse, was not done with her performance. As she set in the north west and grew as she dropped down below the horizon behind mount Susitna, the Sleeping Landy, she gleamed. While the sun was busy throwing warm radiating tones of pink, orange and yellow as it rose to the southeast over the Chugach Mountains!

Winter Solstice marks an important event in the Alaskan Calender. It is the shortest day. Tomorrow we begin welcoming her back a little more each day until we hit the Summer Solstice in June, the longest day of the year.

Today in Anchorage the sun rose at 10:14 AM and will set at 3:42 PM.

Our sister group Skedaddle met today at Balto Seppala park named after Leonard Seppala’s dog Balto, who was a sled dog in the teams who ran diptheria serum to Nome in the run that inspired the Iditarod Race. The park is dominated by a great big sledding hill, atop which we witnessed the great glorious showdown between the Moon & the Sun.

It read a chilly 9 degrees in one parent's truck. The winter vacation from school brought out a wonderful new family to meet and some regulars. My little bear wasn't so into the sledding today. We made one run but the  powdery snow blowing in his face at the bottom was a little too much sensory input for him. It is always great to see parents having as much fun as the kids! You can find out more about Skeddadle by going to the blog,, RSVP to next week's outdoor playdate and find out more local outdoor activities at the Anchorage Outdoor Family Network

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Beach Lake Trail

Despite single digit temps we had brave parents with well dressed kiddos hit the trail! Alaskans look forward to winter and the freezing of lakes and rivers. In the bush communities the river literally becomes a highway connecting villages that are very remote to one another. Yes people actually drive there cars on the frozen rivers, along with snow machines and ATVs. Beach lake, while far from a major thoroughfare, is so much more fun in the winter. Ice fishing, skating, x-country skiing, and just the simple fact that is a great wide open place to run and play make it an exciting place to be. The trail itself winds around the lake (or straight across in the winter) and drops down on a sand beach that looks out at the Talkeetna Mountains and back at the Chugach mountains.

My little bear and I did not participate in this week's hike due to a cold, second year molars and a visiting uncle that have thrown our sleep schedule way off track. We were back in bed for a nap while the other parents and munchkins were just hitting the trails. We did make sure to get out later in the day for some well needed fresh air.

Thanks to Michele for providing the great photos!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hot Off the Presses!

The ERGObaby calenders have arrived! It looks like 5 copies were sent to each of the mamas in the December picture from Beach Lake trail in September. Let me know if didn't receive yours.

Thank you again to ERGObaby for providing Taiga Trekkers with a Performance Ergo for parents to test drive. Please let me know if you'd like to try it out on one of our Treks. It's like they had our group in mind when they designed it! I also always have my own organic one if you'd like to check that one out too.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Papa Bears

A deep love of the outdoors is rooted in all of our trekking family members. The other bear in our family who works hard to allow me to stay home with the little one is busy training for his attempt to summit Denali this spring. One of these days he'll be able to join us on one of our weekend family hikes. Here are some of pictures of his recent backcountry skiing adventures in Turnagain with some of the other Taiga Trekker dads.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ruth Arcand Park Trek

It was a chilly yet beautiful day for a hike. Listening to the radio on the way home they were reporting temperatures ranging from -2 to 13 degrees F depending on which area of tow you live in.  I'd say it was in the single digits on the trails.  Cold enough for frosty beards, hair and eyelashes. Most kiddos were pushed or pulled in pulks or Chariots, with a few worn in packs and Ergos. Hand and foot warmers were our friends today!

We had 12 adults and 12 kids out today. My brother joined us. He is visiting from Rhode Island. Some of the pictures were heisted from Lia's Skeddaddle blog as my camera froze up. (Hope Santa reads this blog).

Our group is beginning to evolve as we expected. The bigger kids are wanting to get out and do their own trekking! As such our group will need to make minor modifications. We may not all travel the same average speed from now on. If we could just make sure that no one is ever alone, that there are always two adults together, we will not need to worry about keeping the entire pack together. With the cold temperatures in the winter and larger animals in the spring and summer, the buddy system is important for safety.

We also collected about 25 cans of food for the local food bank today! Teresa you won the Outdoor Prize, a set of Boomarings, from your local Discovery Toys Independent Educational Consultant!  I'll have them in my car for you, for the next Trek you are able to do with us.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Kids in the Snow Clinic

Mark your calendars, REI is teaming up with the Anchorage Outdoor Family Network to present the Kids in the Snow Clinic. Join our friend and local author of Babes in the Woods, Jen Aist, to learn how to prepare both yourself and your kids for fun outdoors in the winter. She will discuss clothing from base layers to outerwear as well as gear such as pulks, strollers and baby carriers. The clinic takes place on January 4th, 2011 from 6 - 7:30 pm at REI off of Northern Lights Blvd.

Click here to register for this FREE clinic!