What’s better than going to a national park? Getting in free! 10 free days in 2017.

Mark your calendar and start planning your next adventure! Take advantage of these free entrance days:

  • January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 20: Presidents’ Day
  • April 15-16 and 22-23: National Park Week Weekends 
  • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 30: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend

Pick a park, any of the 120 participating national parks.

Here are some other freebies & deals that you may not be aware of :

  • Free Annual Pass for active U.S. Military
  • Free Annual 4th Grade Pass (How cool for kids!)
  • Senior Pass ($10 Lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. Get it in person at your closest Federal Recreation Area or you’ll have to pay an additional $10 for processing the application online or by mail.)

Did you know that an annual pass for $80 will get you into all kinds of cool terriroy, including:

(National park entrance fees run from $3-$30 a shot so the annual pass makes sense after you add up a couple of visits.)

So tell me, what explorations do you have in store for 2017?  Happy trails!


Gift ideas for your adventure traveler

Waxing nostalgic…When I was a kid, my Mother used to hand my brother and me the Sears Christmas Wish Book. She’d give us both magic markers and tell us to mark everything we wanted Santa to bring us for x-mas. We spent hours mesmerized by the glossy, colorful 600 page tome, poring over 200 plus pages each bursting toys galore. Even after we knew that Mom was Santa, there was still a certain sense of excitement every year as we huddled together over those dazzling pages.trying not to circle every toy. It was so hard to decide. Once the presents were delivered, we were always confused. We didn’t recall  circling Yahtzee, or Rack-O…Later, we realized it was just one of our Mother’s schemes to keep us occupied for endless hours.


Today, do parents send their kids to the web to create their wish list shopping carts? For fun, I went window shopping online at Amazon and “circled” some items. I’ll start with some stocking stuffers and keep adding as I browse and hear back from you. What’s the best travel adventure gift you’ve ever received? And what’s on your wish list this year?

Stocking stuffers

$5 and under

mad-libsThe Mad Libs WORST CASE SCENARIO Survival Handbook: Travel Fun for all ages on a road trip, in the tent, or by the campfire. : )


mosquito-netMosquito Head Net

Sure wish I had this when I was hiking in Yosemite. The face flies were so brutal I nearly turned back. Other hikers did. Luckily, once you get above 8k feet they drop off. This could be the best $2 bucks you’ll ever spend.


survival-bracelet_TECH-P 5 in 1 Multifunctional Paracord Bracelet with Compass Flint Fire Starter Scraper Whistle Your mom would want you to have this survival bracelet.


lifestrawLifeStraw Personal Water Filter Your mom would want you to have this one too. Warning, this does not does not filter out viruses, but is good in a pinch.

bandanaKalily Headband Bandana 16-in-1 sports & casual headwear with UV protection.Be sporty and stylish, even with sleeping bag head.

ultra-lightweight-foldable-backpckFoldable, Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack

Handy for travel and day hikes

headlampWaterproof Headlamp with rechargeable batteries, AC charger and car charger 

bear-sprayBear Spray

I prefer the one without the holster. Ideally, you should have it on the ready and carry it in your hand.


Mosquito Net for 1 sleeping bag  I really enjoy camping out under the starts without a tent. Unfortunately, so do the bugs. Here’s a solution.


Other ideas

Gift certificates to their favorite outdoor store

Airline tickets or points

State Park Passes



These boots weren’t made for hiking

To be fair, I’m not sure how many miles I have on these Hi-Tec day hikers. But one thing’s clear, there’s been way too many. My last trip to Idaho and Montana really did them in. Truth be told, I can be a bit of a bargain shopper so these probably came from Big 5  a couple of years ago…Looks like I got what I paid for. Next up, I’ve got a pair of Salomon day hikers to try.  I’ll let you know how they do.

What’s your favorite pair of tried and true hiking boots? 

Believe it or not: all pics are from my Samsung Galaxy S6 Android

(The picture above is not a petroglyph or an alien, it’s my creepy shadow taking a pic with my Samsung.)

Many people have been asking and are surprised to learn that I take all my pics & videos on my Samsung  Galaxy S6 Android. No, not the one that blows up, but the one that shoots pictures, you’ll want to blow up. I’m not a photographer and have never taken any classes. I love photography, but thought it would be too technical a skill for me to learn. (I’m better at just doing vs following instructions.) With my camera phone,  I get to shoot awesome pictures without carrying heavy camera gear. I love it because it makes a total amateur like me look pretty darn good. I also take advantage of the google photo editing tools and confess to having an affinity for the “pop” button. Is that cheating? Probably by classic photography standards it is, but don’t they have all kinds of magical lenses and tricks up their sleeves too?

So, what kind of camera do you use? And do you think it’s cheating to “pop” the pics?