We visited our friends at CTV Morning Live Ottawa to chat about March Break hikes in Ottawa and Gatineau Park!
Alright, so maybe we’re a challenging type of person to shop for around the holidays. We’ll be the first to admit it.
We know what we like to wear on the trails, have broken in multiple pairs of our go-to hiking boots, can be picky with food, have mastered the art of fitting everything perfectly into our day packs, and tend to get a little vocal when it comes to the “pole or no pole” debate.
So, what do you buy for the hiker in your life who seems to already have it all?
I’m here to help, my friends. Here’s a quick ‘n dirty list of some unique ideas that you may not have thought of…
1) Enamel Camping Mug
Photo cred: Emalco.com
Even if your hiker pal already has one, you can never have TOO many mugs, right? Plus, it’s nice to change it up a little. So, why not support a local artist like Black Coffee or get a mountain themed one they’ll definitely dig?
OR, if you’re a crafty little rascal, make it EXTRA personal by designing your own! You can do this with a company like VistaPrint, although buying in bulk may be your only option.
Bonus points are rewarded if you add in a carabiner for clipping the mug somewhere handy for easy access!
2) Waterproof Lighter
Photo cred: Pinterest
A friend of mine gifted me one of these bad boys last Christmas and it’s been in my pack since then. Here’s a list of the best ones on the market to check out for inspiration!
3) Subscription to Backpacker Magazine
Photo cred: Fontmeme.com
It doesn’t have to be Backpacker Magazine. It can be any outdoor, lifestyle or fitness magazine! This is the gift that keeps giving and your pal will think of you each time it comes in the mail.
4) Rent a Yurt
Photo cred: Mary Anne snagged this one!
If your budget is a little higher than the stuff listed above, then splurge and rent a yurt! SO FUN! If you’re like us HikeAdditcts, you prefer glamping over camping any day. This is a fantastic alternative to sleeping on the cold, hard ground while also feeling like you’re one with nature. Ommm.
We’ve stayed at some pretty beautiful spots over the years but I have to say that one of my all time favorites was a yurt in Vermont with this super adorable and accommodating family. It may not look like much from the outside, but the inside was like a magical fairy tail with tiny white Christmas lights galore!
5) Jack&Joel “Gatineau Park” Soap
Photo cred: JackAndJoel.com
Jack&Joel is an Ottawa soap company and you know how much we LOVE supporting local! They have a wonderful line of soaps, bath salts and shaving products that will leave you smelling like nature-y dream.
6) Mountain Jewelry
Photo cred: MMackenzieJones Etsy
We are huge fans of these mountain necklaces made by Mackenzie Jones Designs Inc from Calgary. From the Three Sisters Mountain to Mount Rundle, the mountains will never be too far from your heart. Check out her Etsy store here!
And, if you don’t like any of these ideas or are still feeling unsure, you really can’t go wrong with a gift card for MEC, Trialhead, Cabela’s, Bushtukah, Ice Breaker, Eddie Bauer or any other sporting stores in Ottawa.
So there’s absolutely nothing fab about socks, no matter how I work my way through this. But my hope here is that I write this post and maybe someday someone is researching hiking socks, Googles “Best socks for hiking” and stumbles across our blog. One can hope, right?
These are the socks I swear by and brought with me to hike Mount Kilimanjaro. Of course it’s a personal preference but if you’re looking for kick-a$$ socks that will keep your feet warm, dry and comfy then read on!
Not only is Wigwam fun to say, they make great socks too! Ok, that deserves an eye roll. I like how these are a little tighter around the arch of your foot and have cushioning around the heel and forefoot. Can we all just take a second to read the top review for these socks titled “The Beatles of Socks” where they’re compared to “a million of the world’s cutest puppies licking your feet”?
There’s nothing fancy about the Smartwool socks but they do the trick. I have a few pairs of them and over the years they’ve become a staple in my hiking wardrobe.
I only have one pair of these babies and they’re the pair that I grab as soon as they’re out of the wash. These were the first pair of hiking socks I bought when I was at SAIL; Up until then I was hiking in athletic ankle socks. How, I’ll never really know. Such a rookie move.
What I love about these socks are that they’re super light weight but are somehow (with the magic of Merino Wool) still incredibly warm.
These were an online find only a week or so before my trip to Tanzania and MAN, am I ever happy to have found them. They come in a beautiful rainbow of colours (FUN!) and also happen to be a cheap yet awesome sock. I wore these for probably 80% of my time on Killy.
Even though these are my second fave sock, there’s not much to say about them other than the fact that they’re super comfy, kept my feet warm (or cool in hotter temps) and didn’t break the bank. Two big ol’ thumbs up.
Oh, Icebreaker, you did it again. My collection is starting to look like I’m a walking ad for the company. If you don’t own anything by Icebreaker and you’re an outdoorsy person you need to drop every right this second and buy some NOW. This is an order.
These lightweight, super soft, non-itchy, anti-blister socks are the bomb.com and well worth the slightly higher price-tag.
Yesterday was a big day for us HikeAddicts; We did our first team hike with Dream Mountains! Mary Anne has been meeting and training with this group since the Summer but since I’m a late comer, this was my first time meeting the team and going on a hike with them.
We took on Wolf Trail, a favorite for both of us, and completed it in about 2.5 hours, which was a lot quicker than I had expected with it being WINTER and all. This was my first dead of winter hike and got to break in my crampons that I got for Christmas- WOOHOO (it’s the little things, friends).
The best part of the morning was getting to meet the people I’ve been in contact with for weeks now and realizing just how dang small Ottawa is. Almost every single person I met knew someone I know. All it takes is “Oh, you play touch football too? Do you know ___?” or “You ski at Mont Ste. Marie? What’s your last name? I know your Grandad!” (anyone in my family can relate to that second one; my Grandad is the most popular guy on the planet).
(Mary Anne took this on our way up)
The actual hike was a chilly yet refreshing one. The first 15 minutes in the parking lot were definitely the most challenging since we were all just standing around shivering but once we got started the blood began to move and I think we were all okay and dressed warmly enough. When I checked the thermostat in my car it was -9 degrees (Celsius, of course) but that didn’t factor the windchill so the best way to describe it would be face numbing with a touch of slow-motion texting fingers. All Canadians know what I mean by that… Except maybe Vancouverites, you guys will never know. 😐
Luckily, there’s not much texting to be done in the middle of a hike.
It was sunny and bright which kept our moods and confidence skyrocketing. Kilimanjaro will be a cinch… Right? JK JK.
We took a break at the half way point for a snack where I learnt that “PACKS OFF” meant you have no choice- you take your friggin’ pack off. I didn’t bring snacks, thinking it’d be a quick and easy hike but my new friend, Bob, shared his homemade dehydrated strawberries with me. Aw man, now I need to buy a dehydrating machine.
(Photo cred: Harry Binks)
We began our descent after about 15 minutes of chatting/ taking pictures and I noticed the way down was a lot quieter as I think we were all getting a little more chilly with the lack of incline workout warmth. It went by super quickly though and before I knew we were high-fiving Kristi (one of our team leaders) in the parking lot.
(Snagged this shot on our way down)
Overall, the hike was wonderful and I’m counting down the days until the next one!