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.
Athlete’s imposters’ syndrome. This is something I had struggled with a lot growing up. I was a runner, an Irish dancer, a downhill skier, a basketball player, a touch football player… Yet, whatever sport I was playing, these thoughts would always creep up on me:
“She’s better than I am.”
“I have lots of practice to do.”
“I wonder if I’ll ever be at so-and-so’s level.”
“I’m not good enough.”
Turns out I wasn’t alone, though. I brought this subject up with my sister, Heather, and she told me she felt the same way. My sisters and I were thrown into ski lessons as soon as we could walk so we’ve felt comfortable on the slopes for pretty much our whole lives.
When we got to high school, Heather and I began to race competitively (she was always better than I was) but I just recently learned that she had felt like a “poser” or imposter every time she raced. We had literally been skiing for 10+ years at this point, yet there she was, feeling out of place and like she wasn’t legit enough to fit in with the other racers.
Because she hadn’t been “competitive” until she was a teen?
What was it about us that made us feel so inadequate? Why did we struggle with confidence in things we were actually GOOD at? Part of me thinks that’s just what comes with being an awkward teenager, but I also know a lot of people who never struggled with this (or I guess, more likely, never talked about it).
As I grew up and began to get to know myself a little better, (aka reading approximately 1700 self-help books) these thoughts started to go away. I started to care less about how others surrounding me performed because I realized that 1) I’m no longer competing for any trophies/medals/titles and 2) I’m an adult. I don’t need to compare myself to anyone. HA! Easier said than done, I know.
So, you may be asking yourself: What does this have to do with hiking?
Well, these nasty, annoying thoughts crept their way back into my head about a week ago when someone asked me for hiking advice.
I’ve only been ‘seriously’ hiking for about 3 years now but since then have tackled some wicked tough day hikes like the Bruce Trail in Tobermory, Mount Marcy in Lake Placid and Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
I’ve summited Mount Kilimanjaro, an 8-day trek that ended with a midnight summit night and I’m just about to start my training for a trip to Everest Base Camp in 8 months from now.
Yet, here I was, feeling like a complete imposter when asked for advice.
What made this person think I was legit? I only started hiking a few years ago! Yes, I have a hiking blog with my best friend that I’m super passionate about but little does this person know that I still consider myself a COMPLETE newbie.
This is where I caught myself though.
I’m a newbie. I haven’t been hiking for years and years and I just discovered Merino Wool this past winter. I’m a newbie. I only JUST figured out the proper amount of water to consume while hiking and I still wear a baseball cap on sunny days that has zero back of neck protection from the sun so I sometimes burn. I’m a newbie. My sense of direction is and always has been horrible and I’m still convinced I could survive off Cliff bars alone (shout out to Kristi for never laughing at my hilarious poop joke). I’M. A. NEWBIE.
And… I’m okay with that!
This is a learning process for me. This blog, these community hikes we organize, the various speaking engagements we’re asked to participate in; I’m learning AS I’m teaching.
Isn’t that half the fun?
Location: In between Keene Valley and Underwood on the 73, NY, USA
Starting Point: Giant Mountain Primary Trailhead
Elevation: Giant 4,626ft (#12 on High Peaks List)
RPR 4,390ft (#20)
Ascent: Giant 3,050ft
Route We Took: Ridge Trail to Giant Summit, to Rocky Peak Ridge, back to Giant and down Ridge Trail
Total Distance: 14 km
Time: 8 hours
Level of Difficulty: Moderate (compared to other High Peaks)
This was day 2 of my solo-hiking trip in the Adirondacks to crush out a couple more 46er peaks (the day before I did Cascade and Porter).
The terrain is pleasant to start to the ascent as you make your way through a typical whimsical Adirondack forest. Then be prepared for lots of rocks and rock slides. You reach a junction that either sends you to the Giant summit (SO CLOSE) or towards Rocky Peak Ridge. I decided to summit Giant first.
It was manageable with a bit of scrambling. The summit was quite busy but it was a beautiful and bright sunny day so it was easy to hang out for a while.
Then it was time for Rocky Peak Ridge. After descending back to the junction, you take a left towards RPR. At this point, you have to go DOWN Giant and BACK UP RPR. This was the steepest and toughest part of my 2 day hiking days.
Rocky’s summit was a lot less busy and just as beautiful. It was even more rewarding seeing where you just came from as Giant is right in front of you.
The toughest part is getting back up Giant. Since you’ve already put in a long day, the steepness and rock slides are that much more challenging. But you can do it!
Once you get back up Giant be prepared for the long descent back down. These mountains are both worth it but make for a tough day.
Lots of hiking love,
Location: In between Lake Placid and Keene, NY, USA
Starting Point: Cascade Mountain Foot Trail
Elevation: Cascade 4,098ft (#36 on High Peaks List)
Porter 4,060ft (#38)
Route We Took: Cascade Mountain trailhead to Cascade summit, back down to junction, head to Porter summit, return to parking
Total Distance: 10 km
Time: 5 hours
Level of Difficulty: Easy (compared to other High Peaks)
This was my first attempt at climbing any of the Adirondack 46ers and heard Cascade and Porter combined are great “starter mountains” (even though Vicky and I did Mount Marcy last fall, we had no idea it was a 46er at the time).
Don’t be fooled by the easy ranking though, this is in comparison to the surrounding mountains. Cascade is a perfect day hike and best “bang for your buck”. It’s pretty, only takes half the day, not too tough and has spectacular 360 views when you get to the summit.
Porter isn’t exactly worth it unless you’re attempting the 46 peaks.
Lots of hiking love,
(Top image view from Cascade summit)
I’d like to preface this post by saying that as an outdoorsy girl (click here if you are too – I friggin’ LOVED this post), I have learned in my 27 years on earth that NOTHING works quite like Deet. Nothing. Yes, it’s flammable, toxic and will probably make you sick but if you want to be left alone by all of nature’s creepy crawlers, there’s nothing natural that will do the trick the same way Deet does. Sorry. I wish I could tell you that covering yourself in lemon juice and thyme will make bugs steer clear but chances are it’ll just make you smell like you’ve finished marinating and are ready for the BBQ.
Congratulations! This is your first step to becoming a HikeAddict. We love hiking, and the whole point of this blog is to share our love and passion for hiking with you. However, actually getting outside and actually doing it can be a bit intimidating. Here’s our “A Beginner’s Guide To Hiking” to help you get outside, connect with nature, and get some exercise in the process.
Where do I go?
I find this a big barrier for some people, where the heck do you start? It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should have an idea where you’re going. Thank God for MAPS! Oh, and bring a buddy.
Here are some of our favourite beginner hikes in the Ottawa area:
Pine Grove Trail
Pink Lake Trail
Here’s also a list of our favourite hikes in Gatineau Park if you want to be a bit more adventurous: CLICK HERE!
What do I wear and what do I bring?
If you’re just starting out to see if hiking’s your “thing”, you don’t have to invest in $300 boots and merino wool (yet). Test out the trails with clothes you would wear to the gym – with a few extras.
Hiking Beginner Gear:
– Good, sturdy shoes or hiking boots
– Athletic socks
– Gym clothing or whatever you’re comfortable in (I would suggest long pants to help against bug bites/nature critters)
When it comes to clothing be sure to check the weather before you go – a raincoat is something I usually carry!
Small Backpack to Hold The Following:
– Water (at least a litre, drink the whole thing!)
– Snack (nuts are great)
– Hand sanitizer
– Bug spray or a natural repellent
– Sunscreen (apply before you go)
– Bandaids or small first aid kit
– Map (or your GPS on your phone)
Goodluck on your first adventure, and if you need anything don’t hesitate to email us at HikeAddicts@gmail.com!
(This post is a continuation of HIKING THE BRUCE: Day 1 – Halfway Log Dump to Stormhaven)
With it’s stunning rock formations and Caribbean-like water, Bruce Peninsula National Park is one of the most beautiful destinations to hike to in Ontario. Plus with it’s close proximity to Toronto and Parks Canada having free entrance for Canada 150, it’s one of the most popular.
My first attempt to park to get to the Grotto was unsuccessful (full story here) on Victoria Day long weekend. Stupid on my part. Obviously people would be swarming to this place to hang out on the first long weekend of nice weather in Canada.
So I got up early on Tuesday morning (with coffee of course) and headed to the Cyprus Lake parking lot for 7am. Luckily and shockingly, there was only one other car there. A.k.a. I had this extreme tourist destination pretty much to myself.
After a quick 30 minute and well-marked hike, the trees opened up to expose the rock and bright blue colours of Georgian Bay. You first end up at Indian Head Cove, which is NEXT to the Grotto (see map below). A lot of people think this is the Grotto…. It’s not. You have to head to the left for a couple of minutes to find it through more rocks and trees.
Once I found the Grotto, I wondered “How the hell am I going to get down there?”. There was no clear or safe path down, although on previous visits I have seen people inside the cave.
Thankfully, a man named Terry who works for Parks Canada was there to point me in the direction of “The Hole”. The Hole is a safer and more direct way into the cave. It’s a tad hard to find and I had to take my backpack off to squeeze through it.
The squeeze through the claustrophobic hole was well worth it. The Grotto opens up to a mesmerizing rock formation and green/turquoise waters. Definitely one of those “I thought this only existed in magazines” moments.
You can even swim here, however I wouldn’t recommend that until July/August. Even then it can be chilly!
I finished my coffee on the rocks overlooking the bay and soaked in the beautiful morning. If there’s one road trip you should plan in Ontario it should be this one.
Lots of hiking love,
A week has gone by since we climbed Mount Washington and it’s given me a little time to reflect (and to be perfectly honest, finally write). It’s Sunday afternoon, approximately 10,000 degrees out so why not use this time to plunk by butt down by my window A/C, listen to Lorde’s new album on repeat and put into words what I’ve spent the past week thinking about.
1) I can’t hike slowly.
Ok, so I already kinda knew this one going into the trip. Being the girl who grew up playing every sport imaginable, I naturally have a competitive side. Not necessarily with others, but with myself. “I can totally climb this in under ___ hours” is a phrase that has repeatedly been on loop in my brain for… Ever?
Since we were such a large group on Mount Washington, Mary Anne and I decided to have one of us lead and the other stay at the back. Within the first 20 minutes of the hike there was quite a substantial distance between Mary Anne and myself. The fastest hikers were tearing up the mountain and my group was moseying, chatting and taking pics.
Let me clarify something real quick: This is not me complaining. We all hike at different speeds and like to enjoy nature in different ways but in the game plan to all stick together, this just wasn’t working. Eventually, we all met up at a beautiful bridge over a stream to reassess.
Unfortunately one of the girls in our group was getting some nasty blisters and an old knee injury was acting up so we all had the conversation of whether or not she should/could continue.
Spoiler alert: She did end up continuing, summited and absolutely CRUSHED it.
At this point we shook up the groups and I decided to lead with the fast people and Mary Anne would stick back with the rest of the pack. This ended up working out great as we finished up the hike about an hour and a half quicker, which gave us time to grocery shop and prep dinner for everyone.
(Jeremy and Colin making it look easy)
2) I overestimate my physical abilities sometimes.
When Alexa (the girl I mentioned above with the blisters and knee injury) told me early on that she was struggling, my instincts were to 1) Find Moleskin and 2) Determine whether or not I could run the trail. I didn’t want her going back to the parking lot alone so I figured I could hike back down with her then run back up the mountain to catch up with the rest of the group.
About 10 minutes into hiking with the “quick group” my confidence was put back into place and I remember chuckling to myself, thinking “Girrrl, in what world?”.
3) A great way to catch your breath is to pretend you NEED to stop to get a pic.
Totally stole this one from Rachel. Genius. There were only 4 of us in our group: 2 guys and 2 girls (the guys, by the way, are fit AF and didn’t seem to struggle at ALL on the mountain) so I noticed when Rachel was starting to feel it, she’d stop for a picture. WHY HAVE I NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS? Or maybe I’ve subconsciously done it, protecting my ego. That sounds more likely.
(This is totally a “You guys go ahead, I’m just need to snag a quick shot here” photo)
4) There’s something a lot less rewarding about a summit with a parking lot and cafeteria full of people (although the coffee and Doritos were HELLA good).
This was a weird one for me.
Every mountain I’ve summited in the past has been peaceful, serene and incredibly rewarding. This one ended with a staircase that lead to the Mount Washington Summit sign, where a crowd of well dressed and non-sweaty people lined up to take their picture. I’m sorry, but DRIVING to the top of a mountain isn’t photo op worthy. Those bumper stickers that say “This car drove to the top of Mt Washington” are a little silly, if you ask me. Know what’s not silly? The bumper sticker I saw in the parking lot at the bottom that read “The person who owns this car ran up Mt Washington”.
Nope, not silly. Insane? Maybe.
(Rachel & I at the summit)
5) The last hour of the hike tends to bring the best conversation.
To be honest, this one I’ve noticed before on previous hikes but it really rang true on this trip. On the way up, we all talked mostly about the difficulty of the hike, the route and other mountain related random things.
The majority of the way down we chit-chatted about food, other trips/adventures and sore joints. In the last hour or so, the conversation turned to relationships, meditation, self help books and overall health. My jaaaam. There’s something about being completely exhausted that tears down walls and brings out the real sh*t.
I’m already looking forward to our next mountain adventure…
Where to next?