Trails and Aspen

Once I was asked, “what is the most challenging aspect of working in the outdoor industry?” My answer was easy – establishing credibility. One summer I worked at a Forest Service information station near the Rubicon Trail, a world-class jeep trail that I grew up camping and four-wheeling on. One day a guy came in with a question about the trail and instead of asking the young woman in the Forest Service uniform stationed behind the information desk, he asked the older man in a camp host shirt standing out of the way at the top of the stairs. My inner self glared at him and laughed when our camp host manager told him he had no idea and to ask me.

With that said, I want to start Trails’ Guide by establishing credibility:

  •  I’ve been four-wheeling with my family since I was in my mother’s womb – literally. Then I was strapped into a car seat, grew into the back seat, graduated to co-pilot, and am now working on my driving skills.
  •  I took a backpacking course in college and have been hitting the trail ever since. I’m primarily a weekend warrior doing two-nighters to amazing places up and down the Sierra Nevada Mountains. However, last summer marked the beginning of an epic adventure – 62 miles of the John Muir Trail. The next section is this summer and I can’t wait to finish atop Mt. Whitney the following summer.
  • I’m a certified Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly Master Educator and Trainer, respectively. That entails leading groups on backpacking and camping trips while exploring teaching techniques and responsible stewardship firsthand.
  • I’ve been riding all-terrain vehicles (ATV) since before my feet could reach the footboards. I primarily take to the sand, but enjoy forest trails with twists and turns too. I’ve hosted multiple ATV safety courses and ATV rider camps for youth – and yes, participants must be able to reach the footboards.
  •  I have a two-year old lab-mix that I am reluctant to leave home without. Aspen has been in adventure-pup mode since I brought her home, surviving multiple backpacking trips, snowshoe hikes, and she knows how to hog a tent like nobody’s business. My point being? Expect the majority of adventures on this blog to be dog-friendly.


    Adventure mode – activate!

If you’ve read this far, I’m hoping you’ll come back next week. With this outdoor-based blog I want to share my ideas, adventures, thoughts, and my love of the outdoors. It also has the added bonus of keeping up on my writing skills and preventing my brain from turning to mush like cold-trail oatmeal.


5 responses to “Trails and Aspen

  1. Just found your blog and will be a frequent visitor! I adopted a young GSD last December and have been taking her into the mountains, backpacking and camping, since early spring, after training her up to carrying a pack, etc. (We hike nearly every day around the East Bay, where we live, for regular exercise and conditioning.) Always looking for dog-friendly trips in the Sierras, so your site will be a great resource.

  2. Hi Marianne, so glad you found Aspen and me! Dogs make the best hiking partners. If you find any dog-friendly must-visit hikes, I’d love to hear about them!

  3. Hi there! I’ve been following your posts here and there for the past couple of years. I, too, am a Californian who loves adventures with her pup. I’m always curious: what’s your day job? Do you take Aspen to work with you? And does your job allow you lots of time off? Would love to hear how you’re able to have so many inspiring adventures! We get out as much as possible on weekends, but during the week, we just take short walks before and after work. I’m always wondering how other adventurous dog-owners do it. Thanks for your blog! Georgina

    • Hi Georgina! Thanks for reaching out, always good to hear from fellow dog moms. I work for a non-profit where I’m lucky enough to work 4-10s, plus vacation time. This allows for weekend adventures, with a few longer road trips mixed in. Things have been really busy lately though and we had to choose between getting Aspen outside or documenting our adventures. We chose getting outside, which is why it’s January and I just posted about our September trip. Aspen doesn’t get to come to work with me, but she’d probably find all the computer time boring anyway. So she gets walks and jogs before and after work like your pup. As long as their tail is wagging, I think we’re doing a good job!

      • Okay, well that’s actually good to hear, because it inspires me to do more. If you and Aspen can manage lots of outdoor activity while working full-time, then so can my pup and I. Yes, keep sharing. I love checking your posts now and then to get ideas for dog-friendly road trips and outings along the West coast and in the Sierra. Next up for me: finding other canine-human duos to adventure with. I’m thinking of starting a Meetup in my area, but if you happen to know of any other groups already established, please share. Thanks for replying. Have fun on your next trip!

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