Thoughts on Adventure + a $100 Sierra Trading Post Giveaway!

The other morning, I woke up to a rather long message from one of my oldest friends in Florida, Josh. I read it, felt really flattered, then stepped back and realized that he wasn’t talking about me, he was talking about so many other adventurers I know. He was talking about me, and he was talking about you too. With his permission, I thought I’d share what he said:

Niko and I enjoying the view from the top of a climb appropriated called "It's a Wonderful Life"Here are my philosophical thoughts for the night:

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ That’s pretty much a widely accepted universal truth.

But it got me thinking. I started thinking about what DOES kill you. And when you really break it down, the only thing certain to kill you… is life. Statistically speaking, the more time you spend alive, the closer you are to death.

Then it hit me. The way to really get stronger, the way to beat death, would be to challenge it. Go through life looking for a test. Pass it or fail it, it doesn’t matter – all you have to do is get through it.

So, then I think of you. All the stereotypes you’ve broken; All the doubt you’ve overcome. You’re strong because you’ve had your heart broken. You’re strong because you’ve beaten the odds. You’re strong because you chose to explore, to discover, to go on an adventure. It wasn’t a safe choice… In fact it was the opposite.

It was dangerous. It was a risk. And risks are what separate you from the weak.

So please just remember this: every mile that you travel away from home; every night you spend in van or a tent; every strain in your fingers as they grasp the top of whatever boulder, crag, or mountain that you just climbed – that is what makes you stronger.

You are the strongest person I know. And that’s why I love you.”

Whoa – pretty awesome stuff, right? It’s really great that someone thinks those things about me, but what’s even better is that I instantly associated all those words about strength, taking risks, and adventure with all of YOU. I am constantly surrounded by such strong spirited adventurers – from the climbers I hang out with in southeastern boulder fields and the always-trying-stuff Omniten crew to my fellow #TeamSierra members. You embody everything Josh said. We challenge life on a daily basis, never fearing the consequences – the only thing to be afraid of is a life not lived to the fullest. Keep doing that, keep getting out there, and keep living those words.

To celebrate the spirit of adventure, I’m partnering with Sierra Trading Post to host a $100 giftcard giveaway for one lucky explorer. As you know, I’ve joined the Team Sierra blogging team, writing monthly content for the Sierra Social Hub (like this sweet guide to climbing at Red River Gorge).Team Sierra Crew

How to Enter the $100 Sierra Trading Post Giveaway:

I want you to reflect on that wonderful message about challenging life and being strong and getting out there – and leave a comment on this post telling me how winning a $100 Sierra Trading Post giftcard will help you become the best adventurer you can be. For a bonus entry, tweet about the giveaway (tagging @themorningfresh and @Sierratp) or share this giveaway on your Facebook – then leave a second comment so I know you did that!

The winner will be chosen on November 27th – so check back on the blog for the announcement.

Can’t wait to order a new pair of climbing shoes or a cozy winter sleeping bag? Sierra Trading Post is offering my readers a special 30% discount from today until November 26th by clicking here to shop for outdoor gear, or using the code SHUBTS0413 when checking out.

Now get out there and explore, y’all!

UPDATE: And the winner is: Melissa Martin!

I was torn between three potential winners, one who wanted to use the gift card for his children, one who vowed to spend the money on dog gear, and one who was inspired by a climbing trip to get outdoors more – so I randomized the number using random.org, and Melissa was chosen as the winner! Melissa, send me an e-mail at katieboue(at)gmail(dot)com to claim your prize!

Didn’t win this giveaway? No worries, I’ll have another giveaway coming up soon – stay tuned!

Gear Giveaway: Win a Mammoth Sleeping Bag from Teton Sports!

Teton Sports never fails to impress me with the giant sleeping bags displayed in their showroom.When it comes to camping gear, I’ve become beyond loyal to one brand in particular over the past year: Teton Sports. If you’ve ever been adventuring with me, you’ve likely seen me sporting a Teton Sports pack, or proudly setting up my XXL Outfitter tent in under 15 seconds.

When visiting Salt Lake City, making a visit to my sponsors at the Teton Sports showroom is always a must. Beyond the incredible support Teton Sports provides for my adventure, they’re one of the most down-to-earth, kind, and downright hilarious brands in the outdoor industry. And in the spirit of their fantastic generosity, they’ve teamed up with Trail Sherpa for a giveaway of their popular Mammoth sleeping bag.

This bad boy is a behemoth creature designed to fit either a cuddly couple or a small family within its cozy confines. Niko and I create a similar effect when we zip our two single Teton Sports sleeping bags together, but I can only imagine that the Mammoth is the ultimate product for campside cuddling.

Want a chance to win your own Teton Sports Mammoth sleeping bag?
Enter below, and you could be camping in cozy comfort!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For full reviews of the Teton Sports Mammoth sleeping bag, check out Amelia’s experience taking the entire family on a Yellowstone adventure with the Mammoth, or read Tim Miner’s kid-tested, parent-approved product praises. Niko and I will be posting our own review on our small collection of Teton Sports sleeping bags and pads next week, so stay tuned!

A preview of climbing at Hound Ears – and announcing the GU Energy giveaway winner!

Either I’m still reeling from my incredible trip out to North Carolina, or there are just truly no words to properly describe the bouldering mecca that is Hound Ears. My first experience competing in a Triple Crown Bouldering Series competition was phenomenal, and even though I’m still anxiously awaiting the final results from my score, I already feel like a winner.

I climbed the strongest I have ever climbed this weekend.
And it felt good.

There are still plenty of pictures to sort though (although somehow 75% of them turned out just slightly blurry, ugh!), and I am eagerly waiting for the final competition results to be posted so I can tell you all how I did, but here’s a little taste of my weekend up in the North Carolina high country:

We spent Friday night setting up camp at Grandfather Mountain Campground and feasting on Indian food provided by Triple Crown, and then climbed the entire day on Saturday. After the competition, we celebrated with beer, barbecue, and a very, very lengthy award ceremony.

On Sunday, Niko and I packed up early, and headed to Hendersonville for a wonderful little date excursion. I took him to my all-time favorite breakfast buffet, Dixie Diner, where we gorged on southern fixings and chatted with locals at the family-style seating. Then we headed out to JH Stepps Hillcrest Orchard for a few hours of apple picking before loading up the car and trekking back to Florida.

 
Successful weekend, eh? But now for what you’re really reading this post for – the announcement of the GU Energy Labs and BlenderBottle giveaway winner! There were a lot of great entries, and you all had wonderful things to share about what inspires you to train – but there could only be one winning answer:

 “My training inspiration? Checking off those boxes each day and knowing that I’m pushing myself to achieve a goal. Every workout builds on the previous day – I’m getting stronger, faster and when it comes to race day? Even though there are no guarantees on the outcome, I know I gave it my best effort.” – Erin Graves

Congratulations, Erin! For your perseverance when it comes to training, and a great attitude about pushing yourself, you’ve won a package filled with GU Energy Labs performance treats, and a sweet new BlenderBottle. Shoot me an e-mail at [email protected] to claim your prize. 

Didn’t win this giveaway? No worries, there are plenty more on the horizon – including a giveaway for a environmentally-awesome, BPA-free Eco Bottle! Click here to enter the Eco Bottle giveaway (all you have to do is leave a comment)!

Stay tuned for more on my weekend out in North Carolina, including an in-depth post on my climbing competition, and a look at my romantic apple-picking date with Niko. Until then, keep climbing, keep adventuring, and keep gettin’ outside!

It’s a miracle: I no longer loathe metal water bottles – Eco Bottle Review and Giveaway!

Let me make one thing very clear before I begin this review:

I have always hated metal water bottles.

They taste like metal, smell like metal, feel like metal (does the feeling of metal ever make anyone else’s teeth cringe?). When I was first approached by Eco Bottle to sample one of their products, I was extremely skeptical – but they were so stoked about their BPA-free, dishwasher-safe bottle that I was convinced to give it a shot.

I stuck to my stubborn anti-metal convictions even as I opened up my Eco Bottle package, but was instantly softened when I unwrapped what remains as my favorite feature of this water bottle – a thick, bendy straw attachment. I love straws for their superior sip-ability, and adore this genius little bonus feature. Opening and closing water bottles is one of the reasons I’ve begun to lean towards hydration packs, so it’s refreshing to see a bottle brand looking to solve the issue of needing to grab-gulp-n-go while you’re out and about.

My emerald green bottle took its maiden voyage on a bike ride from my house to the Tallahassee Rock Gym on a mild evening. The body fit perfectly into my water bottle holder, and I was pleased that my water remained a pleasant temperature throughout the duration of my ride. My perception that metal water bottles are always an inferno was debunked. I’d chalk it up to the inner body coating, perhaps that aids in temperature regulation? I think the liner also attributes to the lack of a metallic taste in the bottle; I left my water sitting in the bottle for an entire week and it never tasted funky.

There was just one issue I ran into during my first adventure with the Eco Bottle – it’s not a no-brainer to open up. I naively filled it with water, screwed on the top, stuck on the mouthpiece attachment, and sped off on my road bike. Halfway through a monstrous hill, I paused to hastily gulp from my bottle – and was unable to suck out even a drop of water. Oops. 

I hadn’t properly opened the top piece, which was not something I was able to accomplish until after my parched ride. Once I realized the very easy screw motion necessary to open it up, the water was flowin’. So make sure you actually open your bottle before you head out! I also noticed a few little dents on the bottle’s body from my bike’s water bottle holder – but as an adventure gal, I like it when my gear bears the marks of being well loved.

Overall, I am a woman converted. I really love this metal bottle.

[Read more…]

Update on my Triple Crown climbing training (and failures) – and a GIVEAWAY!

Exactly 13 days ago, I began my four-week training effort to prepare me for the Triple Crown Bouldering Series competition at Hound Ears in North Carolina on October 6th. My original inspiration came from the “Fit for Fall in 4 Weeks” training program published on DPMclimbing.com

But it didn’t work so well.

Yes, that’s right, I failed at adhering to the program’s daily regimen. I began the first few days doing exactly what the training schedule called for, which totally whooped my rear end, but quickly realized that this cookie-cutter plan wasn’t going to work for my personal goals. There is one glaring reason why I have decided to make some changes to my 30-day training program:

The schedule didn’t include daily climbing.

In fact, the ONE day at the end of the four weeks that called for a real climbing day insisted that I not “go all out” on any projects. Uh, that’s just not going to happen. There were three ‘light’ climbing days spread out over the last two weeks, but let’s get real – I need to climb, every day.

While I definitely think that the Fit for Fall in 4 Weeks program is a great training method, it’s simply not the one for me at this point in time. It would be an ideal thing to do if I was feeling a bit burnt out on climbing and wanted to switch up my fitness, but right now, I’m psyched on climbing, and can’t bear to pull myself away from my projects.

So I’m changing things up a bit.

I really liked a lot of aspects of the original plan, and I’m going to stick with the factors that worked for me, like drinking a gallon of water every day, cutting out junk/processed foods, incorporating frequent aerobic exercising into my week, and balancing those lighter aerobic days with intense workout days. But, my friends, there will be climbing.

 Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • Morning hangboard sessions: I am fortunate enough to live with a group of dirtbag climber boys, so I have a little woodie climbing wall and hangboard set up on the front porch. Each morning, I begin my day with a series of hangs, and a little circuit of lock-offs and movements on the wall. With stretching before and after, of course. I’ll be doing this at least four days a week.
  • Aerobic exercise: To round out all the workouts and climbing days, I really enjoy the aerobics encouraged by the Fit for Fall in 4 Weeks program. Niko and I have started riding our bikes to the gym on Mondays for climbing club meetings, and we’re going to dabble in our first trail running experience this week.
  • Indo-boarding: If you have an indo-board, I would highly suggest integrating it into your training. My housemates watch TV every evening, and I discovered that an hour spent on the indoboard instead of the couch is a great way to sneak a little exercise into my nights. It’s great for practicing balance, and I really like doing squats on it. There’s a whole series of indo board exercises you can try.
  • Core workouts: Aside from finger and shoulder strength, one of the things I really wanted to focus my training on is improving my core. Two of my lady climber friends turned me onto the P90x Ab Ripper workout, and I absolutely LOVE it. I’ve been doing this 3 times per week, and plan to up that to 4 days/week. Between eating right and the ab workouts, I’ve already gotten a 4-pack back.
  • Climbing: One of my buddies once said, “The best way to train for climbing, is to climb.” – And I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been incorporating a mix of lighter climbing days when I’ve done a big workout with harder climbing days where I project routes. Mixing rope climbing with my bouldering is another area where I’ve seen myself getting stronger.
  • Rest Days: Folks, no matter how strong you are, what kind of training you’re doing, or how long you’ve been at it – you need to take rest days. I’ve taken two thus far, one of which I spent walking a few miles at a greenway for three hours. Listen to your body, always.

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Announcing the GeigerRig Giveaway winner!

I called upon my readers to share their best summer adventures for a chance to win a GeigerRig Rig 500 hydration pack system – and wow, did you respond! 

From solo lady-adventures in the desert and Big Sur backpacking to sailing off the peninsula of Michigan and summiting 14-ers in Colorado, every entry was worthy of winning. It was phenomenal to see all the different ways everyone gets out to explore the outdoors.

But there could only be one winner.

One story totally stood out to me – partly because it hit pretty close to home. After discovering her love for adventuring outside, our giveaway winner realized her Jansport backpack just isn’t cuttin’ it anymore. Casey, I’ve totally been there too! To help you bring your outdoor explorations to the next level, I’m hooking you up with a sweet new hydration system – and I expect you to really put it through the ringer as you journey to new destinations and really let your newfound adventure spirit blossom! [Read more…]

Revolutionizing the hydration pack with GeigerRig – and your chance to win one! [CLOSED]

I wasn’t always an outdoorsy adventurer; and when I first began spending large amounts of time outdoors, I wasn’t very well prepared. Case in point: the backpacks I used to carry around. Gear junkies, shield your eyes – the image you’re about to see isn’t very pretty, nor is it a proud moment for me.

The couple is pretty cute, if I do say so myself, but take note of the pathetic sack slung around my back. It sticks out like a sore thumb against an otherwise fairly rugged scene. It shamefully, and I hang my head in despair at the mere thought of admitting to rockin’ this ‘gear’ while out on the trail.

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And the winner of the climbing swag giveaway is…

After nearly 200 entries, dozens of comments, and a few weak attempts at bribery, The Morning Fresh’s first ever giveaway has officially ended – and the winners have been selected by Rafflecopter. So who won the climbing swag giveaway? The winners are:

Bob Rosenbaum and Kam Altar!

Bob’s grand prize winnings come with a funny little story. Mr. Rosenbaum is a regular climber at Tallahassee Rock Gym, and has a bit of a playful rivalry going with his two buddies, Dakota and Charlie. Determined not to let Bob win, Dakota put a lot of effort into tweeting, ‘liking’, and commenting – but he forgot to enter himself in the official Rafflecopter entry form! I knew he would be enraged if Bob won, so when “Bob C. Rosenbaum” popped up as the first winner for the giveaway – I nearly died laughing. Congrats, Bob! 

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