A Thought on Patience

That virtue thing. What does that even mean anyway? That everyone should have it? Apparently so. Instead of being told what you should or shouldn’t be as a person, and listening, I have found that it’s important to develop your own understanding of why you might need something such as patience.

I never used to care about patience. I spent years being somewhat impatient. Although dubbed patient by many of those around me, my stomach still turned in annoyance when someone couldn’t figure out what they wanted to drink, my eyes instinctively rolled at one who took sweet time tying their shoes, my hand shot to my phone while in line for the bathroom. Worst of all though, was this patience lacking for myself. I gave my poor body and mind no time to understand, no room to heal. I rushed myself out the door. I set unreasonable deadlines and harped on myself for missing them. I sweat in the coldest of rooms. Mostly blaming it on anxiety for so many years… but the anxiety was a creation. It was born time and time again from this fermenting lack of patience. Unclear and sour to the taste. Reeking havoc on the body of it’s mother. Ungrateful and unkind.

The first step is that the patience comes from being patient. That was the hardest realization of them all. To get there you first need to sample it. It’s an acquired taste. Like bitters it is soothing to one’s stomach but needs to first pass over the tongue. It needs space to be cleared for it. It needs to be understood.

I knew it would be at least a month before comfort. I knew the bitters would taste foul until I formed a taste for their soothing. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. So I decided to be strong and to learn. That was the second step.

Over the last two months I have dedicated myself to a deeper understanding of this “virtue” patience. I first developed the idea that it was important and immediately necessary for sanity. I then spent much of my time in complete silence. Music warms my soul, but music was a vice. Filling my mind with the sound to ignore my thoughts was weak. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to fill my mental space with music created from that which I had learned, and the strength I had gained. I created two silent hours for myself everyday, at the very least, dedicated to my thoughts. Meditation, personal moral support, developing deeper emotional understanding, all of the above. Most of all, sobriety and silence. I couldn’t live in my space yet, I couldn’t stop thinking about him or what he did to my emotion, I couldn’t sleep well, I couldn’t be happy, so I had to be patient. So that’s what I did.

Over the course of those two months I grew. I created a sense of closure for myself that wasn’t provided in my break-up. I went to therapy once a week. I spent time being sad. I spent time being angry. I crashed my car. I spent time invested in others and couldn’t give myself my all. I worked on patience. Every. Single. Day. It is not over. It is not easy. It never will be.

You can either run from your shit or grow from it. In this story, running represents weakness, and growing represents strength. The tree doesn’t run from the storm. She may bend or sway. She may lose her leaves. She may even wilt, but she does not run. She stays rooted in place, patient and trusting that the storm will end and the water will provide her with nourishment. The tree is strong. Developing roots for myself was the most important part of developing my patience. Now, I can lean on me. Others too. My beautiful friends, my loving family, they are there, and they are everything. When they are not there though, and when I am alone I am comfortable. No more ticking of misunderstanding and impatience. I am patient with myself and with others. It is life changing.

The Switch: Kombucha

According to Google’s dictionary kombucha is: “a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria”. So if you know anything about beer this sounds quite similar. It’s even served on tap and bottled in growlers. What is kombucha really though? What does it do to/for your body? What does it really taste like? These are all questions I asked when my kombucha kick started about a month ago. I am grateful for what it has done for me, so I have decided to share my findings with you!

What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a drink for health that originated over 2000 years ago. It is rumored to have been dubbed an immortal elixir by the ancient Chinese. There is no scientific evidence proving the benefits of drinking kombucha, so it’s different for everyone. This goes for all intake though- being receptive to your body and the things going into it is an important lesson. Trying a small bottle of kombucha and drinking it over a few days is a good idea. If the results are desirable, a growler might be in order!

What does kombucha do to/for your body?
Kombucha could be considered one of those health kicks that eventually fades away. It’s not proven to be healthy, it can be “harmful”, and it doesn’t necessarily taste great, so what is so great about it? Why bother even considering? DO consider, because it is great. Science hasn’t devoted much time to this elixir but many years of human consumption have, and we’re loving it. Kombucha naturally contains thousands of happy bacteria, acids, and vitamins that our body typically needs more of- which help us with detox, gut health, joint care, wrinkle prevention, immune health, and general uplifting! That is a list I can love! Improving gut health was my initial reasoning for my new kombucha lifestyle. Improving your stomach flora with natural probiotics can help with anxiety and depression, weight control, boosting immunity, and more. So as you can see, the positivity list goes on. The negatives that you might find while searching the internet are from a small number of incidents where someone was doing a bad job home cooking kombucha.
If you’re still feeling uncertain but want to give this lovely drink a try, talk to the nutritionist at your health food store (they may even have kombucha on tap!). A lot of the information I’m sharing with you today came from snippets given to me by the ladies at the Lake Placid health food store- the Green Goddess (they have kombucha on tap!).

What does kombucha really taste like? 
There are hundreds if not thousands of different types and flavors of kombucha. It can be made with different teas, and even different textures. Chia seeds can be added make a chunky and somewhat sweeter brew- some consider this type slimy so beware if texture isn’t your thing. The brand I have been buying on tap is Aqua ViTea and it’s smooth and effervescent. I have been getting a growler of the Strawberry Sage every Wednesday for about a month now. It’s their summer seasonal and extremely tasty. I highly recommend it for first tries of kombucha because it’s a bit sweet and tastes fresh. There is a bitterness/ tartness along with the sweet, something along the lines of a glass of wine or light beer. If your first few tastes aren’t lovable but you’re willing to continue for purpose of health, just try drinking an ounce or two ounces once every other day. I recommend buying a small personal bottle of a flavor that catches your interest, or trying a glass of it on tap nearby if that’s an option. The acquired taste comes quickly. My partner did not like any of the flavors at first. He tried it 3-4 times and now we both share a glass every morning. We absolutely love how it makes us feel.

Personal Discoveries 
It hasn’t been anything crazy, I don’t suddenly feel like I’ll live forever, but I feel great. Coffee is no longer necessary because the small serving of kombucha I drink has lots of vitamin B12 which awaken me. I have replaced my morning juice with kombucha, getting rid of lots of unnecessary sugars and unhealthy ingredients that come along with certain juice brands. I also have gotten used to not having anything other than club soda, water, or hot tea to drink for the rest of my day. Although I don’t have much consistency at this point in my life in regard to sleep and eat, my stomach feels balanced and happy. I also know I’m getting a dose of vitamins I used to forget to take daily.

As for pricing, the small bottles ARE expensive and it will look like an unaffordable vitamin at first- but I beat the system for you. Growlers are inexpensive at $13 for refills, and depending on your health food store you can bring your own glass container. We go through about one growler a week, which is a small 4-6 oz. glass every morning. The bubbles last about one week in the fridge so it’s been the perfect schedule for us, and at $2 per day it’s totally affordable! You can also get yourself a “mother” or “scoby” and home brew!  All together, this is something I would recommend everyone giving a “shot”, even once a week! 🙂

Hugs and Backpacks full of Fermented Tea,
BB.

P.S. For added sweetness add fresh or frozen fruit. Surprisingly delicious ☺️

 

 

 

 

Diary of a New-Bee

Honing in on what I really love to do has been a serious focus for over a year now. I dearly wish I had learned to do this earlier in life, but my theory is- I’m still young and better late than never. 
This “self-discovery” time has brought me closer to my writing, closer again to nature, closer to my relationships, and closer to understanding my emotions. 

Today I’m most excited about my newest discovery: Beekeeping a.k.a. Apiculture.


The random way in which this hobby came into my life was almost cosmic- a mention from my beloved father, a call to the bee community nearby, a purchase of a suit, and finally, the hook, a meeting attendance. And now I’ve got the fever. 

So, you might ask, what’s so great about beekeeping? Well I’m super fresh to the bee world, but to me it’s great for a few reasons. Most of all, I’ve spent my entire life knowing I want to help the world somehow but didn’t know exactly how to contribute. 

Recycling & composting, using organic and locally grown foods and products, shopping small, not putting straws in drinks (😁) are things I’ve done for awhile. At one job I even made cases against their styrofoam usage and non-recycling practices. None of this feels like enough though. It has been time for awhile that I found a real cause. A cause like beekeeping. 

If you’re unsure of why beekeeping helps the earth- you should know that bees are on the out, becoming extinct. Without the bees the world will have no food- or barely any. And it’s as simple as that. 

So what else makes beekeeping great? I would say that my favorite part about it is the support for the female involved in their culture. The strength given to females in the hive is truly fascinating to me. The bees have recognized the power of females to reproduce and harvest food and have devoted their lives to the protection of this female. While male bees are still somewhat important to reproduction, the difference here is evident. Strong nature super organism with a female lead, what’s not to like? 


The last and not least thing that got me going for bees was the local community. This was by far the most welcoming group I’ve begun in life thus far. They made it easy to fall in love. It was a huge group of instant family, feeding me honey and home grown goodies, showing me their bee children, and inviting me to help with their personal hives. 


Something to consider on these journies to understanding is that it starts with a basic fact about you. I came to an understanding that I need to help the earth to feel complete. Beekeeping feels like an answer to that need for now, with more to come in the future! 

Hugs and Backpacks,

BB. 

3 Road-side Emergency Tips

Life isn’t always naturally glamorous…
Correction: Life is never naturally glamorous. It’s up to us- and how we handle the situation. 

Here are 3 ways to turn a bad road trip situation rightside up ft. Last night’s break down. 

1. Stay Calm : Breathe
This might come naturally to some, but for me this has been a life struggle. 
Last night when our check engine light came on blinking and the car felt twitchy with misfiring we were stressed. It’s not my car so it was extremely important for me to be a calm presence. We both took a deep breath, and knew that at 1:30 AM we were stuck in that pull off for the night. This would usually make me crazy with anxiety, but I saved myself with the combination of learning to just breathe and being prepared, which leads me to my next point. 

2. Be Prepared : Always Be Safe
Part of my ability to stay calm comes from being prepared for whatever may happen. This doesn’t mean packing home into the car. It does mean packing what’s necessary to get by for a night or two. We like to be self-sustainable in situations like last night. We had a tent, 2 headlamps, a lantern, extra water, 2 cliff bars, toilet paper, and extra blankets. We also have rain gear and we stopped in a spot with cell service for the morning tow truck call (and to send a location to a friend). My Dad also bought us a 300 piece emergency roadside kit that’s always in the car (total Dad move.. and we’ve used it countless times. Thanks Pops!) It’s important to have most of these things on any trip through a rural area. Being prepared makes life easy. And sleeping in the car makes having a tent look pretty glam I must say. Especially our beautiful Tepui tent from Exploration Outfitters. True unmatched love for this tent. 

3. Consider Your Options : Communicate
When confronted with an issue on the road the situation can get bad very fast. It could be a dark, low-travel road with no phone service. It could be 100 miles to the nearest gas station. It could be your only option to camp roadside. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to communicate with your trip buds (even yourself!) and lay out the thoughts/ game plan. What’s most important? Do we need food? Are we safe here? I spent a portion of last night not listening to my own advice.. and freaking out. I was afraid for our safety while camping roadside. It was a somewhat sleepless night.  Everything went fine. And as for the future? Maybe I’ll react the same way, maybe I’ve learned to trust. Won’t know til it happens. Until then I just hope to help someone with reacting well to a roadside emergency. 

>> Shout out to Johnson’s Towing. Those guys picked us up and fixed our cars massive problem in 2 hours. We are so incredibly grateful and happily on the road. <<

Hugs & tow trucks 
BB.

Heaven Hill Trails- A Short Walk Through the Woods

Instead of staying inside and not enjoying the day before work, my partner and I decided to take a picnic trip to Heaven Hill in Lake Placid. This is a trail system comprised of short hikes through the woods and in open fields. We decided to do both the Big Field Loop and the Old Orchard Loop.

Every time I’ve walked this trail runners and walkers are present with their super kind and adorable pups. It’s definitely not a quiet trail if that’s what you’re seeking, but it isn’t over saturated. Lovely views are everywhere. Each field provides a different angle of the peaks. The forest surrounding the fields is lush and dense. It was full of birds during this short trip.


We were about halfway through our stroll when we heard what sounded like someone starting a large farm vehicle- turned out to be thunder. It was a good thing we both had rain coats for this chance storm. Mine was used for protecting my camera and I got soaked, but it was a warm pre-summer rain and quite lovely to embrace. The coolest part about this experience is that when we made it to the Old Orchard the storm had moved over the peaks. This provided us with a view of the now sunny day over us, and the storm emptying over the mountains. It was certainly worth the wet.


All in all Heaven Hill Farm is definitely worth a check in. On a day when you’re short of time it’s the perfect option. It isn’t far from town, and the trail is short without too much elevation gain. This trail is perfect for running and cross country skiing as well. For specifics and directions check here.

Thanks for reading, and remember that the outdoors are always there just waiting for us to meet up with them. They’re super forgiving and won’t give us a hard time for taking some space, but they’re always missing us. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to get out there, just take it!

Hugs and Backpacks,
BB.

The Hike to OK Slip Falls – An ADK Must Do!

 

Last week, on one of our first 60+ degree days of Adirondack spring, we hiked OK Slip Falls. You might’ve heard of them- they’re the biggest falls in the ‘dacks.. and some of the biggest in New York. I make an effort to visit as many falls as I can while traveling. Waterfalls represent to me life, strength, and clarity. Three things I channel positivity toward each day.

 

The hike begins in Indian Lake, NY. The trailhead wasn’t difficult to find and had a great parking area. After parking it’s a short road walk to the trailhead and off you go. Packing through the woods (and in this case, followed by a trail of vampires! ADK May = Blackfly Season). This is a beautiful 6.5 mile round trip of non-taxing terrain. Slight ups and downs make for good opportunities to get your heart rate up without dragging yourself up a steep climb just yet. This is what I tell myself anyway!

 

Flowers, plants, and trees were blooming everywhere and there were some wonderful opportunities for bird watching. We were so happy to see two black-backed woodpeckers which are very difficult to find. This trail had many trees filled with holes drilled by woodpeckers. It was definitely a great place to go for birders interested in finding this rare species. A lovely walk through the woods is always beneficial anyway.

 

When we got to the middle of our hike (where the waterfalls are) we had two options. We could view the falls from our current standpoint, which was from above looking through the trees and did not involve any taxing climb, or we could hike down the ravine and see the whole thing from the bottom. Well, I LOVE waterfalls. They always move me and change my life a little bit. I consistently have inner revelations upon seeing these giant cascades of sparkling water. It’s as though the falls cleanse the sand from my thoughts and things become significantly clear again! So I said, “Let’s go! We’re doing this!”, and we were off to see the wonderful wizard of falls. (Ha Ha).

We followed the advice of two hikers passed to “be mindful”. This traverse was the steepest terrain I’ve accomplished without a harness and climbing shoes. It was a careful endeavor. It was also worth every single second.

The waterfalls live up to any writing about them. They stand at over 200 feet tall with massive amounts of water pouring over the top, cascading down the rock ledge creating tons of magical tiny falls. The water began so far away, and streamed down in a way that it seemed as though a giant was holding a pitcher of water and pouring it down into the valley.  We arrived late in the day. The sky was tinted purple and dulled by the mist. It was 15 degrees cooler by the falls. There were two huge floats of snow hanging onto the browned outer edges of the falls, waiting for the official end to Adirondack winter. 



The hike back up that hill was obviously difficult, but it was short, and again, it was worth it. It gained us several different views of the falls and one last rewarding view before our trek out. We walked out seamlessly, stepping quickly to avoid the flies, and stepping quietly to hear the birds.


As a whole this was one of my favorite hikes. It was medium distance and slightly challenging in that way. This is officially a hike that I will revisit in my future. The pure enjoyment of the walk through a dense forrest, views of the falls, and the wildlife and blooms were plenty enough for me to fall in love. A definite Adirondack must do.

Hugs and Backpacks, BB.

A Quick Stop in Georgia

We were on the first leg of our trip back home (FL->NY) and had accomplished about 6 of the 24 hour ride. We were in Georgia. It was midnight. It was raining. We were exhausted. We had no plans for sleeping. So we looked for campsites as we drove up 75.
The first.. and second.. and third.. were duds. Closed, unavailable, and closed again. We were about to set up camp in a Walmart parking lot when we went just a bit further and BAM! There it was. The perfect campsite – with a big neon open sign and lots of sleeping RVs. 

The Red Gate Campground was everything we needed at midnight. The office was “check yourself in” and pay in the morning. There was a nice bathroom with a shower. We also were directed by sign to camp in front of the office which was extremely convenient. 

The rain had picked up when we stepped out of the office. The air had a chill unknown to our Florida nights. Georgia is different. The tent was worth it.. even for this very moment. In 5 minutes we were parked, it was open, and we were in bed, listening to rain drops falling. It wasn’t long before sleep overcame us. 

At sunrise, we realized we had set up camp next to a cage with a rooster. He was letting off his “cock-a-doodle-doo!” every 3-5 minutes like an original snooze button. We accepted it for awhile before getting up, paying, and hitting the road. Not before having a look at the beautiful cock who woke us up though 😂. He was surrounded by chickens and baby rabbits in a lovely pen shaded by the branches of two huge southern oak trees. 

Just like that we were on the road again with a sunny day ahead. This was one of my favorite quick stops on the trip. The experience was really interesting. We learned a lot about finding a site, and about the ease of our magical tent. 

The biggest lesson here (and everywhere on a road trip) is to take a chance. Usually it works out.. and if not.. you’re still having fun! Life is good. 

Hugs and rooftents,

BB.

Road Trip Revelation #1: Nobody Cares


Even though it’s only been 10 days I’ve learned quite a few life lessons on this road trip. One of my favorites so far is that even though we might think something matters, NOBODY CARES. Nobody cares what I’m wearing, nobody cares what I’m eating, nobody cares how long I’m in the bathroom, nobody cares how many times I wash my face or brush my teeth, or eat chocolate for breakfast. Nobody cares that I packed too much, or haven’t been thinking ahead as much as I usually do. Nobody cares that I’ve been caught up in all of my moments and haven’t given thought to the days or weeks. 
I’ll tell you someone who does care though, MY BODY. Our bodies are who’s actually important and that’s who’s benefiting from, or being cut down by our life choices. This revelation is one typically found while traveling; the longer the trip the better it sticks. 

This trip has provided us with all 4 climates, with snow in Buffalo and Ohio, to 90 in sunny Florida. I’ve eaten junk food for days in a row followed by an unfamiliar break out and slight weight gain over a couple of weeks. Emotional break downs and bickering for no reason. After ALL of that came the realization that my body and thoughts need to come first, before anything else at all. Because NOBODY ELSE CARES. 
For packing too much I’ve come up with this: I went through my bag and took out most of the things that were overkill and stuffed them into a bag not to be touched in the bottom of the car. It worked this time because we’re only driving and have plenty of space, but in the future overpacking is absolutely not an option. There’s nothing I need that I couldn’t buy while here or live without. As long as you have a couple of comfortable outfits, a bunch of underwear, your facewash, plenty of moisturizer, a toothbrush, and a comb, life is good. (Because NOBODY CARES if you wear the same thing 6 times, and we do anyway! We all do!) This is a large life lesson for my future travels. I thought that downsizing to a backpack was the answer and it’s not. It’s not about fitting into one space it’s about what we actually need. And we don’t need much. Furthermore I believe that having few things and living without many choices teaches us. We have too much in America and are used to it; constantly traveling with multiple suitcases and burdening ourselves with the mass. It is truly freeing to let all of that go. 
As for thinking ahead, sometimes when things are moving quickly we have to stop and consider where our priorities have been. Mine have been caught up. I get very bogged down by what’s going on with everyone else and don’t worry enough about myself. When I really sit down and think about what I need and about what my body is feeling, life is much simpler. 

Doing some yoga every day and getting a full serving of fruits and vegetables along with cutting out some drinking and getting enough sleep are what I need. Instead of worrying what the others in our company might like we need to worry about ourselves, our health. (Because realistically NOBODY CARES what you eat! That’s on you! And your body will thank you not anyone else!) While traveling our routines have a tendency to escape us. It’s important to step back and remember who we are. We are always number one to ourselves. 
Jim and I still have some time left on this trip and no family to lean on. We’ll be camping from here on out and the real life lessons will begin. So stay tuned for some more revelations by Bee. 
Hugs and backpacks,

B.B

Embrace Spring Skiing at Whiteface

Spring skiing is here early this year. Avid snow lovers certainly would have loved a longer winter season but the early rains and high temperatures have given us what may be spring. We are lucky enough to live near a mountain that provides us with snow-blowing so we are holding on tight to our top-most trails. We also have been graced with some fresh snow this week.

Deals:
Whiteface has offered a sweet deal to those who will be skiing the East NY next year- if you buy a seasons pass for winter 2017/2018 they will grant you free skiing for the rest of this season.
Whiteface will also continue their usual deals- Why Not Wednesdays when you bring a Coca-Cola product for a full-day lift ticket of $48 & Give Back Sundays when you bring a donation for listed non-profits and receive half off.
Liftopia also is a great option for cheaper lift tickets. I haven’t personally utilized this site because a season pass is worth it for me, but I have heard several success stories.

Week Days:
Is the mountain super crowded? There aren’t enough trails open anymore to avoid all of the people? Kids everywhere and people blocking your path? This is because you have visited Whiteface on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. During the week this time of year Whiteface is an epic playground. There have been days when I’ve felt like the only person on the mountain besides the liftys. —>Side note: Appreciate, Appreciate, Appreciate. Those liftys, those cooks, those on register, those are your mountain people. They are working while you ski so they can ski. They’re inside and running lifts on the best days for YOU. They have name tags so learn their names and use them. Tip the cooks a little extra on those sunny days. We all need each other. <—

Technique:
The snow is softer because the days are warmer, or because it’s March it could be sheer ice. How do we deal with these severely varying conditions?  Technique.
Hit a patch of ice? Breathe, and slide until you can catch edge. Engage your core. Don’t let fear overcome, snow exists on the other side of those three seconds of pure terror. Even those who ski well fear falling on ice.
Snow suddenly soften? Keep your tips up and drop your butt slightly lower. Engage your lower body. Power through those slow wet patches with ease.
Catch a patch of fog? Look ahead. This is great technique for all skiing but sometimes it’s hard to look away from your skis or out of your close vicinity. Skiing is like driving. You want to constantly be changing perspective from left to right, near to far, so no small details are missed. Eyes always open and alert.

Layering:
I’ve shared thoughts previously about layering and what I wear to the mountain, but spring skiing is a little different. On a warmer day (40+) I like to make sure I have on an entirely wicking base layer (no cotton!). One pair of extra socks and gloves always go into the pack. Also an entirely waterproof outer layer as opposed to maybe a usual down jacket is smarter on warmer days in case of falling. The snow will be meltier than usual.

Last but not Least:
Whiteface is a huge mountain, and is meant to be explored. Leave your comfort zone, whatever that is, and try some trails you haven’t previously visited. Recently I’ve found that I consistently explore the same path while on Whiteface. This weekend a friend was visiting from out of town and we took him skiing. He loved riding down Excelsior -blue trail-, practicing his turns, looking at the mountains, and just cruising. It gave me a new appreciation for those trails that I have dubbed “not difficult enough”. My favorite trails have been closed for two weeks -glades- and I really learned to love the rest of the mountain. Taking it easy, appreciating the view, and carving some solid turns makes for a different kind of awesome day. As of tonight we’re fully into spring. This means appreciating the little things like stopping to smell the evergreen!

Have fun out there!

B.B.

 

 

 

What I Wear Downhill Skiing

What I Wear:
After downhill skiing and cross country skiing for most of my life I have perfected my gear. Of course this is all personal and not everything works for everyone, but if your feet are cold or your goggles are foggy, consider giving this stuff a shot!

Backpack First of course!: My Osprey Pack is somewhat new. I’ve been waiting for the perfect pack to come around and this was the one! I can’t offer a full review yet but so far it seems pretty solid. I am constantly skiing through the woods and my packs take some abuse carrying lots of gear, and so far it has stood up to the test! Here it is in blue (Osprey Reverb 18). Osprey is a wonderful company that offers lifetime warrantees with their gear. This pack also has an insulated area in the shoulder strap for your bladder’s hose so that it doesn’t freeze on you!

Boots: Rossignol Vita- These are actually my old boots from Sports Page in Glens Falls. They’re cozy but due for an update. Too much flex for my strong ski style. For a beginner or intermediate skier I recommend Rossignol’s new boots, find them here: (Rossignol Kiara Boots)

Socks: Smartwool Slopestyle- Darn Toughs are awesome, but these Smartwools have been my go-to for a very long time. Not only warm, these are extra padded in the shins to protect you from that achy pain later on in your day. These are my favorite but there are tons of styles: (Smartwool Slopestyle)

Warmers: I’m not a cold blooded person and have never needed professional boot warmers. If you are cold blooded, those $100 warmers work like a charm and they get better every year. If you’re not looking to spend the money or aren’t cold enough- a cheap trick I learned from my father, Papa B, for those bitter cold days: pull out your boot liners, grab a pair of those sticky foot warmers ($1-$2), paste them onto the toes of the liner or right inside of the plastic boot, carefully insert the liners so not to bunch the warmer, and enjoy toasty toes for hours. That whole -shove your foot into a bunched up warmer- crap never worked for me, and this was a great alternative. Here they are on Amazon: (Hot Hands Foot Warmers)

Leggings: My cold blooded mother, Mammas, stands by her hot chilis which I must say are cozy. They are nice on super cold days, but typically I am skiing too hard to be that hot. I alternate between the same two pairs of Under Armour winter leggings that I’ve had for years. They last forever and are super versatile. They’re also tight so on cold days I’ll throw on another pair of insulated leggings on top that I picked up at Marshalls for $10. The combo keeps me cozy even on the top lift. Here are a few different choices (Under Armour Leggings)

Snow Pants: My snow pants are probably my favorite piece of gear. These Spyder snow pants which probably were expensive when I got them in 9th grade!! are still in perfect condition almost 12 years later! They have suspenders which I recommend because when you fall the snow stays on the mountain and not in your pants! They also zip entirely off. Not super useful now, but when I was racing I loved this feature! They’re also super thick and waterproof. All in all, a great and well worth it purchase that I might have forever. Here are some that aren’t exactly the same but are somewhat similar and are currently on sale! (Spyder Snowpants)

Under Shirt: Once again, Under Armour winter is my go to for my base layer. They just make such quality and long lasting product, I’m more likely to lose this shirt before it’s unusable. A mock neck style will keep you warm on the coldest days. On warmer days I will use any hiking shirt I have, usually a tech wick turtle neck from EMS I got on sale! Check out this Under Armor under layer here: (Under Armour Shirt) and also see my EMS turtleneck here: (EMS Tech Wick Turtleneck)

Fleece: Depending on how cold the day is I wear two to three layers on top. If it’s 20 or under I wear my Under Armor base layer with my Patagonia Better Sweater (Super Super Warm!)(Also from HPC on sale!) find here! – and my EMS flannel (yes it’s mens! super comfy!) find here! or my Patagonia Fluffy Vest (LP Ski and Board) On sale here!. If it’s 30 or above I ditch the fleece (too warm for Bee!) and go with my base layer and just the vest or one of my Burton sweatshirts (LP Ski and Board) Example Here. I always, always pack one extra top layer because you never know how the wind will feel! Papa B always says to protect your core, he’s a huge vest advocate, and he’s totally right!

Jacket: Two years ago I bought this beautiful long grey Burton coat from Lake Placid Ski and Board. It has adorable foxes inside of it and is decked out with pockets. Burton is extremely reasonably priced, and LPS&B are so great to work with. This jacket is more of a shell and and allows me to layer as I please while blocking the wind for me and covering my butt on the chair, how kind! On warmer days I don my little red Patagonia jacket (HPC 50% off!) which isn’t as wind protectant but allows me better movement. I don’t like getting overheated or over cold so nailing down what I need for temperatures on the mountain has been great for me! The same Burton Jacket isn’t available on their site but here’s a similar one on sale! (Burton Prowess Jacket) also here’s the Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody.

Helmet: Another sprig of advice from Papa B- $10 helmet for a $10 head. This is one piece of necessary gear that you don’t want to cheap out on. I highly recommend Smith. Such a quality and well done brand with great materials and add ons. Also buying the right helmet will provide you with adequate warmth so you won’t need a hat underneath causing discomfort. Smith has been making lenses and helmets for awhile now and can be trusted with such precious material! On sale here!

Goggles: Once again, Smith forever. After skiing my newest pair of Smith ‘Phase’ goggles  now called ‘Prophecy’ with a vent (Cunninghams Ski Barn) I will never go back. Sean at Cunninghams recommended these to me. He really knows his gear. These goggles NEVER fog and are so comfortable on my face. They were a bit pricey but totally worth it. Trust me. Here’s the new ones (Smith Prophecy Goggles)

Skis: Volkl Kenja — Titanium core and perfect for the skier I have become. These skis have been all over Whiteface, in the glades, on the slides and getting some air. They wouldn’t be amazing in powder, but they would be just fine enough. As for Eastern conditions, I highly recommend. They are sturdy, fast, and easy to control. I feel like I could stop in a second flat or carve through the tightest trees. Having been a racer in middle-high school most of my skis were built similarly, but I have to say these are by far the finest I’ve skied. Sean from Cunninghams also recommended these– once again the guy really knows his gear!! He also chose to sell me the previous year’s version rather than selling me the newest and much more expensive ones. I found that to be very commendable. Here are the new ones but if you run into a used pair or last years go for it, it’s a great ski. (Volkl Kenja 2016/2017)

Gloves: My gloves, also from Cunninghams, are Dakine. Mittens. I say mittens because truly, they are much warmer than gloves. Your fingers all get to cuddle inside of a warm fleecy blanket. Gloves sometimes offer more control, but these mittens are tight and feel like they’re molded to my hand. Even on cold days my hands sometimes sweat. They’re wonderful. Another perk is that I got them for $12 on sale! Here’s a page full- they’re all great just choose mitten! (Dakine Mitten)

Neck Warmer- This is up to you personal preference. I’m currently using a Buff, which is great. It’s thin so I can use it in the summer too. Skida out of Vermont makes really really cute stuff I just haven’t come in contact with the one for me yet! Turtle Fur is also and always will be warm and amazing! Check these out, they’re cute and somewhat local! (Skida Neckwear)

–Side note: Those cute little wellies are from Keene- and they’re lined! They don’t sell them anymore but if you find some they’re called Coronado and they’re awesome! I’ve had them for several years. —

So when it comes to layering it’s definitely preferential, but don’t waste your time buying 3 different things. Get some of this awesome gear, layer up, and be warm forever.

Hugs and Backpacks,

B.Bee

 

 

 

Buy Warm Gear Near Lake Placid! (and Support Small Business)

 

 

All of these exciting outdoor winter sports get cold sometimes, and it’s completely inevitable- as we all know. Regardless of this fact, it’s still difficult to locate the best warm gear. The choices are difficult to work with because we only have 2,
1. Spend tons of money for quality gear, or,
2. Buy a less expensive gear and have to replace it often

These aren’t great choices. When it comes down to it, I’ve learned that it’s better to save up and buy from better brands. This can be lifesaving gear so it’s best not to mess around with cheap crap.  Some of them (Osprey, L.L. Bean, etc.) come with lifetime warrantees and will replace your gear. Other quality brands I’ve worked with (Patagonia, Sorel, Spyder, Burton) are also more than happy to replace or repair gear that has been damaged while being used for its purpose. Most of these brands are offered at local gear stores in the area which I love to support. They often have sales and it’s wonderful to try on expensive items before purchasing.

Lake Placid Gear Discounts:

If you’re looking to find some of the gear I’ve purchased at a cheaper price, try out these awesome gear stores in or near Lake Placid. They’ve treated me well and will do the same for you!

    • High Peaks Cyclery-
      • High Peaks is across from the Bowling Alley Bowlwinkles, on lower Main Street, Lake Placid. It’s a high quality shop offering brands like Patagonia, Arcteryx, Deuter, and more. They’re known for their mountain bikes and AT gear, but they also offer a guide service and tuning both of which are extremely reputable. All of that being said, I have found some of the best sales of my outdoor buying career at HPC. Every couple of months they offer a 50% off rack with tons of great buys. They also offer one of the only discount rooms in Placid. This “Recyclery” is in the back of the shop on the right side and is filled with all kinds of shoes, clothes, and gear. The owners are knowledgeable, kind, and super active. This place promises a good deal.
    • The Mountaineer-
      • The Mountaineer in Keene is on 73 about 35 minutes from Lake Placid. This is a huge gear shop filled to the brim with awesome outdoor goodies. It is expensive as all gear shops are but conveniently placed are a couple of sale racks on the second level of this shop. On my last visit there I picked up a beautiful Woolrich sweater for only $35! Also- the employees aren’t pushy as I’ve noticed elsewhere. They’re helpful and genuine.
    • Lake Placid Ski and Board-
      • This shop has been in town for a long time and for good reason. The owners are super knowledgable and remember locals. This is a great spot for all of your downhill gear. They have awesome jackets and snow pants, under layers, helmets, bags, skis, poles, and boots. They always offer great deals and have sales on last years items. Well chosen gear for a cool little Main Street shop.
    • Cunninghams-
      • Cunninghams has been hit or miss for me since moving to Placid but I need to shout out to them for my awesome skis. I was searching for the perfect skis when I fell into an amazing deal at this shop. ‘Last year’s’ skis, same as the new but with different design and less than half the price. They are still the best skis I’ve owned after 3 years of use. Don’t mark the ski barn off, they have great deals and great service.
    • Placid Planet:
      • Placid Planet carries the best alpine race gear in town and they also offer a wonderful tune-up. Their road bikes and tuning are highly regarded as well (spring is coming)!
    • Blue Line Sport: Saranac Lake:
      • If you are in town for a couple of days (Or years! You may just love it here and stay!) definitely check out Saranac Lake. It’s a wonderful town with history and quirkness. The restaurants are delicious and the stores are super unique. Blue Line Sport is one of them. They have tons of great base layers, sweaters, and slippers. My family got many of our ski clothes and other outdoor gear there growing up. Definitely worth a stop– frequent sales!
    • EMS-
      • While EMS isn’t a local store, it’s a great option for gear that you might not be finding at other spots in Placid. EMS isn’t great for downhill gear, but is great for downhill clothing like Smart Wool and Darn Tough socks (often on sale). They have the best spread of hiking boots, climbing gear, and Osprey packs in town. EMS is known for being expensive as other gear stores are, but if you shop right it can be cheap! Becoming part of their rewards program gifts you $10 when you build up points (I have $40 saved right now!) and furthermore they have great seasonal sales. Head to the secret gear spot downstairs and in the back usually there are a couple of sweet sale racks! You never know what you may find.

Aside from all of these awesome shops be sure to check out the other small businesses in our beautiful surrounding towns. Their character and originality are so inspiring. The shop owners and employees are so practiced, knowledgeable, and helpful.  #shoplocal #shopsmall !!

Check out my next post for what I wear to the mountain and how you can find similar gear!

Thanks for viewing!
Hugs and Backpacks,
B.B

 

5 Steps Toward Mindful Cross-Country Skiing

It’s snow globe time in Lake Placid. This means soft twinkling lights in every shop, toasty outdoor fires, rich hot cocoa, and aromatic balsam. Skiing though, tops the list for many of those native and local to the area.

On the surface cross-country (x-c) skiing is what it sounds like- fun exercise; popping two boards onto your feet and sliding across the snowy earth. Depending on your experience with x-c skiing this can be somewhat difficult. I can assure you though, that with a small amount of dedicated time it will become a thoroughly enjoyed practice.

As a beginner the focus should be on staying balanced. As you begin to find your center, skiing will become less of an outward focus and more of an inward focus. There are uncountable number of steps that one can take toward this inward focal mindful skiing. I have gathered 5 that have helped me in my personal journeys.

1. Synchronize Breathing with Strides
Incorporating breathing into every physical activity has completly changed my perspective and ability. Breathing deeply naturally calms the body and gives it a nourishing treat of fresh oxygen. Especially in the middle of beautiful and aromatic evergreen trees of the Adirondacks, full of year long life.
A strategy that works for me is to incorporate breathing into my strides. Each stride is either a breath in or out. Each single breath might take more than one stride, it’s about your own personal comfort and speed. Work at this technique and practice to find your rhythm; stick to a rhythm that feels comfortable and calming.

2. Correct Form
Now you are in the middle of the woods, balanced, and breathing, a short list of lovely things for your body, mind, and soul. At this point sliding woods should be enjoyable and relaxing.  Practicing good form is another step toward relaxing in your practice and getting internal focus accomplished. In everyday life good form comes from better posture, deeper breathing, and steady focus. These things can be accomplished by applying them while skiing. Good form in x-c skiing is an athletic stance with feet shoulder width apart. Glide as if you are moving on an elliptical. Use your right ski with left pole and the opposite to ensure easiest forwarding motion. And lastly, always tighten your abs for extra control with winter sports. Eventually you should be feeling in a meditative state of focusing on your breathing and movements being paired.

3. Extend Mind and Body
Once you’ve accomplished a form that feels comfortable it’s time to push yourself a little bit, yes push yourself! Relaxing your mind comes with some element of also extending your mind, so metaphorically we’re going to tie together extending the mind and extending the body. Think about reaching for your future, and being mindful of challenge. Extending body-extending mindfulness. While reaching for your goals remember to extend your legs and arms just a bit further. This will be difficult but rewarding. It’s a better work out and much more fun. Your body and mind will thank you dearly.

4. Address Adversity
We got through all of that. We are balanced, we are breathing in sync with life, we have better form and posture, and we are extending toward a mindful challenge. Now the real challenge has officially arrived. Whatever this challenge may be, something going on in personal life or work life, getting better at skiing, etc, this will be embraced by your ability to set aside these issues and focus on your inner self. Embrace aches and pains on the ski, embrace recent emotions, and hardships, and then let them go as you extend toward your future goals. This adversity is important to teach us to push ourselves, even just a little. There will be difficult sections, you will fall, and you will get tired, but this will help to prepare you for all of life’s little curveballs. Being able to return yourself to balanced posture and steady breathing will help on your ski and every day. Begin again slowly, and allow for pride in pushing yourself far enough to fall. Staying in a comfort zone keeps us in the same place forever. Those practicing their hardest are going to fall, and we will deem these falls a vision of success.

5. Create Goals
The last and most important step of this mindful skiing session are the goals that are created along the way. I personally use my outdoor activities to allow for something that has really been pressing my mind to come to fruition and work itself out. For me there’s nothing better than a good sweat in the middle of the woods for figuring out my life’s problems. X-c skiing is a great example of this not only because of its exercise, but its connection to the earth right between the trees. You’re surviving with what you’ve brought- which better be adequate at best!- and you’re surrounded by your thoughts. Don’t let the thoughts overwhelm and create tension. Try to best understand the feelings present and create goals based on those feelings. From there move forward with your balance and breathing as discussed. Ski faster or ski with better mindfulness, whichever makes you happiest! Whatever the case may be, make it calming, and make it about you. These are steps toward self-understanding! Love yourself first. 🙂

Hugs & Backpacks,
Bee

Woods-woman hits the Web.

With a little help from my friends. And family. It has been some time since visiting my Mac Book Pro once daily. After some thought and a few warm & fuzzy success stories I launched Birchbee. Birchbee is a representation of my inner heart and soul that I have decided to share with the web-world.

So here I am, a woods-woman living in a beautiful snow globe called Lake Placid in very upstate New York (not Albany,… further North,… yes that Olympics place!).

When enough funds have been saved my travels will extend West on a camping road trip adventure. Tentative plans for 2018.

In the meantime, a view of Lake Placid life and life of towns surrounding for those who don’t know and for those who are interested in learning more. This will include year round Outdoor Recreation, Home Life, and Live Music/ Night life. My main goal with the creation of Birch Bee is to inspire other humans to get outside and enjoy it to the fullest! For me, nothing is better than spending my day outside and absorbing what the earth has to offer, and I want to share that love with those who would like to read about it.

Hope you enjoy as much as I do!

Hugs and Backpacks,

B.Bee