Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Nomadik Subscription Box - May 2018

Another subscription box came in the mail and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time! I received the box on Saturday, May 26, and as luck would have it, Branden and I were planning on going backpacking up at the Grouse Ridge area the following weekend.

This box was PERFECT for our backpacking trip! It came with 3 items that all could be used.

The contents of my box this month included a headlamp, a bandana, and some biodegradable dish/laundry/bath soap.

Item #1 - UCO Hundred Headlamp (retail $24.99)

I was so excited when I saw that I got a new headlamp! Even though I already own a headlamp (what avid camper doesn't??), I was stoked to get a new one. This was much lighter in weight and when I tested the brightness of each setting, all I could say was WOW. Seriously this thing is so much brighter than my other headlamp. I took it out on the trail with me on our trip and I could not have been happier with it. This thing is DEFINITELY going to get great use. My only complaint with the one I received is I would have loved the Northern Lights design of the strap that they make. But that's just being picky and I do really love this.

Item #2 - Forager Survival Bandana (retail $14.00)

I'm not going to lie, I was kind of bummed when I first saw that I got a bandana. I am not a bandana person because I'm usually wearing a hat to cover the sun from my face and I find it annoying around the neck. But then I read it acts as an insect repellent and my mood immediately shifted from disappointment to excitement. I'm always down to keep the bugs away. It's also really cool because it has a list of 7 different plants you can eat in case you are in a bind. I don't ever plan on actually needing this, but you never know! I decided to give it a try on our trip last weekend and I'm a fan. I didn't wear it while we were hiking but I did put it around my neck at camp and it seemed to help a little with the bug situation. I wouldn't go out of my way and buy this but it was a fun thing to get in the box.

Item #3 - Green Goo Double Mint Castile Wash (retail $4.95)

The final item is this biodegradable wash. While it's nothing too exciting, I am a big advocate of using soaps that don't harm the environment. When you are out in nature you want to respect it, and it's easy enough to get a soap that is safe and friendly. We didn't end up taking this with us on the trip because we already had one, but I know we'll use it eventually. I also love that you can use it for dishes, laundry, bathing, or even the pets. I know Buster and Rousey both could use a wash when they go hiking!

Overall I received $43.94 worth of products in this month's box. Supposedly they guarantee you receive $50 worth of items. I'm feeling a little jipped this month but at least we got more than we paid for with the box. I am feeling very happy with this birthday present from Branden so far, and Nomadik has nailed it 2/2 times on the boxes. I'm looking forward to another box next month!

PS. If you are interested in signing up for the subscription, use our link please!


And for fun here are some photos of our trip in the Tahoe National Forest last weekend.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Nomadik Subscription Box Review - April 2018

Hi all! I know it's been a few years (almost 3, where has time gone) since I last posted. Lots has changed and I don't really have time to blog anymore but I thought I'd come on here and post a review of my Nomadik Subscription Box contents that Branden got me for my birthday.

I know whenever I am trying to do research on something I love googling as much as I can to see if it's worth it. Hopefully my review will be helpful to anyone searching for these reviews :-).

I've always wanted to try a subscription box, so I was especially excited when Branden gave me an outdoor one for my birthday. The contents of my box this month included a camp cup, strikeable fire starters, and a hot/cold water bottle.

Item #1 - Mizo Camp Cup (retail $18.95)

The first item I pulled out of the box was this camp mug! It was fairly lightweight and very sturdy. I think it will be the perfect addition to backpacking without adding too much weight and I'll be able to use it for all my drinks while on the trails. It seems like when I put something hot in the mug I won't be burning my hands like I do with my other ones. I have a feeling I'll be using this one at home too :-).

Item #2 - UCO Sweetfire Strikeable Fire Starter (retail $5.99)

These firestarters seem pretty awesome. We always bring extra matches and lint when we go backpacking and I think this will make a great addition. From what I've read online, these things work great. This probably isn't something I'd go out and buy but I'm glad to have it now.

Item #3 - Eco Vessel Boulder Bottle (retail $29.95)

The last item I pulled out of the box was this water bottle! I was so excited when I saw it. I love the fact that it's got hot/cold options, and that there is a strainer if I want to have tea or fruit in it. The bottle itself has raving review everywhere. I'm so excited to use it at work and to take camping with me.  I have a feeling it's going to be a game-changer with my morning coffee while camping.

Overall I received $54.89 worth of products in this month's box. Definitely worth the price of the subscription. While none of things are anything I need, they are all things I'll use. The point of one of these boxes was for me to get stuff I wouldn't normally purchase and that's exactly what it delivered. I look forward to my next box. Hopefully I can find the time to review the next one for everyone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My First Backpacking Trip - Grouse Ridge Campground to Penner Lake

Do you know how you talk about doing something and then it never really happens? Like how you would love to explore Asia, or go on a cruise around the world? Well, I've recently wanted to try backpacking, and to be perfectly honest, I wasn't really sure I would actually do it.


Branden has gone backpacking before, and I was so worried that I would be a really annoying companion, constantly complaining about being tired, or my back hurting, or having to go to the bathroom in nature (yes that's what you have to do), or whatever else could happen in the middle of nowhere. I was also worried about getting lost, and I was especially worried about over-packing and not having the right equipment.

I did a ton of research before I really started to plan our trip. I'll post another time about everything I bought for myself and for Branden and I to use together. I finally started to feel comfortable with the things I was getting us. However, I did change the location of our trip about a month before (partly due to the fact that we had other people who were coming and they couldn't go as long, and partly due to the fact that I was worried the trip I chose was going to be too difficult for a beginner).

The trip we ended up doing was starting at Grouse Ridge Campground and eventually making our way up to Penner Lake. Initially I thought about going from Grouse Ridge to Glacier Lake, but we decided to go towards Penner Lake since there were more lakes on the way and we could stop if I got too tired. I'm including a map below of where we went, although I apologize if it's a little hard to see my drawing in yellow.

Since this one might be hard to see, I'll include another little map I found online (the previous picture is also a little outdated since it came from Branden's dad's old Atlas).

Getting to Grouse Ridge campground wasn't too bad from Sacramento. Thankfully we drove to Sacramento on Thursday night and stayed there so we had a short trip on Friday morning. It took us about an hour and a half to get from my parents' house to the trail head.

Here are a few pictures from before we started and our drive in:

You had to take a dirt road about 5 miles to get to the trail head. I had read that a sedan could make it through, which I agree with, but it would have been a lot more difficult. Thank you to my parents for letting us borrow the Tahoe.

When we got there, the wind started to pick up and the clouds started to show up, and there was some thunder nearby, but thankfully we were already prepared for any rain and thunderstorms. We actually only went about 10-15 minutes before we decided to take off our rain gear because we were too hot.

Here are some pictures from the top of Grouse Ridge and then at Round Lake

At the time I didn't realize, but we actually took a wrong turn by going directly next to Round Lake. It made our trip a little longer but eventually we found our way. Instead of following the signs towards Round Lake, keep going straight. You should pass Long Lake on the right and eventually you will see Island Lake on the right as well.

While we were going around the lake, we found a great camping spot right on the water, but we hadn't been hiking very long and decided to keep going. This is a great lake to stop at if you leave late, though.

As I said, we made our trip a little longer than we should have, but the next lake we saw ourselves at was Island Lake. It was absolutely gorgeous!

We ended up hiking around the lake a little more and we found an awesome campsite so we decided to park it there for the evening. It was nice just being able to wander around the lake, search for firewood, and set up for the night. I was able to snap some of my favorite pictures of the trip while we were there, at different times of the evening with all sorts of cloud coverage.

In the morning we packed up and made our way to Penner Lake. That was a brutal hike for the last half, but it was well worth it. The first hour had us going along Island Lake, while the second had us hiking uphill to 6900 feet in elevation. I felt so accomplished by the time we got up to the lake!

We stopped at the lake edge for a quick snack and then walked around the lake to where we figured the best camp spots would be. The nice thing about being at one of the upper lakes was that there weren't many people around. I think there were 3 other groups that stayed the night at the lake.

We found another awesome spot right next to the water, and since we arrived much earlier to our spot than we did the previous day, I had tons of time to relax on a rock by the water and soak up the sun. Branden worked on setting up his fishing pole so he could fish.

The only negative to the lake was that firewood was hard to find. If you ever go up that high, I highly recommend bringing a small saw. Thankfully we had one as part of a hatchet that Branden bought. It saved us from having no wood to burn!


 After our night at Penner Lake, we packed up and headed back to the car. It was much easier heading back to Island Lake and only took us a little over an hour (on the way up it took us about 2 hours). We decided to keep going since we still had energy but in hindsight we probably should have stopped since that was the last really good stopping place.

From Island Lake, it was mostly uphill back to the car. It wasn't extremely steep, but it was definitely tiring, and since we didn't stop for a break at the lake, it was pretty difficult. I ended up having to stop and eat a snack in a place where Branden didn't feel comfortable because of all the trees. Nothing happened, but a few minutes after we started back again, a hiker told us he saw a bear about 100 yards off in a field very close. We banged our poles as we were hiking and booked it out of there. I'm glad we didn't see it.

When we finally made it to the car it was relief! I am so proud of myself for finishing my first backpacking trip and I can't wait to go again. Hopefully we can go at least once a year on top of our camping trips.

If you haven't been backpacking before, I highly recommend coming to this area. It was a great area for beginners (I even think it could be great for kids who love the outdoors). If you ever want to go up here, feel free to ask any questions you might have.

Here are some final photos from the trip that Branden snapped at the end: