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I'm a solo travel enthusiast who began traveling in my thirties. Now, not quite still in my thirties, my goal is to encourage other women to get out and explore. For the more adventurous, I'm also a backpacking and hiking guide helping adults learn to explore our backyard of NC, TN and VA. Although not quite there yet, my next goals are mountain biking and rock climbing.
I didn't see pictures of people that looked like me when I started traveling and backpacking. All I saw were beautiful twenty-somethings in exotic locations. There were no pictures of women in their thirties or forties, overweight but active, out there traveling. After a few trips, I realized the reality is that more actual travelers looked like me than the models. You can stay in hotels or go on tours solo, you're not destined to stay in hostels and journey on foot if you don't want to.
Life is full of adventure. No one "missed their opportunity". It's always a good time to start.
I had a fabulous dinner at Monaco in Irving, TX. Think of it as European dishes with a twist. We had yummy appetizers - you can tell the pizza was a favorite. And dinner isn't complete without dessert, such as delicious beignets. The creme fraise served with them was amazing. Thanks for a great trip #steirving and #irvingrocks I'll definitely be back to visit Monaco Restaurant
#ad #sponsored If you love wool, then check out these offerings from Minus33 Merino Wool Clothing. I had the opportunity to try some of their gear and I'm sold. They make the most comfortable wool clothing I've ever worn. It's also some of the most affordable wool clothing out there. You can find out more in my review. Minus33 Merino Wool Clothing
#ad #sponsored Ya'll I LOVE this Minus33 Wool clothing! I tested out the Woolverino micro weight shirt and these Woolverino midweight leggings. The leggings were so comfortable, I actually forgot to change into my hiking pants!!!! Seriously, I woke up, used the privy, then started making breakfast without thinking. I've never done that. The only word I have is plushy. They're plushy. Soft, comfy, lightweight, warm, and just comfy. Even if you're not a "leggings" person, give these a try. (psst -- the hiking shirt was also super comfortable) Minus33 Merino Wool Clothing
#ad #sponsored I finally found wool clothing that fits and looks good! Wool is my go-to for hiking and backpacking, but it often fits snugly, shirt lengths are too long, and you can see through it. Minus33 fixed all that. This is a photo of me in their Woolverino women's wool V-neck t-shirt. I'm 5'3" and the length is perfect. It didn't get caught on my hips or bunch under my pack belt. And it's light and silky. The micro-weight is perfect for NC summers. I'm really excited about this shirt. Minus33 Merino Wool Clothing
I really enjoyed visiting Raven Rock State Park. While it can be crowded in the warmer month, try heading out in the off-season. You can head down the stairs to see the rock ledge and river, stand on the overlook for a birds-eye view of the Cape Fear River, or just enjoy hiking by a creek. I've got everything you need to know before heading out.
I found 3 great campgrounds at Raven Rock State Park. There are 2 primitive sites that you hike into, and then Moccasin Branch campground which I think may be the prettiest car camping site at any NC State Park. I'll definitely be back out. The only question is whether I want a cute cabin, car camping site, or waking up near the river. This is going to take a bit of thought.
Did you know Raven Rock State Park in Lillington, NC is only an hour away from both Raleigh and Durham? I'll bet you've been going to Umstead and Eno for so long that you've missed this little gem. I loved walking along the Cape Fear River. The water was high and a little muddy thanks to the rains the day before. There are so many trails here, I had to come back to finish them all!
If you're looking for the best trail to hike or campground to stay at Eno River State Park, check out my post. It has everything you need to plan your visit. Learn what you can access from each entrance, where to find the suspension bridge, where to camp, and more! I may have given out too many of my secrets about the park.
Did you know that Eno River State Park has 2 Group Campsites and 2 Backpacker Campsites? They're all hike-in, but it's only about 1-1.5 miles to each. Personally, I like the Fanny Ford campsites. These are great for a quick getaway when you want to put your phone on airplane mode and tell the world to go away. Make sure you reserve your site in advance and get a tag for your car!
If I'm feeling that it's time to get out and hike, walk along a river, or just breathe a little fresh air, then Eno River State Park is where you'll find me. The suspension bridge is always a favorite with kids, although your dog may not find it all that amusing. For fewer crowds, try visiting on a weekday, or later in the afternoon. What's your favorite part of Eno River State Park?
#ad #sponsored I love coffee. I really do. Every morning I listen to my percolator happily perking away as I dream of coffee. But when I'm camping and backpacking, options are limited. I'm happy to say, I found a solution!!! BruTrek products by Planetary Design. I met the team at a conference and was drawn to their table. (I mean, come'on, they had coffee). They generously provided products to test and I've been a happy camper (literally) ever since. The collapsible-pour over is my new favorite backcountry toy. I love this thing. And their travel French presses don't let the grounds float back up, and stop the brewing process so you don't get sludgy coffee- say what?! Check out their excellent product line. They have solutions for backpacking, camping, AirBnbs, hotels, any time you're traveling and want good coffee without the waste of a pod. bru.trek Planetary Designs
My hiking and backpacking buddies know how I love my wool shirts. The warmth, the coziness, the not feeling clammy when I sweat...... wool does it all. While I could keep this all to myself, it seemed only fitting to share some of my favorite lightweight wool shirts. Some are 100% Merino wool, and others are a blend so there's something for everyone. I like lightweight shirts because they're perfect for base layers or to wear on their own in warmer weather (which will be here soon. I refuse to accept the groundhog's decision - little dude hides every year). Read on and get set for spring!