When Did You Realize You Loved Hiking?

I hated hiking growing up. Despised it.

My Nana’s favorite saying as I grumpily whined and shuffled along was “Every party has a pooper”. She loved hiking. When visiting we went on at least a couple dayhikes. So as an adult I have to laugh that of my brother and the two cousins I grew up near, I am the only one who super loves hiking. They were all happy to be out there when we were little. Meanwhile, I was crabby and hating walking through the sand/dirt/mud to wherever she chose.

Yes, stay jealous. That is a sweet ride right there. Bright yellow, it told you who owned the road! We could also talk about the girl being carried, who was so not going to walk in snow.

Neither was I impressed by tall walls of snow at Mount Rainier. The snow doesn’t get that high much anymore up here now. The picture was early summer, before the walls of snow melt out.

I spent a lot of time as a child on the Oregon Coast, as my Nana had a house on the bluff above the Pacific Ocean. Apparently I inherited my Mom’s love of dressing children in matching hats……

Growing up, Nana’s favorite hike was for us to visit a spit of land, that separated the bay and the Pacific Ocean. Long ago there had been train tracks and a sea town built on it, till it was wrecked by changing tides.


As you can tell, I was a joyous hiking partner at 12 years old. I grew up, but was still crabby. I would shuffle behind her, carrying on. Probably where my middle kid gets it from. He does the same thing, I just ignore him and walk, and he shuffles along.

The months after this photo, Nana sold the house and moved up North, and within a few years we moved to the area as well (on an island). While on the island, I started hiking on my own, with my Mother at times. We lived across the street from a state park so would wander over. I didn’t find it joyous, and to be honest I didn’t even like it – but we lived 10 miles out-of-town and I was bored.

A few years later, in college, I was invited on a backpacking trip over Spring Break. I had never backpacked before, and not even camped on the ground (the few feeble attempts at camping as a kid were on cots in a well ventilated tent). The hike in did nothing for me. We started our hike at night, in pouring rain. I had a borrowed ill-fitting external metal frame backpack and no rain gear on. I was miserable and spent a cold night trying to get warm (I had no idea I needed a sleeping pad), so I slept on the ground. I spent a week out there, and learned a lot (that for example a bed of evergreen branches made a pretty decent sleeping pad, if maybe not so ethical to do).

But what changed it for me was one day that trip a friend and I went on a dayhike from basecamp. We went cross-country and followed a creek, through the woods. We found a bear den, empty for the season. We sat down by the creek there and it was magical. I had never felt that feeling before. The woods were so pretty and alive. Birds twittered. And I got it finally. I hadn’t hiked the right hike was all. It’d be a few more years before I really got into it, but I was hooked.


The Natural First Aid Kit

The Natural First Aid Kit? Yes! As some of our readers know, I write about our homesteading at Never Free Farm, and produce many recipes for natural body and remedy products (Herbalism is a side passion of mine, and I went back to school this past year). Today I am going to share some of my favorite to have on hand, that you can make yourself, and also items to have in your kit on trips. And if you missed it, we recently published Natural Body Care, a full color book of natural body care. All our recipes are Top 8 allergen free as well. Our youngest son, Alistaire, has influenced a lot of change in our family over the recent years.

DIY Items To Create:

Bump & Bruise Essential Oil Rollerball – great for after trips, for speeding up healing.

Headache Rollerball – For helping relieve tension headaches.

Warming Oil – Great for relieving dry, achy skin in winter.

Immune Support Blend Ages 2 to 6 – Rollerball recipe for the “sick season”.

Immune Support Blend Ages 6 & Up – Rollerball recipe for the “sick season”.

There’s An Oil For That – A collection of essential oils to have on hand.

Peppermint & Tangerine Foot Soak – When your feet feel dead after a long dayhike, do this before bed!

Bugs Away Spray – Recipes for both young and older.

After Workout Spray – Smell a little less funky on your long drive home.

Think about what you carry in your first aid kit, in your backpack when you hike….do you carry bandages? Ointments? Pills? The first aid kit in many ways is for simple issues: pains, scratches, sun burn, upset stomachs, blisters. While many of us choose to carry more detailed items for severe bleeding, broken bones, allergic reactions, and more, there is also another side to the first aid kit: natural solutions to problems that can relieved or helped with items you might not think of normally.

  • Activated Charcoal Capsules (For best results, buy a brand that is made from coconuts) – It can be taken internally (consume your daily amount of water (over the day) while doing this, you don’t want to be dehydrated) if you experience food poisoning, or come down with a Norovirus or similar, while out. If you have a hiking partner who is showing signs of a virus, take 2 pills to ward it off. Make a paste of the contents of a pills worth with a small amount of coconut oil (which comes in packets, see below), apply to mosquito and spider bites, as well as encounters with poison ivy and oak. Activated charcoal WILL stain though, so be sure to cover with bandages. (PLEASE READ HERE IF YOU TAKE PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION)
  • Lavender Essential Oil – Lavender oil is useful for relaxation and sleep. Apply a drop on pulse points (wrists, feet) before bed. Or a drop or two on your pillow/clothes. For most people, “neat” application is safe with Lavender, however with children, dilute it in a bit of coconut oil.
  • Melaleuca Essential Oil (Tea Tree Oil) – It is excellent for application on minor wounds and owies. Once cleaned and dried, apply. It can be mixed into coconut oil as a carrier as well. Keep out of eyes and membranes.
  • Coconut Oil Packets – Coconut oil is good for more than just eating. It is nearly-perfect for use on skin as well. Cracked lips? Dry skin? Good on feet as well.
  • Chamomile Tea Packets – A quaint old lady tea that can settle upset stomachs and help you sleep at night. Don’t brew it past 2 minutes, as it can get bitter. Sip and enjoy!


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These recipes are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. They are not medical advice. This article contains mentions of using essential oils, do your research before using. If any of the products cause skin irritation, discontinue use immediately. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these recipes/methods and or suggestions. 

Winter Food Finds

Food finds on the radar for winter –

Honey Gummy Bears are artificial color/flavor free, no HFCS, gelatin free (vegan friendly) and safe for peanut allergies. Our boys went crazy over these treats, I loved the sour ones. Like Sour Patch Kids Lite.

Honey Truffles. Lovely Candy Co makes four versions of them. Simplistic, minimalist candy. One or two patties is all you need to satisfy a chocolate craving.

Steeped Coffee. I love single serving options for the trail. Brew it like tea, and each packet is nitro sealed, meaning you get an amazing fresh cup of joe each morning. Their packaging is compostable as well.

I love Heavenly Organics products. While I don’t know if you can find these easily on the market, Peet’s Coffee had them at the coffee bar. The honey has an amazing taste. Just saying…should you be near a Peet’s, you might want to see if they have them.

I haven’t tried these newer mixes out, but if you are looking for a gluten-free boxed base, the Easy Quinoa might be for you. Add in dehydrated veggies and even meat for a full meal.

No Cow bars – dairy free protein bars. High in protein, low in sugar, and in many innovative flavor combos..

No Cow protein cookies. Dairy free, high in protein and low in sugar.

FTC Disclaimer: We received samples on some products reviewed.