It’s hiking season! Come outside with us!

What crazy weather we’re having! Happily, it’s perfect for hiking! We have two different events coming up SOON! Our annual Eagle Hike is scheduled for February 10th and February 11th. We will “basecamp” out of Bobcat’s Bar and Grill near Ozawkie and take the bus to our hike location. The total distance will be 3-4ish miles, we will get you into location where we often see American Bald Eagles – no guarantees but the chances are high! Each of these hikes has a check in time of 12:30.

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We have made some awesome memories on previous Eagle Hikes and we know that this year will bring more adventure! Sign up now in the Dirty Shop! 

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We are also hosting a special event on March 3rd to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Perry Lake Trail. SUPER EXCITED!! Sign up now for our Celebration Hikes!

Join us as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Perry Lake Trail.
View from the trail between Longview and OMT
The KTC – Kansas Trails Council originally developed this 29 mile trail. This trail has been created and maintained by VOLUNTEERS for 40 years! March 2018 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Perry Lake Trail’s recognition as a National Recreation Trail.
Everyone is WELCOME to come out, join in and enjoy the trail and celebrate this milestone! The Perry Lake Trail is a wonderful backcountry trail that showcases a variety of Northeast Kansas terrain as well as offering gorgeous views of Lake Perry. Wildlife is often seen along the trail with sightings of American Bald Eagles topping the list of interesting animals. The trail includes open pasture, timber and steep inclines/declines.

    Dirty Girls on the PLT in March 2017

A portion of all fees collected will be donated to the Kansas Trails Council Friends of the Perry Lake Trail fund.

KTC Trail Volunteers repair a bridge on the trail

The CELEBRATION will offer 2 guided hikes. You can choose either an 8 mile or 4 mile. We will serve a hearty campfire meal with s’mores for dessert. Kansas Trails Council volunteers will be on hand to showcase the tools of trail maintenance and to talk about the history of the trail. In addition, other Outdoor Enthusiasts will be available to share information about accessing nature.

Dirty Girls during the annual “Dirty Girls Go All the Way” hike – completing all 29 miles.

We welcome ANYONE who would like to join us for this celebration. If you don’t want to hike with the group, come out to socialize, learn and to explore the trail.This event will occur at the Perry Lake Trail accessed at the OMT – Old Military Trailhead off of Ferguson Road.

DETAILS OF THE DAY… Location: OMT – Old Military Trailhead – This is located on the west side of Ferguson Road south of Highway 92   GOOGLE MAP LOCATION

 8 Mile Hike Check in time: 8am

4 Mile Hike Check in time: 9:30am

You MUST pre-register to ensure a space on the bus and a meal for your belly! 😀

Cost varies: $40 regular with meal, $32 Club with meal, $30 regular no meal, $24 Club no meal, Meal only option $10. Just want to hang out and visit? Free, come on out!

Bring: A friend, your own hiking gear, snacks, water and beverages as well as a LAWN CHAIR for sitting around the fire!

A rest stop on the trail during the “Dirty Girls Go All the Way” hike, October 2017

What are you paying for? A knowledgeable and informed guide service that includes a leading guide and a sweep guide during the hike. Trail support including: first aid, knowledge of the environment and locale, safety monitoring, pacing, interpretive information on the environment and location. Food, fire and/or comfort at the end of the hike! Meal: Due to the size and scope of this event there are no alternate meal choices, we will serve Beef Stew with cornbread and s’mores. The beef stew will be gluten free. 
In case you are wondering about our refund policy – refunds are given up to one week before the date of the event no questions asked. After that, refunds are not given unless there are exceptional circumstances. Dirty Girl Adventures may cancel an event due to weather or conditions. Everyone will receive a refund if that is the reason for the cancellation. We will paddle and hike in cool, rainy or snowy conditions. Cancellation only occurs in severe weather or other dangerous conditions.

Posted in Adventure Stories

Hiking in Cold Weather? What to wear?

Baby, it’s cold outside! This is awesome! No bugs! No spider webs! The poison ivy and brush is dead! Winter is also a great time to spot wildlife. Without the leaves on the trees, it’s easier to see wildlife. Eagles nest in the winter and are very active in Northeast Kansas.

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Three Dirty Girls during a March Hike

We recommend dressing in layers for winter hiking. Start with a base layer of long johns or winter running tights with a long john shirt or winter compression shirt. Wear fleece, wool or synthetic poly blend fabrics. Wearing this layer of poly-blend fabrics close to your skin will keep you warm and wick any moisture away from your body.  Cotton holds moisture and takes longer to dry it is NOT recommended.

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Our favorite Eagle Hike EVER! A random blizzard made the adventure special!

Thick, cushioned socks: wool, polypropylene, or synthetic. You could consider a thin “liner” sock combined with medium to thick outer sock.

Follow your base layer with more layers, preferably more fleece!  Finish with a wind/water resistant jacket on top and some wind resistant pants on the bottom – any pants will work but wind and water resistant are handy. Again, non-cotton fabrics –  fleece, wool or synthetic poly-blend fabrics are best. They dry faster and move moisture away from your body.

We also suggest using hiking poles. Winter weather can create slippery spots and surprising places. If you know you will be hiking on an uneven trail, take your hiking poles to help you maintain balance on difficult sections.

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Open spaces are colder and standing still for too long is a mistake!

Synthetic gloves or mittens – mittens are preferred for warmth. Wear a warm hat: fleece, wool or synthetic or possibly a head band that covers your ears. It’s also great to have something to cover your face, even a bandana helps.

It’s also handy to bring your backpack to put the layers into as you warm up along the trail! Depending on the distance you plan to hike, be sure to take water, snacks, a fully charged phone for emergencies and a friend!

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Love these two women. LAYERS!

Posted in #getoutstayout, Adventure Stories, Adventures, Come Outside, Dirty Girls, Eagles, Hiking, Kansas Trails, nature hike, Northeast Kansas, wildlife, winter

CANCELLED!! Due to severe weather. January 1st, 2018

Join us and the rest of the nation for a FIRST DAY HIKE! We will be helping out at the Perry State Park First Day Hike on January 1st, 2018 at 10am for a 2.5 mile hike! Start your 2018 with a nature connection! Free, and open to all ages and genders – 2.5 mile hike with no registration required. Show up with your people! 😀 2018 First Day Hike Flyer

Posted in #getoutstayout, Adventure Stories, Adventures, bring the kids, connect, Dirty Girl Club, Dirty Girls, First Day Hike, friends, go outside, Hiking, Kansas Trails, nature hike, Northeast Kansas, Perry Lake, togetherness, unplug, wildlife

Dirty Girls Go ALL the WAY … Hiking on the Perry Lake Trail

Are you ready for some longer hikes? Are you thinking about joining us for our 4th Annual Dirty Girls Go All the Way? Sign up ASAP if that’s the case!

We love the Perry Lake Trail and would love to have more people access this great resource. Thanks to the Kansas Trails Council VOLUNTEERS for creating and maintaining it!

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A February Trail work day with Kansas Trails Council volunteers!

If you can’t join us for Dirty Girls Go All the Way but would be interested in hiking the PLT, you can use this list to find gear suggestions for day hikes or longer hikes.  DGA will host several hikes of various distances on the PLT throughout the 2018 Adventure Season – gather your gear and watch for event details  when the 2018 Schedule is released in December.

When you hike the PLT, you can expect to see some gorgeous views, some wildlife and to traverse a variety of terrains. The PLT includes rough, rocky trail with steep inclines and declines often through timbered land. In addition, you will find yourself hiking through pastured sections along the edge of the lake shore. You can find a map of the PLT here, please note that while they have the PLT rated as EASY – we don’t know why that is…. while there is significant variation in the trail, many sections are extremely DIFFICULT and the majority of the trail is HARD. Be prepared! Take some time to explore the possibilities at www.GetOutdoorsKansas.org, take some time to explore this site for additional Kansas Adventures!

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March on the PLT with Dirty Girl Adventures – such a beautiful hike!

When you hike with DGA, we provide some amenities … a guide with knowledge of the trail, a trail sweep to bring up the rear – NO DIRTY GIRL LEFT BEHIND! We also carry first aid kits, we often provide water refills and a bus ride so you can hike one way instead of out and back. DGA also likes to end a hike with some time around the campfire with friends.

If you aren’t hiking with DGA  you’ll need to plan an out and back hike or arrange a car drop for one way hikes.

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This is from last FEBRUARY during the DGA Eagle Hike. Gorgeous day!

This is a list of suggested items to bring to the Annual Dirty Girls Go All the Way hike on October 21st and 22nd – you can sign up HERE! Remember, that while this particular event includes one night of primitive camping on the trail, we don’t carry our camping gear with us. We set up our basecamp and the Dirty Bus will transport us to the trailhead so that we can hike back with just our day packs. The Dirty Minions will bring us our lunch at the mid point. If you want to join us but don’t want to “go all the way” sign up for either Saturday or Sunday and go “half way” with us!

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The Dirty Bus makes a one way hike on the PLT a little easier!

Things to bring for camp:
For All the Way, there is a Vault toilet available and DGA will bring the insta-hot water maker for hand and face washing.
  • Folding lawn chair
  • Tent
  • Sleeping gear
  • Personal care items
  • Comfy camp clothes
  • Don’t forget any daily medications you might need
  • DGA provides the fire, the food and the coffee when we host an event so when you’re not with us you’ll need all of the stuff to take care of camp! 😉
Things to take on your hike: 
  • Hydration backpack with a capacity of  at least 2 Liters of water or more (bring it full to start your hike)
  • Snacks for the trail – be sure to include both protein and sugar or carbs – we like trail mixes, tortillas rolled with nut butters, apples, dried fruits and chocolate
  • Bring any medication that you might need on trail – epi-pen, insulin, etc.
  • Personal comfort items for along the trail  (things we take… lip balm, wipes for your hands, face or bum, eye drops if you have dry eyes or allergies of any type, if you are prone to blisters bring moleskin)
  • A fully charged smart phone with GPS capacity – in airplane mode or off to reserve battery
  • A copy of the trail map
  • Hiking poles – many prefer to hike with hiking poles to provide support for balance
  • If you aren’t with DGA, or even if you are, you should consider basic first aid supplies.

 

What to wear on the PLT: 
  • Long pants – this is a backwoods trail, there are stickers, stick tights and brush that you WILL contact
  • Wool blend socks
  • Hiking shoes or boots
  • Layers – we suggest tri-blend fabrics that dry quickly
  • Fleece jacket or rain gear depending on the forecast
Posted in Adventure Stories, Adventures, All the Way, Challenge, Come Outside, Dirty Girls, Hiking, Kansas Trails, Northeast Kansas, Perry Lake Trail

Summertime with DGA!

20170607_145053Hello!  We hope that you have been making time to GET OUTSIDE!  Remember, taking time to nourish your soul isn’t selfish, it’s self care. Self care is important for each and every one of us. Make some time today to get out and feel the soft air on your skin!

We’ve added some new opportunities to join us for some outdoor adventure! We’d love to take you outside!  Check out our new events in the DIRTY SHOP for more details!

 

Saturday July 22nd we will be offering 2 events to get you on the RIVER!

River Saturday – Check in at 9:30am at the Rising Sun River Access in Lecompton to board the Dirty Bus for a short paddle down the Delaware River to the Mighty Kaw. We will enjoy some time on the sandbar and be off River by early afternoon.

Delaware Dinner Dash– Check in at 4:45pm at the Rising Sun River Access in Lecompton to board the Dirty Bus for a short paddle down the Delaware River to the Mighty Kaw. We will enjoy dinner and the sunset from the sandbar getting off River about 9pm.

We hope that you are all enjoying the beautiful weather that we have been having in Northeast Kansas. Here are a few pictures of what we’ve been doing so far this summer.

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Posted in Adventure Stories

3 New Events Added! Come Outside with US!

We’ve added some new opportunities to join us for an outdoor adventure! Check out our new events in the DIRTY SHOP for more details!

  • Sunset Lake Yak – Wednesday June 21st, 2017 5:45pm Check in time – paddle from 6:30 – 8:30 Join us for a relaxing paddle on Lake Perry! We will gear up and paddle out to enjoy the scenery and company before sunset. This event will NOT be at Old Town Campground 😉 we will be selecting another location to explore from the water. You will receive an email with details as we approach June 21st. Sunset paddles are designed for relaxation and rejuvenation mid-week. Prepare to relax and enjoy the evening with the Dirty Girls! Dirty Dudes and kids are welcome to join us!10702234_10204912837049643_3884624319248067511_n
  • River Run – Saturday July 1st, 2017 Check in time at St. George River Access at 11:00am Two rivers for the price of one! Yes! We will launch onto the Blue River in Manhattan and paddle down to the Kansas River, getting off River in St. George for 11.5 miles on the Mighty Kaw! Everyone is welcome! You will check in at the St. George River Front Park Access at 11:00am Don’t be late because we will board the Dirty Bus promptly to ride back to our start location in Manhattan. We’ll be off river late in the afternoon after floating, paddling and exploring sandbars along the way. Don’t plan on anything other than going with the flow post paddle.

 

  • Instructional Kayaking – From Launch to Load! Wednesday June 28th, 2017 Check in time 5:45pm Instruction from 6:15 – 8:30  Are you a little worried about your first time kayaking? Although we provide instruction and support at every kayaking event, we know that some of you are more uncomfortable with the idea than others. You need a smaller group, more direct communication and you want to know the details … THIS event is for YOU! We will provide instruction and support before and during the event. We will answer all of your questions, demonstrate techniques and talk you through it from launch to load! Perry Lake LOCATION – will be finalized about one week before the event based on conditions. You will receive an email as we approach June 28th

asskickfaveFor all of these events you should….

Plan to bring: Water, food, snacks, sun screen, water, adult beverages, sun screen, water, umbrella or parasol, an old t-shirt or water UPF shirt

Wear: shorts, tank, t-shirt, swimsuit, water shoes or old tennis shoes – no flip flops

What are you paying for? Use of a kayak, paddle, life jacket and all of the lifting, hauling, planning and coordination needed to make this happen. Renters and OYO’s are paying for a river/lake guide and experienced safety paddlers who will ensure that your trip is safe and that you receive instruction and support along the way. We will have supplies necessary to provide basic first aid on the river or lake. Dirty Minions will provide the muscle to push renters out and pull renters in – they will also do all the lifting and loading of DGA kayaks. If OYO’s are interested in support from Minions, please consider tipping them. Their first responsibility is to renters who by definition need more support. Owning your own kayak entitles you to a lower price and your own lifting, hauling, loading etc.

Our refund policy: Refunds are given up to one week before the date of the event no questions asked, after that there are no refunds. Dirty Girl Adventures may cancel an event due to weather or conditions, everyone will receive a refund if that is the reason for the cancellation. We will paddle and hike in cool, rainy or snowy conditions. Cancellation only occurs in severe weather or due to other dangerous conditions.

Equipment policy: You break it or lose it you buy it.

Posted in Adventure Stories

Sunset on Lake Shawnee

Let’s hit the Lake! Topeka’s Lake Shawnee is gorgeous and accessible for everyone. We will paddle for a couple of hours, enjoying the serenity that comes with time spent on the water. We’ll have time to paddle, float and enjoy our friends during this paddle. We will watch the sun go down then get off the lake feeling refreshed and rejuvenated!

Monday June 19th, 2017

Check in: 5:45pm

Paddle 6:30 – 8:30pm

Options: OYO – own your own kayak? Sign up for this choice! Kayak? Yep! SUP? If you have experience or are ready to build some experience, sign up for the SUP! We will provide basic instructions… even so, we believe you will be fully submersed at least once!

Cost: Regular Kayak $30, Club Kayak $24, Regular OYO $15 Club OYO $10, SUP $45

Sign up now in the Dirty Shop!

Plan to bring: Water, food, snacks, sun screen, water, bug spray, adult beverages, sun screen.

Wear: shorts, tank, t-shirt, swimsuit, water shoes or old tennis shoes – no flip flops

Details: We will send an email with details (map and directions) specific to the event a few days BEFORE June 19th. All events are subject to the whims of Kansas Weather – we will make adjustments as needed to ensure your safety and the most enjoyable adventure possible. 😀

What are you paying for? Other than an AMAZINGLY GREAT time with a bunch of AWESOME people!!!???

Kayak Events: Use of a kayak, paddle, life jacket and all of the lifting, hauling, planning and coordination needed to make this happen. Renters and Oyo’s are paying for a lake/river guide and experienced safety paddlers who will ensure that your trip is safe and that you receive instruction and support along the way. We will have supplies necessary to provide basic first aid on the river or lake. You will also have the opportunity to ride on the bus! For you OYO’s, there will also be a Dirty Minion to guard your gear after you drop it off – remember though, that the lifting, hauling, loading is on you unless you are going to tip the minions!

While we hope that everyone who plans to come on an adventure with us is able to make it, we understand that sometimes plans change. However, organizing and planning for adventures takes time and care thus we need a refund policy.

Dirty Girl Adventures Refund Policy:

Refunds are given up to one week before the date of the event no questions asked. After that, refunds are not given unless there are exceptional circumstances. Dirty Girl Adventures may cancel an event due to weather or conditions. Everyone will receive a refund if that is the reason for the cancellation. We will paddle and hike in cool, rainy or snowy conditions. Cancellation only occurs in severe weather or other dangerous conditions. Watch your email for last minute notifications.

Equipment policy: You break it or lose it you buy it.

Posted in Adventure Stories

Sign Up NOW for the June 17th River Run!

Check in at Eudora River Access: 1:45pm Don’t be late! We will leave our vehicles in Eudora and board the Dirty Bus to ride back to our start location in Lawrence.

OYO’s Gear Drop in Lawrence: 1:00pm Drop your gear and get yourself to Eudora for the ride on the Dirty Bus

Paddle from Lawrence: 2:30ish

Sign up now in the Dirty Shop

Cost:   Kayak/Equipment Use: Regular price $40 Club Member Price $30

OYO’s are SOLD OUT – OYO – Own your Own Price: Regular price $15 Member Price $10

Off River in Eudora no later than 8pm … give or take! The end time is dependent on the flow of the river and the group. Don’t plan on anything other than going with the flow post paddle.

Plan to bring: Water, food like DINNER, snacks, sun screen, water, bug spray, adult beverages, sun screen.

Wear: shorts, tank, t-shirt, swimsuit, water shoes or old tennis shoes – no flip flops

Details: We will send an email with details (map and directions) specific to the event a few days BEFORE June 17th.  All events are subject to the whims of Kansas Weather and the flow of the Mighty Kaw – we will make adjustments as needed to ensure your safety and the most enjoyable adventure possible.

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What are you paying for? Other than an AMAZINGLY GREAT time with a bunch of AWESOME people!!!???

Kayak Events: Use of a kayak, paddle, life jacket and all of the lifting, hauling, planning and coordination needed to make this happen. Renters and Oyo’s are paying for a lake/river guide and experienced safety paddlers who will ensure that your trip is safe and that you receive instruction and support along the way. We will have supplies necessary to provide basic first aid on the river or lake. You will also have the opportunity to ride on the bus! For you OYO’s, there will also be a Dirty Minion to guard your gear after you drop it off – remember though, that the lifting, hauling, loading is on you unless you are going to tip the minions!

While we hope that everyone who plans to come on an adventure with us is able to make it, we understand that sometimes plans change. However, organizing and planning for adventures takes time and care thus we need a refund policy.

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Dirty Girl Adventures Refund Policy:

Refunds are given up to one week before the date of the event no questions asked. After that, refunds are not given unless there are exceptional circumstances. Dirty Girl Adventures may cancel an event due to weather or conditions. Everyone will receive a refund if that is the reason for the cancellation. We will paddle and hike in cool, rainy or snowy conditions. Cancellation only occurs in severe weather or other dangerous conditions. Watch your email for last minute notifications.

Equipment policy: You break it or lose it you buy it.

 

 

Posted in Adventure Stories

Spring with the Dirty Girls has been FUN!

What have you been doing with your time? We’ve been going outside! Sometimes people ask us what we do in the “off season” and we wonder what they’re talking about… There is no off season!! We go outside all the time, it’s just a question of what we wear and how long we stay out!

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The Eagle Hike was beautiful.

In February we did two Eagle Hikes – it was BEAUTIFUL! We saw lots of eagles and enjoyed amazingly warm and sunny weather as well as some wonderful company on the trail. We hiked a three mile shoreline section of the Perry Lake Trail. 20170211_154030

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This Dirty Dude hiked the whole way – 3 Miles – on the Eagle Hike!

In March,we enjoyed two events. The Thunder Ridge Three Mile was awesome.

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The weather was wonderful and signs of spring were starting to pop. After the hike, we enjoyed time around the campfire and a tasty meal followed by S’Mores!  Yummy!

We actually had some cold weather and a bit of snow just in time for the March Madness Hike! It was a big fluffy snow.

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It was fairly warm and the snow made it beautiful! We enjoyed about 7 miles on the Perry Lake Trail.

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April first took us to the Kansas University Field Station Trails for our Fools Day Hike. We had a good day on the trail and professional photographer Heather O’Neal and a Dirty Girl brought her camera along and used her mad skills to document our morning!

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It was a gorgeous day on the trail with lush greens and new spring growth. The trail was also rich with good conversation, observation of nature and development of new and old friendships. Time in nature is always well spent and enriching in surprising ways.

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May Apple

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We have so enjoyed these wonderful adventures with you! It is so nice to share the time with each of you on the trail. Thanks so much for sharing our adventures this season.

We are looking forward to many more!

Posted in Adventure Stories

Fools’ Day Hike!

Fools’ Day Hike

Join us on April 1st to explore the awesome trails at the KU Field Station! These trails are well maintained and cover some great Kansas terrain.

View from the Rockefeller Prairie Overlook

The Rockefeller Prairie is pretty awesome and the history is interesting – who knew we had a legacy from THE Rockefeller family right here at home!?

We will have the opportunity to hike and to learn a little more about the Kansas environment and prairie while we enjoy the view and the group. We’ll provide trail guides and support as well as information regarding the terrain, environment and surroundings encountered on the hike.

This five miles covers some prairie, some woodlands and includes the Ecology Field Station area with labeled trees and plants. It’s a working research area for the University of Kansas. Convenient bathrooms and signage add to the appeal of these trails. Generally these trails are beginner friendly with only a few challenging spots. Join us to explore and increase your knowledge of our ecosystem.

Cool Bee House at the Prairie

When we’re done hiking, we’ll head over to Johnny’s Tavern for post-hike fortification and socializing.

Check in at 8:30am

Event from approximately 9 – 11:30am

Deadline for sign up is March 31st!  So sign up NOW!!  $40 regular $30 member bring a friend! Dirty Dudes, Dirty Teens and Dirty Girls are all welcome!

You will receive a confirmation email with specific details and directions on March 30th.

What are you paying for: A knowledgeable and informed guide service that includes a leading guide and a sweep guide during the hike. Trail support including: first aid, knowledge of the environment and locale, safety monitoring, pacing, interpretive information on the environment and location.

While we hope that everyone who plans to come on an adventure with us is able to make it, we understand that sometimes plans change. However, organizing and planning for adventures takes time and care thus we need a refund policy.

Event Refund Policy:

Refunds are given up to one week before the date of the event no questions asked. After that, refunds are not given unless there are exceptional circumstances. Dirty Girl Adventures may cancel an event due to weather or conditions. Everyone will receive a refund if that is the reason for the cancellation. We will paddle and hike in cool, rainy or snowy conditions. Cancellation only occurs in severe weather or other dangerous conditions.

Posted in Adventure Stories

A Daring Adventure: Part Two

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller

Adventure can be defined as an exciting or unusual experience, a challenging undertaking, with an uncertain outcome, and I was super excited to be visiting the Grand Canyon in January 2017, accompanied by my dad and brother.  In Part I of A Daring Adventure, I shared with readers our planned adventure to hike an isolated back country trail, Hermit’s Trail.

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However, in the week prior to our arrival at the Grand Canyon, weather reports coming from Arizona indicated unseasonably cold weather as a winter storm hovered over the state.  This storm brought snow to the canyon…..a lot of snow!  More snow than the South Rim had seen in many years.

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A day before I was scheduled to fly to Phoenix, roads were closed, inside Grand Canyon National Park and outside.  Road conditions north of Flagstaff, Arizona, required chains.  Bus service within Grand Canyon Village was cancelled and the mule train to the bottom of the canyon was halted.

This didn’t sound good.  I had reservations about being so far from ranger service, isolated deep in the canyon on Hermit’s Trail. But I already had a plane ticket, and my dad and brother were leaving to drive to Arizona and meet me at the South Rim!

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I was going, no matter what, even if all I could do was stand on the Rim and observe the beauty around me!  A couple things reassured me.  We had been in touch with the back country park office, and were told that if our original plan to hike Hermit’s Trail wasn’t possible, they would help us make a different plan, and since we were visiting in the off season, there was a lot more flexibility in options.

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When we arrived at the Grand Canyon, I knew I had to let go of the original plan and idea I had for this adventure and embrace a new one.  There was snow everywhere!  Since Hermit’s Trail is not well used, it was likely our feet might be the first ones on the trail after the snow! That was more adventure than I wanted, and it would not be safe for us.

With the help of the Back Country Park Rangers, we decided to stick to the main corridor trails, primarily Bright Angel, which is well traveled, even with lots of snow.  We hiked 9 miles down the first day to set up camp at the bottom of the canyon at Bright Angel Campground, near Phantom Ranch.

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The trail near the South Rim was snow packed, and we used crampons to ensure we had traction, along with our hiking poles.  But at the bottom of the canyon, near the Colorado River, it was warmer and very comfortable camping weather.

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We camped at the bottom of the canyon for 2 nights, to give ourselves time to recover from the hike down, and to enjoy the warmer weather at the bottom of the canyon.  On our second day, this plan allowed us to hike north of the river, on North Kaibab Trail, which follows Bright Angel Creek, surrounded by the walls of the canyon.  For several miles, the North Kaibab Trail is relatively flat, until it climbs in elevation to Cottonwood Campground and on to the North Rim. We hiked out for several miles, and just enjoyed the views and the experience of being in this special place.  We saw only 6 people that day, along with a group of rangers monitoring the stream for fish.

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I sat on the edge of the stream, and listened to it gurgle, felt the sun on my back and was happy. My brother explored another trail, Clear Creek Trail, which provided views of Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River.

The third morning, we began hiking out, up Bright Angel Trail, to Indian Garden Campground.  We watched a helicopter deliver supplies into the canyon. We met and talked with kayakers on an 11 day adventure down the Colorado River and watched a group of explorers repel down a side canyon.

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At Indian Garden, we explored the camp area, and were one of only 3 groups camping there that night.  Needless to say, the accomadations were great; no crowds, and easy access to the bathrooms and water.  The ranger stationed at this campground shared extra sleeping bags with us and we had free access to a small library of books regarding the history of the area!  It was Dirty Girl camping at its finest!

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We got an early start on the fourth morning, knowing that the hike up to the Rim would be difficult and take a long time, with the last few miles being snow packed.

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What keeps drawing me back to the Grand Canyon?  I’ve been there three times, and I know I will visit this epic place as many times as I can throughout the rest of my life.  It’s not just that the canyon is beautiful, it’s about the experience of adventure.  On this trip, I learned to embrace the uncertainty that comes with planning an adventure in the off season and I learned to be flexible regarding those plans. The need to change our plans and be open to a different adventure gave us gifts we did not expect.

Life IS a daring adventure, and adventure makes our lives richer. What lessons and gifts will YOUR next adventure bring you?  Get out there and find out.  As for me, Hermit’s Trail will have to wait for my next visit to the Grand Canyon, but you can bet I am already planning it!

Posted in Adventure Stories