Enjoy the Destination

Todays blog is all about unique stays. Why you may need them, how to find them, and gems I’ve come across in my travels.

There are several factors that can hinder an adventure while traveling:

  • Being too introverted and/or shy to attempt something or going somewhere that seems “scary”. I myself am part of this group. I have gotten better as time goes on and I have increased my ability to deal with un-comfortability with my constant adventuring. However, I would be lying if I said I still do not drive by someplace I wanted to go after seeing a crowded parking lot, if I can’t find where to go, or if it just looks sketchy.
  • Time constraints. Sometimes there is an end destination that requires you to rush through. Whether you just need to get from point A to point B for a job, you are heading to a wedding or other family obligation, really any set time table that says you need to be HERE NOW.
  • Our current global pandemic. It is hard to pack up and say “I am just going to travel because I want an adventure.” You must be cautious about where you are coming from, where you are going, where you are stopping. Lots of big destinations are closed, lots of states/cities are constantly changing their COVID-19 prevention measures. Depending on who you live with/need to visit/work with you do not want to risk bringing anything home.

I have a solution to all of these, make your destination your adventure! I know, I know, it goes against the age old saying “life is a journey, not a destination”, but hear me out. If you do not have time to stop, if the big stuff is closed, if you do not want to be around a ton of people, what do you still have? Where you sleep. Especially currently, while travel is scary and often frowned upon, pick a place to sleep that is not your bed. It can do wonders for your mental health. You can vet the hotel, air bnb, camp site for their COVID-19 precautions. Read their description, comb through their reviews, and even reach out to the host before you go.

When I look for an adventure accommodation, I consider several factors:

  • Price, I am not willing to spend much more than I would at a motel 6 so I limit my searches to around $75.  Be cautious that some places (ahem, Airbnb) have a lot of added fees to double check what the all in price is before you fall in love. I’ve had places priced at $40/night end up being over $100 after taxes/cleaning fees etc.
  • Style, I try to get away from basic hotels, I will utilize search engines like Airbnb and Hip Camp that can get me more unique stays. A tip for Airbnb is that you can filter by accommodation style (tiny house, camp site, rv, hut, etc.) It is also not a bad idea to look up historical and/or locally owned hotels, they can provide a little more warmth than a generic one.
  • Activities, you don’t always need your accommodation to provide an activity but if it iss located on a farm (pet the animals, get fresh eggs), in a forest (hiking trails) or in a community (gardening), they often come with fun things to do on site!

If you need some examples keep reading. In the rest of this blog I am going to break down a few times in this past year I used this great option to keep my adventure quota high while running into the three hindering factors above.

Medford, Oregon

Too introverted. In my case this past spring I took a road trip without an exact plan. I figured I would just drive and stop when things looked cool, something I have done before and enjoy in normal circumstances. Unfortunately, I had been quarantined for so long that my anxiety in new places was on overdrive and I just kept driving. Luckily for me I had also planned on this being a possibility and I had booked an amazing tiny house that made it worth getting there early. As part of my trip I really wanted to get a lot of writing in so I had booked a place with a porch, beautiful sunsets/sunrises, and an adventure feel.

  • Not enough time. This year I also took a long road trip to Kentucky to visit with an old friend. I knew between my finances and homesickness my timeframe had to be right around two weeks.  This meant after deducting my three day visit in KY, I would need to be driving between 7-10 hours every day to fit my trip into my time frame. Driving that much a day (especially during the first half of my trip where I was solo) meant that I would not be making a lot of meaningful stops. I of course fit in some silly and quick roadside attractions but my main way to balance the driving with adventure was my sleeping arrangements. With my 8 nights sleeping out on the road I utilized 5 campsites, 2 nights in unique accommodations, and 2 nights in a hotel. The two hotel nights and 1 of the camping sites I would compare to a motel 6 style of accommodations. Just used to rest your head and/or grab a shower. The other stays were planned specifically for their adventure feel. I will only highlight a few here (feel free to check out my Instagram where I go into more depth on some of these).:

Golden Valley, Arizona

My first night camping in a tent by myself. Private campsite (Airbnb) out in the middle of nowhere, with a soundtrack of wild burros throughout the night. This location also offered a really cool hike but unfortunately I did not have time to explore it.

Cerrillos, New Mexico

Shanti Community (hipcamp), where I got to sleep in an old VW van. A scary (but worth it) 20-minute drive off the highway and down a dirt road brings you to this village on the edge of a canyon. This place is constructed  of a ton of amazing old buses/vehicles that are outfitted for sleeping. This unique stay had a community kitchen where I made a quick cup of coffee in the morning to enjoy the sunrise before packing up and hitting the road.  

Kanab, UT

White Horse Campground in Escalante National Monument. This cheap ($5) BLM established campground gives you a great basecamp for some epic hiking as well as just a breathtaking place to set up your tent. Only two miles off the highway and down a dirt road.

  • Pandemic precautions. A bit ago I was feeling extremely closed in with all of the shelter in place and stay at home orders, which is bad for my mental health. I found an off-grid option within a day of travel and planned this epic adventure. This unique place offered a variety of accommodations and I booked two of them to create a weekend of secluded bliss. I enjoyed a beautiful drive up the coast, stocked up on groceries, and with the company of one of the greatest humans ventured into the woods. This place is a blog post by itself, so I will not go into a ton of detail, but Blake and I were able to sleep in both this cute A-Frame and this spectacular Tree House. Check that off the bucket list for me!

Whether you are staying local or getting away, Happy Roaming!

Disclaimer: I also am not sponsored or receiving payment from any of these places, I just found them to be enjoyable and wanted to share the love! Below find the links to all the places I listed above:

Off Grid Village – AFrame and Tree House (plus other awesome structures like the hobbit hole, witches hut, half moon etc.)
Shanti Community – Old VW bus (plus other awesome old vehicles to sleep in!)
Campsite in Golden Valley Arizona

White House Campground | Bureau of Land Management (blm.gov)

White House Campground in Utah, BLM established campground

Tiny House near Medford, OR

Big Foot Trap

Location: Big Foot Trap (Collings Mtn. Trail), Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: < 3/4s of a mile. If you can get a spot at the trailhead it is only about half a mile. Otherwise park at the Hart-tish Park parking lot and it will be ¾ of a mile. (see parking).

Elevation: 300 feet.

Cost: $5 for day use at Hart-tish Park parking lot. I got away with parking at the trail head for free but I would recommend bringing the cash.

Parking: There are roughly two spots on the side of the road for this trailhead. Otherwise parking is available across the road at Hart-tish Park (see cost for fees).

Directions: I-5 exit 30. Hwy 62 turns into Hwy 238 and follow 13.5 miles. At the town of turn left onto Applegate Rd. At 15.5 miles you can turn left into Hart-tish Park or the trailhead will be a few more feet up on the right hand side.

Preparation:

  • Sunscreen. It is pretty covered with tree’s, but sunscreen is always a good idea.
  • Water. No water at trailhead. May be some available at the park but I didn’t use it. Always better to come over prepared than under.  
  • Bathroom. There is a rest stop with a pit toilet roughly half a mile before the trailhead or one available if you pay to park at Hart-tish day use area.  

Experience:

The trail is pretty much off by itself in the forest. There is a good trail head sign visible from the road (see picture above) that has a foot print telling you that you are in the right place. You start by cresting a tiny flat mound between the road and the trail, then it quickly shifts downhill hiding you immediately from the view of the road. After only a hundred feet or so the trail splits between hiker and horse access. You will cross through a wooden barricade and start a semi steep descent. Less than five minutes into the trail you cross an incredibly unique footbridge that crosses a creek. When I went (early summer) there was no water, but I would assume in the wetter seasons this footbridge would be helpful to keep you dry.  Shortly after at about a quarter mile there is a wooden bridge.

On my first pass to park at the trailhead there were forestry services parked and I assume doing trail maintenance. The trail was extremely clear the whole time. I am also assuming/hoping the several arrows hand drawn into the dirt were communication between a trail maintenance crew. Otherwise it was extremely eerie to be down this trail by yourself not knowing when the last person hiked through, following crude arrows in the dirt…

I did follow them, however, and was rewarded with my prize. Towards the last bit of trail, it forked into what felt like two very defined trails. I almost went down the wrong one when I noticed the arrow in the ground pointing to the very left trail option. I followed it and was rewarded with a creepy smiley spray painted on a cut tree that passed over the trail. In retrospect it is not creepy but when you are alone, surrounded by forest, walking towards a big foot trap; Everything seems creepy. Later I saw that the right fork of the trail is a short jaunt to a demolished/decayed minor’s cabin. I will have to explore next time!

Up the hill on the left fork is the trap!  In a nice open space with a giant steel gate is the big foot trap. Thankfully, bigfoot was not there when I got to the clearing. It has been spray painted throughout the years and was remarkably still very sturdy. Although it would be no match for Big foot!

Big Foot History:

The Big Foot trap was first created in 1974 by the North American Wildlife Research Team. Which is no longer an organization. They tried for 6 years to trap Big Foot, baiting the trap with carcasses but all they ever caught was beers. The structure is 10 by 10 feet and made with 2×12 planks, combined with heavy metal straps, and fastened to the ground by telephone poles. In 1980 the door the was bolted open for good. It is now a tourist attraction and maintained by the United States Forest Service.

Full Trail Specs:

The Big Foot Trap is part of the Collings Mtn Trail

The trail continues past the trap and increases elevation rapidly up to the ridgeline before taking you along the western edge of Collings Mountain. It will drop you into Watkins campground. If want to do the whole thing find the additional info below!

Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

Distance: 7 miles one way.

Elevation: 1000 feet.

Extra Trail:

There is an easy flat half mile (one way) trail between the Hart-tish day use parking lot and a rest stop up the road. It runs along the side of the lake and provides great views for little effort. If you get to the rest stop there is also a short walkway that takes you out into the lake and gives a nice view of the dam.

Until next time, Happy Roaming!

Trail Talk: Hidden Falls Regional Park – South Legacy way to Hidden Falls Access Trail

Location: Hidden Falls Regional Park

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Distance: 2.5-3 miles. I didn’t record on my Fitbit, but this is our best guess from the trail descriptions and online creeping for help. 

Time for us to Complete: 1.5 hours

Cost: $8 for parking. If you are going on the weekend or a holiday you must reserve your space online before you go. Thisis nice because you have a guaranteed spot when you get there. 

Parking: Single Parking lot. 

Directions: There is only one entrance so just follow the signs. It’s located at 7587 Mears Place, Auburn, CA and located between the communities of Auburn and Lincoln. 

Preparation:

 Sunscreen
 Water – There is no water fill-up in the park, you must bring in water you wish to consume. 

Heat Index:  This Park is located near Sacramento Valley . We were lucky enough to be in the area in January so it was sixty degrees and overcast. However, in the summer this area will get 90+. 

The Journey

To get to hidden falls you will connect the South Legacy Waytrail to the Hidden Falls Trail. The South Legacy Way trail is classified as easy. You’ll take this until you cross a bridge and then take the first left. Here the Hidden Falls Trail starts, and this portion is classified as moderate. Both paths seemed to have the same amount of elevation gain/decline, the only big difference we noticed is that the “easy” classified trails were wide with gravel and the “moderate” classified trails were narrow with dirt. This is a very design your own path trail system, as there are several other trials you can start or take and still end up at the destination of the waterfalls. I got to take my mom with me on this hike and we had a blast. I wish we could have stayed and explored more but were in a time crunch to get back to town for fundraiser event for the PCT association! 

The Falls

I love waterfalls. If its water and it falls I am the happiest person in the world so any recollections here may be biased. The Hidden Falls trail follows along the river and eventually twists you back to an observation deck for the falls. They are beautiful. The falls are fed by the western Sierra Nevada range and when we went the river was flowing! It was a great spot to stop and enjoy. If you are more adventurous you can climb down to the river as well and there are places to swim when it gets warm.

The Baby Falls

If you can’t get enough of falling water climb up back to the trail and finish it out until it connects to the North Legacy Waytrail. From there cross the large bridge and you will see stairs to another observation deck that overlooks Canyon View falls. These ones are little compared to the main event at Hidden Falls but worth the extra trek as the view from the bridge is delightful. 

The Park

The park is great, well organized, and clean. They have portable bathrooms strategically located throughout the park which is always nice. They have a good variety of trails from easy to difficult and good varied lengths that you can combine for any size length you wish to achieve. Their site claims 30 miles of multiple use trails and they have great placards throughout the park providing informative information about the surrounding area. It also looks like this is also a great place for horse back riding and mountain biking as we saw several of both while we were out there and I heard a few mountain bikers raving about the trail quality One of my favorite parts is that they limit visitors to the park to only the number of vehicles that can fit into the parking lot, and those who purchase a parking lot space have that space reserved all day.  I can’t wait to go back.

 

Until next time, Happy Roaming!

Pick your adventure: Time Frame – One Day

Two of the most frequent things I hear from friends, family, and colleagues are “You’re always doing something!” and “I wish I could do that!” The awe I receive at doing something with my free Saturday or free Sunday always slightly astounds me. At the same time I also realize this is something I’ve cultivated over trial and error. Attempting too much or heading into something underprepared. Luckily for you over the past few years I’ve turned my adventure day into an easy can do process. Read on to see how you too can turn your Netflix Sunday into a day of unique fun!

We do not remember days, we remember moments.

1.Pick your interests.

For me I love to hike, I love art, and I love cozy towns/coffee shops.

2. Check for local events.

About once a week to a month I will scan our local community paper, facebook, or a quick google search to see what might be happening near me in the near future. I also am very close to a fairgrounds so I check what’s coming up in their season as well. Then I put it on my calendar. I might not go but it’s nice to know what is out there if I get the time off.

3. Make a list.

One of my favorite things in my apartment is these whiteboards I made from dollar store frames and craft paper. On each frame I have lists for things I want to do, one is dedicated to local places I want to visit, one to local places to eat I wish to try, one to hikes I wish to accomplish, among others (picture included!). img_2206-1Both of these are great to keep track of things I think I can accomplish in a day. Everyone’s list is going to be different. If you don’t like to travel out more than ½ an hour, then you’re going to have a lot more of in town events. If you are like me and can drive up to 2-3 hours out for a day, your list could include events from several towns over or even other states.

4. Check the weather.

Thankfully I live somewhere where I have pretty great weather year round but if you are somewhere where your weather is more temperamental then definitely keep it in mind. If a clear Saturday is unusual than make sure you are tackling your outside adventures on that day versus your indoor adventures. Don’t be afraid to change your course at the last minute because the weather changes.

5. Get up early.

The hardest part for me is getting out of bed. I always bribe myself with hitting a local coffee shop or bakery on my way to where I’m going. It’s just another incentive to get out of bed. Then I have all day to go do adventure and if I finish early I can NAP! But if it takes all day I’m always grateful I got up when I did.

6. Remember it.

If you take pictures, take pictures. If you check in on Facebook, check in. If you journal, journal. I used to be self-conscious about posting things that I was doing because I felt I was trying to draw attention to “how awesome I’m being,” but I really just use it to keep track for myself. It’s nice to have all of adventures highlighted in one place to reminisce when I need some future inspiration to get out of bed. So whatever works best for you to have something to remember it by: DO IT!

7. Plan the next one. Research research research.

This step can really be at the beginning or the end. But what is your plan for the next adventure. I don’t always have a ton of time in the middle of my week to figure it out. So as soon as I get home or while I’m driving home I’ll start thinking about what I want to do next week. If I know I want to go to the pumpkin patch with the largest corn maze in driving distance, I’m researching it Monday-Friday so that on Sunday when we wake up we already know how long the drive might be, if we need money for tolls, and what else is in the area to explore after. If I want to go on an epic hike I’ve researched the trail, how long it will take, and what the water supply is like. That way I can clean out our hydration packs, buy more water, and plan our equipment in the middle of the week before we wake up Sunday. Saves more time day of so we can get out on the trail early!

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The most important thing to remember is that plans change. No matter how much you prepare things will go “wrong.” You might start thinking you’re going to one brewery only to find they closed for the day due to a family emergency. Don’t let it get you down. Hit up the local coffee shop and map out either another brewery or ask the barista where’s someplace to visit nearby. The point of this day is to explore, find something new, and get out and about!

Learning to Roam

Hi my name is Hannah Brotherton and this is my story; My past, present, future, and dreams. To see how far I’ve come and how I’m going to get where I’m going, it’s best to start at the beginning. Enjoy!

To Roam: To go from place to place without purpose or direction. To travel purposefully unhindered through a wide area.

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For the better part of ten years I pushed myself relentlessly on the corporate path. The correct path. Working hard through high school, through college, and landing my first career. Then I pushed myself in my career, climbing the ladder swiftly to become one of the youngest managers in my area. Then…I got stuck. Things weren’t going my way at work, I wasn’t feeling motivated, I was constantly depressed and nothing seemed to being moving forward. What was the point? I could see the levels I could advance to if I pushed myself harder, but I wasn’t happy, and dreaming about those next stages in my career wasn’t making me happier.

Finally as I neared the end of a particularly bad work week I got this unimaginable urge to take off. To where? I had no idea. I didn’t have a lot of money left in my account but I had a full tank of gas and two days off, I would figure it out. I threw an overnight bag in my car, turned off my phone, put a new CD on the radio (yes I’m still old school, I love a good CD) and just started driving north. The rest of that story is a great topic for another time but the point is that drive cleared my head. All 19 hours of it. It was my first REAL solo adventure. It was the first time I went somewhere with a direction but not necessarily a plan, and I felt free. When I returned from that trip I was happy and I was refreshed, and I was desperate to figure out a way to hang on to that feeling.

As I started dreaming of an adventure life I realized another seriously important fact about myself. I still loved the corporate life as well. I love managing my office, I love working with accounts, and I loved mentoring my employees. I also couldn’t see myself ever giving up the other perks: the steady paycheck, the GREAT healthcare, and my 401k. I’m still not ready to toss those aside just to go racing off on an adventure. I know a lot of people do drop everything for an adventure and are able to find happiness in just that, and maybe one day I will to. Until then, this blog is about how I balance both. How I organize my free time, plan my adventures, and prioritize everything that is important to me. How I fulfill my needs to be in a corporate environment and explore. How I ROAM.2EF0D5A8-D19E-4A83-8562-F6B827C199F3