7 Great Outdoor Adventure Documentaries

Top list of adventure documentaries

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Not only do I love researching places to go and things to do as well as the actual traveling, I also love watching other people enjoy outdoor adventures. It not only gives me entertainment, but it motivates me to seek my own adventures. Below are some of the shows and documentaries we have enjoyed lately, while we’re at home planning our own globe-trotting. What are you favorite outdoor shows or movies? We’re always looking for more recommendations 🙂

  1. Losing Sight of Shore – a film about six women (four at a time) who rowed (!) across the Pacific Ocean unsupported. Currently (as of July 2017) on Netflix
  2. Mile . . . Mile & A Half – a hiking documentary about a group of artists who hiked the John Muir Trail. AMAZING photography and videography. I own a digital copy because I enjoy watching it so often. It is currently on Amazon Prime Video for free, or you can buy a copy on their website http://themuirproject.com/
  3. Maiden Trip – a documentary about the youngest person to sail around the world. A young dutch girl who was 14 at the time of departure – this film makes me inspired to have GRIT and reach for the stars! Great coming of age story as well as adventure and travel. Free on YouTube or available for purchase here – http://www.maidentrip.com/
  4. Paddle for The North – a group of friends who decide to go on a epic paddling trip in the Yukon, while filming about the Peel Watershed, a large wilderness area in Canada that is currently undeveloped. Really wonderful scenery and information about this cause, as well as the strength needed to complete such a arduous trip. Available for purchase or rent here – http://paddleforthenorth.org/the-peel-river
  5. Unbranded – four young texans adopt wild mustang horses for a camping trip from the Mexican to Canadian borders. This film is about the issue of wild horses in the American West as well as a adventure documentary. Check it out here – http://watch.unbrandedthefilm.com/ or for free on Netflix.
  6. Finding Traction – the inspirational story of ultra runner Nikki Kimball’s quest to become the fastest person in history to run America’s oldest hiking trail, the 273-mile Long Trail. This film gives lovely footage of the Long Trail in Vermont, as well as shows you the strength it takes to participate in this sport. Watch for free on Amazon prime video, YouTube, or Netflix streaming.
  7. Valley Uprising – a film about the history of rock-climbing in Yosemite Valley, one of the most gorgeous places in the world (in my opinion ;). It discusses the sport, as well as the many “dirt-bags” who helped build and revolutionize rock-climbing. Find it for free on Netflix streaming.

Bodie Historical Park

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During our California road trip in the summer of 2016, we stopped at our first ever “ghost” town. Chris turned thirty (!!!) during this trip and had always wanted to go to a ghost town, so I made it my mission to find one for his birthday. Lucky for us, on our travel day between Yosemite NP and Lake Tahoe, we would be near a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Bodie Historical Park is what is left of the town of Bodie, which began as a gold mining boomtown in the mid-1800’s. In the 1960’s it was given to the state of California to be preserved in “arrested decay” for its historical value. Bodie Historical Park is run by California Dept. of Parks and Recreation and is located in Bridgeport, CA only thirteen miles from Yosemite NP. You do have to drive on a gravel road part of the way, and I’d suggest visiting in summer as in winter it is usually snowed in due to the high elevation.

The historical park was quite big and we set out to explore along with a map of the town. There were homes, a church, a school, general store, mill, cemetery, and even a “red light” area to explore. Some of the building we were allowed inside to explore further and see some of the old furniture and decorations. I also purchased a small guidebook with more information and stories about the town, including a murder! I highly recommend the guidebook which made the town come alive with the ghosts of the past.

I wish we had more time to spend at this historical place. We visited in early July as a small sidestop, but really we could of explored for a whole day.I’d suggest bringing a picnic, buying a map and exploring! You can also go on a tour of the stamp mill, for an extra $6 a person.

Cost:

Adults: $8 per person
Children: $5 per child (ages 3 to 17)
Children ages 3 and under are free

Brochure:

http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/509/files/BodieSHPFinalWebLayout2016.pdf

 

Who Inspires Us:

I’m always on the search for great content. Not only do watching and reading other people’s content help inspire us to write, but it also gives us motivation and drive to get to our goals. I want to share some of my favorite bloggers/vloggers who inspire me daily!

Gone With The Wynns – Amazing travel vloggers and bloggers. They RVed the USA for years, and are now on to their next adventure of sailing! Not only are they a great example of what can be achieved if you put your mind to it, they are seriously top notch videographers. We LOVE their videos and blog posts. They are beautiful, informative, funny, and honest. Our dream to one day RV comes from them.

Keep Your Daydream – This family have wonderful weekly YouTube videos of their RVing adventures, but I originally found them from their podcast where they interviewed others with more alternative lifestyles, people following their dreams to sail around the world, RV full-time, hike the Appalachian Trail, etc.  Currently their podcast is on hiatus, but if you want more info about traveling full-time with kids, RVing in general, or amazing travel videography, check them out!

Less Junk, More Journey – This family of three also full-time RVs with a toddler. They inspire us constantly, not only to get out there and see the world, but also to be mindful about minimalism as much as possible. They sold their house and most of their belonging to travel full-time with their only child. Also, they post videos almost daily of their adventures! Constant motivation for us 🙂

I have so many more, not only travel vloggers but personal finance bloggers, authors, etc. Too many to share right now 🙂 Check out our page “Other Sites We Like” for more suggestions.

Who inspires you? Leave us a comment below!

 

Southwest Road Trippin’: Part One

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Our big summer trip this past year was to the “Wild West”. My husband loves the western area of our country and I had never been to many of the places in the Southwest, so we chose to do a road trip to the area.

We landed in Las Vegas early in the morning, picked up our rental and immediately began our adventure! I had so many places I researched and wanted to go on our trip. First, we took the scenic route through Lake Mead NRA and drove to the Valley of Fire state park in Nevada. The Valley of Fire is one of the top state parks in the U.S. to visit and was beautiful. Unfortunately, it was the heat of the day when we decided to do some hikes, and it was HOT. I almost didn’t make it through our hike, a simple 1.5-mile round-trip, due to the heat. There are signs in the park to avoid hiking during midday due to extreme temperatures, but of course, we figured it was such a short hike we wouldn’t be affected. Wrong! But, we made it back to the car, turned the AC up and drank plenty of water to cool down on our way to Utah.

Did you know Utah has FIVE national parks? Coming from Louisiana, where there’s not even one National Park, it was pretty tempting to visit. Originally, we were set on going to the Grand Canyon and planned our trip around that. As we had to go through Utah on the way to the North Rim, we decided to include Zion Nat’l Park in our trip. I’m SO glad we did!

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View from Dinner in St. George, UT

We spent an evening in St. George, to recover from our day of travel, using a Groupon to stay at a local hotel for cheap. The next day we left bright and early, after enjoying our hotel’s free continental breakfast of course. We headed to the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center entrance to Zion Nat’l Park.

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Kolob Canyon

We stopped at the visitors center before enjoying the scenic five-mile drive up the mountains. At the top we did a short hike to the Timber Creek Overlook, giving us our first view over Zion National Park. If you have time I would absolutely recommend visiting this side of the park! It was much quieter and very few people when we visited, which compared to the main Zion Canyon section was wonderful.

After a morning at Kolob Canyon, we headed to the Zion Canyon section of the park. After stopped at Wal-Mart to load up on camping groceries, we checked into our tent campsite at Watchman Campground, site D35.

Check Out a Map of Our Stops!

Gulf Coast Beach Camping

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I love the beach. The first time I went to the beach I was an infant, maybe three weeks old, and since then I’ve been hooked. I love mountains and desert too, but the beach is always my favorite place to visit. Unfortunately, it can be expensive to visit the beach as often as I want to. Seriously, I’d go every weekend if I could.

So two years ago my husband and I, with friends, tried beach camping in the Gulf Island National Seashore area in Florida. Wow. Did we learn some things. I had been to the area camping with a friend’s family once before and knew it was a TREK when you had too much stuff.

First of all, we brought WAY too much stuff, including a kayak. This “beach” camping was actually a mile or so hike in, on the sand, from where you drop off all your stuff at the trailhead and move your car down the road into a lot. I kept warning my husband it was more strenuous than it seemed, but of course he always likes to overpack when we car camp, and did not think it would be that big of a deal. I also warned our friends, but everyone kept saying, one mile, that’s no big deal, etc. But – it’s one-plus miles on sand, in the hot sun. Have you ever tried to drag a cooler with wheels over sand? NOT FUN. Of course we all brought coolers, bins of camping stuff, chairs, umbrellas, and everything we usually did when car camping.

Never again. Everyone was super exhausted after making multiple trips back and forth from the trailhead, hauling all our extra stuff, which literally took hours. After that it was beautiful of course, but we were exhausted just thinking about the walk back. I haven’t been able to entice any of my friends to camp there again yet.

The next time we went, it was just my husband and I, for one night only. We did waaaay better the second time around, knowing the amount of junk we brought before that was seriously unneeded. First of all, we stayed at the day-use area with bathrooms, pavilions, grills, and easy access to the car for our day time beach use. This made it easier to haul chairs, umbrellas, and a cooler out to enjoy a day at the beach, but not have to drag it all the way down a 1+ mile stretch. After enjoying a relaxing day at the beach, we put all the junk back in the car and walked to our campsite much less burdened.

For the night we brought one backpack filled with a few clothes, dry food, water, and toiletries, and small folding chairs. (*This is primitive camping, meaning no bathrooms!) The one item I wanted, but is not at all a necessity, was cold beer. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy an ice cold beer on a warm beach? So we brought a small collapsible fabric cooler with some beer and ice in it, that I could carry on my shoulder instead of dragging over the sand.

Another item that weighed us down before was wood. Before we had brought mounds of it, which of course we used but didn’t necessarily need. This time we decided to only bring one piece. I know, I hear you saying, “ONE piece? How is that possible??” Well, have you ever heard of something called a swedish log? It’s an amazing invention. They sell a smaller version of this at many grocery/hardware stores; the one we used was called a “Light N’ Go Bonfire Log”, sold at Home Depot. It’s one piece of log (stump really) that is cut into six sections, but not enough to cut the log into separate pieces. The great thing is it lasts for HOURS, as well as offering a flat surface to put a pot on top to cook in. So just going for one night camping, we experimented and brought one bonfire log as our only wood, and it worked! We tied it onto the outside of our backpack, as it came with a piece of cord stapled onto it for easy carrying. It lasted a long time, was easy to transport, and burning it lessened our load on the hike back.

Results of our one-night backpacking experiment? Amazing. Beach camping on the gulf coast of Florida can be magical, as long as you don’t over-pack. It was a beautiful evening, cool enough to sleep with a constant breeze off the water even in july, and a lovely sunrise over the water to wake up to.

Steps to Frugally Furnishing Your Home

We bought our first house three years ago, while simultaneously planning a wedding and starting new careers. It was a big purchase, and we had little funds left over to furnish or decorate more than necessary right away. These are some steps I recommend to decorate when you’re on a tight budget.

Prioritize. What do you absolutely need right away? Sit down, make a list, or think through what you already have, and what you need first. Honestly, no one really needs that beautiful formal dining room table right away, new TV’s, couches, the fancy coffeemaker, etc. In our case the only brand new thing we bought when moving into our house was a mattress. We had gotten rid of my husband’s old college mattress he had slept in on the floor for years (Gross!). We also got a great deal and bought a new Serta mattress without a warranty to save $; and only AFTER sleeping on an uncomfortable blow up mattress for two weeks while we searched for our perfect mattress.

Negotiate. Now you know what you absolutely need. Next, look for sales, price check, and always try to negotiate! I’ll be honest, I’m GREAT at finding good deals, but horrible at negotiation. I usually leave that up to my husband who loves it anyway. We use this tactic often while purchasing from consignment stores, Craiglist, or local community Facebook swap groups.

Ask. Have friends or family in your area? Ask around and see if anyone is getting rid of old or unwanted household goods or furniture. We got SO much stuff over the years with this tactic. Hand me downs aren’t always the most fun to pick through, but it saves you lots of money! We’ve gotten free couches, kitchen tables, lots of patio furniture, dishes, and even a lightly used queen mattress for our guest room. Spread the word you’re interested in hand-me-downs and see who responds! Especially if you do the grunt work like searching through the garage or attic and moving the pieces, people are usually grateful to get rid of crap they don’t use anymore. And pay it forward! If you have something you no longer want or need, donate to a friend or family or a local thrift store. We are so often asked now if we want unused items that we started giving friends things we can’t take, like wooden bed frames, patio furniture, chairs, and  lamps.

Thrift. Check your local thrift stores, habitat restore, goodwill, consignment stores, craigslist, garage sales, etc. We use all of the above and more to find household goods, furniture, clothing, holiday decor, the list could go on. Seriously, there are really nice things out there you can use to make your home look fabulous for way less. Often people haven’t even used the items they donate or sell. This is great way to find those “wants” over time without paying full price. Also, check for local thrift stores for sale days. Our local Habitat restore has 50% off days when they become overstocked with furniture and other items. I got a solid wood coffee table for $10 that I made into a beautiful ottoman with one of those sales!

DIY. This tactic can be time-consuming but I think this saved us a TON of money in the long run. Much of the hand-me-downs and thrift store items we had needed some TLC or just didn’t match my decorating vision. But a little inspiration from Pinterest and spray paint or chalk paint can make a huge difference. I’ve painted almost all of our furniture, picture frames, lamps, patio chairs, you name it! Google some free DIY tutorials and you can be on your way to a more coherent, attractive style for your home without paying even sticker price.

In the long run, we all want a comfortable home, but material goods aren’t what life is about. These steps helped us furnish our home without stressing me out or stopping us from other personal goals like traveling. Any more tips you guys use to save money on home furnishing and decor?

Exploring the Louisiana Northshore

 

 

Louisiana can be a fun, wild, and vibrant place to visit and explore. There are so many things in our own “backyard” we still have yet to do, even after living in Louisiana almost our whole lives. Here are some of our top picks for the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. Continue reading “Exploring the Louisiana Northshore”

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Key West

1. Completely FREE museum about the Florida Keys ecosystems, it holds a 2,400 gallon reef aquarium, and has free parking which is rare in Key West.  Unfortunately is was closed Sunday and Monday, the days we were in Key West, as it was going to be our first stop. We’ll just have to visit it next time!

Continue reading “10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Key West”