4 Tips For Balancing Life and Adventure

So you love adventure, but you also love your job, family, house and pets. You want to bike that new trail this weekend, but the lawn really needs to be mowed. Or you want to join your girlfriends in New York, but you’re on a tight work deadline. Life is all about balance. So how do you balance life and responsibility when you’re craving adventure? Keep reading for some great tips.

Life Itself is an Adventure

You don’t have to fly halfway across the world, or even leave your state to have an adventure. Sometimes the best adventures happen in your own back yard. I’ve shared blogs on signing up for a fun run in your hometown, or if you’re lucky enough to live in Reno, there is plenty to do from hikes to events to satisfy your adventurous spirit. Grab your family and your pets and explore a new part of town, or eat at that restaurant that will allow dogs on the patio. Life itself is a wild and fun adventure, so enjoy it.

It’s Okay to Stay Home

We are human, and we need rest. So what if you walk into work on Monday morning and don’t have a crazy Instagram story to share. You are still allowed to love adventure and travel if you spend a weekend in your garden, or sitting on the couch binging Netflix. A full work week can be exhausting. Combine that with back to back travels and a quiet weekend at home sounds amazing – at least that’s how I feel. Plus, I probably need to give my house a good clean and give my cats some extra love.

Plan Ahead

If you are busy like me, then planning ahead is going to be your friend. I put everything in my calendar – even when I want to start thinking about planning for another trip. Planning ahead will help you save time and money because you will be fully prepared for whatever is thrown at you. Plus, you’ve probably had some time to research what you want to see or do on your trip, so you can get the most of it. I know how precious time is.

Make the Most of the Opportunities Given to You

A great example of this is a bleisure trip. If you are able to extend your stay over the weekend that’s great. You’re basically killing two birds with one stone. But if not – take an evening to go out and explore. Family reunions are a great opportunity. If everyone is coming to you, this is your chance to show your family your favorite spots around town, or if you traveled out of town even better. I’m sure there is a family member who loves adventure (almost) as much as you.

The most important tip though is to not get so caught up in the adventure itself and just remember to have fun. Life is too short to worry about the trips you couldn’t go on or the fact that you have to do yard work one weekend instead of going skiing. If you plan ahead, you’ll have plenty of adventures and wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Do you have any great tips about balancing life and adventure? Please share them with me in the comments below. 

Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie

Five Must Attend Reno Tahoe Events

Reno Tahoe is home to some great events. During the summertime, there is basically an event every weekend. Every month the Riverwalk District has a wine walk and a beer crawl, and check out this events calendar to see when the next major pub crawl is. The Santa and Zombie Crawl are by far the largest. There is a weekly food truck event, free art and music around town during the month of July, and food events galore. Pick between chili, ribs, bbq, wings, spaghetti you name it. Now, unless you live here it might be hard to attend all of these events. Just a short disclaimer, these opinions are all my own, but here are five events in Reno Tahoe that you need to check out.

Great Reno Balloon Races

Totally worth the early morning wakeup call. This event takes place in early September but after Labor Day at Rancho San Rafael Park by the University. The Great Reno Balloon Race is one of the largest hot air balloon events that is free and allows spectators on the infield. The event has three major parts, the Glow Show, Dawn Patrol and Mass Ascension. The Glow Show starts at 5 am – I told you it was early – and Mass Ascension is at 7 am. So set your alarms early, pack your camera and prepare for one of the best mornings of your life!

Reno Rodeo

They don’t call it the Wildest Richest Rodeo in the West for nothing! The Reno Rodeo takes place over 10 days in June and this year is celebrating 100 years. Enjoy muttin’ bustin’, bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel riding and more at the rodeo. Come early to enjoy the on-site carnival and stay late for the full Jack Daniels Tent experience. Cowboy boots encouraged!

Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

Watch one of your favorite Shakespeare tales come to life set to the backdrop of the gorgeous Lake Tahoe. The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is held at Sand Harbor during the months of July and August. Each year features a new Shakespeare play and musical. Past performances include Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The theater at Sand Harbor has a kitchen with a delicious menu, or pack your own lunch filled with your favorite drinks and snacks. The shows start at 7:30, so come early and enjoy the turquoise waters and sandy beach of Sand Harbor.

Reno River Festival

The Reno River Festival takes place every Mother’s Day weekend and is held at Wingfield Park on the river. This event has it all. Buy a ticket to the craft beer tent or wine village for a refreshing treat. Check out the food vendors and shop some of the local goods. There is always a free live performance by an up and comer. One-year, Old Dominion played at the River Festival! Zipline across the Truckee River in the Adventure Park, or partake in the Reno River Roll on Saturday morning. And while this is all going on, there is a kayaking competition in the river! Watch them as they maneuver through the gates and complete tricks in the rapids. This event really has it all.

Burning Man

Okay, so this event technically doesn’t take place in Reno, but Reno is the “Gateway to the Black Rock Desert.” The city also embraces the Burner Culture year-round. A lot of the art is made in a shared art space called the Generator, and you can find past Burning Man Sculptures with new homes by the river or in the Playa Art Park. However, the event itself is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. This counter-culture event takes place in the Black Rock Desert about 150 miles northeast of Reno. Over 70,000 people attend the event every year. It’s about a week long, but you don’t have to stay for the whole time. I know a lot of people who head in later and leave earlier to avoid crowds. There is a lot of planning and prework involved in attending this event. You must bring everything with you and pack it all out. There are no supplies on the playa. If you are interested in attending the event, definitely read the survival guide.

Reno Tahoe has so many awesome events I couldn’t name them all! You’ll want to check out all of their iconic events, and then see the events calendar for a full listing. What is your favorite Reno Tahoe event? Tell me in the comments below!

Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie

Picture Perfect Views – Reno Edition

Reno, NV aka The Biggest Little City in World. Located in the Eastern Sierra, this little gem has always been known for its gambling, neon and the “smaller Vegas.” What you might have not known is that Reno offers spectacular views. Climb up one of their desert mountains just before sundown and you’ll be treated with one of the most colorful sunsets you’ve ever seen. Whether you are looking for a view of the city or the mountains I have you covered. Keep reading and find where the best views in Reno are.

Dry Pond Loop

Located in south Reno is the popular Dry Pond Loop. The trail head starts off of Timberline Road – look for either the Upper Thomas Creek trail head or Jones White Creek. You will have to walk a little bit along Timberline road to complete the loop, this trail can be completed in either direction. As you wind up the mountainside and into the Mount Rose Wilderness, you will see a sign for the Dry Pond Connector. The views along this trail are quite spectacular, but the summit offers the best view of Mt. Rose framed by pine trees.

View of Mt Rose

The ‘N’

This trail is short but steep with rewarding views. Start your hike from either Rancho San Rafael Park or the Reno Softball Complex off Virginia St. The ‘N’ stands for Nevada, and this hike offers some of the best views of the University and the park below. If you plan to complete this hike during the afternoon in the summertime, please bring appropriate cover and water as this hike is fully exposed. One of these years, I plan to watch the balloon races from the ‘N’ – I think the view will be stellar.

The 'N'
Photo Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Huffaker Hills

This isn’t a long hike, roughly 2 miles, so it’s a perfect way to get out and stretch your legs while taking in panoramic views of the valley. Find the trailhead off Alexander Lake Road. It’s a rocky path so bring appropriate shoes. And maybe some drinks or a picnic! This is the perfect spot to take in the city.

Harriet the Dog

Hunter Creek

Another local favorite, Hunter Creek is about 6-miles long, out and back and features a waterfall at the end. Set in the hills of west Reno, you get some amazing views of downtown framed by the canyon. A majority of the hike is exposed with the last miles or so taking place amongst the pine. You’ll forget all about the neon and casinos of Reno when on this hike.

Hunter Creek Waterfall

What is your favorite hike in Reno? Tell me in the comments below.

Until next time…..

Cheers!

Keelie  

Backpacking the Tahoe Rim Trail

The Tahoe Rim Trail is 165 miles long and goes around the entirety of Lake Tahoe. You can choose to complete the thru-hike in one fell swoop, you can do day hikes on portions of it, or you can choose to backpack just parts of it. I have done the latter two, but I want to talk specifically about backpacking from Mt. Rose Summit to Spooner Summit on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

The Trail

You technically start just south of Mt Rose Summit (within walking distance) at Tahoe Meadows. There is a huge parking lot where you can leave your car and a proper toilet before embarking into the wilderness. This section of the TRT is about 25 miles long. We hiked around 15 miles the first day and 10 miles the last day. I recommend you leave a car at the Spooner Summit Trail head. You might be able to hitch a ride back, but I was so beat after this trek, that the last thing I wanted to worry about was how I getting back to my car. The trail takes you up along the east shore of Lake Tahoe, and the highlight of our first day is when you reach the summit above Marlette Lake. Here you get a view of Marlette and Tahoe in one shot. If you are keen on visiting Marlette Lake, read my blog about the Lake Tahoe Flume Trail. From this point, your first day of hiking is almost complete. There is a campground you can stay at called Marlette Peak Campground. They have vault toilets, bear lockers, a picnic table, a fire ring and most importantly – potable water. We made dinner, played cards and enjoyed some whiskey after a long day of hiking.

On day two, you’ll wind alongside a mountain offering picturesque views of Lake Tahoe before you head into the trees until you reach Spooner Summit and the end of the hike. Do look out for the TRT signs. At one point we ended up on the Flume Trail and had to back pedal. We probably added about 1 mile to our overall hike with this little detour.

The Essentials

You might be a seasoned pro at backpacking and not need a list. For me, this was my first trip. I had a backpack – it was the one I had trekked all through New Zealand, Europe, and Peru – and that was it. It’s a little small compared to some traditional backpacking backpacks – 46L – but I am just over 5’, and when that thing is stuffed, it’s heavy for me. Outside of my backpack and hiking clothes, I didn’t own anything needed for backpacking. I borrowed a sleeping bag from a friend. I opted for her warmer bag because I get cold easily, and we were going to be camping high in the Sierra. I didn’t have a stove, so I brought food that didn’t require heat. I packed tortillas, peanut butter, nuts, jerky, protein bars, and a couple of Mountain House’s freeze-dried meal Granola with Blueberries and Milk – just add cold water. One of my friends brought his Jet Boil and ended up trading me one of my Granola meals for a Steak and Pepper meal. It was pretty tasty, but then again anything is pretty tasty after a 10-mile hike carrying a 15 lb. backpack. I also brought a tarp to sleep on that night (I didn’t own a tent, nor would a tent fit in my backpack). However, one of my friends brought a tent but didn’t care to sleep in it, so he let me borrow it. I also packed an ultra-lightweight sleeping pad (borrowed), and whatever toiletries or clothes I thought I needed. Lucky for me, my friends had packed the playing cards and the whiskey.

Do pack extra socks! The last thing you want is your feet to develop blisters on this long trek, so a fresh pair of socks is mandatory! Also mandatory is water. I brought 4 water bottles. I did not bring a filtration system because the campground had potable water (and lots of bees, but that’s beside the point).

I don’t have a packing list for backpacking to share with you (though I most likely will end up creating one), but if you have any thoughts or questions about what to bring, or what life is like on the TRT either leave me a comment below or tweet me at @keeliec5. I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time…..

Cheers!

Keelie

Girls Trip – Bucks Lake, CA

You might have read my blog post on Why Costa Rica Should Be Your Next Girls Trip, well, this one is filled with just as much adventure but a little closer to home. Camping is always a great adventure, so why not mix it up and turn it into a Girls Trip?

Pick an Awesome Location

Although you can have an awesome time anywhere with your girls, picking a stellar location just adds to its amazingness. My choice for a camping Girls Trip is Bucks Lake, CA. Bucks Lake is located 25 miles west of Quincy, CA, and the perfect weekend getaway for anyone living in Reno. It has everything. About two hours from home, an awesome lake, hiking trails and some nearby restaurants. There are quite a few campgrounds along Bucks Lakes, most of them first come first serve. We were lucky enough to grab a lakefront site at Sundew Campground. We had to wait for the current people to vacate the site, so we decided to grab breakfast at Bucks Lake Lodge and then spend the early afternoon at Sandy Point Day Use. Sandy beaches, paddle boarding and swimming – sounds like the perfect day.

Play Some Fun Games

When the sun goes down, that’s when the games start. My camping games of choice are Drinking Jenga and Cards Against Humanity. In Drinking Jenga, each of the tiles has a task written on it. Its kind of like Kings Cup but Jenga style. Sangria, Jell-O Shots, beer and water are all necessary drinks for a girls camping trip. Both of these games will ensure a laugh-out-loud good time.

Don’t Forget the Propane Tank!

You might be thinking – what an odd heading? Well, for me, it was true. We had the car loaded and ready for our girls camping trip. As we were unloading the car and setting up camp, we came to the realization that I brought the camping stove, but no propane tank to fuel it! Luckily, I was with some bad ass girls and we were able to improvise. Dinner that night was kebabs that we could roast over the fire, and we did our best to make pancakes over the flame for breakfast in the morning. But that’s what makes a trip memorable right? We didn’t let a little lack of fuel ruin our trip!

Summer is right around the corner, so if you are looking for a place to plan a fun girls weekend getaway, go a little off the beaten path and explore Bucks Lake! Bring your favorite water toys, beach gear, camping games and don’t forget the propane! Oh, and on your way back to Reno stop by the Polka Dot in Quincy for a fantastic milkshake! Have you even been on an all-girls camping trip? Where is your favorite place to go? Tell me in the comments below!

Until next time…..

Cheers!

Keelie

The Flume Trail – Lake Tahoe

The Flume Trail, otherwise known as America’s Most Scenic Bike ride, is a 14-mile, one-way ride along Lake Tahoe’s scenic east shore. The name Flume comes from the water flumes used in the 1800s to transport timber and water to the Comstock Mine in Virginia City.  The trail is perfect to ride when there is no snow, but fall is spectacular when the aspens are ablaze. Here is everything you need to know to ride the Flume Trail.

The Logistics

Traditionally, the trail starts at Spooner Lake and you ride down to Tunnel Creek Café in Incline Village. There is a bike shop called Flume Trail Bikes located behind the café where you can rent a bike and/or hire a shuttle to the summit. This is really convenient because you don’t have to worry about shuttling cars, and they have plenty of parking. If you rent a bike, the cost is around $65, and it includes your shuttle ride. During the summer, it is advised you check online and make a reservation. The Flume is popular, and for good reason.

You can start your ride from Tunnel Creek Café and ride towards Spooner if you wish. I attempted this once, and I don’t think I will ever attempt it again. You climb 1,500’ in 3 miles of basically sand. I can barely walk that; I’m not quite sure why I thought I could ride it. I practically walked my bike those first 3 miles, and by the time I was on a trail I could actually ride, I had to head home. The ride down was fun at least. My second attempt at the Flume Trail was much more successful. I rented a bike from Flume Trail Bikes, took the shuttle to the summit, and biked to the café. It was glorious.

The Ride

The ride from Spooner to Marlette Lake (the peak of your ride), is a climb of 1,000’ in four miles. It’s tough, so take your time and enjoy the ride through the aspen trees. If you are on this trail in the fall, the section is lit with yellow leaves. You’ll want to take a few pictures. Next, you’ll reach Marlette Lake. If its summertime, this is the perfect opportunity to cool off! Enjoy the scenic view, have a snack and get your camera ready because jaw-dropping views are next.

Watch for the signs that lead you to the Flume Trail, and here is where you get your first glimpse of Lake Tahoe. This ride is so beautiful it’s a little dangerous. This part of the trail is 4.5 miles of single track. You have a mountain on one side and a relatively steep drop off on the other with tantalizing views of the lake. There are plenty of pull over spots that are perfect for pictures. The part of the trail is relatively flat with only a few rock features that might be tricky for a novice rider. This part of the trail has my favorite view of Sand Harbor.

The Flume Trail technically ends in the middle of the forest. You’ll see a turn off for a trail that will take you to the Tahoe Rim Trail or you can continue on Tunnel Creek Road back to the bike shop. This is the fun part of the ride! It’s all downhill and sandy, and be on the lookout for hikers! Local tip: on this section of the trail look for a well-worn path through the bush towards some rocks. Here you will find Monkey Rock!

Its all downhill from here and you have just completed the Flume Trail! Turn in your bike and head into the café for a well-deserved beer! Or venture further into Incline Village for a brew at Alibi Ale Works or Brewforia. Heck, you should drink a beer for finishing this blog. Here’s to you, mate!

Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie

Double Days – Springtime in Reno Tahoe

Springtime in Reno Tahoe might just be my favorite season. The days are longer, the weather is warmer and you can participate in all your favorite activities in one day. And on years when we have epic snowfall (like this one), springtime is even more amazing.

Ski

This past February some of the Lake Tahoe Ski resorts received over 200 inches of snow and the year to date snow total is over 35 feet! We “Spring Forward” on March 10th, so bring on those longer, warmer bluebird days and get ready to shred some amazing pow! If you’re looking to pull that “Double Day” only possible in Reno Tahoe, I suggest hitting up the ski resort in the morning.  

Hike/Bike

Because of our epic February 2019 snowfall, hiking and biking will have to take place at lower elevations, but that is perfectly okay. Located just north of Rancho San Rafael Regional Park is endless miles of single-track trails ideal for hiking or biking. Hike to the ‘N’ for an unbelievable view of the University of Nevada, Reno and downtown Reno. And if you time it just right, you’ll be joined by a plethora of high-desert wildflowers.  

Paddle/Kayak

Picture this, you’re on the gorgeous turquoise pristine waters of Lake Tahoe surrounded by snowcapped mountains. This is what it’s like paddle boarding or kayaking in Tahoe during spring.  Peak Tahoe beach season has yet to begin, so enjoy solitude and relaxation after a fun morning on the slopes. Great launch spots include Sand Harbor or Kings Beach.

Events/Nightlife

You can keep the party going all night in Reno – the land of no last call. Here is a short list of some upcoming spring events. For more options, visit Reno Tahoe’s events calendar.

Reno Leprechaun Crawl | March 16

Squaw Valley WinterWonderGrass | March 29-31

Old Dominion | April 26

Reno River Festival | May 11-12

What is your favorite springtime activity? Tell me in the comments below. Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie