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Adventure in Tanzania with Kidz at Heart

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weather and avalanche conditions hinder rescue efforts

Illumination Saddle, Mount Hood, OR. Photo: Portland Mountain Rescue

Weather and avalanche conditions are hindering a search today for two overdue climbers on Mt. Hood in Oregon. On Saturday, December 12, members of the Portland Mountain Rescue (PMR) discovered three sets of tracks. Following the tracks near Illumination Saddle led them to discover the body of one overdue climber, Luke Gullenburg, 26, who appeared to have fallen from higher on Reid Headwall. Efforts to search higher on the mountain were frustrated by unstable, avalanche-prone snow conditions.

On Sunday, December 13, snow conditions again hindered ground-based searching on the upper mountain. Air-based searches were conducted by Civil Air Patrol and the Oregon Army National Guard.

Today PMR reports plans to send two reconnaissance teams to assess conditions and possibly climb the South Side route, which the missing climbers had indicated was their planned route of descent. Katie Nolan, 29, and Anthony Vietti, 24 are the missing hikers. Friends and family continue to pray for their safety.

For more information go to:
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Girl's Arizona Adventure: Fish Pedicure?

Adventure girls who love to fish are trying something new this angling season: pedicures done by small, finned friends. Yes, stick your phalanges in the pedicure bath and LIVE fish eat away the dead skin between your toes, around your toenails or on your heels.

You won't be able to angle these fish from your local lake or reservoir. Nope, these tiny fish -- Garra Ruffa to be specific -- are imported from Turkey and look similar to the small fish you would see in your dentist's aquarium. Friendly, kind and persistent dry skin eaters. Yum!

Clients enjoy the relaxing "lip" massage and one adventure girl reported that even her husband commented on her soft feet after a Spa Fish Treatment.

Now we adventure girls have a new meaning to the sign posted "Gone Fishin'" on our office door.

Girls' Adventure Guide tip: In the Phoenix, AZ area, fisher women can get the specialty treatment and an Arizona Adventure all rolled into one at Spa Fish. Check out their monthly pedicure specials at Coupons.

Spa Fish / La Vie Nails & Spa
(NW Corner Ray & Val Vista Behind Discount Tire)
Mon. – Sat. 9:30AM - 7:00PM
Sunday 10AM – 5PM
1534 E. Ray Rd. Suite 117 , Gilbert, AZ 85296
(480) 899-9889
Girls' Adventure Guide gives adventure travel tips and free travel advice to women of all ages. Don't miss your next girls adventure guide tip by subscribing or following this blog. Why wait? It's free, and only take 90 seconds. Faster than a fish pedicure...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sedona's Seven Secrets

Sedona, AZ -- Enter the Red Rock country of Sedona and you will feel a sense of adventure radiating from those terra-cotta colored walls. Walk along paths that are wearing into sandstone ledges and you know you are experiencing a place that has long been inhabited.

Natural light and cool breezes make this secret place a natural respite from the hot Arizona desert.

Yesterday photographer Charles Bame and I spent several hours photographing and writing about one of Sedona's secret places. Do you recognize it in the photo above? Probably not, since it is hidden away inside thick sandstone walls. It is not a far hike from downtown Sedona. Leave a comment below if you know this secret place.

Canyon Adventure
Watch for all seven secrets to be revealed on Girls' Adventure Guide website, and soon in a new book that you can order online. Don't forget to subscribe to this website in the right-hand column.
Girls' Adventure Guide is written by Arizona travel writer Stacey Wittig. Share your own girls adventure travels by leaving comments. Follow Girls' Adventure Guide for free adventure travel tips and travel deals.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Favorite Hikes?

Fave Hike: Death Valley | Hike or Die!

Flagstaff, AZ -- I've asked Twitter friends to post some of their fave hikes. I've been researching the Appalachian Trail and others today for an adventure travel tip article. Thought it would be a good idea to survey others for their personal favorites. Many thanks, Tweeps! Simply post a brief comment below.
Girls Adventure Guide is a free service offering free adventure travel tips and travel advice. We welcome yours!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Danger of the Single Story

Friday, October 9, 2009

Go for the Gold this Weekend

Flagstaff, AZ -- The San Francisco Peaks are alive with color this weekend. You can expect an illuminated mountain bike ride or hike as turning Aspen trees are dressed in glowing shades of golds and greens.

The Arizona Daily Sun reported that "none could remember a better fall day of cycling to the Inner Basin than Saturday." So Adventure Girl decided to hike up the Kachina Trail just outside the Arizona Snowbowl yesterday to see what all the superlatives were all about. The trail is relatively flat - considering you're on the side of mountains that contain Arizona's highest peak, Mount Humphreys at 12,637 feet (3,852 m).

But even the lower trail, at 9500 ft above sea level, put a cramp in my breathing. Once I blew the spider webs out of my lungs, I was entering The Kachina Peaks Wilderness Area. I was inspired to bound from rock to rock by the doe prancing through the terrain ahead of me. As she leap up the steep slope to the left, I got a glimpse of her twin fawns. They looked hardly big enough to survive the imminent cold snow of winter. When the doe stopped and looked at me over her back, both fawns mimicked, duplicating her statuesque pose.

"I need my camera mounted to my forehead," I sigh my favorite last words before the picture of the bull elk, herd of mulies or gaggle of turkeys disappear into the underbrush. This time, all three pictures disappeared before I could get my Lumix out of the day pack slung over my shoulder.

The photo below is all I got of the Mule deer doe and her babies, that I named Ray and Mi as I sprinted along making up stories in my head.

As you can see, the colors were disappointing on the Kachina Trail. The gold Aspens on the road to the Arizona Snowbowl were more memorable. I zoomed by them in my truck as photographers vied for position and straightening their tri-pods in front of the glowing plumage. That was at about 3:30 on Thursday.

The many wind-downed trees on the Kachina Trail were surprising to me. "Widow makers" they call 'em in the NW. The forest service has cut paths through those fallen across the trail. It looked to me that a heavy wind came down the mountain from the northeast and snapped many of the tall Aspens. The winds usually come from the west. Perhaps the trees had grown strong against the westerly winds, but when a big one came from the northeast, snapper-rooney! I'm no forester, but I'd like to check out my theory. Looks like it happened some time since late spring, since the broken trees had plenty of leaves. The forest service had time to clean up the trail, so it must have happened over four weeks ago, I am surmising. So my guess is that the wind storm happened sometime between July 1 and September 8. Anyone know? Leave a comment below.

Kachina Trail's varied terrain makes it a personal favorite. You start out on a well-worn, serpentine trail through tall ferns. After a gradual climb, you step over igneous rock blown off the top of the volcanic peaks above. The trail snakes around some huge boulders that make you wonder at the force of that volcanic explosion. Kachina Trail eventually breaks out of the forest and takes you across wildflower-covered meadows where you can get good views of Arizona below. The ferns are crumpled brown by night-time frosts and the only fall wildflowers-- hearty lavender-colored asters and something small and yellow -- can be seen now.

I recommend that you head out to Lockett Meadow this weekend. There will probably still be color left along the Water Line Trail. I'm going to go look for it. Maybe I'll see you out there. I'll definitely check out the Waterline Road Extension toward Bear Jaw Canyon as recommended by Randy Wilson of the Arizona Daily Sun. On second thought, maybe I'll just park at the Bear Jaw Trailhead and hike from there. I remember a lot of aspen trees in that area. Let's go for the gold!

Girls Adventure Guide offers free travel advice and adventure travel tips for women of all ages. We love to share girls adventure travel stories, and we want to hear yours, too. Do you have any tips or free travel advice? Then post a comment below, we want you to become part of the conversation.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

140th Anniversary of Grand Canyon River Adventure

Flagstaff, AZ -- On the 140th anniversary of John Wesley Powell’s 1869 pioneering journey down the Green and Colorado rivers, researchers are still  discovering more about his life. So said river historian Richard Quartaroli in his seminar "John Wesley Powell: The Man, the Myth, the Mystery" last night at the Riordan Mansion State Park. Quartaroli has been researching the adventurer and explorer for years.

Powell, the one-armed Civil War veteran shoved off into "The Great Unknown" with an incomplete map in hand. One of the purposes of his 1879 Grand Canyon River adventure was to map parts of the river and its canyon systems. "Powell was trying to fill-in the blank spots on the map," said Quartaroli of Northern Arizona (NAU)'s Cline Library Special Collections. Quartaroli showed examples of the incomplete map that Powell was using on his expedition.

Today, adventure gals can retrace part of Powell's route through the white water of the mesmerizing Grand Canyon. Canyoneers, a Flagstaff, Arizona based river company will guide you along the Colorado River from Lee's Ferry through the Grand Canyon National Park. Canyoneer's knowledgeable guides bring to life Powell's adventure through story telling and maps - more accurate than Powell's, we'd say! Go to or call 928-526-0924 for information on canyon adventure travel. 

Adventure travel tips: Now is a good time to choose your trip for 2010 before trips fill up. You now have a better choice of dates, length of trip and type of adventure: oar, motorized or dorry.
Girls Adventure Guide is a free adventure travel guide for women who want more out of their vacation time. Visit this site for free adventure travel advice and ways to make your adventure more fun. Girls Adventure guide helps you connect with other gals who are looking for free travel advice and a good adrenalin rush! Subscribe now at the right side of this page.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Canyon Adventurers Find Loose Footing Deadly

An idyllic canyon adventure went bad when a hiker fell to his death at Glen Canyon on Saturday. The red rock country attracts explorers from all over the world. Unfortunately not all visitors are accustomed to walking along steep cliffs with areas of loose, talus slopes.

A National Park Service (NPS) investigation found that Robert Hunt, 49, from St. Peters, Missouri was day hiking with a friend. As he attempted to cross a talus slope at the edge of a cliff, Mr. Hunt fell, landing in the shallow water and mud 70 feet ( 21.336 meters) below. He sustained a traumatic head injury. 

The NPS warns that talus slopes, or areas of loose rock on steep terrain, are extremely hazardous for hikers. Mr. Hunt had been visiting the area with four friends and had gone on several day hikes during his trip.

Girls' Adventure Travel  tip: Hey, unknown waters or unfamiliar terrain certainly increases the ol' adrenalin rush when adventuring, but remember to use caution. The unknown environment can "act" quite differently than what you are used to back home or in more familiar surroundings. 

In Canyon Country, arroyos can become flooded with deadly waters without a cloud overhead. A small rain burst miles away has killed unprepared hikers as the water rushes downhill. The stone canyons do not absorb water. Likewise, extreme temperatures can cause dizziness and it is easy to lose your balance. Of course it doesn't help when the terra firma is not so firma. Even after several days in an unfamiliar environment, stay on your toes, drink plenty of water and watch your footing. I recently took a nasty tumble as I video taped a hike. Wounded pride and skinned knees was, fortunately, all that beset me. It could have been deadly.

You won't see signs like the one above at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. (I took this one on the side of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.)


Glen Canyon National Recreation Area was created when the Colorado River was dammed by the Glen Canyon Dam. The waters behind the dam formed Lake Powell, named after Colorado River explorer and one-armed Civil War veteran John Wesley Powell. 

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Have an experience that you'd like to share about your Canyon Adventure? Add your comment here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Northern Arizona Fall Hiking

The air was crisp and clear as we left for a morning hike. The ground underfoot was covered with pine needles blown off the towering Ponderosas yesterday and last night. Its always windy in Flagstaff, but the changing seasons are bringing in more wind. I swear the pine needles just turned yellow the day it turned Fall - September 21.

This morning we shroud out just after dawn. Dan promised that it would be light at 6am -- but give it a few more weeks and we'll be using our headlamps. A head in the woods I heard a distinctive deep "chirping." "Sounds like cow elk to me, " I said to Dan, "And they sound really close."
"Or it could be a hunter," Dan replied. A lot of hunters are in the woods now, scoping out where the herds are before hunting season.

The the bugling started. "That's no hunter," I said. "That is one big bull." The forest was echoing with his deep trills and calls. The herd crossed the path just ahead of us. I counted 15 with the "Big Boy." As we climbed up the hill, I saw movement to the right, and another smaller herd disappeared into the shadows. Within another half mile, we were soon experiencing a "jazz session" perhaps a jam between tow competing males. The larger -- or so he sounded -- was with the first group and was now to the south of us. He bellowed and bugled to the younger male that was now headed off to the north.

I did my best imitation of a female chirp and tried to draw them back towards us. I don't think they heard me, but kept bellowing back and forth - first the loud, low rubble of the "bass" of the elder to the south. Then the return of the shorter "alto" blasts from the younger. I had not heard such elk bugling since I first moved to Arizona 15 years ago. Then, the concert hall was my kitchen, and the music came in through the kitchen door. Here i was first row center. What a magnificent experience.

"Have ypu ever heard elk like that before?" Dan my husband asked. He knows of my former life as "Elk Hunter" when I lived in Colorado.

"Never," I said. "Let's do this hike again tomorrow! ...and maybe we should wear orange."
Arizona elk are some of the largest elk in the U.S. September to October is breeding season. I-17 that runs past my community of Munds Park (south of Flagstaff, AZ) has the highest elk kill rate of any U.S. Interstate highway.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Girls Lament: 7 days not long enough

Navajo Bridges, Colorado River south of Lee's Ferry

According to the buzz from the 17 gals who just got off a Canyoneer's Colorado River trip, "Seven days is not enough!"  The girls, giddy with Canyon Fever, cannot seem to get the starry nights, crashing white water and visions of canyon walls out of their heads. "I am still dreaming about it at night," said one new "Canyoneer" in an email to the group today. Those bitten by the Grand Canyon bug may be back again next year.

Adventure travel tips:
- Get 2010 reservations now at
for choice river trip dates.
- bring two pairs of water shoes. My open-toed sandals were my favorites. But they had a chance to dry out when I used my digit-protecting Keens on hikes to magnificent waterfalls.

Girls Adventure Guide is a FREE adventure travel guide for women of all ages. Subscribe to this site and get posts updated to you. You won't miss a travel tip!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Calling all Girls: Grand Canyon River Trip

Flagstaff, AZ -- Time is running out to sign up for the all-"girls" river trip launching on 9-9-9. If running the white water below the rim of the Grand Canyon is on your "Bucket List," now is the time to go for it!

Special rates abound, simply call Joy or Cheryl at Canyoneers 928-526-0924. Get more info at
SINCE 1956
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Thursday, September 3, 2009

All-Gals River Trip Insider's Tips

Last week while in Phoenix and Scottsdale for a fantastic Girls Getaway, I asked one of our hosts, Seth Heald of ARIZONA OUTBACK ADVENTURES for some insider secrets for a great Grand Canyon river trip. Seth, president of AOA is a veteran river runner.

"Do you want to know the REAL advice? Even if it is a bit gross?" he asked.
"Oh, yes, I want it all. Give it to me," I challenged.
"OK then. You are going to be sitting on a plastic seat for seven days. You're going to be wet most of the time," he said alluding to ailments that might affect the bottom side. I think he said get a C-cream. "You might not need it, but if you do, you'll be happy you brought it along."

"I should have written it down," I thought as I perused the huge pharmacy aisle. In preparation for our upcoming river trip, I went into Flagstaff, AZ today to procure "butt balm" and waterproof band-aids."Should I get PreparationH?" I couldn't find any C-cream. Or was it Sea-Cream?
I was hoping that no one would come and ask if I needed help.I finally found Cortisone cream. It was half the price of the H-cream, so that settled it for me.

Band-Aid now makes a clear, WATER BLOCK PLUS bandage. They're supposed to give 100% waterproof protection. I guess we'll find out as we float down the river next week.

Girls Adventure Guide Tip: For extended river trips, bring along cortisone cream for any rash that might appear on your bottom side. It will also work on cracked heels if the sun and water do a number on your feet.

There is still room available on the 9-9-9 All "Girls" river trip. Call Joy or Cheryl at Canyoneers at 928-526-0924.
Girls Adventure Guide offers adventure travel tips and Girls Getaway ideas for increasing your travel fun quotient.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Grand Adventure: 7 Days in the Grand Canyon

A tale of fire and ice: a river trip through the Grand Canyon. The air temperature at the bottom of the canyon will be trying to hit the triple digits. FIRE! The icy waters of the Colorado River will be 72 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn't sound too cold, but with white water waves crashing over the sides of the boat, the spray from the waves will have its chilling affects.

"It's an unusual environment this time of year," says one veteran boatman. You can be really hot and then really cold all on the same day." I was asking about tips for what kind of clothing to pack. "Forget the rain pants, it will be too hot for those," he adds.

Our all-girls river trip launches 9-9-9 from Lee's Ferry just below the Glen Canyon Dam near Page, AZ. I think most of us are going for the scenery, but I have a feeling that this trip will provide the perfect venue for personal discovery and growth. There is still space -- and last minute deals. Call Joy or Cherly at Canyoneers in Flagstaff, AZ... and get onboard for some real Girls Adventure.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Calling All Girls: 3 Spots open for Colorado River trip

If a white water raft trip through the Grand Canyon is on your "bucket list," its time to clear your calendar. A 7-day All-women's river trip is launching at Lee's ferry on 9/9/9. We're adventuring down the Colorado River for seven days that will change your life. Or so, I have heard it said. This will be my FIRST Grand Canyon river trip, and I am a little excited...if not a little scared. Hey, isn't that what adventure is all about?

Call Sheri or Joy at Canyoneers 928-526-0924. Flagstaff, AZ