13 July 2010

Rock Climbing at Elephant Rock

I recently had the opportunity to go rock climbing for the first time in my life. All I have to say is rock climbing is an addictive sport.  My family and I went to Elephant Rock, which is a local social climbing location, just to watch some people rock climb.  While we were sitting there watching people fly up the side of the rock, a guy who was also sitting at the bottom of the rock noticed us watching and asked if any of my children wanted to try it.  My oldest son said he would like to try.  After he tried it, both of my girls wanted to climb.  They all seem to enjoy it quite a bit.

When my children were done climbing, he asked if I wanted to try.  I jumped at the chance because I have wanted to try rock climbing for a long time.

Elephant Rock seemed to be a really good place to learn rock climbing.  The route I climbed was not too difficult, but it was still challenging enough to give me a feel for the sport.  There were several climbs all around the rock.  Some of which appeared to be much more difficult than the beginners route I took.  I am now much more interested in picking up rock climbing as one of my hobbies.  Thanks Vinay!



10 July 2010

Unswamping a Canoe Solo Style

Sticking with my canoeing theme this week, I decided to record a "how to" video while at Rigby Lake last night.  This is just a quick video that shows how to unswamp your canoe alone once you are to shore. 

Had the camera run longer you would have been able to see me slip and almost fall in the lake.  Too bad the camera was shut off too soon because it really was funny. 



09 July 2010

Star Wars Kid Canoe

This video was sent to me in response to yesterday's post about canoeing over waterfalls.  It's labelled canoe, but looks like a kayaking contest to me. That kid is skilled in so many things!

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Canoeing | Kayaking

07 July 2010

How Not To Go Over a Waterfall in a Canoe

This is a good example as to how not to go over a "waterfall" in a canoe.  Sorry, but I laughed. You can watch the whole thing, but if you are short on time jump to the 1:40 mark in the video.

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Swimming | Canoeing

05 July 2010

Cress Creek Nature Trail Hike

Today I took my family for a little hike to the Cress Creek Nature Trail just east of Idaho Falls, Idaho (Directions to Cress Creek Nature Trail). The temperature was perfect and the views of the valley were great. The Cress Creek Nature Trail is handicap accessible about a third of the way up the trail. It is paved and has small switch backs for wheelchairs. At the end of the pavement the trail turns to gravel for a large loop up the side of the hill with several stations to stop and read information.

The trail is a self-guided lesson about the history of the area, as well as the types of plants that grow in the region. At the beginning of the trail there is a sign that warns hikers of the possibility of meeting a rattlesnake along the trail. I have never seen one from the trail, but do know they are in the area.

Cress Creek gets its name from the watercress that grows in the creek. The creek is fed by some warm springs so the water stays warm enough year round for the watercress to grow and attracts deer, moose, and other animals to the area.

From the top of Cress Creek Nature Trail one can look out over the Snake River valley and see Idaho Falls, Ririe, the Snake River, the Arco Buttes and mountain ranges in the distance if visibility is good.



02 July 2010

Mix Up Your Summer With a Family Camping Trip

Camping is a fun family activity and a good way to mix up a mundane summer.  There is something majestic about sleeping under the stars wondering where we all came from and what our purpose here on earth truly is.  Waking up to the sound of nature, not the call of nature, but birds singing with soft breezes whistling through the trees, and breathing in fresh air all night long is very rejuvenating. There is no doubt camping is a great experience.  Camping is a great outdoor adventure for the family because it involves getting away from home and spending time with each other. Tell your kids to leave the electronic devices at home so they can use that thing called an imagination.  There are lots of camping sites out there, including your own backyard, but choosing the right campsite can be difficult especially when camping with little ones. 

Many people like to camp in motor homes while others just want to stay in a regular good old fashioned tent.  Once you decide where to go camping, it is time to discuss the summer vacation with the family. Explain the rules to your children that may exist at your campsite and the general area.  Set ground rules beyond the campsite rules to make your trip fun and safe, creating lasting memories.  When camping with your family, it is often a good idea to make reservations before you go if possible.  One last thing, but very important item, to consider when you go camping is first aid.   If you are going to be camping far from any hospitals make sure you have the proper first aid kit to care for anyone who may get injured playing around camp.  You can find first aid kits at almost any major retailer like Wal-mart or Walgreens.

Other items you may want to bring for your trip include:

Rope, Flashlights, Axe, Firewood, Matches, Marshmallow Sticks, Marshmallows to put on those sticks, Outdoor Games, Water, Paper Cups, and Paper Plates.

Make the trip memorable and have fun.



10 June 2010

1000 Fans on Facebook Fan Page

We have had a fan page on Backcountry Secrets for about a year now for all of those who enjoy following the new recreation points we add to the site.  Everytime a new point is added, we post the point and where it is located to help our fans find new places to play outdoors.  It's been fun to see who is following the site and to be able to share great deals on outdoor gear that we find.  In the near future, Backcountry Secrets will feature it's own outdoor gear store and as we have sales, we will post this to our fan page.

We are nearing 1000 fans and consider this quite the mile marker for our fan page.  If you're not a fan yet, become one today! Backcountry Secrets Fan Page


07 June 2010

Cave Falls Yellowstone Caved In

I took a trip with my Father and two sons this weekend to Cave Falls in Yellowstone.  The weather wasn't the best, but the waterfall was awesome.  There was a TON of water flowing over the falls.  Cave Falls gets it's name from the cave that used to be next to the falls.  The cave is thought to have caved in sometime around February 2008.  The area where the cave used to be is now just a huge pile of rocks and there is a small outcropping in the cliff.  However, the trail is closed off so you can no longer get over to the area. 

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Hiking | Waterfalls

26 May 2010

Rock Climbing With Kids


Kids love to climb. Whether it's all over Dad, up ladders, or between the door frame, kids just love it.  Introducing your children or child to rock-climbing at a young age can help you spend a lot of quality time together as your child grows.  Think of the great conversations you'll have with your teenager as you trap them in the car on the way to a crag.  Where better to talk about the birds and bees than out in nature?

Here are some tips to get you and your kids rock-climbing:

  1. Take a rock climbing class together. This has many benefits and not just for climbing.  your children will see that Mom and Dad can take direction too.
  2. Set the rules.  Rock-climbing can be very dangerous and it is important for all climbers to know and follow the rules.  Set consequences and follow through if the rules are broken.
  3. Start small and work up. After having lessons, try a free climbing at a rock wall gym. This will give you time to practice together with your kids. 
  4. Don't expect too much.  Children will often show enthusiasm for rock climbing and then decide it is too scary to climb higher than 3-4 feet. Don't force the issue.  Just praise them for how high they went and challenge them to get a foot or two higher.
  5. Teach them climbing terms. If you take a rock-climbing class with your children, you'll probably learn these, but re-teach them before you climb just to make sure you are all on the same page.  "On belay" "Climbing" "Slack" "Tension" "ROCK!"
  6. Find helmets that fit.  A good helmet is very important when rock-climbing.  Make sure your child has a helmet that fits and is not damaged.
  7. Double check harness and make sure your child is big enough for it.  Before you leave to the wall, make sure your child fits the manufacturers suggested weights and sizes for the harness they will be wearing.  Before your child starts to climb, double check the harness is set properly. 
  8. Chalk up.  Children love to get their hands dirty especially when Mom and Dad are doing it as well.  Plus it helps when you're rock climbing.
  9. Get some rock climbing shoes.  Climbing shoes should fit snug, but not too tight.  You don't necessarily need to buy new.  Look for used ones on gear surplus sites, or rent shoes from a local shop.
  10. Celebrate accomplishments and have fun.  That's why you go!

Children's climbing harnesses from Altrec.com

Children's climbing harnesses and helmets from Backcountry.com

Some of the topics covered here definately do not go in to great detail.  Harnesses, helmets, and shoes could each have their own post about the proper kinds and how to purchase.  Do your homework and you'll enjoy the time you spend rock climbing with kids.  

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Family | Gear | Rock Climbing

24 December 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We here at Backcountry Secrets hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Hopefully Santa brings you the perfect gear to let you get outside and enjoy the outdoors for the next year. 

The other day I was driving past one of my friend's home and saw a canoe sitting under a large spruce tree in his front yard.  I thought to myself, "Oh, how I wish that were my Christmas tree on Christmas morning."  I think that canoeing on a lake is one of the most peaceful and enjoyable sports to enjoy, and I don't even fish!

We are kicking off our new giveaway.  This time we are giving away a $15 Amazon.com gift card.  Contest runs from today through March 31st.  Submit your points for a chance to win. 

Backcountry Secrets gift card giveaway



I love sharing the outdoors and that is why Backcountry Secrets is my full-time hobby.

I only wish it was my full-time job.  I hope you have benefited from the information you have found on our site today.

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