Creative Birthday Card

Northwest Pearls: Birthday Card Map

I’ve seen greeting cards sold at REI before, but when I went to one REI location to buy one for a friend’s birthday, they didn’t have them. I’d been pretty set on these cards so I was disappointed when they weren’t there. But a sales associate came up with the idea to use a map as a birthday card. It was the perfect idea and she came up with it on the spot.

The only problem was that I wasn’t sure what maps he already had.

That problem almost made me give up but then I came across some thin flat paper maps and one covered a place we had gone snowshoeing. It’s not the most useful map as I doubt he’ll go back for a long time, and it covers such a small area, but it has sentimental meaning.

So I got it, folded it, and wrote “Happy Birthday!” along the front. That’s all I fit on there, I didn’t want to write more because of the map details, but I printed out a picture of him and his dog to write an actual birthday note on.

I loved how the map-card turned out, and in the future, I might even write a whole message on the map itself.

Do you have any creative card ideas?

 

Northwest Pearls: Reading List: Wild

Reading List: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

I picked up Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I’m not sure exactly why I picked it up. Maybe to better understand some friends who have done, or want to do thru-hiking.

I understand grief. I’ve gone through it. I know it changes you as a person. There are moments when I kinda of consider doing what Strayed did. Heck, after reading that she did it, I realized that I could do it. But I shouldn’t. And I’d be slightly more moderate. And prepared.

Strayed makes poor decisions. She overpacks her pack. Doesn’t train.

She just gets her stuff and goes on a potentially deadly journey. A journey that’s deadly to even the prepared. She was extremely lucky and fortunate on the trail when if she hadn’t had good fortune, she wouldn’t have made it.

I’d heard that the book is polarizing but I don’t entirely see how you could love it. In some ways I can see how it’s empowering. But I don’t think that one should be empowered to go on a journey like that with so little preparation. It’d be an entirely different story if she’d prepared and trained through her grief to do it instead of choosing it and being lucky. I’d be a lot more impressed with her if that’s what had happened.

To be slightly fair, a coworker of mine attended a talk by Strayed and wasn’t expecting much based on the book. She was very pleasantly surprised by Strayed which encouraged me.

Even though I finished it, it’s not a book I’d recommend. She annoyed me as a character/person and made unwise decisions that exasperated me.

What are your opinions of the book?

How to Layer Clothes for Hiking

When you’re hiking, you want to layer so you can shed layers, or add them, as you need to. You don’t want to be stuck with one heavy layer that’s too warm as you’re going uphill.

You want to have a synthetic, moisture wicking base-layer. I have one from Costco that does the job, but I’m looking at getting something like this REI Co-op shirt when it’s time for a new one. In the summer I’m usually fine in a loose synthetic running tank top I have.

My next layer is a fleece mid-layer. I use my Patagonia Better Sweater, but there are lots of different types of fleece options out there. I looked at a few brands, Columbia, Arc’teryx, and The North Face, but Patagonia fit me best.

If it’s cold enough, I’ll even have another insulating layer. For now I’ve been using The North Face Summit Series jacket. I have a version that’s about four years old but here’s the current The North Face Summit L3 Down Jacket. I’d really like to get The North Face ThermoBall Insulated Full-Zip Jacket.

And on the outside, I have my water-resistant hard shell. This is usually my Arc’teryx Beta Lt. Hybrid Rain Jacket. It’s a pretty great jacket and I love it for backpacking and hiking. And it’s on sale as of this post being published! I really wanted my jacket to be made of Gore-Tex® and I loved that this had a detached collar so I could have the collar up but not the hood on, when I needed it. And you want to make sure you size this so you can fit your other layers under it.

For my other “layers” I have my wool running socks. I actually don’t think I’ve ever used them for running, but I use them for every hike I go on. While my favorite running socks are the Balega Hidden Comfort ones, they’re too short for me for hiking as mud and rocks will get in them. So my wool Smartwool and Feetures socks work better because they’re higher.

My next sock purchase will be these Darn Tough socks. A friend of mine raves about the brand and because I’d like a higher pair of wool socks, I’m planning on getting these next so I can try them out and see if they’re worth the hype.

You also want wool or synthetic underwear, and not cotton.

As you can tell, all of my technical layers are upperbody. I have some wool thermal pants I wear under a pair of running pants on cold days, but I do need a pair of water-resistant or waterproof hiking pants for winter and rainy hikes. When it’s warm enough, I’m usually just in running pants or capris.

And remember to size your layers so you can fit other things under them if you need to.

Do you have any layering suggestions?

REI Dividend and Coupon

You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for the REI Dividend to come out with the coupon. Seriously. Since November. I had a coupon and didn’t buy what I wanted then and have regretted it since. But today I an ordering my new Lowa Renegade hiking boots!

If only the coupon was 20% off the whole order and not just one item. There are a few other things I’m dying to get, but won’t for right now.

I do love my Osprey Sirrus 24 Pack, and once on a winter hike wanted a slightly larger one. (I had a lot of extra clothes with me.) I could use the other coupon that’s for sale items only on the Osprey Sirrus 36 Pack or the Osprey Sirrus 50 Pack, but as I don’t NEED a larger one, I probably won’t get it now. If I was consistently wanting a larger one, I’d do it, but the 24 is a great size for what I usually do.

The other items I’m debating between, that I would totally buy one of now if I had just one more coupon, are the REI Co-op Traverse Power Lock Cork Women’s Trekking Poles and the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles. I want to try them in person because based off of the information online, I’m leaning towards the Black Diamond ones. They are supposed to have an optimal grip position. The REI Co-op ones though are supposed to be ergonomic. So once I go to REI to check them both out in person, I’ll have a pair picked out.

Sadly nothing on my wish list right now is on sale at REI, but my amazing Arc’teryx  Beta Lt Hybrid jacket is. So if you want a great rain jacket, you could use your coupon there! The only thing I don’t love about it is the pocket placement. They’re placed great if I have a hiking pack on. Not great if I’m wearing it to run errands.

What are you going to get with your REI coupon?