Earth Is Not Your Garbage Can

My biggest pet peeve when I’m out enjoying the beautiful great outdoors is when people think they can treat this earth like it’s a garbage can. I don’t understand why people think it’s okay to just toss their garbage to the side of a trail or leave all their beer bottles behind after spending a night in nature.
I love that people get out and do clean ups or keep a conscious mind on Earth Day, but it would be great if we’d just treat every day like Earth Day. So in honor of that, I’m listing ways you can help to reduce your negative impact on this beautiful planet while adventuring outside.

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  1. Pick up after yourself!
    This one is the most basic, but yet somehow so many people find it hard to follow. Pack out what you pack in! Instead of throwing your garbage on the side of a trail or campsite, put it in your pack, or pocket, or a bag. Even your car! I don’t know, it’s really not that hard to place garbage somewhere else besides the outdoors.
  2. Pick up after your dog.
    I’ve been over this a lot, but if you hike with a dog and they happen to need to go to the bathroom while you’re off on a trail, bag the poop and take it with you when you leave. Also, I know it’s gross to have it in your vehicle, but if they don’t have trash cans at the trailhead, don’t just leave it there. Take it with you and find the nearest trash. There is pretty much no purpose to you bagging poop just to leave it there. You’re just adding more waste.
  3. Plan ahead and prepare.
    If you’re going camping and brining lots of stuff for meals and cooking, plan ahead. Transfer your eggs to an egg holder, remove things from packages beforehand, and when possible, repackage food to minimize the waste you are bringing with you. Also, use a reusable water bottle. It’s better to keep filling up the same one than going through a bunch and having a ton of plastic to deal with.
  4. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
    Always have the goal of camping at established campsites and taking established trails. Sometimes it’s hard to find an established campsite if you’re backpacking where a lot of people don’t go. In that case, find a patch of solid dirt, instead of just sticking your tent where you think will make the best Instagram shot, so that you’re not crushing all the vegetation.
  5. Be mindful of waterways.
    Camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams. If you’re washing dishes, follow that same rule and never dump your water in or near those bodies of water. Also when needing to dig a toilet in the backcountry, always dig it away from these waterways (and trails)!

Now obviously I’m not perfect and I’m not going to tell you how to live your life, but if you want to be conscious in your daily impact and not just when outdoors, here’s a list of things you can work on.

  1. Recycle. 
    Separate your trash from things that can be recycled.
  2. Don’t use plastic straws. 
    Did you know you can drink from the top of your cup?! That you don’t actually need to sip your beverage through a straw?! I get that some things are hard to drink without a straw, or that some people are diehard straw fans, but if that’s the case for you, then invest in a reusable straw.
  3. Be mindful of geotagging. 
    I normally only tag places that are already popular, but won’t tag places that not a lot of people go to. That’s slightly because I’m stingy and want to keep that place more to myself, but it’s mostly because I worry about the impact an influx of people will have on it. Some places just aren’t meant to be touched by all of mankind.
  4. Use reusable bags.
    Plastic bags are ugly and weak anyway.
  5. Don’t leave the water running when you’re brushing your teeth. 
    It’s really not that hard to turn the water off and then back on when you need it.

There are a lot more things I could cover, but it comes down to using common sense and putting in a bit of extra work to help reduce the impact you have on this planet. I feel it really comes down to most of us being lazy and not wanting to put in the extra work, not that we don’t care. But we need to remember this is our planet and we need to take care of her. So while we’re enjoying the outdoors this weekend, keep our beautiful planet in mind. You can even join one of the many groups participating in an Earth Day clean up, or make one of your own.

Happy adventuring and recycling 😉

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Miranda

25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years

I’ve had a handful of people tell me that I’m young so I can’t possibly know anything about life. Given they were mostly old, crazy people… But guess what Granny?! You’re wrong. I’ve learned a lot in my 25 years on this beautiful planet. Obviously I don’t know everything. Not even close. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a pretty okay look on how my life is. So here I am to share with you the top 25 things I’ve learned in 25 years.

1. Be you and be happy with it!
Out of any of these, learn from this one. I used to spend so much time and energy trying to fit in and do what everyone else wanted me to do and that’s not the way to live. I have a lot that fits into this category that I’ll share below, but the main thing I want you to take away from this one is that if you’re not you, you won’t be truly happy. Love yourself for who you are. And if you don’t, only you can change that.

2. Life is about experiences.
Both the good and bad will build you. Most of my strength has come from my hardest times, my most draining moments.

3. Dogs are way more than “just pets”.
I should say all pets, but for my life, my dog has been a real influencer in learning this lesson. Dogs are love, and home, and a best friend, and an adventure buddy. They can help you connect with the world more, and yourself, and build who you are. A lot of psychological mumbo jumbo can be put to owning, caring for, and adventuring with a dog, but I’ll just leave it at reminding you that the saying “man’s best friend” was thought up for a good reason.

4. Only you can live your life.
Be true to yourself! Don’t live in a way others want you to if it’s not what you want as well. You don’t have to go to 8 years of school, or have a high paying job, or be a doctor, or play a sport, or be religious, or anything unless it’s what you want. Maybe you want to do all of those things and everyone is telling you that you can’t. Do it anyway. Just live your life the way you want to.

5. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you. 
It really doesn’t. And the less you care about what others think, the happier you will be. You definitely, DEFINITELY can’t please everyone. So stop trying to.

6. A wise woman once told me, “It doesn’t matter the color of your skin, if you’re rich or poor or skinny or fat or Christian or Atheist… as long as you are a good person, you are living life right.” And that was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given.

7. Most of the time things won’t actually go as planned. And that’s totally okay. Improvise. Don’t think your life has to be scripted.

8. Sometimes a girl just needs her parents.
Whether it’s real heartache, or helping me mend my hand after it’s been slammed in a car door, my parents have my back. And I love them. I learned this lesson later than I would have liked, but it’s totally cool to need your parents and spend time with them. Just remember, time trickles away quicker than we realize and you never know how much of it you have left.

9. Climb that damn mountain and take that damn vacation.
Now I won’t throw myself into excruciating debt to travel the world like some people do, but it’s crucial to take vacations. Seeing new places and experiencing new things truly opens your eyes. You don’t even know how closed they are until you get out there with an open mind and a thirsty heart. And definitely put experiences before items.

10. It is perfectly okay to fail. 
That means you tried. And trying, putting yourself out there, is what I think it’s really about.

11. Never let your pride get the better of you. 
Don’t be so close minded. I promise you’re not always right.

12. The best way to be happy is to be grateful.
Always focus on what you have, rather than what you are without. Positive thoughts attract positive things.

13. Don’t live life with regrets. 
I always get people who roll their eyes at me when I say this, but I’m serious. What good does it do to dwell on what you could have or should have done or not done? Everything you go through, and the way you handle it, shapes you to be who you are. Learn from your mistakes and grow, don’t wallow on the past.

14. Life is happening right now! 
And it’s not waiting for you. So LIVE IT!

15. Money isn’t everything, but it can honestly help.
I grew up learning how to handle my finances and build my credit and it has helped a lot in my adult life. I don’t live a financially wealthy life, and I’m still happy, so don’t put money over everything else. But don’t forget it’s also a big part of the world we live in.

16. Fear and worry cause disillusion.
Nothing is ever as bad as our minds create it to be. I love the quote from Fantastic Beasts that says, “My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice”, because that is truer than true. It’s easier said than done, but try not to worry. It does more harm than good and things are going to happen the way they happen anyway.

17. #sorrynotsorry
Stop apologizing for everything! In fact, don’t apologize for most things. The only time you should give an apology is if you’re truly sorry. “I’m sorry” is overused and has lost a lot of it’s meaning.

18. “Just remember, whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you”. 
There are so many negative people in this world that live their lives just to bring you down. And I seriously believe that. I don’t know why, but these people feed off of belittling others and going out of their way for arguments. There are so many people out there that just have this negative look on life and LOVE to complain. It’s discouraging, but don’t listen to these people.

19. It’s not worth holding on to grudges and hate.
I feel like I’m quoting a lot here, but again, I love the saying, “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. I’ve personally found this to be too true. And I’ve had a refresher in this lesson pretty recently. Anger and hate can tear you up and play serious mind games and none of that is worth it. Let it go. Move on.

20. Society is extremely fickle.
Don’t go off of what they say, it’ll change soon anyway.

21. The more followers you have, the more haters you have.
That’s just the way it is. Refer back to number 5 on this list and then move on 😉

22. Take pictures and write moments down.
You’ll want to remember them. Cherish the little moments along with the big. 

23. There are a lot more lessons than what you can learn from books and classrooms.
Don’t think that just because you have a degree or have taken a lot of classes that you’re some genius know-it-all. There are many ways to gain knowledge and my favorite way is from experiences. It’s best to have a healthy mix of types of knowledge. In bettering myself, I work on my book smarts and street smarts.

24. Get to know your body and be comfortable with it.
Both inside and out.

25. Last, but definitely not least, treat all people like people.
Encourage others instead of putting them down. Their achievements don’t increase your failures. It’s not one or the other.
Be kind to both strangers and those you know. A smile goes a long way.
I’m going to leave you with one last quote from the great Sirius Black (or J.K Rowling), “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals”.
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Miranda

Adventuring As A Responsible Dog Owner

As dog owners we are obligated to add a little extra work to going out in public with our pups. So here are the important basics on being a responsible dog owner when going outside with your dog:

1. Respect other’s space. 
This is a huge one. It doesn’t matter if your dog is friendly, you never know how others are towards dogs. Don’t just let your dog run up to other people or pets and assume it’s fine by saying, “it’s okay; they’re friendly”. That’s almost like me walking into your house, sitting on your couch, and saying “oh, don’t worry, I’m friendly” …not going to make you feel better about me being there. The person your dog is approaching may (for some crazy reason) not like dogs, or maybe the dog they are with isn’t friendly towards others. You never know the situation!

2. Pick up your dog’s poop!
Like seriously, just do it. There are poop bag holders you can clip on your pack, their pack, their leash, or that you can stuff in your pocket. There’s not much of an excuse for you hitting a trail and leaving your dog’s poop in the middle of it. Also, TAKE YOUR POOP BAGS WITH YOU! Don’t just leave them there.

3. Let people have the right-of-way on the trails.
Especially families and runners. Unless they offer you the path, just pull your dog to the side if you see or hear them coming.

4. Don’t take your dog places they aren’t allowed. 
I know, it’s hard, we want our dogs to go everywhere with us. And sometimes we don’t know we brought them into a place they aren’t allowed. But if you take your dog somewhere they aren’t supposed to be, that’s what makes dog rules even tighter and ruins it for everyone else. My rule is if my dog can’t go, it’s not something we’re doing.
Do the research to know that where you are taking your dog allows it, and see if there are regulations for them. It also doesn’t hurt to ask a park attendant or ranger if you’re visiting a national or state park.

5. Don’t let your dog just do whatever they want.
I’m a total push over for my dog, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let him run around like he owns the place. Don’t let your dog bark for hours on end or get into people’s things. Just be respectful. Your dog is your responsibility and it’s solely up to you to make sure they behave well in public.

There are a lot of little things that we should take into consideration when adventuring with our dogs, but these are the main ones I think about when we are out on the trails. But just because we need to be a little more mindful when taking our dogs into public, doesn’t mean we still can’t have fun! So grab your pups and head outside!

Miranda + Loki

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Wilderdog Kibble Doggy Bag review

I’ve been looking for an actual bag to keep my dog’s food in when we travel and camp instead of plastic gallon bags because we’ve been working towards cutting down on using plastic. Although very sturdy, I was skeptical this bag would be the answer to my searches. Boy, was I wrong. If you’re in the same boat I was and looking for a travel bag for your dog’s food, let me tell you why I’ll forever use this one.

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1. I can’t smell anything through it.
One of the biggest reasons I hate using plastic bags to store their food is because I can smell the food through it. I would even double up on the bags to try and help, which it didn’t, and I felt more wasteful. I feed these dogs salmon kibble and it definitely smells like salmon so it’s not something I want my car or backpack smelling like. I was super surprised, and happy, that I could not smell a thing through the bag. Now I’m not saying this bag is safe to just leave out in the middle of bear country, but it definitely masks any smell to my nose.

2. It’s sturdy!
Like I mentioned before, this bag is sturdy! It got thrown all around the desert and stayed the same, plus it was super easy to dust off and keep clean… IN THE DESERT! If you’ve been, you know everything gets dirty there. And as a bonus, we found out it also seems to be water resistant (after accidently spilling the water bowl on it).

3. It closes and compacts nicely.
If you don’t need to use the whole bag, just roll it down and clip at the top of the food and you are only using the space you need. It seals nicely to keep the food and stays where you clipped it. And it has a strap you are able to use to carry it, clip it to a bag, or clip the bowls to it. (We also love the bowls, they compact well and are sturdy like the bag.)

4. It comes with a measuring cup.
This wasn’t a make or break for us, but definitely a bonus. We do track how much we feed our dogs so it was super handy to have this come with the bag.

This review is not sponsored and was not asked for. I was sent the bag, but was not asked for a review in return. This is just me wanting to share how I feel about something I’d been looking for in case someone is in the same spot I was. I didn’t think I would love this bag, but that’s the way it ended up. Although this is not a sponsored review, I do have a coupon code if you would like to check out this bag, their bowls, or anything else at wilderdog.com
Just use “mirandashea” at checkout.

Thanks for reading! And click the link below if you want to check it out for yourself.

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Solo Adventuring as a Woman

We live in a world that tells us things that women are not supposed to do. Now I’m not going to get into the “men vs women rights”, but one thing we’re definitely told we shouldn’t do is adventure outside alone. I could develop deeper into it and tell you that a lot of that belief stems from the concept that women are more defenseless than men, but we’re not going to get into that either. I’m just here to tell you that you can go against the grain and adventure outside without a man or a group. Here are a few simple tips to taking a solo adventure:

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The first thing you need to do is do your research!
Know the animals you may encounter and how to interact with them. I know all sensible thought goes out the window if you’re startled by big wildlife like a moose or bear, but try to keep a calm head and remember what you learned.
Under this category we will also place know your trail! Look into the area you’ll be going. Research the trailhead and destination(s). Know your trail and stick to it. If you’re going on a trail that isn’t clearly marked or deep in the backcountry, bring any navigation tools you need.

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Be prepared!
Do a checklist before you leave and make sure you have what you need. I strongly advise bringing something to protect yourself with. I always hike with a knife, and outside of the summer I also carry pepper spray. I have a few out of state friends who hike with firearms, but if you are qualified to conceal a gun, you still need to know if the area you’re hiking in allows you to carry. If you’re hiking in bear country, you can consider packing bear spray. I hike in bear country with black bears only and choose not to, but that’s just a personal choice. If you’re hiking in grizzly territory, I’m going to strongly advise you from solo hiking there at all. I’m not going to teach a bear class, but I have taken one, and it’s just not a good idea to solo hike where a grizzly could be, no matter your gender.

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Use common sense.
Make sure you tell people close to you exactly where you’ll be and around what time you’ll be expected back, just in case. But then I’m also going to go the opposite direction and strongly advise you to not advertise your very location to people you aren’t super close with. Don’t post on social media “hey I’m going on a hike/camp out alone at this exact location!” Chances are nothing is going to happen to you, but you also don’t know who is reading your stuff. You could have some super crazy sadistic person following your every move and you just gave them what they were looking for. Be smart about the information you share and whom you share it with.
A lot of things can be put under these three words of advice, but I’m not going to cover every single one of them. Like I’m not going to tell you to not wrap yourself in a huge piece of meat and go dancing through the woods alone, because that’s just a no brainer. And gross. Just use common sense!

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Tune into those senses. 
Now you may have noticed that my dog is in all of my “solo hiking” pictures, because duh, I bring him on every hike. So if you solo hike with your dog, that usually puts you at an advantage than ladies who are 100% on their own. I say usually because I’ve met a couple dogs that could really be the downfall of their human in the outdoors, but I digress.
If you have a dog, and we’ll just say a dog like mine, then you have the advantage of tuning into your dog’s senses. They can usually tell you more of what’s going on than you can see at first. When my dog senses an “unwelcome” visitor, he perks his ears and focuses on the direction he heard them. If his thoughts are confirmed, he lets out a low “warning” growl. If somebody comes too close to me, which in this case I’m already aware of the potential danger, he will bark and snarl. My beautiful boy is very protective of his mama.
But again, I digress. The point is, let your senses go hand in hand with your dog. If you are not with a dog, let your senses speak to you. Pay attention to nature. The more you go outdoors the more you may be able to tell the difference in welcome and unwelcome silences. This is where you can really allow yourself to be “one with nature”, which is a beautiful feeling.

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If you want to start going on a few solo hikes, I recommend your first being a trail you already know. You’ll probably be the most scared your first time, so somewhere familiar can help a lot with that. Just be confident in yourself, your abilities, and the work you’ve put in to preparing yourself for the trail. Now get out there and explore more!

Thanks for reading!
Miranda + Loki