A Hiking U turn – The Dog Drank All Our Water

This post is sponsored by LifeStraw

We recently took the kids on a hike we’ve never done before. We decided to bring the dogs along too. We’d been given some details on the route from several people but really didn’t know what to expect.

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It was a hot day (upper 90s) but there was a nice breeze as we started to gain elevation. Everyone was going along nice and steady. But I noticed one of our dogs started to act a bit strange. He started whining and would turn back on the trail and act as if he was going back to the trail head.hiking lifestraw 6

He then started taking breaks in any and all shade he could find, digging in the ground trying to get down to the cool dirt. This was all strange to us because he’s usually our little trooper and hard to keep up with. hiking lifestraw 7

This whole time we were giving him water often (even pouring it on his fur)…and before we knew it our dogs had drunk a 1/3 of the water we brought with us and we were only halfway to our destination.

So we had to make a decision…if we didn’t find some type of water source soon we’d have to make a U turn back to the car. It was a great learning opportunity for the kids. We asked them what some signs of water would be. Here’s where our conversation led…

  • Look for areas where greenery is gathered.
  • Think about where rain would drain to.
  • Look for signs of wildlife.

We did those three things and eventually we found a little murky stream. It wasn’t much but it was enough for all of us to cheer. The dogs got a gut full and then rolled around a bit until they were as content as could be.

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These dragonflies were hanging around the watering hole like us.

We were able to go a little further but we didn’t end up making it to our destination that day. It wasn’t because of the lack of water though it was because the little legs around us were giving out.

We did however have an item in my pack that day that kept my mind comforted along the trail. It was a LIFE STRAW. It’s a water purifier that is backpacker friendly. It was nice to know that if we needed a drink out of that little stream we could get it without getting sick.

Here are some pictures of a prior hike we went on, where the LlifeStraw came in handy…hiking lifestraw

the LifeStraw Is literally a straw and can be used straight in the stream or if you need to keep moving you can just fill up a container and drink as needed along the way. It effectively filters up to 264 gallons of water.hiking lifestraw 3Regularly blowing through the LifeStraw water filter after drinking helps keep the filter clean and prevents clogging.

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We bought one for our 72-hour-kit and keep another with us on all our outdoor adventures.

We’ve teamed up with LifeStraw to do a giveaway today! So this is your opportunity to get your own!
Enter Here

This experience was a good reminder to our family that hydration is a key factor on unpredictable hikes. Fun can be cut short and quickly turn to an unsavory situation if you’re not prepared. So Keep it hydrated this weekend!


“The LifeStraw® product and information have been provided by

Hiking With Non-Hikers

My brother Robert and his fun family came to visit us from Northern Utah for spring break! While discussing what kinds of activities they wanted to do, Rob’s wife Kelly mentioned “Oh, and we might want to hit up Arches.”

That sounded like an easy enough request since Moab is merely an hour and 20 minutes from our front door. That is, until she went on to reveal… “But we’re not much for hiking.”

Moab kids hiking

Hiking had taken its toll on Rob and his family years prior.  Too many bad experiences of hiking in the scorching heat with not enough water or being underdressed  for the day’s activities, or hiking for hours to a destination that just wasn’t worth the effort to get there.

That news put a small kink in my agenda, but I knew that I could work with it.  Arches is one of my favorite National Parks because it has breathtaking views, and yes, you can sight-see straight from the car, (if you want).

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Then, just days prior to their arrival, I got a phone call.  Trevor, their son, had broken his arm. The small kink in our plans quickly turned into a huge gaping hole.

Our   Original Plans:

Mountain biking

Rock climbing

Swimming at the Dessert Wave Pool.

Sight-seeing Arches

Our   Plans Now:

Sight Seeing Arches for 3 days???????

“What are we going to do?  How can I give them the outdoor experience they are seeking without going hiking and without excluding Trevor?”  (Who btw is my favorite nephew from that family … but only PARTIALLY because he is my ONLY nephew from that family). Either way, I would’ve hated for him to have to sit out, and I couldn’t figure out how to access any of the cool caves, pictographs or sites around us without at least a little foot-travel.

We were in need of a compromise! And Quick! That’s when I had my grandest of all grand ideas:

Little Wild Horse Canyon!

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LWHC is easily top 10 of my favorite hikes!  Being a slot canyon, it is generally cool, even in the summer months, has spectacular views and offers a little bit of adventure for the youngest of hikers (and I had HOPED for those who hated hiking as well.)

Once in the narrows, all my worries vanished!   The kids were having so much fun that they were almost running to see what was around the next bend.  The terrain was easy enough that even my 2 year old was able to do a good portion of it.  At one point, Rob said to Trevor “Don’t go too far ahead.  We wouldn’t want you to get lost.”  He kicked back with “How are we going to get lost dad?  It’s a slot canyon!  There’s only one direction to GO!” (He’s such a tween.)

LWHC was such a huge hit that the kids were bummed to go home, so we drove the short 7 miles to Goblin Valley State park, another favorite,  and let the kids explore the Hoodoo’s there.   I heart Goblin Valley.  It’s nature’s ultimate playscape. The kids ran and climbed and played until the sun disappeared behind the mountainside.

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Oh, and if you are wondering how our adventures at Arches went, they had such a good time at LWHC and Goblin valley, that they even joined us on a 3 miler to Delicate Arch!  Success!

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Do you have suggestions on how to get non-hikers out on the trail, and with a smile?  Let us know here at NFK!


Birding Adventure On Wheels

I’m always looking for low traffic areas to take my kids on long bike rides. Anytime we’re all riding in town I feel like I’m herding cattle and so on edge when cars are nearby.  That’s why I was so happy to discover that the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge here in Utah provides a 12-mile loop that is far from the everyday hustle and bustle.


First we stopped in at the visitor center to get a map and an idea of the road conditions.

To our surprise they handed us some binoculars and a colorful pamphlet full of pictures and names of the different types of birds we might see. bike trailer

The kids identified all the birds while I snapped some pictures…




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe stopped for a break at one point and sat really still just listening. All the birds were chattering back and forth so much that we bust out laughing. They sounded like an orchestra warming up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this guy was just showing off…




Unfortunately the rain clouds came sweeping up behind us so we had to cut the ride a little short.

bird refuge bike ride 5 On our next visit I think I’ll bring sketch books for the kids to take some time to draw in and maybe some rain gear! I’ll end todays post with these birding tips for families from the National Audubon Society. Enjoy!

Tips For A Successful ATV Adventure With Kids

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In a previous post, Shawna talked about her experience with taking her family on a trip in a side by side ATV.  My in-laws just recently purchased two side-by-side Polaris RZRs: a 4-seater and a 2-seater.  We have been DYING to take them out so, we took them on a daytrip to the sandy canyons of Moab, Utah.

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This being our first Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) trip with kids, we learned a tip or two that made our trip more enjoyable that we wanted to share with you!

  1. Plan a route with lots of kid-friendly attractions so that the little guys can get out and stretch their legs.   Jake’s brother, Jordan, planned this trip, and he picked a spectacular route that allowed us to stop at 4 gorgeous sites:  Uranium Arch, Determination Towers, Tusher Tunnel, and Hidden Canyon.Iphone Pics March 2014 1351
  2. Goggles and Sunscreen are a MUST.  With sand flying everywhere and the sun in full-force, goggles and sunscreen are essential for an enjoyable trip.  We used our kids-sized snowboarding goggles and SPF 30+!  We used Elemental Herbs Sunstick.  It was easy for the kids to put on themselves, and worked great!IMG_7316
  3. Find a helmet that fits-  Apart from being unsafe, a helmet that is too large for your child can prevent him/her from seeing the sites and can just be plain-out uncomfortable.  Admittedly, we weren’t able to get our hands on kid-sized ATV helmets for this trip and ended up using their snowboarding helmets to protect their noggins.  However, we will be making the investment for future rides!  Here is a great article on how to size an ATV/OHV helmet for your child.Iphone Pics March 2014 1461
  4. Pack bath towels and baby wipes-  Both baby wipes and bath towels make great cleaning cloths for hands and faces before and after meals, and for clearing sand from goggles.  Bath towels have a couple of other great uses.  They make for perfect neck pillows and blankets for sleepy kiddos.  We ended up propping our 2-year olds head with both bath towels when he fell asleep in the middle of a long bumpy section of road.  Later, we used them to cover both the boys when the chill of the evening dusk set in.
  5. Dress in layers-  As you can see from the pictures, we weren’t sure what to expect as far as the weather goes, so we planned for the worst and hoped for the best.  We dressed our kids for sub-zero temperatures.  As we got going though, we were able to layer-down to long sleeve shirts and jackets.Iphone Pics March 2014 1314
  6. Don’t forget the booster seats!  Booster seats fit perfectly in the bucket seat and make it easier for the kids to be high enough to hold onto the grab bars and see the action!  Plus, it allows the seat belt to lay correctly across the child’s chest, which is of course safer!

I hope these tips help make your next OHV expedition a success!  Do YOU have any tips that you would like to share?  If so, please do!  Leave them in the comments section below!


Spring Hike And A New Puppy

This post is sponsored by Hi-Tec

The snow on the foothill trails have finally cleared and it’s providing a nice change up to our outdoor routine…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was our new puppy’s maiden voyage out on the trail as well. Meet Pippa!


She’s a cross between a Wheaten Terrier and a Schnauzer. We thought we’d get her familiar with how things will work when we’re on the trail together. Afterall we’re responsible for her actions when other hikers or bikers come around.


We practiced voice commands and just the art of the walk.  We’re all still working on this, including the kids. The other main command we want her to learn is how to come. There were no other cars at the trailhead so we knew there were no other hikers on the trail so we leashed her for only a portion of the time. She set her nose to the ground, weaved back and forth in and out of brush and by the time we got back to the car she was exhausted and full of cockleburs. We’re so glad she enjoyed the trail and hope she ends up liking the water just as much as Kaiser does.


On this outing we hiked up Perry Canyon. We found a rad shelter along the trail…


 And Scout got a runny nose, so this leaf came in handy…


Scout also gave her Sierra Lite Wooly Jr. Hi-Tec hikers a work out…


They have stretchy laces with a velcro top, so no knots to tie. They also have the Big-Fit system, so they’ll last a little longer. And the sole is a rugged PINK rubber! Can’t get much better than that. These will be hitting shelves during the cool season.



My heart is happy it’s Spring. Excited to see where this new season takes us!

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