Hiking in Cold Weather? What to wear?

Baby, it’s cold outside! This is awesome! No bugs! No spider webs! The poison ivy and brush is dead! Winter is also a great time to spot wildlife. Without the leaves on the trees, it’s easier to see wildlife. Eagles nest in the winter and are very active in Northeast Kansas.

Three Dirty Girls during a March Hike

We recommend dressing in layers for winter hiking. Start with a base layer of long johns or winter running tights with a long john shirt or winter compression shirt. Wear fleece, wool or synthetic poly blend fabrics. Wearing this layer of poly-blend fabrics close to your skin will keep you warm and wick any moisture away from your body.  Cotton holds moisture and takes longer to dry it is NOT recommended.
Our favorite Eagle Hike EVER! A random blizzard made the adventure special!

Thick, cushioned socks: wool, polypropylene, or synthetic. You could consider a thin “liner” sock combined with medium to thick outer sock.
Follow your base layer with more layers, preferably more fleece!  Finish with a wind/water resistant jacket on top and some wind resistant pants on the bottom – any pants will work but wind and water resistant are handy. Again, non-cotton fabrics –  fleece, wool or synthetic poly-blend fabrics are best. They dry faster and move moisture away from your body.
We also suggest using hiking poles. Winter weather can create slippery spots and surprising places. If you know you will be hiking on an uneven trail, take your hiking poles to help you maintain balance on difficult sections.
Open spaces are colder and standing still for too long is a mistake!

Synthetic gloves or mittens – mittens are preferred for warmth. Wear a warm hat: fleece, wool or synthetic or possibly a head band that covers your ears. It’s also great to have something to cover your face, even a bandana helps.
It’s also handy to bring your backpack to put the layers into as you warm up along the trail! Depending on the distance you plan to hike, be sure to take water, snacks, a fully charged phone for emergencies and a friend!
Love these two women. LAYERS!

Spring with the Dirty Girls has been FUN!

What have you been doing with your time? We’ve been going outside! Sometimes people ask us what we do in the “off season” and we wonder what they’re talking about… There is no off season!! We go outside all the time, it’s just a question of what we wear and how long we stay out!

The Eagle Hike was beautiful.

In February we did two Eagle Hikes – it was BEAUTIFUL! We saw lots of eagles and enjoyed amazingly warm and sunny weather as well as some wonderful company on the trail. We hiked a three mile shoreline section of the Perry Lake Trail. 20170211_154030
This Dirty Dude hiked the whole way – 3 Miles – on the Eagle Hike!

In March,we enjoyed two events. The Thunder Ridge Three Mile was awesome.
The weather was wonderful and signs of spring were starting to pop. After the hike, we enjoyed time around the campfire and a tasty meal followed by S’Mores!  Yummy!
We actually had some cold weather and a bit of snow just in time for the March Madness Hike! It was a big fluffy snow.
It was fairly warm and the snow made it beautiful! We enjoyed about 7 miles on the Perry Lake Trail.
April first took us to the Kansas University Field Station Trails for our Fools Day Hike. We had a good day on the trail and professional photographer Heather O’Neal and a Dirty Girl brought her camera along and used her mad skills to document our morning!
It was a gorgeous day on the trail with lush greens and new spring growth. The trail was also rich with good conversation, observation of nature and development of new and old friendships. Time in nature is always well spent and enriching in surprising ways.

May Apple

We have so enjoyed these wonderful adventures with you! It is so nice to share the time with each of you on the trail. Thanks so much for sharing our adventures this season.

We are looking forward to many more!

A Daring Adventure: Part Two

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller

Adventure can be defined as an exciting or unusual experience, a challenging undertaking, with an uncertain outcome, and I was super excited to be visiting the Grand Canyon in January 2017, accompanied by my dad and brother.  In Part I of A Daring Adventure, I shared with readers our planned adventure to hike an isolated back country trail, Hermit’s Trail.
However, in the week prior to our arrival at the Grand Canyon, weather reports coming from Arizona indicated unseasonably cold weather as a winter storm hovered over the state.  This storm brought snow to the canyon…..a lot of snow!  More snow than the South Rim had seen in many years.
A day before I was scheduled to fly to Phoenix, roads were closed, inside Grand Canyon National Park and outside.  Road conditions north of Flagstaff, Arizona, required chains.  Bus service within Grand Canyon Village was cancelled and the mule train to the bottom of the canyon was halted.
This didn’t sound good.  I had reservations about being so far from ranger service, isolated deep in the canyon on Hermit’s Trail. But I already had a plane ticket, and my dad and brother were leaving to drive to Arizona and meet me at the South Rim!
I was going, no matter what, even if all I could do was stand on the Rim and observe the beauty around me!  A couple things reassured me.  We had been in touch with the back country park office, and were told that if our original plan to hike Hermit’s Trail wasn’t possible, they would help us make a different plan, and since we were visiting in the off season, there was a lot more flexibility in options.
When we arrived at the Grand Canyon, I knew I had to let go of the original plan and idea I had for this adventure and embrace a new one.  There was snow everywhere!  Since Hermit’s Trail is not well used, it was likely our feet might be the first ones on the trail after the snow! That was more adventure than I wanted, and it would not be safe for us.
With the help of the Back Country Park Rangers, we decided to stick to the main corridor trails, primarily Bright Angel, which is well traveled, even with lots of snow.  We hiked 9 miles down the first day to set up camp at the bottom of the canyon at Bright Angel Campground, near Phantom Ranch.
The trail near the South Rim was snow packed, and we used crampons to ensure we had traction, along with our hiking poles.  But at the bottom of the canyon, near the Colorado River, it was warmer and very comfortable camping weather.
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We camped at the bottom of the canyon for 2 nights, to give ourselves time to recover from the hike down, and to enjoy the warmer weather at the bottom of the canyon.  On our second day, this plan allowed us to hike north of the river, on North Kaibab Trail, which follows Bright Angel Creek, surrounded by the walls of the canyon.  For several miles, the North Kaibab Trail is relatively flat, until it climbs in elevation to Cottonwood Campground and on to the North Rim. We hiked out for several miles, and just enjoyed the views and the experience of being in this special place.  We saw only 6 people that day, along with a group of rangers monitoring the stream for fish.
I sat on the edge of the stream, and listened to it gurgle, felt the sun on my back and was happy. My brother explored another trail, Clear Creek Trail, which provided views of Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River.
The third morning, we began hiking out, up Bright Angel Trail, to Indian Garden Campground.  We watched a helicopter deliver supplies into the canyon. We met and talked with kayakers on an 11 day adventure down the Colorado River and watched a group of explorers repel down a side canyon.
At Indian Garden, we explored the camp area, and were one of only 3 groups camping there that night.  Needless to say, the accomadations were great; no crowds, and easy access to the bathrooms and water.  The ranger stationed at this campground shared extra sleeping bags with us and we had free access to a small library of books regarding the history of the area!  It was Dirty Girl camping at its finest!
We got an early start on the fourth morning, knowing that the hike up to the Rim would be difficult and take a long time, with the last few miles being snow packed.
What keeps drawing me back to the Grand Canyon?  I’ve been there three times, and I know I will visit this epic place as many times as I can throughout the rest of my life.  It’s not just that the canyon is beautiful, it’s about the experience of adventure.  On this trip, I learned to embrace the uncertainty that comes with planning an adventure in the off season and I learned to be flexible regarding those plans. The need to change our plans and be open to a different adventure gave us gifts we did not expect.
Life IS a daring adventure, and adventure makes our lives richer. What lessons and gifts will YOUR next adventure bring you?  Get out there and find out.  As for me, Hermit’s Trail will have to wait for my next visit to the Grand Canyon, but you can bet I am already planning it!


“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller

When I set out to visit the Grand Canyon for the third time, I wanted to go on a daring adventure, to visit a part of the Canyon that I had never been to, the path less traveled.  Knowing I would be accompanied by my father and my brother, both experienced hikers and lifelong outdoorsmen, I was brave enough to make a plan for backpacking a back country trail in January!
I researched trail conditions, weather, water sources and chose Hermit’s Trail for several reasons.  It begins at a slightly lower elevation on the western edge of the South Rim, making it less likely to have snow. Initial portions of the trail are westerly facing, making it more available to sunshine (to melt the snow we might encounter).  Hermit’s Trail is a back country trail and in January, we were likely to encounter very few people, which appealed to the hermit in me!
Hermit’s Trail would also give us access to see two of the Canyon’s most famous white water rapids, Hermit Rapids and Granite Rapids.  At times, these rapids are so powerful, you can hear their roar from the rim of the Canyon.  We would also be able to see remnants of one of the first luxury camps below the rim, built by Santa Fe Railway in 1911, closed in 1930.
Hermit’s Trail would take us along the Tonto Platform, which is a plateau at an elevation between the Canyon floor and the Rim.  This would give us great views of the Colorado River and the colorful canyon walls surrounding us.
I did have some worries going into this adventure.  I felt I wasn’t in great condition and I had gained some weight since my last adventure in the Canyon. I was also worried about the weather, knowing that temperatures in the Canyon can vary greatly from the South Rim to the bottom of the Canyon.  Typically, during January, temperatures on the South Rim will be as low as 20 degrees, with a high of 40 degrees and inner canyon lows around 33 degrees with a possible high of 60 degrees. I also knew it was likely we would encounter snow and bitter cold on the South Rim at this time of year.  I wanted to be sure I had enough clothes, and food and water and warmth but I had to be cautious in loading my pack!  Weight adds up fast and I did NOT want to carry a 60lb pack out of the canyon!
I pushed past these worries and tried to plan for all conditions and situations.  I chose to embrace the definition of adventure as an exciting or unusual experience, a challenging undertaking, with an uncertain outcome. Uncertainty can be hard for me sometimes, not knowing what will happen or how it will turn out.
In Part Two, I will tell you about the lessons in adventure that I learned in the Canyon, and how my adventure really turned out!

Dreaming of the Grand Canyon?

An Adventure Post from Wild Rose aka Jennifer Woerner, Creative Director and Co-Owner of DGA, LLC. She’s currently at the Grand Canyon!!

Is the Grand Canyon on your bucket list?  Are you thinking about hiking rim to rim?  Or would riding a donkey be more your style?  Do you want to raft the Colorado River through the canyon?  Would you be more comfortable back country camping in a tent or staying at historic Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon? Do you want to see the North Rim or the South Rim?  Or both?  

There are many ways to access the Grand Canyon, so if you want to do more than stand on the rim and admire it’s beauty from afar, if you really want to EXPERIENCE the Grand Canyon, start planning now!  It will undoubtedly be an epic adventure, and it takes time to decide between options, and if necessary, gain permits to see this amazing place.

You do not need a permit to hike down into the Grand Canyon.  You only need a permit if you plan to spend the night below the canyon rim.  If you plan to camp below the rim, there are a number of campgrounds along the main corridor trails, but in peak season, there is a great deal of competition for spots.  

In order to protect this beautiful canyon, overnight access is limited.  You must plan well in advance and request a permit for a camping spot approximately 4 months in advance. However, due to competition for permits, spots are granted via a random drawing each month. It is not first come, first serve, and you cannot apply early to gain a spot.   
 During late fall, winter and early spring, it is much easier to gain a permit, but you must be prepared for camping in cooler weather, and expect snow near the rims.  In fact, the North Rim of the Canyon is closed from November to March and the only way to access it is via snowmobile or skis.

If you have back country hiking and camping experience, you could choose a trail that is off the beaten path.  Again, this takes time and research to figure out distances, water sources and safety, given the time of year you plan to go.  You still must apply for a permit, but there is less competition for back   country campsites.

Some people hike rim to rim in one day.  Others hike rim to rim more than once in a day!  If you are in peak physical condition and need a challenge, that would be it! The good news is that you do not need a permit to hike rim to rim in one day. However, be prepared to hike a distance of  24 miles (one way) and experience elevation changes of up to 6,000 feet.

Special trips, such as riding the donkey train, using the Duffel service to get your bags to Phantom Ranch (while you hike down), rafting or staying at Phantom Ranch require advanced planning.  Be ready to plan up to a year in advance (or more)!

I encourage you to look at a trip to the Grand Canyon as an experience, not an achievement.  Yes, I am proud that I hiked rim to rim.  But what is really amazing is that I was able to spend time with my friends and family in an amazing place and create memories that will inspire me for the rest of my life.

Soon, I’m going back, accompanied by my brother and my father, to create more memories, to hike a backcountry trail and to sleep on the banks of the Colorado River.  Start planning now, visit https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm  ADVENTURE AWAITS!

Come outside with us!

Welcome to Dirty Girl Adventures! We plan adventures and events to support connection with nature, which we believe supports whole health. We love to go outside, meet new people and enjoy sharing our adventures.
How can you get involved? There are three ways ….

  1. Come on out!  ANYONE can attend – most of our events are open to women, men and youth. The description of the event will note if it is only for women (there are a few women specific events). Many of our events are appropriate for teenagers and a few are appropriate for younger kids, again, the description of the event will help you choose. Check the 2017 Schedule and plan to attend an event that sounds good to you then save the date right now! We open most events one month prior to the date it is scheduled to attend, they fill up fast so sign up right away.If you have a question or concern, you can always contact us!
    DGA River Run from St. George to Wamego on the Mighty Kaw summer 2016

  2. Join the Dirty Girl Club! This is a $50 expense that includes a t-shirt, occasional discounts, early sign up opportunities, a secret Facebook group, the opportunity to connect and network with other likeminded Dirty Girls. The membership is an ANNUAL membership which runs from January 1 through the following January 31st – 13 months of awesome!
    Dirty Girl Camp at Camp White, Council Grove Reservoir, summer 2016
  3. Schedule a private adventure with us! You and your family, friends, co-workers or employees can enjoy an event organized and created just for you. This can be a hike, kayaking, a retreat or a combination of all three! We can show you how and where to hike, kayak, camp, backpack …. we can support almost any outdoor adventure you can dream up!
    Lawrence to Eudora on the Kansas River 2016

    Find out more by visiting our Facebook Page DGA Facebook, our Instagram @dirtygirladventuresks or just give one of us a call –  Denise 785-608-7888 or Jennifer 785-224-0351. We’d love to take you OUTSIDE!!


Copyright DGA 2017

Beers of the Kaw!

Wow! Today we enjoyed the Friends of the Kaw event Beers of the Kaw at Abe and Jake’s Landing in Lawrence. It was awesome! There were breweries there from across Kansas and a bazillion people! What a great way to support the Kansas River Keeper and Friends of the Kaw! Thanks everyone! beersofthekaw
We had a great time meeting and talking with so many people. We hope that all of you will come outside with us sometime soon! Our 2017 Schedule is posted HERE! 
The winner of the $40 Gift Certificate in the contest to guess the weight of the backpack guessed correctly at … 39.8 pounds!
Woohoo! Guesses ranged from 27 pounds to 100 pounds. Come out to the Crooked Post Winery for Wednesday’s with Wine on January 4th from 6-8pm to learn some “Basics about Backpacking”

Dirty Girls Got Away!

In April, the Dirty Girls took some time to Get Away and enjoy a Dirty Girls Weekend.  We traveled to the Lied Lodge and Conference Center in Nebraska City  (beautiful and comfortable) for some time to pamper ourselves and to spend quality time together.
We couldn’t just relax inside the whole time so we also spent the day exploring Indian Cave State Park.  It is a gorgeous park with great hiking trails.  Spring brought lush green foliage to the trail which, against all odds, was uphill both ways! 20160430_120132
We enjoyed the weekend together both on the trail and at the lodge.  It was a good time to cultivate both “me” time and our relationships with old friends and new.
We were joined by poet and actress, Annette Hope Billings, on Saturday evening.  She shared some of her poetry with us and then led us in discussion of our experience.  This was an insightful experience and it resulted in a wonderful poem written by our entire group. It was an intense experience to be part of sharing thoughts and feelings that we often hold close to our hearts and leave unsaid.  We love Annette and hope that you will visit her website to learn more about her work.
We have been busy kayaking and hiking so this story seems belated but it was a WONDERFUL weekend and we loved every minute of it!  We believe that the pictures and the fruit or our labors (this poem Annette so skillfully pulled out of us) tells the true story of our time together!

The Path To Be Free

We began our journey in a world of green

turned lush like velvet beneath a covering of clouds.

We entered a wilderness as sacred as a church,

where our hymns became the songs of frogs,

and choruses of raindrops falling on a canopy of leaves

and the fluttering wings of startle birds.


We walked in worship there

where the sheer absence of sound

brought us to a place of peace.

We marveled at the contrast of intentionally-burned stumps

that served to brighten the green of thriving trees.


We walked on in our snowless globe of mist

where even the struggle of steep, muddy climbs

was no match for our resilience.


The expected downpour kept at bay,

we hiked paths that were like our lives.

Some began straight, then turned into curves

and easy valleys morphed to difficult hills.


We stepped back into long-forgotten boxes of childhood

where being outside was our second home.

Our eyes took in the gifts of Paw-Paw trees

and watched Jack-in-the-Pulpit preach as we walked by.


We took in the lessons the Mighty Mo taught us—

that swift currents of life can steal our control,

and precious is the time we make for ourselves

and golden are the memories of hearts lit with laughter.


We take home the gifts of time spent with amazing women,

and the powerful synergy of achieving a common goal,

and pictures that capture bonds strengthened with old friends

along with connections made between friends who are new.

We will return to lives that will tend to confine us,

but now we have Dirty Girl knowledge of the path to be free.


Annette Hope Billings and The Dirty Girls of the 2016

Indian Cave State Park Hike and Lied Lodge Adventure


Lessons from the Trail

On Saturday, May 7th, 2016, Dirty Girl Adventures hosted a family friendly, 3 mile hike at Slough Creek Education Point!!!  Representatives from the Jefferson County Conservation District, Corps of Engineers, local 4-H club and Kansas Wildlife and Parks joined us!  Over 40 adults, 20 kids and 6 dogs came OUTSIDE for a day at the lake!
This was a special event, in many ways!  The day dawned hotter than expected,  and we got participants as young as 1 year up to age 70 out on the trail to hike.  This unique hike was meaningful to participants, and we wanted to share some lessons from the trail with YOU!
LESSON #1:  GET DIRTY!! LITERALLY!!  Take off your shoes and get mud between your toes!  No matter your age, it feels really good to play and be silly!!!  After a hot 3 mile hike, the children at the DOWN AND DIRTY had an impromptu water fight!!!!  The joy in their faces was contagious, and a few adults joined in!!!  
LESSON #2:  LIFE IS NOT A RACE! (And neither was the DOWN AND DIRTY Family Friendly hike!) Young, old and in between, we all walked the same path, TOGETHER!   Our experience was about being together, unplugging from our daily lives and exploring!
LESSON #3:  BE MINDFUL OF THE SIMPLE PLEASURES!  Sometimes, it is easier to live in the moment while on the trail.  Hikers at the DOWN AND DIRTY took the sights and sounds of our adventure home with us, to remind us of time with friends and family OUTSIDE!  
LESSON #4: SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO CHARGE THROUGH!  On the trail, just like in life, we are all faced with obstacles.  Due to recent rain, a small portion of the trail at Slough Creek Education Point was covered with water!!!  The  DOWN AND DIRTY Hikers had different responses to this barrier!!  Some chose a new route and others went “off road” to find  a new path.  Other hikers just charged through the water!!!
LESSON #5:  GO OUTSIDE AND MOVE YOUR BODY WHENEVER YOU CAN! We walked about 3 miles at the DOWN AND DIRTY, which is far for some, and not so far for others.  But the important thing was that we were outside, moving our bodies for health and wellness!
LESSON #6: EVERY ADVENTURE IS UNIQUE!! The DOWN AND DIRTY Family Friendly Hike was an OPPORTUNITY for adventure!  Although DIRTY GIRL ADVENTURES created the event and the activities, it was the PARTICIPANTS who made their adventure SPECIAL!!
Denise and Jenn

Did you know you can create your own private adventure?

Dirty Girl Adventures is an outdoor adventure company designed by women for women. (We do love our Dirty Dudes and Dirty Families so sometimes we invite them along for the adventure!) Our vision is to encourage, empower and motivate women of all ages and physical abilities to explore their full potential through a variety of outdoor adventures (hiking, kayaking, biking) and to engage them in a vibrant community of women who value self care and healthy boundaries.
Although we focus on serving women, we offer many events that are open to both genders and ages. While fitness is important to the Dirty Girls, we host events that ANYONE can do. You can join the Dirty Girl Club, join us for a scheduled large group event or schedule your own private adventure.  Schedule YOUR private adventure now, the 2015 adventure season is filling up fast!
Why should you schedule a private event with Dirty Girl Adventures? Because it is designed just for you! The level of difficulty and duration can meet the needs of your group. Whether you would like hiking, kayaking or a combination of both, we can create a great adventure for you! Bring your family, friends, office mates or youth group and come outside!  Call to brainstorm your special event now!
Adventure Ideas!
Here are several adventures that can serve as a base for your ideas. We can meet your exact needs by creating something unique and completely original just for you!
 Lake Yak
In two hours on beautiful Lake Perry you will learn the basics of kayaking while enjoying the scenery and time with your group. Anytime is the right time to hit the lake! Minimum number is 6 with a maximum of 20ish, Cost:  $15 per kayak per hour per person plus $10 per person for a basic meal (special arrangements can be negotiated) *OYO cost: $10 per person plus $10 with basic meal.
DSCF5247River Run 
Travel down the Kansas River from Lecompton to Lawrence.  This will take from four to six hours depending on conditions and our choice of paddling energy or breaks for food. The minimum number is 6 with a maximum of 30ish. River Runs are generally scheduled on Mondays and Fridays, although some weekends are available. Cost per person:  $40 or $50 with a basic meal (special arrangements or requests can be negotiated) *OYO cost $10 or $20 with a meal
This adventure is the perfect way to spend a day for any group! Combine a hike of any length with time on the lake in the kayak. We can switch from one activity to the next or we can split the group then come back together for food and fellowship around the fire. Duration of this event is negotiable which impacts price. Cost: starts at $15 per person
*OYO: people who own their own kayak and want to bring it to a DGA event. OYO’s lift, haul and manage all their own gear.
Dirty Girl Trail Hike – 8 miles
This adventure is generally a 4 – 6 hour time commitment depending on the addition of a meal (campfire option is available) or your group’s choice of speed. Minimum number of hikers should be 8 – maximum is 40ish! Cost per person: $30 or $40 with a basic meal.
Dirty Girl Trail Hike – 3 Miles
Do you prefer a wilderness trail or a paved trail? Either way we can accommodate you!  This event can be appropriate for all ages and fitness levels.  This adventure generally takes 2 to 4 hours depending on the addition of a meal and time around the campfire.  Minimum number of hikers would be 8.  Cost per person: $20 or $30 with a basic meal.

Contact deniseselbeekoch@gmail.com or 785-608-7888

This post is copyright Dirty Girl Adventures, LLC 2015 all rights reserved.