Elk River Trail Backpacking Adventure

Located in Crane, Kansas, the Elk River Trail is rated the #1 backpacking trail in Kansas by Backpacker Magazine. The 15-mile trail offers panoramic views of Elk City Lake from the tops of limestone bluffs and winds through narrow canyons and rock overhangs. You truly get a little bit of everything along this trail- sun, shade, wildlife, flowers, bluffs, interesting rock formations and shockingly, even some elevation change! That being said, it’s not an easy hike- it’s rugged, rocky terrain requires scrambling up steep slopes, making it a challenging hike.

Fifteen Dirty Girls set out to conquer 10 miles of this trail but finished with so much more than a completed hike. This was a unique group- hardly any of the women had ever been backpacking before. Each and every one of them had their own fears at the trailhead but walked out of the woods with huge feelings of success after the hard challenge. There is something about backpacking that really makes you get to know yourself. When you hike your own hike, you learn to conquer fears by connecting with yourself and nature.

Gathering at the trail head.

The most magical part of this adventure was Sunday morning. Everyone woke up, cooked a camp breakfast and packed their gear. Before stepping onto the trail, the group gathered in a circle and mentioned what they’d took away from the adventure up to that point. During this time sharing thoughts, everyone had moments of cheers, laughs and tears when they realized the connections they’d made with themselves and others with just one day immersed in nature on the trail.

Feeling empowered and stronger after sharing their hearts, the group set out for the way back. A few miles in at a rock ledge overlooking the lake, the ladies took some power pictures.

We will be going on more backpacking and hiking adventures in the near future. If you think you might want to join us, we asked all the ladies what their favorite piece of gear and snack was on this trip. See below and get ideas for gear and snacks for your next adventure, with us or on your own!

Disclaimer: Throughout this blog, you’ll notice that some links go to our online Compass Point shop, and some go to Amazon. While we work on getting more items in our shop, we’ve set up an Amazon Affiliate account so you can still support us, as we receive a small commission from any purchases via those Amazon links. Thank you for supporting our small business- we are excited to equip you with the knowledge and gear you need to have memorable and safe adventures in the great outdoors.

Mary Putney: Gear: Osprey Backpack

Snack/food: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Power Berries

Denise Cook: Gear: Osprey Backpack

Snack/food: Kodiak Cakes Oatmeal Power Cups

Michelle Terry: Gear: MSR Pocket Rocket Stove

Snack/food: Mountain House Chicken & Dumplings

Emily Sharp: Gear: Sleeping pad

Snack/food: beef jerkey

Catherine King: Gear: REI Backpack

Snack/food:Trader Joes Dried Mango

Lorraine Leicht-Gillgannon (Official Dirty Girl Guide): Gear: Big Agnes Tent

Snack/food: Bean and Cheese burrito

This is Gerry, a new honorary Dirty Girl member. She was found by Lorraine and joins in on adventures, often sneaking whiskey into backpacks.

Teresa Cotton: Gear: Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Pad

Snack/food: Mountain House Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Cassie Douglas: Gear: Salomon hiking tennis shoes and Injinji Toe Socks (available in-store at Compass Point)

Snack/food: Sahale Nut Blends

Dereka Pederson: Gear: Esbit Ultralight Pocket Stove

Snack/food: Werther’s Hard Candies

Robin Dixon: Gear: Lantern light

Snack/food: HOMEMADE ENERGY BALLS

Dorothy Kurtz: Gear: LEKI Trekking Poles

Snack/food: Sweet potato smothered with baked beans and cornbread muffin

Amy Schmutzler: Gear: Yodo Tent

Snack/food: Moon Cheese

Cheryl Coon: Gear: Sleepingo Sleeping Pad

Snack/food: homemade trail mix…..Cheryl’s recipe was a hit on the trail, so she shared her recipe with us!

CHERYL’S TRAIL MIX

Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, banana chips, cranberries, tropical fruit medley, wasabi peas, black sesame rice crackers

Optional add-ins: dried cherries or blueberries, yogurt covered pretzels, Snyder’s mustard snack mix or butterscotch chips

Ali Ragan: Gear: MSR Pocket Rocket Stove

Snack/food: Mountain House Pasta Primavera

Denise Selbee-Koch: Gear: KT Tape

Snack/food: Apples and Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs

Post-hike celebratory beers and snacks!

“We shared our hearts, our thought and our lives while we backpacked together.

The solitary hike: step after step, feeling and growing as individual humans.

The connected hike: learning we are stronger together, similar yet different, supportive and accepting of each other as we are when we are a vulnerable tribe bound together.”

– Denise Selbee-Koch, Original Dirty Girl

Ali Ragan
Ali Ragan

Dirty Girl Adventures
Communications and Social Media Manager

Time to Hike #4

Hiking, Kansas

It’s time to hike!  This is the fourth and final hike in the Time to Hike series.  Come out with us!

The difficulty level of these hikes depends on your current fitness level BUT generally these are considered easy to moderate hikes.  We practice self paced hiking.  We will provide a guide and a sweep hiker so that everyone is supported and knows where to go on the trail.   DGA uses various techniques to ensure that we have ample opportunity to be physically distant yet connected while hiking so that no one is lost or left behind.   You are responsible for managing your own preferences for social distancing and for respecting the preferences of others. 

Gear needs for these hikes is minimal, suggested gear includes a way to carry water, snacks, comfortable shoes with good tread, trekking pole/s and a flashlight or headlamp for the last two hikes.  BUG SPRAY!!!

EACH INDIVIDUAL HIKE $12

End time is estimated but essentially plan for a 90 minute commitment   – location listed is generic.  You will receive an email with specific directions to our starting location.  The Perry Lake Hiking Biking Trails have more than one trailhead, we will explore two of them.  Skyline Azura Trail is in Topeka and Iliff Commons Trails are in rural Shawnee County. 

TICKET LINK

Hike #4. 9/30/2020 Wednesday

Check in:  5:45pm – 7:15pm Iliff Commons (sunset 7:10pm)

Weekend Backpacking Checklist- Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our Weekend Backpacking Checklist. This blog will be detailing all things camp cooking!

Disclaimer: Throughout this blog, you’ll notice that some links go to our online Compass Point shop, and some go to Amazon. Our goal at Compass Point is to have all things backpacking and hiking gear in our store. While we work on getting more items in our shop, we’ve set up an Amazon Affiliate account so you can still support us by shopping through those links. As time goes on and we get more items in our shop, this blog will be updated with links to our online Compass Point shop. If you do choose to purchase something through the online Compass Point shop, please know that you must pick up in person- we do not ship items (and we want to see your face). Thank you for supporting our small business- we are excited to equip you with the knowledge and gear you need to have memorable and safe adventures in the great outdoors.

With the right gear, you can whip up some pretty delicious food to satisfy your hunger at the end of a long day on the trail.

CAMP COOKING ESSENTIALS

Ultralight Backpacking Stove

A good backpacking stove means hot coffee before a day of hiking and a hot meal at the end of a long day on the trail. You could easily get by with snack bars and other dry goods like nuts and jerky, but a stove is a must-pack item if you want a hot meal at the end of the day. As a long-time backpacker, Denise has gone through many backpacking stoves, but her ultimate favorite is the MSR Pocket Rocket. It’s super easy to set up and operate and can boil up to a liter of water in just 3.5 minutes. It’s a bit on the higher end scale of things, so if you are just a beginner, she recommends this similar AOTU Portable Backpacking Stove.

Backpacking Stove Fuel

Of course you’re going to need fuel to light your stove to start cooking. This MSR fuel is some of the best canister fuel on the market.

Hydration Reservoir

Not only will you use a hydration reservoir for water, but also for cooking. This hydration reservoir has great design making filling, cleaning and most importantly staying hydrated and cooking on the trail easier than ever. All parts are BPA-free, phthalate-free, lead-free, guaranteed.

Water Filter

“Don’t drink the water” is advice you should follow in the backcountry. Water can contain all kinds of little organisms that can make you sick. Newer water filter systems are light, easy-to-use and deliver clean water with less effort so there’s no good reason for taking a chance on drinking and cooking contaminated water. This Mini Sawyer Water Filter is only two ounces and removes 99.9% of all bacteria and 100% of microplastics.

Cookware

When backpacking, you don’t need much for cookware. A single pot and eating utensil will do, and maybe a cup if you’re a coffee drinker.  Cook sets with several pots, pans, cups and bowls add lots of extra weight and better for car camping.

This Stanley Adventure Cook Set includes a 24 ounce kettle and two ceramic cups. It’s perfect for cooking hot meals, coffee or to boil water. The top is vented to let steam escape and strain liquid. We will be carrying a line of Stanley Cookware at Compass Point very soon-stay tuned!

For eating, this BPA-Free BIO Spork from works great and only weighs close to nothing.

Last but not least, for all the coffee drinkers out there, this camping cup is the perfect coffee cup for on the trail.

Multi-Tool

You never know what kind of issues you’ll run into on the trail- that’s the whole reason you carry a multitool. When the situation presents itself, you’ll be glad that somewhere in the myriad of tools is exactly what you need. The best multitool for backpacking needs to be full of functionality while adding minimal weight and bulk to your pack. Original Dirty Girl, Denise, has used this Gerber multitool for years and won’t carry anything else. It’s a bit on higher in price but worth it.

This is a pretty basic list of cookware items, but that’s part of backpacking- simplicity and minimizing. You’d be surprised with how little you can get by with while backpacking. Be sure to always research location specifics before you go so you can take into consideration other gear you may need.

If you are participating in Adventure Bingo, you can get a square marked off if you subscribe, OR if you’re already subscribed, share this blog on Facebook to get a square marked off. Tune in next week for the Backpacking Toiletry Bag section of the Weekend Backpacking Checklist. Happy trails!

Time to Hike #3

Hiking, Kansas

Join us for the third in the Time to Hike series intended to help you build strength, endurance and knowledge of the trail.

The difficulty level of these hikes depends on your current fitness level BUT generally these are considered easy to moderate hikes.  We practice self paced hiking.  We will provide a guide and a sweep hiker so that everyone is supported and knows where to go on the trail.   DGA uses various techniques to ensure that we have ample opportunity to be physically distant yet connected while hiking so that no one is lost or left behind.   You are responsible for managing your own preferences for social distancing and for respecting the preferences of others. 

Gear needs for these hikes is minimal, suggested gear includes a way to carry water, snacks, comfortable shoes with good tread, trekking pole/s and a flashlight or headlamp for the last two hikes.  BUG SPRAY!!!

 

EACH INDIVIDUAL HIKE $12

End time is estimated but essentially plan for a 90 minute commitment   – location listed is generic.  You will receive an email with specific directions to our starting location.  The Perry Lake Hiking Biking Trails have more than one trailhead, we will explore two of them.  Skyline Azura Trail is in Topeka and Iliff Commons Trails are in rural Shawnee County. 

Hike #3. 9/22/2020 Tuesday

Check in:  5:45pm – 7:15pm  Perry Lake Hiking Biking Trails (sunset 7:20pm)

Get to Know the Dirty Girls: Stacy Hull


Another Dirty Girl who has been around since the beginning…Stacy Hull!! Stacy found out about Dirty Girl Adventures through her husband, who was friends with Denise’s husband, before it even started. Once she heard Denise had plans to start her business, Stacy was fully interested and the thought of hanging out with other women who liked the same things as her, sounded amazing! 

Stacy was not always an outdoorswoman. She was perfectly happy staying inside in the AC until DGA came into her life. Walking in town and participating in 5K races eventually started to become part of her routine, and once she heard about DGA, she was ready to take things to the next level and explore fitness in a different realm, hiking and kayaking. 

“Dirty Girl Adventures has changed this introvert into someone who gets out of her own head and goes outside with other like minded women,” says Stacy. Before joining the club, she was worried that no one would talk to her because she tends to be on the quiet side. However, that was far from the case. Stacy has made so many friends and learned to enjoy company and conversation more since she has been with DGA. 

“Having a group of like minded women in my life brings diversity and new experiences that I may not have had otherwise. This group has given me some great friends, and hopefully some more to come.” 

Stacy’s most memorable Dirty Girl Adventures event was the first eight mile hike on the Old Military Trail at Perry Lake. “I was in awe of Denise on how many times one woman could run back and forth on this trail,” she says. Since this was one of her first outdoor adventures, this outing made Stacy more comfortable being outside and began her connection with the outdoors. 

“The first hike was memorable to me because it was the first crack in my ‘introvert life’ and it opened me up to new people I would’ve never met. It was also a much different workout for me than my typical 5K on paved roads.”

A huge core value of Dirty Girl Adventures is to learn to adventure where you are. When we asked Stacy if she could adventure anywhere, she said she would love to explore more of her home state, Kansas. A lot of people put Kansas at the bottom of their adventure bucket list, but there are so many places in the sunflower state to explore. Stacy wants to hike the Flint Hills Nature Trail and the Elk River Trail. We love that she wants to explore more of Kansas. Stacy is a Dirty Girl at heart!

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!
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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!
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 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
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Hike-n-Yak
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.
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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.
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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.

The Half-Day Hike Adventure!

The Half-Day Hike turned out to be AWESOME!!  Since it was the first event that I charged people to attend, I was SUPER anxious that it all went smoothly.  First, I was totally bummed about the Federal Government shutdown.  The US Army Corps of Engineers is closed down which meant that I wouldn’t be able to get the key to the gate to drive up the HUGE hill to set up Dirty Girl Camp.  I was scrambling to think of a different way to make it work.  My dirty girl compatriots were brainstorming.  Julie aka MacGyver and I met at the trail head to the Perry Lake Trail on Tuesday and confirmed that the gate was locked.  We worked out a plan that involved Julie bringing her 4-wheeler and driving stuff up and down the hill.  Hassle… we arrived Saturday afternoon to get set up and relax a little around the fire after a few million trips on the quad and… THE GATE WAS OPEN!!  Yay!!  I rushed up and unloaded then went back to ensure I wasn’t locked in and thankfully, nope.  Magically, the gate was open all weekend!!
Saturday evening Jenn, Julie and I set up camp and relaxed.  It was lovely! I dumped bleach on the dirty pit toilet bathroom floor and washed down the walls (ugh) and we foofified the area a bit.

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The kids enjoyed camp.  Dirty Girls have Dirty Kids!  Big and little, they love a good fire!  It was a great fall evening!  Perfect Kansas weather!

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Sunday dawned bright and beautiful!  The day was a perfect fall day with gorgeous fall colors and crispy air.  11 Dirty Girls were registered plus me and my wonderful Camp Maiden, Macgyver Julie!  Big, excitement!  Sadly, three of the 11 were unable to attend at the last minute – a family emergency, a health emergency and a failure to read the calendar!  Doh!  (The health emergency has since been healed!)  Dirty Girl Camp was looking awesome and the fire was toasty!  We headed out on our 10ish mile hike, turned out to be closer to 9, in good spirits and covered in Deep Woods Off!

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It is wonderful to gather with Dirty Girls for a day on the trail.  Our group spanned a wide variety of ages and careers as well as fitness levels.  Everyone has something to share; thoughts, interests and insights.  Women can join together and share, communicate and encourage each other rapidly – a beautiful aspect of a Dirty Girl Adventure!  The more we hike; the more we know each other.  What a great way to get to know women worth knowing!
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The trail was over hill and dale, woody and rocky with gorgeous scenery.  There was SO much poison ivy!!  It is actually pretty – yellow, orange and red this time of year BUT oh, my!  To date, I haven’t heard of a Dirty Girl who has broken out with excessive poison ivy.  WEIRD!  It seemed like we were fated to be covered in it!  Despite the major doses of bug spray, some Dirty Girls have been a little itchy.  Chiggers are the likely culprits.  Boo!  Dirty Girls don’t like chiggers!

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We moved more quickly than I thought that we would, speedy Dirty Girls.  A couple of Girls bit the dust… or, more exactly, crashed to the rocky ground on their knees.  Owie!  Happily, Dirty Girls are scrappy and they were able to keep on going!  We iced them down for a bit at Dirty Girl Camp.  We reached camp, shucked out of our poison ivy clothes and grabbed cold beverages to chillax around the fire.
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Considering that I’m a Dirty Girl and NOT a caterer, the dinner turned out pretty good!  We had some pulled pork, giant baked potatoes with the works, salad and dark chocolate brownies with fresh raspberries for our post hike meal.  Yummy.  It was, overall a good day.  I’d say that we were all feeling great and that we could have easily gone a couple of more miles!

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I am feeling so excited and pleased with Dirty Girl Adventures and the adventure that it is bringing into my life!  Great times, great women and an unending excuse to go outside and love it!  The next event, the Dirty Girl Night Hike will be a blast!  Five miles in the dark followed by a bonfire down by the lake; Dirty Dudes invited to come along!  If you can’t join us, go outside wherever and whenever you can!  Take a look around the gorgeous world and take a deep breath and hit the trail!

Dirty Girls are getting fit and having fun!

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Time on the trail as fall begins is more beautiful than ever!  Everyone who has been joining the Dirty Girls for time on the trail has been improving their fitness level and, hopefully, their peace of mind!  We are a diverse group at this point, some are up to running or speed wogging others are just starting out on the trail.  I am SOOO excited to see this moving forward! People are getting outside, stretching their daily routines and working to feel good!
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I can’t wait for the Half Day Hike.  I am hoping that it freezes once to kill some bugs and maybe cut down the brush.  Even if it doesn’t, it will be awesome!  This will be the hike to bring along the camera – hopefully we will see some good sights!  In addition to the hike, I am looking forward to sitting around the campfire at the end of the hike, relaxing with the Dirty Girls.  I love chillaxing around the fire on any occasion but this will be especially lovely!
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I am absolutely thrilled that so many  Dirty Girls are hitting the trail with me.  Lately. I have been focusing on what to do on the days we aren’t on the trail.  I, for one, have been slacking on that a bit!  I need to do some more core strengthening and stretching – I need a day of good yoga each week!  (Someday, when I have a Dirty Girl Clubhouse/outfitter store, I will have yoga twice a week!) So… I am making a goal to add to my usual three days a week on the trail!  I want to ride my bike twice a week, do yoga once a week and ADD some basic strength moves to each workout day.  This will take some practice – new habits always do.  I figure, add some sit ups, push ups (Dirty Girl Jenni has some amazing arms and has inspired me!) and my physical therapy exercises again.  This should only add a thirty minute routine maybe four days a week.  It was sooo much easier when working out was part of my work day!
Dirty Girls don’t give up!!
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Exercise and healthy eating are 100% part of my daily life.  Sure, I eat too much of some things.  I eat junk food and I drink, generally in moderation.  It’s not a diet, it is just how life is… adding a few more minutes of exercise shouldn’t be impossible.  I would, of course, love to be thinner and firmer and more fit but really, generally, I feel great!  The motivator for my activity isn’t so much weight loss, (it was 100% about that at one time) now my motivation is being fit, feeling great, sleeping tight and having this awesome energy to live my life.  What motivates you?  Why are you getting up and getting out?  Are there tangible rewards for you?  Are you walking or working out when you aren’t on the trail? If you aren’t exercising and getting outside regularly, how can you work it into your day?  It doesn’t matter if you are fast and cranking out a 30 minute 5K (the cross country boys are doing it in less than 20 minutes!) or walking slowly and steadily down the road, just keep moving! Hang out with some Dirty Girls and get it going on!!