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State Parks

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Featured: Wand'rly Magazine + An Interview with the Team Behind CoolWorks.com

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The latest issue of Wand'rly Magazine is now live and I am thrilled to have contributed an editorial feature about seasonal jobs for travelers.

I had the pleasure of interviewing a few members of the team behind CoolWorks.com, which is an online space dedicated to matching seasonal and full-time work in incredible places with those seeking a very different idea of what "9 to 5" entails.

Here's an excerpt:

"The website, which launched in the early days of the internet back in 1995, has long been a central hub for temporary and seasonal work opportunities in unique, interesting locations across the United States.

[...] The opportunities on CoolWorks.com run the gamut, from jobs in and around national and state parks to opportunities with adventure travel operators and first class lodging establishments. Short-term jobs or volunteer opportunities can last between six weeks to several months and the site often lists full-time, permanent positions, which are snapped up just as quickly as the listings for temporary work."

You can read the full article here.

For those who are new to Wand'rly Magazine, it is a great online resource for travelers looking for tips, travelogues and practical information. While the magazine's focus is on the full-time wanderer, I find much of the information useful in both the fixed and travel sides of life. Whether you're planning a short trip or building up the courage to leave your fixed life behind, be sure to check out the current and past issues for inspiration.

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Your turn: Anyone out there traveling full-time? Part-time? Have you ever taken on a cool, seasonal job? Be sure to share your stories in the comment section! 

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Snowshoeing in Donner Memorial State Park

It's no secret that much of Northern California has been experiencing a long stretch of fairly dry weather. We could use a nice soaking (or three) in the Sacramento Valley and the snow pack in the Sierras is dwindling.That said, we still found a nice base of snow this weekend at Donner Memorial State Park for our first-ever snowshoeing adventure!

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We decided to check out Donner Memorial State Park because the flat terrain seemed good for beginners. You can download the winter trail map here, if you're interested. From the Sacramento Valley, the park is easy to find and the trip only takes about an hour and a half, depending on traffic.

The park was covered in a beautiful blanket of snow and the two-hour nature walk was exactly what we were looking for. At the start of the Lake Loop Trail, we stopped to take photos and were treated to a bald eagle spotting:

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Not a bad way to start the trek! The spring-like weather made for some slushy areas, but overall, the park was a perfect place to fall in love with a new hobby.

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As we walked along, we came across this big fella:

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No, my friends, this is not photoshopped. We found this double-headed tree just off the trail and could not stop staring!

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It was even more impressive up close. I've seen trees grow together before, but the symmetry of this guy was something else!

The trail is a nice, easy loop that takes you along a short section of the south shore of Donner Lake. It was a beautiful place to rest for a bit, but I couldn't help wishing for a little more snow!

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We ventured off the path several times to find some powder:

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We've definitely found a fun outdoor activity in snowshoeing. As beginners, we weren't quite sure how difficult it would be to get started. Did we need lessons? What should we wear?

As it turns out, snowshoeing is super easy. I turned to the internet and found this somewhat cheesy video for beginners and this informative video for clothing advice. I opted to go with waterproof everything, since I knew I'd be getting into the snow to take pictures.

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My husband, on the other hand, went with jeans, a few cotton layers and a waterproof coat because the weather was so mild. We were both happy campers, so I suppose the best advice is to bring lots of layers, know your body (do you run hot or cold?) and pay attention to weather conditions. Waterproof shoes (hiking boots or snow boots) seem to be the best investment since wet, cold feet can end an outdoor adventure pretty quickly.

We don't own snowshoe gear, so we borrowed what we could from a friend (thanks, Amy!) and rented the rest from our local REI store. After a little bit of research (read: we consulted the internet, friends and the nice folks at REI), we decided to go without snowshoe poles. The low snow pack and negligible elevation change on the trail meant we would be okay without them. Again, just take a look at the conditions and the terrain and decide what gear you need for your snowshoe adventures.

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Your turn: Have any of you snowshoed before? What did you think? Any great trails we should check out? If you have advice for newbies like us, feel free to share your knowledge in the comment section!

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Tall Trees + Thoreau + Happy Links

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Well, we've made it to Friday and I'm back with a snap, a quote and a handful of happy links for you. I'm also adding links to all of my posts for the week... you know... just in case you missed anything. ;)

{"I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees." // Henry David Thoreau}

Happy Links:

  • Can we just talk about the visually stunning recipes over on The Forest Feast for a moment? So lovely.
  • This post by Megan of The Fresh Exchange about her experience at Alt Summit is so incredibly honest. After seeing all of the "hustle, hustle, primp, wear polka dots, sell, sell, sell" recaps about Alt, I had questioned whether or not I'd ever go. This is a great reminder that not every blog is the same and we don't all have the same goals.
  • I've been following Patti Murphy's Project 365 and am loving her "things to think, believe and do."
  • This video. So hilarious. So ridiculous. So true. {Warning: this is the explicit version. Bust out those headphones if you're living the cubical/coffee shop/co-working life today.}
  • It's been tough for me to stop admiring the work of Nicole Franzen after finding her work in the latest edition of Wayfare Magazine. Just look at her photos of the English Countryside.... {sigh}....

Wrap it Up:

If you missed any posts from this week, just follow the links!

  • Catch my latest GoPro video edit + dirt bike shenanigans + black lab cuteness right here.
  • Read a review of the new Wayfare Magazine here. {spoiler alert: it's incredible}.
  • Remember summer with me in a fun guest post I put together for my friends over at the California State Parks Foundation over here.

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Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend, all!

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