07/19/16

#TexasParks: Take a Hike Y’all!

I love Texas where just about any road trip leads you to a nearby river, lake or spring. The Texas heat can get pretty brutal so a park with water to dive, dip or swim, is a must for me. Thank you Texas for having some amazing watering holes!

The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016. This centennial will kick off a second century of stewardship in America’s parks which will engage communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.

We have all been invited to Find Your Park on a national level and to explore programs in our own backyard.

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My “backyard” is the Texas Hill Country. Texas is my state, born and raised!  A 25-county region of Central Texas and South Texas. The Hill Country reaches into portions of the two metropolitan areas, especially in San Antonio’s northern suburbs and the western half of Travis County, ending southwest of Downtown Austin.

A perfect road trip would include family, friends, hills, river fun and if i’m really lucky a winery or two : ).

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Dry Comal Creek

I do have some favorite parks that made the “must visit because Josie said” list : )! These beautiful outdoor parks are in no particular order because each park is unique in what is has to offer. Local Parks, State Parks, National Parks or the ever popular Texas watering holes. I am happy to share some of these outdoor gems with you, because after all … Sharing is caring! 

Texas Parks

Garner State Park

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Pedernales State Park

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Guadalupe River State Park

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Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

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Hamilton Pool Preserve

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San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Texas

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Mission San Jose

Krause Springs

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Comal Springs & Landa Park

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Mitchell Lake Audubon

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Big Bend National Park Texas

 

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Texas parks have my heart. I am never disappointed but I would be if I hadn’t wandered. Big Bend was the biggest and definitely the most challenging for me so far in terms of the terrain but it left me wanting more. I know in my heart I will be going back and I will set no boundaries for the open spaces that nurture my soul and make me smile ear to ear : ). The more I discover the more I uncover … my happy place, Outdoors!

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Big Bend National Park Texas

Latino Outdoors ~ Josie Southwest Ambassador

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Malibu Creek State Park – California

Take the Pledge to Take Care of Texas and receive a FREE Texas Parks & Wildlife State Park Guide and a FREE sticker!

Free Texas Hill Country PassportVisit 18 or more of the 24 Hill Country destinations. Have your passport stamped at each location and then win tickets, outdoor adventures, tours and more.

Join us in Celebrating Latino Conservation Week at Inks Lake State Park.

For additional information email Josie@latinooutdoors.org

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Fitfunand … Parks!!

 

 

 

 

08/14/15

Stay Wild …. Go Camping!!

Screenshot_2015-08-11-23-18-32_wm-1I have always had a connection with the outdoors. One can never have too much happiness and mine is found in the beauty of the WILDerness.

 

I partnered with REI recently for their #LETSCAMP & #HAZLOEPIC Summer Campaign. I was so excited to be a part of all the “coolness” that is REI and as a partner REI sent me an REI InCamp 4 Tent, a super light  Backpack and a really neat Campfire Rocker

 

It was going to be our granddaughter’s first camping adventure and in order to make it a memorable one for her we only had one place in mind….CONCAN,TX. It was the place the honey and I had taken our girls most summers growing up and it holds many special memories for us as a family. Madelyn has often heard us talk about camping and now that she was older the time was right. I am not sure who was most excited : ). 20150712_124056-1

 

I was so thrilled to be a part of making her experience a fun one and may it only be the beginning to many more with her.

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The hardest part was picking a weekend we would all be available since the girls are older now.  It had been some time since we had all gone camping together and we were all most excited for Madelyn. I had hopes that she would enjoy it as much as my girls did.

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Just like old times …. but with one more!! Friday couldn’t come soon enough. The honey and I went up a day early to set up the campsite. The girls arrived the following day and we headed straight for the river located just a few feet from our campsite at Mager’s River Campphoto 2 (21)

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Swimming and hiking are a perfect way to stay fit while having fun. The temperature soared and so did our appetites so after much swimming and exploring we decided to have Dad do what he does best….barbecue!!! Dinner was served and we headed back to the river once more (because we could) before settling in for the night : ). We had promised Madelyn a special treat once it got darkshe guessed it…S’mores : ).IMG_2638

 

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We had one more task to complete before calling it a night…..spooky stories, with a PG rating for our little 4 yr old.  Madelyn decided she would go first and we would all take turns holding her Hello Kitty lantern. The title of her story she told us was “The Midnight Creeper” LOL! We knew at that moment that Madelyn was officially a Camper Girl and I beamed with pride as she headed into the tent for the night.  The next day as were slowly getting ready to leave Madelyn said “I wish I could live here forever”,  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

I sat back and took it all in. I had shared my LOVE of camping with the girls and to know that they were happy and almost childlike again in that environment was a beautiful thing. The stars did shine brighter in the Texas Hill Country!

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Camping Do’s & Don’ts

  • Do call ahead to make reservations, especially if the place your going to is a popular one.
  • Do ask questions and let them know how “seasoned” you are …. or not! Most places are helpful in finding the campsite that is right for you.
  • Do your research ahead of time on what amenities and facilities the parks offer.
  • Do check the weather for the time you will be camping so that you will not be stuck in a crazy weather storm (unless you like living on the edge).
  • Do allow yourself to connect with the outdoors and always be courteous of your fellow campers.
  • Don’t LITTER!
  • Don’t go unprepared. Food,water,shelter and a great attitude.

REI PRODUCT REVIEWS

I was very impressed with the tent and how quickly it set up & the instructions are on the bag. Super light and very roomy.

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The campfire rocker instantly became Madelyn’s and she claimed it the moment we took it out of the box. It was love at first sight and it even made it to the river.

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My favorite turned out to be the backpack. It was extremely comfortable and light, perfect for the day and girly enough for me!IMG_2453 (2)

My REI journey has been AMAZING!! I have met people that I know will be in my outdoor future for a lifetime. I will be announcing an exciting opportunity that has come my way very soon  so stay tuned : )).

Fitfunand ….. the outdoors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

07/29/15

I Haven’t Been Everywhere, But It’s On My List! + #LetsCamp Giveaway #FitFunandCamp

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Krause Springs (Spicewood,TX)

I love the outdoors and I took this past week off to visit some Texas Parks & Watering Holes that I had yet to explore. My goal was to just have some fun. I chose different adventures for my family and friends. It was impossible to gather my family (last minute) all at the same time but splitting them up gave me more quality time with them. Texas is home to many beautiful parks/rivers/lakes and breathtaking scenery.

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Landa Park (New Braunfels,TX)

You have to take time to make your soul happy and for me that means spending time outdoors with the people that mean the most to me, my family and friends. This week I did just that. I am more than willing to share my love of the outdoors and to encourage these experiences. Think OUTSIDE the box!

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Hamilton Pool Preserve (Dripping Springs,TX)

I have recently partnered with Recreational Equipment Inc. REI The Nation’s Leading Outdoor Retailer to help make their #LETSCAMP campaign EPIC! Last week I was able to do a tour at my local REI store and it left me wanting to take my outdoor adventures to the next level. Caleb was my guide and his enthusiasm for the outdoors was evident in his excitement to explain all of the necessary camping gear and he even fitted me with a Backpacking Pack. PhotoGrid_1437696267594 (1)

I was so impressed with what REI stood for and represented.  To inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. My favorite surprise was learning that they have outdoor classes for pretty much anything you can imagine to help make your camping/hiking/biking/and even running experience a fabulous one. They even have a bike shop in the store ….. SERIOUS! The only thing missing was a bakery : )).

DREAM IT!

LEARN IT!

DO IT!

Let REI help you with instruction,enthusiasm,transportation and gear, it’s that simple! Did I mention that REI will invest almost $8 million in non-profits and new projects to create access to inspirational outdoor places. How can you not want to be a part of the REI family? I was under no obligation to become an REI member and for a one-time fee of $20.00 I receive a lifetime of benefits. A start to a beautiful relationship. 

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  • Members Only Coupons and Discounts
  • 10% Annual Member Dividend
  • Special pricing On REI Trips & Classes
  • Access to REI’s Famous Garage Sales (40-80% off scratch and dent items)
  • Bike & Ski Discounts
  • Access To The REI MasterCard
  • $20.00 Lifetime Membership With No Annual Fee     

 

The first camping trip that I recall was in my very early twenties. I had a friend introduce me to Garner State Park and the rest was history. The family and I went any chance we got. A weekend trip or just for the day. We kept it simple. A tent, air mattresses, ice chest, food, drinks, chairs and some basic necessities. Garner has different sites and we always chose the ones with electricity and water. The bathroom and shower are within walking distance and the river is just a few feet away. During the day we swam,tubed and hiked and at night was our time to just feel connected. Sitting around a campfire with our girls as we laughed and told silly stories while we charred the marshmallows…  : )). The sound of the Frio River lulled us to sleep. This has been my type of camping experiences. Family,fun and the OUTDOORS, simple right? 

Do you have any favorite camping stories?

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LET’S CAMP GIVEAWAY! (In Partnership with REI #sponsored)

Thanks to our friends at REI, fellow San Antonio blogger, Melanie from Que Means What and I are happy to host a giveaway for a 4-Person REI Tent from each of us! Enter below and then head over to QueMeansWhat.com to double your chances of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FITUNAND … WANDERLUST!

 

 

07/19/15

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

 

 

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I found out a couple of my co-workers were planning a day trip to Concan,TX and I of course invited myself. Concan  holds many memories for me and I was more than thrilled to share my love of the outdoors with the girls. I was able to show them some of my favorite watering holes and sweet camping spots.

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We decided to go with Josh’s Frio River Outfitters for our tubes & shuttle. The place was super adorable with pretty much everything you would need to make your day or weekend a success in Concan. They also had pink tubes and the girls and I of course were super excited about that. We decided to do the almost 4 hr ride.  They drop you off at the beginning and pick you up when your done. There is plenty of parking at Josh’s but I do recommend calling before to check the river flow and try to be on the water no later than 11:00 due to possible crowding.

The girls and I had a blast as we tubed/swam and laughed our way down the Frio. The scenery along the way is breathtaking and there are many gorgeous spots to just pull over and have a picnic. I highly suggest packing your cooler with water/snack/fruit and your favorite beverages. NO GLASS CONTAINERS or STYROFOAM! NO LITTERING! PhotoGrid_1437324599343

The ride was over and we were ready to eat. We decided on Neal’s because of the location. It is about 1 minute away from Josh’s and we heard good things about it as well. The chicken fried chicken & the chicken fried steak were very tasty and the price was reasonable. Neal’s overlooks the Frio RIver and it was a great way to end the day, in the middle of the Hill Country.

Everything’s bigger and better in Texas so when we saw these huge Sunflowers on our way home we just had to stop and snap some pictures.

 

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I am thankful for the amazing day spent with wonderful friends making beautiful memories : ).

 

Gas for the day $20.00 (if that).

Pink Tube rental $10.00 (with head rest & cupholder).

Snacks/beverages $10.00.

Tube shuttle $4.00.

Lunch $15.00.

Memories PRICELESS!!

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Fitfunand ……..LIVE FOR TODAY.

07/5/15

Fitfun and Garner State Park.

The outdoors is a huge part of my happiness and when you combine that with a quick road trip how can the day be any better?

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Road trips with my dad were my first memories. We would usually head to California and Las Vegas every summer. I remember rolling down the windows and feeling the wind in my hair while the music played on.

 

 

 

My love for the outdoors came when I was about 18 and a friend of mine took me to Garner State Park. The beauty of the park left me speechless and I knew instantly that I would be returning. The frio river  is cold no matter what time of the year you go and the water is so clear you can see the beauty of the rocks at your feet.

Years later after having my 2 daughters I knew the time had come to start making my own memories with my family. So we bought some tents and loaded up our truck with love and the much needed necessities, food & bathing suits  )). We were young parents and financially the struggle of buying a home and raising our girls did not allow us too much for faraway vacations. That never seemed to bother us too much because we were happy at Garner State Park.

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Garner State Park with my girls.

We were a family there with no distractions (cell phones). My favorite type of campsite with the girls was the area with electricity and water with the restrooms a few feet away. One with nature without roughing it too much, for the girls sake … lol.

The moment the tents went up we hit the river which was just a few feet away. The girls explored and swam till they were tired and then we lit up the pit for dinner and started making a fire to roast some marshmallows. The simplicity of the outdoors. Fire,food,water and the most important factor …. FAMILIA!

 

It became our yearly (sometimes twice) family vacay. The older the girls got the more we explored the park and the surrounding watering holes. The park offers paddle boating, plenty of scenic trails and they even have miniature golf at the park. My favorite thing to do is to go tubing down the Frio. The ride can last anywhere from 1-4 hours (yes…4) depending on the river flow.

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Tube floating tips:

  • sunblock
  • sunglasses & hat
  • old sneakers or water shoes
  • secured cooler on it’s own float
  • a waterproof phone (for pics only)
  • an adventurous spirit

 

The memories we made with the girls will forever be etched in my soul and may they remember them as clearly as I remember my early road trips with my family. We recently took our granddaughter for her first time and she loved it.

 

I learned that you don’t have to travel far to be happy. Happiness is with family or friends enjoying the ride of LIFE.

FITFUNAND …… Garner State Park.

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#gonetubing