12/2/16

Latino Outdoors in Texas: Opt Outside/Vamos Outdoors

                 

 Will you go OUT with me?

Friedrich Wilderness Park

This year Latino Outdoors in Texas joined in on the movement … #OptOutside & #ViernesVerde!

Last year REI the nation’s largest consumer co-op and specialty outdoor retailer made the brilliant decision to close all of their stores (143 to be exact) and pay it’s 12,000 employees on the biggest shopping day of the year (Black Friday)! They basically said Opt Outside! Hike, bike, snowboard, camp, kayak … just go!  Well you don’t have to tell me twice : ).

                      On black Friday in Texas, we went Hiking!

Friedrich Wilderness Park

With some grant funding fom REI I knew exactly where I wanted to go for our 1st annual event in Texas. With over 10 miles of Hiking Trails Friedrich Wilderness Park in San Antonio,Texas was the chosen destination.

Friedrich Wilderness Park Facts:

  • The park was developed with a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and was dedicated on August 31, 1978.
  • The park is in the transition zone between the flat South Texas region and the Texas Hill Country.
  • It is internationally known for bird watching, with nesting sites for two federal listed endangered species of birds: the Black-capped Vireo and the Golden-cheeked Warbler.
  • Handicapped accessible trails.
  • No Fires and no smoking.
  • To protect the endangered species … Pedestrians only! (no pets)

Friedrich Wilderness Park

It’s moments like this. In Nature we Nuture the soul.

 

The weather was perfect, the smiles were endless and the talks on the trails were heartfelt. You could sense the confidence building! We had a wonderful guide Nicole who shared her wealth of knowledge on the plants and wildlife at Friedrich.

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  Latino Outdoors In Texas.

 

I wanted the 1st Annual Vamos Outdoors/Opt Ouside event to be successful. I wanted my group to be inspired and excited to be outdoors. The event was to share and showcase the beauty that is nature. Hiking locally and finding a great park to get lost in together was just the start for us. We made memories and then captured it on canvas. Art in the park : ).  

 

Latino Outdoors at Friedrich Park

The importance of the day was spending quality time Outside and we did just that! In San Antonio we represented proudly and fearlessly.

A park, a picnic, some painting, and for dessert … Pan dulce (sweet bread)!

Latino Outdoors at Friedrich Park

Fitfunand … Take a hike : ))!!

Friedrich Wilderness Park

 

09/10/16
Hike n Bike through San Antonio Missions Historic Park - FitFunAnd.com

#Sunday Funday: Hike ‘n Bike through the San Antonio Missions Historic Park.

The National Park Service celebrated 100 years of service on August 25th, 2016 and we were all invited to join in on the fun. In Texas a few friends and I attended a red carpet event at a local theater to watch a screening of the National Parks Adventure IMAX film. If you haven’t already seen it I would highly suggest it!

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I am honored to represent my community as the Ambassador for Latino Outdoors~Southwest. This platform allows me to creatively explore the outdoors and highlight the beauty of Texas parks. Lucky me!

I had an amazing opportunity to not just join a celebration but put one together. I had been in contact with Tiara the Outdoor leader in San Antonio for Outdoor Afro and we thought it would be a fantastic idea to join our groups for the Centennial. These two organizations are changing the faces of conservation. A diverse set of people exploring, sharing and showcasing their love for the outdoors.

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Tiara and I thought it would be a great idea to do a Hike ‘n Bike along the beautiful river connecting our Missions.

Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission San Francisco de la Espada are about a 3 mile round trip down the San Antonio River. Two groups, two parks and some cool peeps : ). The group was amazing and the weather was perfect!

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I am inspired and happiest the most outside exploring and it was even more special because we honored the Centennial. We hiked and biked to our destinations with smiles on our faces. A sweet thank you to San Antonio B-cycle who offered our group a 50% discount to rent the bikes located at the Missions. Find your park they said and together we did just that.

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Sunday Funday Hike n’ Bike

I wasn’t done yet! There was just one more event left for me and that was to run the NPS 100th Birthday Virtual 5k/10k/half. A virtual race is basically your pace, your race, your chosen destination. You register on line and a portion of the fee goes to the specified race and in my case, the National Park Foundation. When you complete your race you turn in your time and a couple of weeks later you receive a medal in the mail. The medal for this particular race was a Ranger Hat and you can see why this was a no brainer : ).

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I decided to run the 10k (6.2) miles over to the beautiful Mission Concepción. This stone church was dedicated in 1755, and appears very much as it did over two centuries ago. It stands proudly as the oldest unrestored stone church in America. In its heyday, colorful geometric designs covered its surface, but the patterns have long since faded or been worn away. A perfect place to reflect on what once was and what is now.

Just because the celebration has ended doesn’t mean the party is over! Head over to National Parks and be inspired to discover these amazing open spaces. Now go on and get lost, anywhere is a good place to start!

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FitfunandNPS Centennial!

 

 

 

08/24/16

#National Park Centennial: Happy 100th and Many More!

On August 25th 2016 the National Park Service will be celebrating 100 years of service. We are all invited to join in celebrations across the nation.

Happy Birthday National Park Service!

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Big Bend National Park, TX

We have the most amazing parks and to make it even more fun I have decided to run a 10k Virtual Race in honor of celebrating our beautiful open spaces.

A virtual race is like any traditional race without the hassle of location and crowds. It’s your race to run anywhere your heart desires. Your race, your pace, your chosen place! A full registration comes with a race shirt, printable bib, medal and the chance to win prizes. You turn in your results and your medal will be mailed to you.

The NPS 100th Virtual race has extended the race registration till August 28th, 2016. I just had to … the medal is a precious Ranger Hat! Do you still need another reason? A portion of each registration will be donated to the National Park Foundation : )!

The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all U.S. national parks, many American national monuments and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.

May you find yourself outdoors … running, cycling or just simply hiking! Let the wind play with your hair and may Nature nuture your soul.

FREE admission to all 412 national parks starting August 25th-28th, so plan a visit and Find your Park

Where will you find yourself : )?

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Fitfunand … Afuera!

 

07/31/16

#Latino Conservation Week: Inks Lake State Park, Texas.

The Latino passion for the Outdoors was in full swing. A week showcasing our fearless spirits and beautiful selves engaging, experiencing and advocating for the great Outdoors.

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Inks Lake State Park, Texas

Latino Conservation Week took place July 16 to July 24 2016.  This Nationwide initiative provided an opportunity for Latinos to come together and to demonstrate their passion for the outdoors, both for enjoyment and preservation. Highlighting our lands and the spirit that stirs the Latino souls. Disfrutando y Conservando Nuestra Tierra!

In its third year, the week as grown to more than 100 events nationwide!

I had an opportunity to host an event at Inks Lake State Park. A hill country gem perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Because the lake’s level usually stays constant, you can play here year-round. This would be the place to perfect our kayaking and canoeing skills.

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July 23rd was the day to gather new friends and old friends at Inks’s Lake State Park in honor of Latino Conservation Week. Many of us had no clue what our journey to the final destination aptly named Devil’s Watering Hole would include. The name alone should have scared off my tribe, LOL. Devil’s Watering Hole is a place where many daredevils take a plunge from the cliffs into a deep sink hole, YIKES! No worries, it really is a pretty safe place.

I couldn’t wait to get into the water to try the kayak and listening to the nervous chatter and laughter around me I knew I wasn’t the only one!

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I am extremely happy that my group trusted me in guiding them to a location that I just knew would take us out of our comfort zone but in the greatest way. We engaged, we explored and we even walked a little taller exiting our kayaks & canoes. Every day is a chance to be greater than the day before. Mission accomplished for Latino Outdoors Southwest!

A special thanks to Sean D. Jones our Park Ranger Interpreter, Jasmine Scott with Texas Parks & Wildlife and to the sweet volunteer Allicia. Jasmine was my first point of contact and was excited to hear about the initiative and the event and even volunteered to come in on her day off to be with us, wow!

Exploring every chance we get. Mountains, Hills, Rivers, Lakes, Trails … here we come, Latino Outdoors.

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Fitfunand … Afuera!

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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!!

 

 

 

 

04/22/16

Nature is always in style. Earth Day everyday!

 

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Earth Day began in 1970 as a day to celebrate the planet and to encourage people to be more environmentally friendly. The Earth is one thing we all have in common so let’s not just celebrate it today but any day we have a chance.

Recycle. Reuse. Restore. Replenish. Reduce.

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It’s where we live and how could we not want it to stay as pure and if possible even cleaner and more beautiful. Awareness in who we are as humans and passing this message along to our children so that they can continue our work for Mother Nature. I love the Earth for the love it shows me on my nature walks/hikes/runs and how it refuels my soul.

Plant a tree, hug a tree, help clean a local park or river, recycle any chance you can, waste less, NEVER litter! It’s the little things that matter in this big world we live in. Inspire others to be more aware, aware that Earth needs love too : ))!

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Explore and leave your footprint … just keep it small : ).

If you want to know more then head over to Earthday.org for more information.

Fitfunand … Happy Earth day!

03/6/16

Together-Nature Bird Walk at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center w/Latino Outdoors

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A Nature Bird Walk at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center was to be the first stop for 2016 and being the Southwest Ambassador for Latino Outdoors I now have more of a platform in sharing adventures and organizing group activities to connect Cultura and the outdoors.

My 1st event had to include kids. I have a 5 year old granddaughter and she thinks anything outdoors is a LO event, I love that! My granddaughter and I became familiar with Mitchell Lake about 6 months ago at one of their events.

The Mission of the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center is to connect people with nature through conservation and community education focused on birds and their habitats.

I met Patty (my guide) on a butterfly tour that she was leading at Mitchell Lake and was impressed by her knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife & plants. It became apparent to me when she pronounced the names of the plants in Spanish that she was the guide for me. Screenshot_2016-03-06-15-02-47-1

A couple of months later I decided to organize my first outing for LO. The idea would be a Nature inspired Bird walk at Mitchell Lake. The young ones are the next generation and they would be my inspiration. We kept the group small since we only had 1 Patty : ).

Patty provided us all with binoculars courtesy of the Audubon. Who knew you could check them out during your visit there? I know now : ). We walked, we talked, we learned and most of all we connected,

The Audubon is a wildlife center for thousands of birds/plants and wildlife. They have acres of land, a duck pond and even a lake (not for swimming).

Patty is a wealth of information on plants and wildlife. The kids and the adults had a wonderful time playing with the binoculars, spotting birds and seeing wildlife in a whole new way. Seeing their smiling faces and asking questions made my soul melt. No texting, no talking on cell phones and no one cared about social media if only for a short time. I felt I had succeeded in connecting Cultura with Nature. We all left wanting more … mission accomplished!

There was one more surprise, Patty mentioned that she had documented the birds we saw and wanted to know if we wanted to be a part of Cornell Lab of Ornithology with ebird.

A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance.

The answer was a simple YES from the entire group. I couldn’t have imagined a happier ending. I was hoping to inspire at least 1 sweet soul and I was the one who was inspired by them all : ). I can’t wait for the next outing so stay tuned.

 

Fitfunand … AFUERA.

 

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

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02/23/16

Outdoors in 2016!

Let’s celebrateNational Park Service (NPS) turns 100 on August 25, 2016! Screenshot_2016-02-23-22-22-47-1

 

What is National Park Service?

The National Park Service is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all U.S. national parks, many American national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations.

What is their Mission?

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world. NPS.

If you are looking for a park to explore it has never been easier, just head to Find a Park to start planning your adventure. Now go play OUTSIDE!! Hike. Explore. Discover. Laugh. Live.

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I love birthdays and why not celebrate every month with a new park or adventure. Thank you NPS for giving me an excuse to nuture my nature soul : )).

The year 2016 was going to be a great one for me. I received an invite by the Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program with NPS to a “Find Your Partner” table discussion.  Rivers & Trails as they also are known is a program of the NPS that works with community groups and local and state governments to conserve rivers, preserve open space and develop trails/greenways, Exciting! We engaged in conversation about outdoor recreation, natural resource protection and youth engagement.

The location was at McKinney Roughs Nature Park. I thought to myself, perfect! A new park for me to hike, any excuse for fun.

Located just 13 miles east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, McKinney Roughs is home to hundreds of plant and animal species living within the rolling box canyons, wildflower meadows and lazy river bends of the Texas Colorado River.

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McKinney Roughs is a day use park where visitors can explore close to 18 miles of trails by foot or 12 miles on horseback (bring your own horse). The park offers many community programs as well. At the Visitors Center, pay your entrance fee and get the latest trail information.

I only had enough time for about 4 miles but I made the most of it by making sure I saw the Colorado River, yay!

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Fitfunand … Making the most of LIFE : ).

 

 

 

12/20/15

The Birthday Girl … ME! #FelizCumpleaños

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One, two, three, four, five …  (fast forward) 2015 : )). Keep calm, it’s the birthday girl!

I keep telling myself that I am only as young as my heart tells me and that special number appears to have fixated itself in the 20’s. I will never let a silly number dictate what I can or cannot do. I do what makes my soul happy and this year in particular I wished for a horse ride.

 

When I was a little girl my dad bought me a horse. I asked him years later, WHY? My dad had the perfect answer…because you wanted one : )).  photo 1 (35)

I ended up falling off my horse one time and never rode her again. Her name was Big Red and my granddad ended up taking care of her. I felt that it was time to conquer my fear and giddy up!

December 3rd every year was a big deal. The coolest cakes, themes, presents and the most important, familia. The day of my birth reminds me of birthdays past and the love that was put into them. Every year now is a day to live just a little extra. I am happy to be alive and yes I am reminded that time goes by so quickly. I don’t want to live fearful, I want to live fearlessly : ). 

 

I decided to try Hollow Tree Ranch  in New Braunfels, Tx. Their motto is “Horses training riders”. Jeff Oliver is the founder and owner of Hollow Tree Ranch. I spoke with Jeff when making my reservation and he was so sweet and easy to work with. He answered all of my questions and when we arrived took care of more concerns from my group. I feed off positive energy and that is all I ever felt from the moment I called. My daughter hadn’t gone on a horse ride in years and mentioned that she was a little scared. His response, “what in particular scared you so I can make it better for you”? The one hour ride was just enough to get our giddy on but left us wanting more.

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Was it what I hoped for…YES! Will I be back…YES! Next up, the Moonlight ride and I can hardly wait : ).

The day was not just for me but for me to share this special adventure with the people I love. Life is better with family and friends. Thank you Jeff for being a part in making this memory memorable for all of us. Words cannot describe the what the ride meant to us individually. Empowered we became as we conquered our fears.

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We left the ranch on such a high and discovering that right down the rode was Dry Comal Creek Winery was an even bigger surprise, could my birthday get any better?

This would be my daughter and her best friends first wine tasting and who better to share this with than with her MOM. The girls had a blast and we were even treated to a special tour of the place.

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The sangria was delicious and the wine tasting was a huge success for the girls.

 

 

 

My beautiful evening ended with a family dinner at The Little Red Barn, my granddaughters favorite steak house. I believe it’s because the waitresses dress up in cowboy hats and boots. My Madelyn loves a great themed anything and I adore this. Do more than just exist, when you can and while you can!!

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For more information here are the links on Hollow Tree Ranch & Dry Comal Creek Winery. The trip took less than an hour from San Antonio and we all know any hill country road will lead to an awesome adventure.

CHEERS to finding the Giddy up in your step : ). Grab your boots and just go!!

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Fitfunand … Happy Birthday to me!!

 

11/27/15

#OPTOUTSIDE … any day you can!

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When I heard that REI decided to shut it’s doors and pay their employees on the biggest shopping day of the year and encourage people to go OUTDOORS the day after Thanksgiving, my only thought was … BRILLIANT!

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I know where to go and fuel my soul : ). I am thankful that I grew up in a time that encouraged the outdoors and I am so happy to hear and see more people getting out to the local and state parks, may the movement continue.

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Hike. Bike. Swim. Ski. Camp. Run. Walk. Explore the Extraordinary and there is no better place than Outside.

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A baby me with my Mom & Dad

I am honored to be part of the Latino Outdoors family as a Southwest Ambassador. Celebrating our Cultura and the outdoors while sharing and supporting each other from all over the world.

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Happy Holidays and any day your your heart desires may you #OPTOUTSIDE

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Links to outdoor adventures in and around San Antonio, Texas : ).

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Guadalupe River State Park (Texas)

Fitfunand … Pa Fuera!