Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hair Loss Explained and How to Prevent It

In actual fact, hair loss is something that happens to everyone all the time. Of course most of us have masses of hair which regrows and so this is never really noticed. For some men (and women) however, hair loss is a problem. As the hair thins, it falls to the ground and is not replaced. This can lead to loss of confidence and embarrassing social situations.
Of course, if you don't give a fig about your hair loss and are happy to be a baldie arguing that people should like you for who you are and not what you look like then you have a very valid point and...more power to you!
For the rest of us though, we're not so full of self-confidence and if there was a way to reverse the situation then it would almost be like regaining our youth!
So why do we lose our hair? The main culprit is DHT or Dihydrotestostrone to give it its full, unwieldy moniker. This chemical is a by-product of testosterone and can retard follicle growth. In basic terms this stuff stops your hair from growing back by interrupting the normal hair growth cycle!
This is why hair lotions and potions only work for a certain amount of time, they do nothing to stop the internal factors for hair loss and so are pretty useless! What if you could take care of the internal reasons for hair loss? Well, there are certain natural pills you can take that do indeed do this for you and they're worth looking into.

8 Great Great Lakes Parks to Take Your Dog

Your dog might not agree they are "great lakes" when she discovers that dogs are not allowed on Michigan state beaches and most county and town beaches. In-season, the metropolises of Indiana, Illinois , Ohio and Wisconsin are even more restrictive. But all is not lost for the outdoor canine adventurer when visiting the Great Lakes. Here are the 8 best places to take your dog here:
1. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Lake Superior, Michigan
Possessing the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in the world, there is enough water in Lake Superior to easily fill the other four Great Lakes to overflowing. Lake Superior is known for its cold water and rugged shoreline but there are some sandy beaches scattered across its 300 or so miles of southern shores. Other beaches are more of the cobble variety. Most of the shoreline is sparsely populated which bodes well for finding a dog-friendly beach.
The "pictured rocks" on the south shore of Lake Superior were painted by mineral stains on exposed cliffs scoured by glaciers. The colorful streaks on the cliffs - as high as 200 feet above the water - result from groundwater that seeps out of cracks in the rock. The oozing water contains iron, limonite, copper, and other minerals that brush the cliff face with colors as they trickle down. In 1966, the Pictured Rocks were preserved as America's first national lakeshore. The park stretches along Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, for 40 miles.
Dogs are not allowed to trot everywhere in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore's 72,000 acres (a detailed pet area map is available) but there is plenty of superb canine hiking on tap here. Day hikes lead to clifftops and cobble beaches through hardwood forests and windswept dunes. The best beach for dogs is at the western end of the park where dogs are allowed on Sand Point until the trail begins to climb the cliffs.
2. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Lake Michigan, Michigan
Long ago, according to Ojibway Indian legend, a forest fire ravaged the Wisconsin shoreline driving a mother bear and her two cubs into the waters of Lake Michigan. The three bears swam for safety across the entire lake but the two cubs tired in the crossing. The mother bear continued to the shore and climbed a high bluff to wait for her cubs who couldn't make it and drowned within sight of shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear. The national lakeshore, established in 1970, protects 35 miles of dunes - the highest 480 feet above the lake - that are the product of several glacial advances and retreats that ended 11,000 years ago.
Your dog isn't allowed to make the Dune Climb up a mountain of sand but she may thank you for that. Otherwise dogs are welcome on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore trails. The best canine hike is the Cottonwood Trail off the popular Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. The loop leads out into dunes speckled with the bleached remains of overwhelmed trees and the hardy survivors adapting to their sandy world. The rollicking trail, open May to October, is completely on thick sand that, while soft to the paw, can tire an unfit dog.
In the north section of the park the Good Harbor Bay Trail is a flat, wooded walk. Most of the starch has been taken out of the Lake Michigan waves here for gentle canine swimming. More adventurous dog paddlers will want to test the frisky waves in the southernmost Platte Plains section. You have your choice of trails here to choose how much you want to hike before reaching the surf. The 13 mid-length trails throughout the park are all hiker-only. Dogs are not allowed on North or South Manitou Island, both floating just offshore.
3. Lake Michigan Sand Dunes Lake Michigan, Michigan
The year 2007 marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Mackinac Bridge that connects the lightly populated Upper Peninsula of Michigan to lower Michigan. Traditionally the bridge has attracted hunters and other woods-loving types but that list should also include beach-loving dog owners.
Just across the bridge on the Upper Peninsula head west on Route 2 out of St. Ignace and eight miles past the town of Brevort you will come to an unnamed, unsigned stretch of dune-backed, sandy white beach. Pull off the water-side of the road and park your car. There are miles of beach and not much traffic so there will be plenty of room for your dog to romp in the Lake Michigan waves. If you need facilities, travel a bit further west to the Lake Michigan Picnic Area.
4. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Lake Michigan, Indiana
The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a park of striking contrasts. More than 1,400 plant species have been identified within park boundaries, ranking it 7th among national parks in native plant diversity. Growing zones clash here at the southern base of Lake Michigan so southern dogwood mixes with arctic bearberrry and northern conifer forests thrive alongside cacti. The park itself stands in stark relief from the industrial surroundings of Gary, Indiana and Chicago. The national lakeshore was designated in 1966 and preserves 25 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. 
Canine hikers will also find the dog-friendly trails, with dips and climbs, to be of a different style than the generally flat northern Indiana area. The high point on the dunes is 123-foot Mt. Baldy at the extreme eastern point of the park - you can make this short, sandy climb your first or last stop. If you take your time, even older dogs can make it to the top or you can hike a trail around Mt. Baldy directly to the beach.

Breckenridge Vacation Rentals - Skiing Fun In Colorado

Whether you are a die-hard skiing fanatic or a first timer to hit the slopes this winter, where you stay can make or break a ski vacation. Breckenridge, Colorado is a quaint and historic town nestled in the Colorado Mountains. It also happens to be one of the most popular ski destinations in the state. Though its residential population is well under 10,000, this number multiplies exponentially during the ski season. A town like Breckenridge doesn't get to be this popular without having a few options for lodging. Breckenridge vacation rentals can be found in several varieties and locations to suit your needs.
Warrior's Mark on the Far Western Side
Breckenridge consists of several districts in its seven mile stretch and outskirts. Warrior's Mark on the far western side of Breckenridge contains Eagle's View, Amerind and Mark IX. These accommodations offer seclusion from the busy and often noisy town below. The town homes of Eagle's View even offer ski-in/ski-out options, and the Mark IX has an outdoor hot tub to enjoy on a chilly night.
In the Historic District of Breckenridge, you will find a larger number of accommodations, most of which are hotels, inns and a few bed & breakfasts. There are also several condo buildings available, which are often preferred by larger families, especially if they will be staying a week or more. The primary difference between a hotel and a condo is its similarities to an actual home or apartment. This includes a full kitchen which is often coveted by visitors on long trips. Eating out is great on vacation, however it also gets costly. Having a place to cook breakfast and have lunch can take a lot of pressure from your wallet.
Baldy Mountain in the Southwest
Baldy Mountain is southwest of the main part of Breckenridge. Though it is home to several different types of lodging, perhaps the most popular is the Lodge & Spa at Breckenridge. You will pay a premium for the full-service spa feature and the luxurious guest rooms, but some would argue that the additional price is worth it. The view from your window to the snow covered mountains can bring you inner peace long before the massage therapist arrives for your in-room massage. If you decide to leave the haven of your hotel in the mountains for a little skiing, there is a complementary shuttle to and from the base of the slopes.
4 O'clock Near One of the Ski Lifts
4 O'clock is another district of Breckenridge that is very near one of the ski lifts which take skiers up the mountain. The majority of the accommodation options in and around 4 O'clock are lodges, which are similar to standard hotels but may offer a more rustic appeal. Others are very low-frill but offer an excellent location as they are mere steps away from the ski lift and have ski-in/ski-out units. Others are groups of townhomes with many of the same features as the lodges, but are able to sleep more guests in one unit and also offer multiple bathrooms and a full kitchen in each unit.

The Adventure Traveler's Guide to La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Imagine waking up to the view of a steaming volcano followed by a day of Waterfall Repelling, Volcano Hiking, Hot Springs, and some molting hot lava picture taking (if your lucky).
Sounds like a lot to cram into one day? Not when you're in La Fortuna, CR. Most people wouldn't consider this a relaxing day of vacation, BUT not only will you have the opportunity to do all of this in a single day, YOU can do it without scrambling around like a mad person.
Get out around 8 am depending on the time you choose to waterfall repel, and get ready to travel on a rugged pickup truck trek up the mountain. Your tour guides will pick you up from the downtown and happily bring you to the starting place of your repel. The guides are very happy to be with you and are filled with great stories of growing up in Costa Rica so don't be shy (like how to decapitate a Fer de Lance snake). Once you get over the jitters of what you're about to do, you will really enjoy the entire repel trip and the humor of the guides. There are plenty of activities other than repelling along the way. Be sure to bring only waterproof cameras because you'll have plenty of opportunities to take pictures of all the cool spiders, lizards, and waterfalls you'll see. After the tour you'll get a typical homemade Costa Rican lunch on a deck overlooking the mountains.
Plan your Arenal Volcano Hike followed by Baldy Hot Springs for around 5 pm so you can rest after the repel. A tour guide will take you along the Arenal trail where you will hike the base of the volcano to see Toucans, Owl Eye Butterfly's, Howler Monkeys, and other cool things. Bring a raincoat with just in case and enjoy this hour or so long hike, as you will be engulfed by rain forest. After your hike, you can take a bus to Baldy Hot Springs for a serene few hours in what are basically enormous hot tubs. Be sure to ask your driver to stop along the way for an opportunity to get a shot of the Arenal Volcano with lava streaming down the side of it. DO NOT miss the 3 water slides located in the back of Baldy. These are the fastest slides I've ever experienced and even witnessed a few people get shaken up going down them. They are WELL worth the risk.

A Day Trip to Indiana Dunes State Park From Indianapolis, Indiana

More than 15 miles of beautiful beaches and breathtaking sand dunes stretch across northwest Indiana along Lake Michigan. Stretching from Gary, Indiana to Michigan City, Indiana is one of the best kept secrets in the Hoosier state: the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park. The sun and sand is just a three hour drive from downtown Indianapolis, perfect for a day trip or an extended vacation.
Outdoor activities at the park include hiking, swimming, horseback riding, camping, skiing, fishing and bird-watching. There really is something for everyone at the historical, educational and downright fun Indiana Dunes. The hot and lazy summer months is the most popular time to visit the Indiana Dunes, but camping and other activities are available in the Spring and Fall too. Winters are cold in northwest Indiana, but the beach views are beautiful in the snowy winter months. Some visitors even enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Bird-watching is a major activity at the Indiana Dunes, because there are more than 350 species of birds that live in the versatile atmosphere. Sand dunes, bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, rivers, forests, oak savannas and prairies make up the natural habitat of the Indiana Dunes. Thousands of different plant and animal species, including several endangered ones, call the Indiana Dunes their home. In fact, the dunes are known to have some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the entire Midwest. Scientists, students, vacationers and artists can all share a love for this unique Indiana attraction.
The formation of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park dates back as early as 1899, when efforts raised to preserve these unique lands. Chicago businesses were expanding rapidly eastward, and development along Lake Michigan soared. Steel Mills and power plants were quickly taking up the coastlines, and a group of activists spoke out. Their "Save the Dunes Council" eventually convinced politicians to take action on the state and national level. Indiana Dunes State Park formed in 1925, and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore came about in 1966.
The Indiana Dunes State Park offers tons of fun for the whole family, with a campground, picnic areas, shelters, hiking trails and a free public beach that stays open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In 1974, this state park was recognized as a National Natural Landmark. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is managed by the National Park Service. The National Lakeshore surrounds the State Park, but several spaces throughout the 15,000 acre lakeshore are privately owned. That's why maps are necessary when exploring this park.
Hiking to the top of the largest "living" dune is a favorite route for many visitors. Standing at 123 feet tall, Mount Baldy actually moves south at a pace of four or five feet per year. When the giant sand dune moves, it dissolves all trees and other vegetation in its path. Trails lead through the woods to the top of Mount Baldy, where hikers can view the Chicago skyline on a clear day. It's quite a feat to make it to the top of Mount Baldy, the steep sandy paths offer an athletic challenge.

Hair Loss - Baldness Treatment Choices

You heard the word. You probably laughed at someone who has this when you were a kid. And maybe, you jokingly called one, "Baldy" now that you are a grown up. The thing is, you may even be "Baldy". Not to worry anyway because a baldness treatment is not hard to find nowadays.
Baldness as you may know is the lack or thinning of hair. It is a major problem if it affects the head and too bad, there are more men affected by age 50 than those who are not. In women, they experience hair loss, also, usually when they give birth or are menopausal.
A short trip to the department store on the hair care department will amaze you. Baldness treatment is not the problem anymore but choosing one is. You can use any hair regrowth shampoos, creams, and other products as well. Visiting your nearest pharmacy will show you the drug-based treatments also. These are over the counter so no need for prescriptions.
There are actually two drug agents approved by FDA for baldness treatment: Minoxidil and Finasteride. They both inhibit dihydrotestosterone or DHT which is responsible for hair loss. The Minoxidil is a vasolilator that is initially marketed to lower high blood pressure while Finasteride used to be an approved treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Hair transplantation can also be a baldness treatment. This can be done by taking hair follicles that are not affected by balding and placing it on the "baldy" part. Hair will now grow probably after a year and for a lifetime. Modern hair transplants are modeled from the normal grouping of hair making it look as if the transplant is natural.
Ketokonazole can also be a baldness treatment. Though it is indicated by fungi-infected scalp, it inhibits 5-alpha reductase, which is responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. It is also a hair growth stimulant although it is not approved by FDA for hair loss treatment, but is approved for fungal infections.
Baldness treatment choices can never be complete without mentioning remedies. For herbal options, saw palmetto as it inhibits 5-alpha reductase. Ash gourd is also used by some because it combats dry scalp. Alfalfa on the other hand is used because it strengthens the roots of the hair.
Moreover, knowing the cause of your condition will lead you to the best baldness treatment. If in case it is due to hormonal imbalance, regulating the therapy may stop the hair loss that leads to baldness. If the cause is due to your excessive use of hot hair iron or hairstyles that warrant your hair to be pulled and tagged, limiting these activities could be a mode of treatment.
Low laser therapy, specifically the Hairmax Lasercomb, is a device that received the FDA clearance to be marketed although the efficacy and safety of the products is still to be established.
Amazingly, caffeine is being claimed as a baldness treatment if the hair fall is due to high testosterone. There are shampoos and hair spray added with caffeine so that it will be applied to the scalp.

Exploring the Natural Hot Mineral Springs and Waterfalls of Arenal and La Fortuna Costa Rica

Lake Arenal is one of the major attractions in Costa Rica. Located near the world famous Arenal Volcano, this lake is one of the sources of Costa Rica's electricity. The place is magnificent with its surrounding rolling hills with dense forest areas in some places and patches of pasturelands in some places while dominated by the perfect cone of Arenal Volcano mostly on the east side.
The tranquility of Lake Arenal is best for people who would like to unwind form busy schedules and for honeymooners who would like to be left alone most of the time! The shorelines near Lake Arenal are best for early morning walks and those romantic moonlight walks you are planning with your partner.
If you are a big fan of sports fishing, this place is definitely for you. Lake Arenal is known as one of the best place to catch a rainbow bass or a flying Machaca. Fly fishermen flock to this place primarily for the Machaca, which could reach about 9lbs within the lake. So if you plan to catch some flying fish in Lake Arenal, bring 8-10 wt. rods and 9 ft. leaders and smaller (size 4-8) poppers and streamers as your going to get a lot of resistance from these huge fishes. For best results, you should go fly fishing from January to February and August o December when the Machaca are its peak.
The Springs Resort & Spa
Now world famous- The Springs, hosted the sixth episode of ABC's The Bachelor. That episode featured a special group date at the Five-Star Resort's steamy hot springs, and the property's riverfront rainforest reserve and mineral pools.
Tabacon Hot Springs
Offers a huge variety of hot springs baths of varying temperatures, from steaming hot, to lukewarm. Aside from the eden-like hot springs gardens that are worked into the natural flow of the Tabacon River, the resorts hotel and spa feature all sorts of massage treatments. Tabacon for all of its natural beauty, is often flooded with tourists.
Baldi Hot Springs
Baldi really is a high quality establishment with impressive construction and even more impressive views. There are 16 different hot springs baths of varying temperatures. One of the pools is 45 C. It is also a little easier on your pocket book than Tabacon $25.00, so with Baldi you really can't go wrong. Baldi has excellent night time views of lava flows when weather permits. Also, there is a huge pyramid from which you get a great view of the entire area from the foot of the Arenal Volcano. The views here are the best you will find from any hot springs resort in La Fortuna.

Head Shaving - How to Be Bald and Fabulous

Jim's hair-sprayed locks clumped together like withered road-kill. The hot towel I had wrapped snugly around his face during his facial had disrupted the ground cover cocooning his barren scalp. After weeks of working on balancing his skin tone and rehabilitating his whiskers after years of shaving abuse, it was time to help Jim face the neurosis that made him rationalize a "comb-over" as being a fair substitute for a full head of hair.
Our obsession with hair drives a gazillion dollar industry to provide heads of all ages ways to get colored, curled, cut, transplanted, implanted, singed, scrubbed, fluffed, shaved and sprayed; mostly using invasive procedures, hazardous detergents, synthetic chemicals and preservatives. On top of all that, consumers are suckered into buying chemically inappropriate hair care products based on marketing hype and sticker price. It's no wonder hair replacement clinics and subsequent products are popping up like zits.
While it's not too late to improve the odds of keeping healthy abundant hair on the heads of our teenage sons and daughters simply by choosing biologically appropriate hair care products and healthy nutrition, baldies like Jim have little recourse once the follicles begin to fall.
Opting for the chance to start over, Jim was ready to try life as a bona fide baldy. Therefore, the first rule for him to embrace when it comes to matters of the head was "If it won't grow right, get it gone from sight." Basically, if your hair-do looks anything like Friar Tuck or a hemorrhoid ring, get to your barber and ask for a No.1 or zero guard, all over. 
To kick it up a notch, wet shave the head now and again (more if the Missus loves it). Men with male pattern baldness tend to have gorgeous, well proportioned heads that deserve to be shown off. When shaved smooth and properly hydrated, these kissable noggins are guaranteed the Lion's share of attention.

Shaving your own head can be tricky if you lack the flexibility and co-ordination to reach the back of the head with your razor. If contortionism isn't part of your DNA, invest in an ergonomic razor handle such as the Head Blade.
Once you have settled on the razor style that best suits your grip, how you prep the area and use the razor will determine your shaving success. Here are some simple guidelines:
  1. After a shower, vigorously massage a quality pre-shave gel over the entire scalp.
  2. Apply a dab of Glycerin based shave lather and prime your badger hair shave brush directly against the scalp until a rich, luxurious lather is achieved.
  3. Heat your razor in hot water before commencing the shave. Using short strokes (about 1 to 2 inch strokes) shave with the natural lie of the hair. Usually this will be crown to front, crown to ears and crown to the back of the neck. Be sure to rinse the blade of debris as often as possible.
  4. Apply another layer of fresh warm lather and shave against the lie of the hair. If your scalp is sensitive to begin with, shave diagonally or across the hair until it acclimates to its new condition.
  5. Rinse off with warm water and then splash with cool water. Dab off any excess water with a fresh cloth before applying plant based aftershave gel to close the cuticle.

Icy Hiking Conditions in the San Gabriels

Hiking and backpacking have long been two of my greatest passions in life. As a student in Baltimore, a buddy of mine and I made a ritual of spending our entire spring break hiking the Appalachian Trail, which runs the entire length of the east coast.
Our spring break was a week and, in that time, we would traverse an average of forty miles or so of it, covering a stretch of it that went from Pennsylvania down into Shenandoah, by the time we graduated. It was, without a doubt, some of the finest times of my life and we saw some great historic Civil War sites such as Harper's Ferry. After graduation, I kept my hobby up, next taking on the Grand Canyon with another friend.
A year or so back, I joined up with a hiking club, based here in southern California. In the brief time that I have been with this club, I have tackled a number of local mountain peaks; Mt. Baldy, San Gregornio, Cucamonga Peak and Black Rock, to name a few.
Prior to all this, as a boy, I hiked the hills and mountains of the San Gabriels quite a bit, as I grew up in southern California and only went to college back east. These mountains were my back yard. The same is true, I suppose, of a great many people who go up into these mountains on a regular basis, so it's easy to understand that the change in hiking conditions, during certain times of the year, could catch people by surprise.
During the last five years or so, from about the end of October through about March, I'd say, conditions in these mountains are not just snowy but also icy. This ice shows up in un-expected places as large, hard packed sheets that literally form ice chutes that stretch down the side of a mountain.
I had first hand experience with this a few years back; I had decided to take a solo hike up to the IceHouse Saddle. The IceHouse Saddle is a ridge that you pass through on the way to Mt. Baldy or some of the other peaks in this area. I took the IceHouse Canyon Trail that begins just outside of Mt. Baldy Village.
This is a picturesque trail that runs by a stream with small waterfalls and large pine trees. You ascend through a canyon, so all around you are the beautiful mountain peaks covered with fur trees and the deep blue sky above. I knew that the Saddle was much cooler than the base of the climb and that there would likely be patchy snow. I made it there for lunch and to enjoy the excellent view.
It was windy and cold, with patches of snow around just as I had anticipated. Just before one reaches the Saddle, there is a fork in the trail where another trail takes you back to the same trail head at Mt. Baldy Village but via a route that travels the upper ridge of the mountains and then descends during the last bit, into the trail head where you started.
I elected to take this 'upper' trail back. Things were fine until I came to a huge sheet of ice! Fortunately, I recognized the danger before I attempted to trudge across. Luckily, I had a walking stick with me, so I used it to carve footholds in the ice. This was, by no means, a flat walking surface you understand, but a steeply slanted plane of solid ice, probably a hundred yards or more wide!
It took me more than an hour to cross, slowly digging out holes to step in, knowing that if I made one misstep, I would go shooting down the mountain slope like a human bobsled until I smashed into a tree or a rock. It was very stressful and not fun at all.
I was lucky to make it back and, by then, it was getting dark. I was so stressed-out and exhausted that I tripped and fell on my face just before getting back to the parking lot! At least I didn't go sliding down the mountain and I landed on the hardest part of my body; my head, so I wasn't hurt substantially.
Obviously, some factors took me by surprise, but obviously as well, I did a few dumb things, one of which was hiking alone. Joining a hiking club has remedied this. It's good to have the judgment of other experienced hikers no matter how experienced you yourself are. With all those people around you are not likely to get hurt or lost and there's always someone there who has been there or experienced certain conditions before.

Okanagan Canada Ski Vacations - Affordable Family Ski Vacation Ideas at British Columbia Ski Resorts

The Okanagan Valley, in British Columbia, is surrounded by the coastal BC mountains, which offer protection from the cold arctic climate. Not only does this create hot and dry summers, it also makes for beautifully mild, ideal for outdoor recreation, winters as well. If you're looking for destinations for Canada ski vacations, consider the beautiful Okanagan in the south central Interior British Columbia.
The Province of British Columbia covers almost a million square kilometres, which makes it about ten times bigger than the United Kingdom. In addition, approximately 75 percent of BC is covered in mountains, and thanks to the westerly winds that blow in off the Pacific Ocean, it snows hard here all winter long.
Vernon BC, Kelowna and Penticton are all situated within about 2 hours of each other. And within that region are a number of ski areas, and resorts that accommodate family ski vacations very nicely. Although the Okanagan Valley is primarily a summer vacation destination, it is often overlooked when considering winter ski vacations.
Ski resorts in the Okanagan Valley include:
Silver Star Resort: Located near the city of Vernon, BC, Silver Star offers world class skiing and snowboarding in a picturesque, family orientated mountain village. With an annual snowfall of over 23 ft., 6 lifts, 115 runs, a tube park, and cross country terrain, Silver Star has absolutely everything one could ask for when considering Canada ski vacations. The daytime temperatures average -3 C (27 F)!
Silver Star Mountain resort operates from November to mid April for winter vacations. The village is a beautiful Victorian style inspired community, with retail shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels, vacation homes and a hostel. Much of the village is ski-in, ski-out access. If you prefer a vacation where you can stay right at the hill, this is one of the most beautiful in British Columbia.
Big White Ski Resort: Located just 45 minutes from the city of Kelowna, Big White is considered the second largest resort in the province, and caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. With a mild average temperature of -5C (23 F), 750 cm (24.5 ft) of snowfall, and 118 runs, it is quite comparable to Silver Star, and truly accommodates family vacations. It's got a huge terrain park, Nordic trails, and snowmobiling for outdoor adventure off the slopes. Big White is centrally located in the Okanagan, making it perfect for those who want to spend a day there, and then try out other resorts as well.
Big White is just 56 km (35 miles) from Kelowna to Village Centre, making staying in Kelowna an easy option for accommodations. Like Silver Star, Big White runs from November to early April.
Apex Ski Resort: Although it is much smaller than Big White and Silver Star, Apex is a full service ski destination located 33km/21 miles west of the city of Penticton BC. With an average temperature of -4°C, Apex receives about 600 cm of dry "Okanagan" powder each season. Among the locals, Apex is well known for it's steep 2000 feet of vertical drop in a short time. But it's also got a great variety of ski and snowboard trails for every level of skill, with a total of 68 trails.
A total family ski resort, Apex is affordable, fun, and ideal for those looking for quality and comfort. Accommodations at the resort are convenient and cozy, and there's a variety of activities for kids and families during time off the hill. Nickel Plate Nordic Center offers cross country ski trails. And an outdoor hockey rink of regulation size is the center of activity after the runs close, so bring a stick and a pair of skates along. You'll also enjoy an outdoor skating loop for those who want to do some outdoor ice skating. Apex operates from late November/early December until early April.

Texas Agricultural Workers May Be At A Higher Risk For Brain Cancer

Brain cancer risks increase with heavy exposure to pesticides, recent reports say. That’s troubling news for states with large agricultural industries, like Texas, which not only employs millions of legal and illegal workers every year, but also has over 25% of its population going without health insurance.
French researcher, Dr. Isabelle Baldi, and colleagues from the University of Bordeaux compared 221 adult brain cancer patients with 442 similarly-profiled members of the general population without cancer. The study found that “agricultural workers with the highest level of exposure to pesticides (are) twice as likely to be diagnosed with brain cancer as those with no occupational pesticide exposure.”
Baldi’s study focused on France’s famous Bordeaux region, which has one of the highest brain cancer rates in the world. Though she could not release specifics on which pesticides were used, the region, with its substantial vineyards, uses large quantities of fungicides.
According to an article released in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, gliomas, a type of tumor associated with brain cancer, are three times as likely to occur in exposed workers as those with no pesticide work exposure.
The study was also the first to produce statistically relevant data suggesting that those who treated their houseplants with pesticides were at a higher risk for brain cancer as well. Again, the cancer risk was approximately double, as compared with those who never used pesticides. Baldi warned that further research was needed to confirm this link, as no controls were in place for pesticide levels and reporting biases.
Previous research from other scholars found that pesticide exposure among farmers was linked with adverse effects on the brain, including Parkinson’s disease.
All this only fuels the debate over organic, versus conventionally-grown foods, which is as hot a topic in Texas as anywhere else in the country. Recent reports that the average conventional crop is 13% lower in nutrient content than the same crop produced a few decades ago, also seems to add to the stack of evidence in favor of organic systems.
No one in Texas is immune to the risks these products pose. The state already experiences 13 fatal injuries for every 100,000 agricultural workers, which is twice the rate of all workers in Texas. Chronic diseases and cancer, however, may take years to develop. Considering that agricultural pesticide use has skyrocketed over the last several decades, the prevalence of brain cancer -- and that of other brain disorders linked with these pesticides -- may skyrocket in years to come. Such a surge has the potential to cripple an already perilously strained state healthcare system, especially when one-quarter of all residents are uninsured. And, if Baldi’s preliminary findings on the cancer risk associated with household pesticide use proves correct, then everyone, including residents of cities like Dallas, Houston, and Austin, is in danger.
Just the ripple effect in the healthcare system alone may be cause for alarm. If an already strained system administers the necessary, expensive, and time-consuming treatments for uninsured patients with brain cancer, along with treating the rest of the state -- with its usual high rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and other cancers -- then those in need of care throughout the state will feel the effects of limited resources. There are only so many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to go around; there’s only so much public funding. Longer waiting periods alone for those with such serious diseases could prove deadly. And, unfortunately, this year has been a pivotal one for proving the ineffectiveness of our public system; the Commonwealth Fund confirmed only last month that lack of health insurance is linked with poorer quality of care in the United States.

More Scrambles In Kananaskis Country

Kananaskis Country is located east of Calgary in the outer ranges of the Rocky Mountains. There are many excellent places to go hiking in this area. A number of these are easy to moderate scrambles. A scramble is basically a strenuous hike up the least exposed route to the top of a mountain. Although scrambling is not considered mountaineering, it can be dangerous, even fatal. It is recommended you undertake take this activity in a group.
Mount Lady MacDonald
Mount Lady Macdonald overlooks the town of Canmore in the Bow River Valley. It is considered an easy to moderate scramble. It is an easy scramble up to the abandoned tea house, just above the tree line. However if you choose to go beyond the abandoned tea house to the summit, you will encounter some exposure. Getting to the summit involves traversing a knife-edge which leads to a short but very exposed section. If you slip and fall here you will be in a world of hurt. Once you reach the summit your elevation will be 8546 feet. To get to the trail head follow Elk Run Boulevard in the town of Canmore to the Cougar Creek parking lot. From the parking lot follow the trail until you reach a sign that points to the trail leading up to the top of Mount Lady Macdonald.
Mount Baldy
Mount Baldy is considered an easy scramble. But I have met people coming down the mountain who turned back because of the exposure. In fact some spots on the scramble route are not for people with a fear of heights. To get to the trail head travel west from Calgary to the Kananaskis trail. Go south till you reach Barrier Lake. On the opposite side of the road you will find an area to park. From the parking area follow the trail to the top where your elevation will be 7,192 feet. From the top you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Barrier Lake. If you are an experienced scrambler, you can hike beyond this peak to South Baldy and then to West Baldy. You will have to scramble down an exposed tricky section to get to the connecting ridge. The rock must be dry as a slip could be deadly. Once you get to the peak of South Baldy, getting to the peak of West Baldy is basically a hike along a ridge. The quickest way to get back to the parking area is to descend a scree slope between South and West Baldy, to a drainage gully. Follow the drainage gully to the highway.
Remember when you hike in Kananaskis Country you are hiking in active grizzly bear territory. It is recommended you carry bear spray and know how to use it. Travel in groups and be aware of your surroundings. Most bear attacks occur because of a surprise encounter. Obey all trail closures.

Use Fish Oil to Help Reduce Hair Loss

Are you faced with the daunting dilemma of hair loss?  Hair loss can be a traumatic and depressing event in any person's life.  There are, however, some natural remedies that may work to counteract the hair loss process.  Gimmicks and fake infomercial remedies aside, maintaining healthy hair is all about getting the right amount of nutrients.  Just like the rest of the body, having healthy hair is dependent on the nutrients that are available.  The wrong diet can easily lead to hair loss, or end up accelerating existing hair loss.  Read on to see how you can minimize hair loss problems.  
Fish oil is a great way to minimize hair loss problems.  When it comes to reducing hair loss, fish oil is packed with some of the most critical nutrients involved in regenerating hair.  Fish oil is also a natural remedy that will not blow the bank in the process.  Bottles of fish oil tablets can be found in most drugstores, supermarkets, and health food stores.  You will find that fish oil is really very affordable when compared with some of the solutions that are hawked online and on the television.   
Best of all, fish oil is reliable and safe.  Ordering medicines and remedies over the internet gives you no guarantees as to the safety of the product.  Fish oil can be found at almost all mainstream outlets, where it is bottled and safely packaged.  A single bottle of fish oil can last for weeks, so frequent purchases are unnecessary.  Fish oil is a very safe and affordable way to slow down or stop hair loss.   What is it about fish oil that reduces hair loss?  Fish oil is packed with the essential Omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA.  These natural chemicals are very important for the health of skin and hair.  The fatty acids facilitate the absorbing of nutrients, making it easier for skin and hair to grow in a healthy fashion.  Stress, disease, and age can all lead to difficulty absorbing nutrients.  This problem can be relieved or at least mitigated with the help of the essential fatty acids.   
Although the above factors are commonly to blame for hair loss, genetics is also a possible factor when it comes to hair loss.  Bad genetics can lead to premature hair loss that is hard to prevent.  Although genetic hair loss cannot be stopped with fish oil, it can still be slowed down significantly.  Fish oil makes it easier for hair to absorb nutrients, and this will slow down hair loss even in difficult genetic cases.  

Naturally Make Hair Grow Faster

Hair loss can be something you are worried about. It is common for women too even though that seems to be kept more secret in our society. Some individuals experience hair loss due to genetics. It can also be due to the products you use on your hair or underlying healthy conditions. Getting to the root of the hair loss problem is important so that you don't have to continue experiencing it.
There are some ways that you can naturally make hair grow faster. You want to avoid buying expensive products that promise you amazing results. You will just be wasting both your time and your money on them. Instead you want to turn to methods that are going to get your hair growing that will really work.
Stimulating your scalp is one very effective way to naturally make hair grow faster. You can do this each time you shower just by taking a few extra minutes to massage the hair follicles. It is believed this process is going to increase the amount of blood that gets to the hair follicles. You should use a hot oil treatment and a deep conditioning treatment every couple of months as well to keep your hair follicles healthy.
I healthy diet is essential for your body to have the nutrients it needs. You may not realize that those nutrients also help you to naturally make hair grow faster. If you don't eat right consider adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Eliminate bad carbs and processed foods. You will soon see a difference in your hair as well as your overall health.
You may find you need to take vitamin supplements in order to get the essential nutrients that you need. This is a very effective as well as affordable way that you can naturally make hair grow faster. You need to make sure you get your hair trimmed at least every six weeks. This will keep it healthy and growing. Many people don't realize this since the hair grows from the top down. However, when you have split ends your hair will stop growing.
In order to make your hair naturally grow faster you need to take good care of it all the time. Pay attention to the type of products you use on it. Many shampoos and conditioners out there are simply too harsh for everyday use. Find the type of shampoo for your hair type as well. For example if your hair is dry use those with moisturizers. If your hair is colored use those especially designed to keep processed hair healthy. Swimming and the sun can also damage your hair so make sure you take extra good care of it in the summer time.

Get Your Girl - Even If Your Bald!

All you baldies out there! If you think you don't stand a chance, I have some news for you. From Shakespeare to Bruce Wills, most romantics have been smooth-heads much to the delight of women! I feel disgusted looking at some unconfident romeos who failingly try covering their bald patches with whatever hair that is left on their scalp. And for god sake, a wig is not at all the solution nor is a hair transplant! Take it from me using artificial hair is a crime if you intend being yourself. Even the dumbest woman can tell a wig from natural hair! And some guys go to the extent of getting that horse hair woven into their skin. Yuck! By doing so you are only making a public announcement - 'Hey everyone! I am an unconfident ass without this nest on my bald head.'
A good remedy would be to do away with the scattered hair on your pate by shaving it regularly. Do that and proudly walk up to her with that shining head next time.
However, there are more concern areas that you need to pay attention to before you expect seeing some ripple effect. The first aspect that you should take care of is cleanliness.
If you think you look manly with that Fidel Castro beard, you have only done the right thing to get dumped first day itself. Women like men who are clean shaven. Getting kissed by someone with that wilderness making a way into our nostrils is the last thing we want in our romance! Mustaches are out, to say the least. Anyone having it reminds us of a cruel army general who anyway wouldn't care enough about our feelings.
As for your hair, pay a visit to a good salon and get it done up to a style that suits you. Men who pay attention to personal care have it on their agenda to visit a decent hair artist regularly. Don't forget, you could enhance or mar your appearance with your hair. Treat it very seriously.
No matter what branded apparel you wear, if it is not clean and fragrant, leave alone a woman, even an innocent kid would refuse to sit next to you. If you are confused what is in or what to wear look around what other smart blokes wear. You would do well to buy something similar for yourself unless you look outrageously obnoxious in that. There are many low priced but good quality brands available. Make an effort of going to those outlets and buy something that looks good on you.

White Van Man

When ever you hear the words "White Van Man" what is the image that conjures up in your mind. It is definitely that of a old baldy man, with a beer belly wearing tight T shirt and worn out denim jeans.
Most of us tend to remember the infamous white van man in this picture. We generally do not tend to think very highly of them and remember as the pesky drivers that tailgate our vehicles on the highway and overtake our cars and yell at us rudely.
But then look at what we found. You will be quite surprised.
According to a recent motoring survey carried out by Aviva, the White Van Men surprisingly topped the list in being called the 'smartest', the 'sexiest' and the most careful and successful drivers on road today.
Of the drivers who were respondents in the survey showed that while most of them were not equipped with a college degree, they were quite interesting in reading books, following politics and showed no interest in watching reality TV. The bikers who were similarly questioned responded that they had the least interest in reading books.
The survey also found that over 50% of the drivers were owners of their vehicles and were running it on lease with the logistics companies. When you consider that more than 80% of the sports drivers work for some one else, these drivers can certainly be called entrepreneurs.
In almost all cases it was found that these men tend to be proud and show off their van as a good asset. They try to impress others with their van, specially the women.
So now you might want to rethink again and conjure up a new image of a smart BMW driver as your White van man. Yes a lot has changed in the last decade or so and we can see the changes clearly now.

Hey Baldy! Losing Your Hair? Why, and What Can You Do About It

Your hair can be affected by many different factors. Diet, lifestyle, age and ailments all play their part in robbing you of your once plentiful head of hair, and leave you wishing that you could do something about it.
Women can lose hair after childbirth, or after giving up the contraceptive pill. Mostly that hair grows back, however not always and it can leave many women with a far thinner head of hair than they are used to having.
Many women find that when they go through the menopause their hair also gets thinner....and stays that way!
Rollers applied too tightly or worn for long periods is also a cause of hair loss. Massage of the scalp..reputed to be good for hair loss actually can cause the problem to worsen. Ladies often brush their hair vigorously and that can also make the hair thinner.
Hair grows very well and quickly in early adulthood, but the rate of growth slows and the hair gets a lot thinner as men and women get older. This occurs over the whole body and out of the 100,000 average hair follicles, we will lost naturally about 100 a day.
Male baldness, especially from the top of the head and the temples is mainly determined by heredity. However it does not mean that just because a father did not go bald that his son won't. Baldness can also come from the female side of the family.
Men often have areas on their scalp that are sensitive to the sex hormones that are in the blood stream. Hair follicles shrink, and eventually cannot replace the hair that is lost, so it gets thinner.
Usually occurring in men in their 20's or 30's, it normally has a familiar theme. The receding hairline starts to spread towards the back of the scalp, and usually causes two separate bald spots that gradually meet up and you end up with the top nice and shiny and the sides still quite thickly covered with hair.
There are some beliefs about hair loss, that are worth looking at..
1. Beer is good for the hair. True!
2. If you brush your hair 100 times a night it will shine superbly.. Also True! be careful however too much brushing can thin the hair and cause split ends.
3. Baldness is a sign of virility. False.. It can be partly caused by Testosterone circulating in the body, but while bald men often claim it to be a sign of virility, it is a fact that men with a full head of hair can be just as virile as bald men.
4. Hair can turn white overnight! False. Hair grows about 1/2inch a month, too slowly for someone to go white from grief or shock.

Men's Hairs Care - Bushie, Trim, Baldy Eagle Or Clean Shaved Elephant

No. I am not talking about men's hairs that grow on your head nor talking about hairs loss treatment. I am talking about hairs that grow in your most private part.
Grin! You read it right. Those little crinkle cutie bushie-bushie hairs on your crotch department. It is time to take care of them like most metrosexuals do. It has become a fashion nowadays and you can't simply ignore it as a part of your grooming ritual.
Pubic hairs shaving trend was apparently triggered by those guys in porn industries to show off their more meaty-me by get rid of hairs, later on it has become an option for men's hair grooming must-do, either for trend or just for body hygiene purpose.
Okay. You've decided to give it a try, but it is advisable that you understand some common hair shaving jargons before you step into the men's hairs shaving beauty parlor to prevent unwanted embarrassment.
Going Natural - Bushie or Full Bush
You do nothing to your pubic hairs and let them grow as they are. Full hairs still perceive as a mark of virile man and draw women crazy with their pheromone. But now, modern women tend to switch their taste to cleaner guys who have clean smell.
You only trim off some unwanted hairs and leave them about 1 inch long. The fun part is you may do some experiment like make a small patch on top of your base for instance.
Baldy Eagle
Shave all your ball hairs but leave the hair below your navel and penis untouched. You will have a smooth ball sack for your sweet heart to cuddle.
Clean Shave Elephant
You completely shave off hairs from your ball, penis, above your navel and your -----Now stand in front of mirror. What do you see below? Ahhh!!! My gosh! An Elephant with trunk hanging low is staring back at me.

The Scenic Driving Trail To Baldy Pass

The Baldy Pass is situated near the city of Conconully Washington which is about 51 miles in total length and can take 2.5 hours to complete. The trail will pass the Chewuch River and continues to make an ascent to the mountains at the Baldy Pass with an elevation of 6,515 feet to the First Butte lookout where it drops to an elevation of 5,491 feet.
The trail starts at central Winthrop and then proceeds to Riverside Street on the north. It continues to Bluff Street as you move forward reaching the Pearrygin Lake State Park. The trail then turns to East Chewuch Road. An alternate route from Conconully, takes west at the junction of West Fork Road and Conconully Road near its state park. From there, proceed to West Fork Road for 3.1 mile before swerving right to a northwestern direction on Road 37.
Back to the first route from Winthrop, follow the flat level road that turns north on the Chewuch River Road for 6.6 miles before turning right at a northeastern direction on Road 37. The Chewuch River is where salmon spawns around August. From Road 37, continue on the single-lane paved road of Boulder Creek where it ends at around 6 miles and then turning to Road 800 where you swerve left up north. Take Road 800 for 2.4 miles and then drive another 2.2 miles by going left to a southwest direction which will take you to the First Butte Lookout as the rest stop for this trail.
The First Butte Lookout was built in 1938 and is listed on the National Historic Lookout Register which is an active fire lookout provides you a 360-view of the surrounding area. It was also used in World War II as warning station for aircraft passing by. At this lookout, you may check the North Cascades region's majestic mountains and green valleys. You can also view its national park and the Pasayten Wilderness from here. Once done with sightseeing, proceed back to Road 37 and drive for 6 miles to Road 39's junction. Take a right turn with a southeastern direction on Road 37 as the dirt road makes an ascent to Baldy Pass for approximately 5.6 miles.
On this road you will be afforded with some excellent views of the Old Baldy's peak. This section is also west of the North Cascade range which stretches from California to British Columbia which offers a superb alpine scenic view. From here, descent to a narrow road and stop along the way as you check the eastern Cascade's foothills and the valleys of the Columbia Basin. The asphalt road resumes at 9.3 miles from the pass and continues to a junction around 5 miles more. Take a northeastern direction to the left where the trail proceeds to West Fork Road and upon reaching that, just take 3.1 miles more to reach the city of Conconully Washington.

Baldy Sox

My grandfather Leo Samuel Moomaw entered this world on April 3, 1894 joining six other brothers and sisters all born to his parents Samuel and Ellen Moomaw in the late 1800's.
Leo entered this world destined to forge a lifetime love of the industry of rodeo and western entertainment.
At a young age he loved horses and other farm animals and enjoyed being around them in the barn yard while his father worked close by.
He'd been born with a cleft lip, a condition that didn't keep him from enjoying an active, determined life. One day, at a young age, while playing in the barn he was kicked in the face by a horse, further splitting his cleft lip. Frontier medicine was primitive and corrective surgery was not an option. His mother Ellen, the family medic, carefully sewed up the torn upper lip making repairs to his cleft lip as she stitched. She shaped his lip into a more normal looking upper lip which eventually helped him to better form sounds into recognizable words.
Being kicked in the face by a horse did not deter the young cowboy from his fascination with horses.
Leo's father Samuel Moomaw was in the livery stables business in Colville, Washington in 1901. Ellen and Samuel recognized that it was a changing world and they strived to give their (by then ten) children an education. They enrolled their older children, including Leo at the St. Regis Mission near Kettle Falls, Washington. The school was run by a Catholic Priest and Nuns who offered both religious and academic training.
Leo did not take well to the rigorous discipline and rules of the boarding school. He was taught basic reading and arithmetic but resented the confinement at the Mission. He'd occasionally find himself in trouble with the strict Nuns earning him a whipping by the Catholic Priest.
Determined that his independence and spirit would not be broken, facing another whipping by the Priest, he escaped his tormentors by running away from the school. His father had taught him survival skills and he used them as he made his way on foot the twenty miles back to his home in Colville. He prayed that his father would understand why he'd left and figured that any punishment he might receive from his father wouldn't be any worse than what he would have endured had he stayed at the mission. He felt that no education was worth the beatings he'd endured at the hands of the Priest.
Samuel Moomaw did not insist that his son return to the St. Regis Mission. He chose instead to keep him at home and to teach him the business of running a livery stable. His father was a great mentor teaching the young Leo to ride horses, drive a team of horses, to keep the barn clean and to build fence. Samuel taught Leo everything he felt a farm boy should know in the era of the horse and buggy. He learned about the care of horses and he developed excellent skills in handling them.
In 1905 Samuel sold the livery stable and moved his family to the Enchelium Country about a mile from the small town of Meteor, Washington. The area was more rugged and less populated than the town of Colville. Their new home was within the boundaries of the Colville Indian Reservation. Proving her Indian heritage, Ellen and the children were enrolled with the Colville Indian Tribe and became entitled to allotments of land.
As Samuel and his son Leo drove a buggy around their land looking for horses for their new farm; they came across three young Indian braves named Roger, Pinhook and Gregware. The young braves had horses for sale. Encouraged by his father to do so, Leo excitedly picked out his favorite horse. Samuel recognized that the horse Leo chose had the potential of furthering his son's education. Samuel bought the unbroken horse under the condition that Leo ride him back to the ranch.
The two-year old sorrel gelding had a blocky, powerful quarter horse build. His big bald face and four white stocking legs made him the best looking horse the young Leo had ever saw. Although he was a bit frightened at the apparent power of the horse, he was proud and determined as his father encouraged him to trade the Indian braves for the gelding.

Adventures In Los Angeles - Backpacking Trip To Mt Baldy

The last few years that I lived in the Los Angeles area, I spent most of my free time in the mountains. Usually it was the Santa Monica or San Gabriel Mountains, but I also enjoyed the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountains. They were my cure-all for work related stress, city traffic and the need for fresh air and exercise. Because the Santa Monicas were closer to my home in the South Bay, I spent more time there at first, especially for mountain biking and after work hikes. But as I got into longer hikes, backpacking, and especially peak bagging, the San Gabriels became my favorites. Anyone who doesn't like living in the crowded big city of greater L.A., just needs to look up to the hills, where a whole different world awaits.
The main trail in the Cucamonga Wilderness is the Middle Fork of Lytle Creek Trail, which is accessed from Interstate 15, via Sierra Ave. I had hiked the trail numerous times, including my first solo overnight backpacking trip. Wanting to share this beautiful area with others, I organized a number of backpacking trips in the area. To me, any hike is better if it involves a mountain summit, so the first one was supposed to be a trip to Mt. Baldy. I figured this would be a nice overnight trip, especially because it would avoid the crowds on the normal Baldy routes that start in the Baldy Village area. Of course it would be a lot longer, but that is the purpose of a backpacking trip, something longer than a day hike. The trip would be about 28 miles, and was planned for December 8th and 9th, billed as the last backpacking trip before winter.
I was listening to the weather reports, and keeping an eye on Baldy as well. From the second floor windows of my house in Torrance, I had a great view of the summit, to check on snow conditions. Yes, there is snow in the mountains in L.A., and there is even a popular ski resort on Mt. Baldy. There had been some snow visible there already, but as the weekend approached, I was happy to see that it had all melted. Maybe others were wiser than us, but Frank was only other person to sign up for the trip. I hadn't met him yet, but we were both on the Pacific Crest Trail email list and he responded to my invitation. Frank had previously through-hiked the PCT, from Mexico to Canada, and as that was one of my dreams, I was looking forward to meeting him and talking to him about hiking the PCT.
We met at the Lytle Creek Ranger Station at 8:00 on Saturday morning, where we got our needed permit, and were planning on taking my car from there to the trailhead, a few miles east of there. As Frank was putting his gear in my car, he realized that somehow he had forgotten his sleeping pad. I had a couple of extra small pad pieces that I used for double thickness under my hip and shoulder, so suggested that he could use those, instead of driving to the nearest Wal-Mart to buy a new pad, which was probably 45 minutes away. In the interest of saving time so we would still be able to reach our goal for the evening, Frank agreed with my plan. Our goal was to camp someplace along the section known as "The 3 T's", which are Thunder Mountain - 8587 feet, Telegraph Peak - 8985 feet, and Timber Mountain - 8303 feet. We started up the Middle Fork Trail, which climbs steadily up to Icehouse Saddle, which is at 7580 feet. Here is a major trail junction, with one trail going up to Cucamonga Peak, one up to Ontario Peak, another going to The 3 T's, and a fourth one going down Icehouse Canyon.
As we hiked, I was enjoying getting to know Frank and hearing about his Pacific Crest Trail hike. We were about the same age, so it encouraged me to think there was a chance for me to do it as well, even though I was over 50. However, I hate being cold and wet, so when Frank told me about the ice cold river crossings in the Sierra Nevada, I wasn't sure that I would be able to do it. There were soon other things to consider though; we needed to find a camping spot for the evening. For some reason, I wanted to camp on a peak, so we had three options, one of The 3 T's. The summit of Thunder Mountain isn't on the trail, and I don't even remember if we took the side trail up to it, but we decided to go on to Telegraph Peak - besides it was higher - and higher is cool to a peak bagger. Somewhere on our way to Telegraph, we were surprised to encounter snow, which wasn't supposed to be there.
My house faces the southwest side of the mountain, which is clear of trees (hence the name Mt. Baldy) and was clear of snow as well. We were now on the northeast side and in the trees, and there was hard and icy snow on the slopes and on the trail. Of course neither of us had crampons or an ice axe, because I had said we didn't need them. When we got to the summit of Telegraph Peak, there was snow all around. We finally found a small bare spot of frozen ground, but at least there was no snow. I think Frank spent one of the worst nights of his life that evening, trying to sleep on frozen ground with two small foam pads under his hip and shoulder. It wasn't just a bad night's sleep, I don't think he got any sleep; he was so cold and uncomfortable! In the morning, it didn't take us long to decide to call off the Baldy summit attempt. The trail was very icy, and on a steep slope. We had tried going up on the bare ridge to avoid the icy snow, but that didn't continue long - soon we were back on an icy trail. We agreed that is was best to call off the summit attempt and head back down to the car.
We of course made plans to try it again in the spring, but Frank wasn't able to fit it into his schedule. On a second attempt in the summer, the problem turned out to be a lack of water, but I, along with my friend Jady, made it to the summit, while two others decided to turn back. Jady and I finally found water at the lodge at Baldy Notch on the way to the summit, and enjoyed a nice lunch there on the way back. It's a great overnight trip, just be prepared for snow and ice in the wintertime and bring lots of water in the summertime.

Greer, AZ Hiking - Government Springs and 94 West Baldy Trail

Winter offers the best time of the year to hike in the eastern White Mountains. There are few if any other hikers on the trail, the monsoon rains are not an issue and despite the large temperature swings - extremely comfortable if you are properly clothed.
It's early December and we decided to take advantage of the lack of early snowpack and do a little pre-winter camping on Mt. Baldy. At first we were going to drive to the West Baldy #94 trail head, but decided that hike would be too short for our adventure, so we began looking for something a little more substantial. My two friends Joe Walsh, Jr. and Roy Laos are both residents of Greer, AZ. We have shared numerous day hikes and side adventures together in the past. Joe happens to live dead center in the Village of Greer, AZ - ground zero between Molly Butler's and the Neon Moon. Joe has always wanted to begin a hike from his cabin, hike south on 373 to the Government Springs trail, then follow the West Fork of the Little Colorado River to the #94 West Baldy trail head - continuing to follow the West Fork to an appropriate camping area.
So, we made arrangements to meet at the Rendezvous Cafe early on a Saturday morning for a large breakfast before we commenced our journey, then back to Joe's cabin for a gear check. Unfortunately, we arrived at the Rendezvous Cafe a little early, their winter hours were bumped back to 8AM rather than the normal 7AM. However, the restaurant opened for us early and soon we were eating an excellent "base" meal for our trip. Back at Joe's cabin we made the last minute gear sorting that is typical of any camping trip or extended hike. All of our packs were around 50#'s and we were carrying two 4 season tents, food, down bags, sleeping pads, water filter, iPod w/backpackable speakers, saw/machete, fire starter, etc., etc. We were all utilizing trekking poles and had "layered up" with nylon windproof clothing on top and bottom. Joe had made a trip up the West Fork trail the previous weekend and reported that in spots there could be as much as a foot of snow on the trail.
We knew that we would be camping in one of the large meadows at the base of Mt. Baldy near the West Fork of the Little Colorado River to insure our water supply - beats melting snow. We reckoned that the round trip would be somewhere between 18-20 miles. Usually a day hike for us, but with 50# backpacks, an excellent overnight adventure!
As we began hiking south down the roadside trail next to 373 we knew we were blessed with a perfect December day - mid-40's, azure blue sky, no wind and that gorgeous Arizona winter sun. Arriving at the Government Springs trail head, we could see only a few footprints holding in the shady "snowy" areas. The Government Springs trail meanders along the West Fork and requires several crossings, our first crossing was over a "fish barrier" approximately 1.5 miles upstream, the next fish barrier was iced over and we were forced to rock hop over wickedly icy rocks...a minor slip by Roy yielded no bad karma as he was wearing waterproof boots. In less than 2 hours we were at the car park for the West Baldy Trail #94 at Sheep's Crossing. The 273 road which travels from Sunrise to Big Lake was recently opened after a two year massive overhaul. The new bridge at Sheep's Crossing is amazing, akin to a freeway overpass. As we began making our way up in elevation, the unconsolidated snow proved slippery and progress was slower than expected.
Hiking through the meadows with the sun beating down on us, it felt more like a day in May than early December. We were all sweating in earnest and stopped to drink every half hour or so. After an hour and a half we crossed the West Fork of the Little Colorado River one last time and arrived at a level campsite. The snow was close to a foot deep near the river and the water remained high, rock hopping was not an option for crossing. However, there was an "ice bridge" that looked strong enough to support our weight. Joe went across first, then Roy and finally me - hovering around 260#'s with all of my gear. The ice bridge was very slippery, baby steps and lots of balance points with our trekking poles. We were able to find some decent level ground with little or no snow to pitch our tents.
It was now mid-afternoon and previous campers had left some dry firewood at the camp site. We began gathering more firewood off the ground. I smiled as I watched Joe and Roy take turns with the machete/saw cutting up firewood which reminded me of red-neck samurai loggers. We held out until the last sun rays left our campsite before lighting our fire, it seemed like we had a half cord of wood to burn. Although the fire started slowly due to the snowy conditions, before long we were having dinner next to a wonderfully warm blazing fire.
We all retired around 8:30PM looking forward to sleeping in our 20 below bags and 4 season tents. Although we did not see any bear sign on the trail, we did hang our food and backpacks in trees a couple hundred yards away from our campsites. Bears are not the only critters that enjoy human food, skunks seem to have acquired the taste as well. One of the quirks of winter camping is that once you are in your warm sleeping bag, you tend to want to stay there for a long time. It was not unusually cold, probably around 20 degrees, but climbing out of a nice warm bag the following morning and into your clothes is a no-nonsense process....speed is your friend. We awoke around 8:30AM with no incidents during the night. We immediately got our fire going again, and were a little surprised that the previous evening's "barn burner" had left us without any red coals.