Monday, October 20, 2014

Warmer Weekend #28: A Taste of Northern Michigan

I just want to get it out there that I love summer.

When you live in a state that, if surrounded by any more lakes would be its own island, you learn to have an appreciation for the fresh water beaches from all sides.

While the summer sun is a rare and treasured thing here in the Mitten, I have to say that autumn in Michigan is one of my very favorite times of the year.

October boasts some of the richest and most creative color schemes you will find anywhere and is known for bringing in spectators to partake in just one of the many attractions that Michigan has to offer.

This past weekend, I made the trek north to the house I grew up in the western point of Montcalm County. My parents still reside there, while my siblings and I have mostly made our way south towards the thriving metropolis of  Grand Rapids.

My oldest sister's birthday was the latest reason for the family to gather and we couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather.

October in Michigan can swing one way or the other and not in a leisurely manner. Mother Nature seems to get a bit particular this time of year and anyone who has lived in the state long enough knows to keep every possible weather necessity within reach in their vehicle.

Following dinner, my Mom, sisters and myself, along with several nieces and nephews ventured out for a walk and as always, the trees did not disappoint.

We encourage you to take a little walk out your door to see what autumn is doing on your side of the tracks. We're sure you won't be disappointed.

Until Next Time,
Emily The Warmer Team

Friday, October 17, 2014

Day Trip: Experience the Great Salt Lake

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Utah?  Most Americans would probably answer 1. Mormons and 2.  Great Salt Lake (maybe skiing or the Olympics for 3rd?). 

I’ve lived in Utah for most of my adult life and the interesting thing is until 2011 I had never been to see the Great Salt Lake.  I had driven by it, but not stopped to take a look and certainly hadn't swam in it.  I would bet 80-90% of Utahns are like I was and had never set foot near the Great Salt Lake.  This is funny because daily buses of Chinese tourists come up to take a look at it.

Why don’t people go to the Great Salt Lake? Well, the long and short of it is- it smells.
One blog said:

 “Yea, I was going to say, who would want to stink like the Great Salt Lake!??! You can smell it as you start to drive near it. My daughter went on a field trip there, and her shoes stank for at least a week. A co-worker once went out there and her shoes stank up the whole office afterwards.”

Sounds pretty unpleasant right?  WRONG!

I was in the ‘who swims in GSL?’ camp most my life, but in 2011 I discovered open water swimming and my life has never been the same.  As great as pool swimming can be (I love any kind of water) there is something special about being out in nature where the water is unpredictable and full of surprises.

And no body of water is more unpredictable than the Great Salt Lake. It’s a totally unique and exhilarating experience.

You step in the water and your skin prickles.  My friend calls it going for a quick pickle. Every pore in your body reacts and burns (people think it is like the ocean and it is not at all). It’s a wild experience but to me that is part of the fun of it.

There are so few times in life we can do something special and when I swim the GSL I can honestly say I’m 1 of only a handful of dedicated swimmers who have that same experience each year.  That’s pretty cool! Plus, it really is beautiful.  

The older I get the harder it is to be genuinely surprised by anything and each time I swim in the Great Salt Lake (or any open water) it feels new and unexpected. 

Every year on the first Saturday of June my swim club Salt Lake Open Water (SLOW) sponsors a 1 mile swim in the Great Salt Lake and it is tough in every way.  But it is also exhilarating. I have done it 3 times and each time goes down as one of the best days of my life.  

To challenge and conquer nature is an experience every human being should have.

Some tips:
1.      Make sure to go early in the summer (May and June) because later there are too many spiders and bugs.
2.       Always go with friends when open water swimming and wear a safe swimmer so you are visible to boaters.
3.      Keep a swim to an easy return level because conditions can change rapidly at the GSL (windstorms can come on and I’ve been in 6 foot swells without warning)
4.      You will have brine shrimp (only living organism in the lake) on your body and suit but it washes right off.  (There is a hose to rinse off in. Rest comes off in the shower. No big deal)
5.      Contact SLOW on facebook and find out when swimmers are going and join in.  There are members of the Wasatch Front Polar Bear Club who swim GSL year-round!
6.      Have great goggles. I usually tuck an extra pair into my suit because you do not want to have goggle problems at GSL
7.      Drink lots of liquids before and after because that salt will dehydrate you fast
8.      Where possible have a kayaker accompany your group giving water, checking safety etc
9.      Count your strokes.  This has helped me so much with open water. The shoreline can feel like a mirage but when you focus on 20 more strokes, 50 more strokes, you will get there.  I promise!
10.  Sighting can be helpful but GSL is tricky since nothing grows around it that’s why best to go with group.
11.  Smell does not last for weeks.  Take a hot shower and launder your clothes in hot water and you’ll be fine
12.  Oddly the smell is much worse just outside the lake than when you are swimming in it.  I don’t know if you just don’t notice it but it really is a non-issue in the water.
13.  Wouldn’t recommend shaving anywhere right before going in the GSL.  It will burn!

I’m probably not making it sound like very much fun but swimming in the Great Salt Lake is an adventure.  It’s something you can gather with friends and take on together.  It’s a beautiful part of my home state and I recommend everyone give it a shot, smell and all. 

Open water swimming also teaches me about life every time I am in the water.  The shoreline can feel so far off but if I push through and don’t give up I will prevail.  That’s one of many lessons I’ve gotten from the sport over the years.

Oh and you do float which is kind of cool!

Here I am getting interviewed after my 2013 race, which was incredibly difficult for me to finish but I did it! (Zoom ahead to the 3 minute mark for the interview)

Next time you are in Utah let me know and let's swim GSL together!

Until Next Time, 
Rachel + The Warmer Team

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Product Spotlight: Grabber Adhesive Toe Warmers

There are few things in life that can steal your comfort more than cold toes.

Whether it comes from walking through a puddle while wearing the incorrect puddle jumping footwear, dealing with that little clump of snow that managed to make its way down into your sock or if you’re simply forced to deal with the latest round of biting chill in the air, courtesy of Mother Nature.

It’s simple. No one likes cold toes.

We enjoy keeping our little phalanges nice and toasty as much as the next guy and in our mission to save the comfort of countless pairs of feet, we have found that our Grabber 6+ Hour Adhesive Toe Warmers couldn't fit the bill more perfectly.

The thin, comfortable unique rounded toe design and adhesive backing insure that this portable source of heat that packs a punch will maintain its place for as long as you need them. 

The product is specifically designed to function in low oxygen shoes and boots, allowing you to embark on that adventurous hike that you've been dreaming of for so long! 

No matter if you are going for a hike, planting yourself in your tree stand or just positioning yourself as a spectator at our son’s homecoming football game, you want to be sure that you don’t have to deal with the nonsense of uncomfortably cold feet.

So, as you get ready to jump in the car for your next cold weather excursion, toss a few pair of Grabber 6+ Hour Adhesive Toe Warmers into your hunting bag or glove compartment to serve as the perfect accessory for a truly enjoyable time in the great outdoors. 

At the end of the day, you want warm feet and we’re right there with you.

 Grab a pair of our Toe Warmers and just watch to see what a comfortable experience awaits you. 

Until Next Time,

The Warmer Team 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Warmer Weekend #27: Grand River Park

Grand River Park is located on the outskirts of Jenison along, you guessed it, the Grand River. This is a great little park for family outings, sportsmen and physical activities. It's trails wind along under the overhanging trees, down by the river and back up to the small pond.

Even though this adventure started out slightly rainy, it ended up mostly sunny with just a brisk chill in the air. The perfect Michigan fall afternoon and great for any outdoor enthusiast. 

Until Next Time, 

The Warmer Team

Monday, September 29, 2014

Warmer Weekend #26: Friday Night Fishing

Sometimes we just need to get away. To breath in nature and enjoy spending time surrounded by good friends and the great outdoors. That's what Margeaux & her husband did a couple weekends ago. 
Fishing pole, check. 
Cabin, check. 
Friends, check. 

 What else do you need to have a great time? Not much... 

So what about you guys? Any adventures that involved cabins, fishing or friends? Let's hear about it in the comments or on social media! #warmerlife

Until Next Time, 
The Warmer Team

Monday, September 22, 2014

Warmer Weekend #25: Chilly Morning Walk

The air was crisp and cool under the cover of branches and leaves on Sunday morning. Light was peaking through the cover and shining down light a spotlight on the forest floor. 

The Hudsonville Nature Center is a beautiful chunk of land set aside for all adventure types in the outskirts of Grand Rapids. The trails, look outs, streams and board walks offer an awesome opportunity to get out in nature without having to go too far from home. 

Who doesn't love the chill of the morning or the sound of the wind through the trees? This quick walk through the woods was fantastic and a perfect way to start out the day! 

Are there any small hiking trails that you guys like to go to over and over? We would love to hear about them! 

Until Next Time, 
The Warmer Team

Monday, September 15, 2014

Warmer Weekend #24: Rain Filled Wanderings

Just a handful of photos snapped while out of town several weekends ago. The rain, while derailing some of our plans, made for some lovely photos. Plus, there was ice cream and we saw a little buddy on the side of the road. 

All in all, a good weekend. What did you guys do this weekend? Any adventures? Make sure to share them with us using #warmerweekend!

Until Next Time, 
The Warmer Team