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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

People ask me, “Sue where did you hear about all these great adventure travel locations?” One way is through my clients of course! Another way is from the Annual Adventure Travel Show that will be at The Donald E Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont this weekend (January 28 and 29).

Tickets are only $15 and the vent is well worth the price of admission. (Only $7 if you book online!)

Here is what you can expect (from their website):

• Interact and comparison shop with hundreds of destination travel experts and tour operators representing thousands of vacation options all under one roof.
• Take advantage of free scuba lessons from a certified diving instructor.  Wetsuits, masks, air tanks – even hairdryers – are provided. Visitors 10 and older can dive into the 4-feet-deep, 18,000- gallon scuba pool and even play with an underwater scooter and MP3 Players. Bring your swimsuit and you are ready to go!

• Wake up your senses at the Fiery Foods Stage! Experiencing a destination’s cuisine is a big part of every travel experience you have, so we’ve developed a stage that showcases unique flavors from around the world – with a twist (and a little heat)!

• Photo Clinic–Travel photographer and author Ralph Velasco will be
offering a Photo Clinic at the Calumet Photographic Booth 1006

Saturday, January 28 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Sunday, January 29 11:00am – 12:00pm

He’ll be discussing his best travel gear tips and recommendations for anyone interested in embarking on a trip that has photography at its core. Ralph will also be available for small group and one-on-one questions during this time. Bring your camera!

 

For more info on parking, directions and more click here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Adventure Journal is a pretty cool magazine that shows outdoor adventure enthusiasts the latest in gear, events, people and culture and travel. It’s tagline is “the deeper you get, the deeper you get.” The web design is clean, well-organized and super easy to navigate and read. Even if you are not that big of an outdoor adventurer, it’s well worth checking out if only for the pics!

The brainchild of writer, photographer, and editor, Steve Casimiro, Adventure Journal was founded in 2008 and seems to be going strong. Read more about the rest of the staff at Adventure Journal here.

 

Image from Adventure Journal

With a host of highly talented writers and photographers, this magazine has some amazing pics. Checkout the print store for some of the most amazing outdoor adventure pics you can find! Link here.

Here are some samples of the site’s latest info on Adventure Journal:
New National Forest Rule Is Better — But It Lacks A Spine by Judith Lewis. Read it here.

• Watch the video of the BBC’s expensive camouflaged-as-snow-and-ice cameras, which were destroyed by inquisitive polar bears during production of “Polar Bear – Spy on the Ice”in this post here.

An Argument for Wilderness, by Wallace Stegner written by Steve Casimiro, link here.

• In the Gear section of the magazine, check out the Otter Smartphone case giveaway, a review on Freerider shoes, info on the Cyclotrope and a review of the new Specialized Road bike  here.

• And bonus section of the site is the link to about 50+ related blogs, sites and gear blogs. Go to the bottom of the web page and check out he links here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Great Smoky Mountains

In preparation for our hiking vacation to the Smoky Mountains last week, I looked up some hiking tips to see what hiking experts have to offer. I found the hiking.biz website and they offered some great info. They list a hiking checklist so you don’t forget essential gear (and if you didn’t think you needed certain gear, it’s a good reminder to be safe and pack well–and light)! One of the things I love about hiking is that I can see so much more than if I travel by car or bike. And there’s nothing like being miles from civilization in the mountains to bring out the MacGiver in me. I will tell you more about our great hikes last week in future posts!

Hiking tips that would make MacGiver proud:

• Tell people you know where and for long you are going hiking in case you get lost or injured.

• Don’t wear cotton–if it gets wet it stays wet and can freeze. Not good, especially for socks!

• Bring an extra pair of socks in case they do get wet. Great tips on hiking socks here.

• If you hike in mountains, bring rain gear. Weather can change radically in a short period of time.

• Pack light!

• Use camelpacks or hydration packs versus water bottles. They are easier to carry and use. The water tube can easily attach to your pack and you can walk and drink water at the same time if need be.

• Bring high energy food like Larabars or Gorp. Even on a day hike you never know how long you may end up being out.

• Bring a basic first aid kit. Blisters can ruin a hike–Mole skins and bandaids are a must. A Snake bite kit can save your life.

• Bring warm clothes and leave them in your car to change into after a long day of hiking. Great if you get wet!

• Pack a pocket knife or multitool. A MacGiver Must!

Hiking poles or sticks are extremely helpful for rocky or elevated terrain. I use snowshoe poles year round and they really help me get a better upper body workout as well as get me over streams and tough inclines.

• Bring a lightweight flashlight. You may end up hiking back in the dusk or dark depending on where you go and how well you can gauge daylight!

More tips here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

This past Sunday, I “hiked” the halls of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center to peruse the offerings of Adventure Travel Expo vendors. I got some great info on hiking, biking, rock climbing and white water rafting around the country and the world. I plan to tell you more about some of these great adventures in future blog posts. Today, I wanted share the news about an exciting local shop: The Scuba Emporium.

Mark and Laura Linse with David Hoitsma of Scuba Emporium

Mark Linse, one of the Scuba Emporium’s Scuba Diver Trainers, was on hand with a few other staff members to answer questions about scuba diving and, near and dear to my heart, Snorkeling Certification (aka Skin Diver certification). Mark’s lovely wife, Laura Linse, and team member, David Hoitsma, are also Dive Instructors at the Emporium and shared their enthusiasm and adventure travel stories with us.

I love to snorkel when I visit warmer waters of the world. but Mark and his team told me that one of the best places to scuba dive is in…Lake Michigan! Apparently, there are many “wrecks” in the lake and this attracts interesting mollusks and other lake creatures. More info on Scuba Diving in the Great Lakes here.

Snorkeling Training

Mark also told me that it’s recommended to wear a snorkling “vest” when you snorkle so that you can inflate it if you get caught in riptides. The vest will allow you to stay above the water level so you can breath while trying to swim back to shore. Which would have been great to know when I was snorkeling in rough waters of Costa Rica a few years ago! These tips and many others are part of the Skin Diving Certification at Scuba Emporium. Cost About $50 for 2 hours of training. I think that’s not a bad price to pay to help save my life the next time I snorkel!

Scuba Diving Training

Scuba Diving Training at Adventure Travel Expo 2010-Be a Diver!

For those that missed the scuba training at the Adventure Travel Expo last weekend, and want to “take the plunge” and obtain a scuba certification, the basic PADI course is for you. From the website:

The PADI Scuba Diver program is a pre-entry level certification that is perfect for vacationers or people who only plan to dive a couple times a year.

As a subprogram of the PADI Open Water Diver program, the PADI Scuba Diver rating allows you to get certified quickly and easily by minimizing time constraints. With the PADI Scuba Diver certification you can dive under the direct supervision of a PADI Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, Instructor or higher professional on your next vacation or dive trip.  cost: $127-200 depending on when you take the course. For more information about this course, click here.

In addition to lessons, the Scuba Emporium also sells a large variety of scuba and snorkeling equipment. Proper fit of masks and equipment is important, and the experts here will help you find the best equipment to fit your body and face.

Scuba Emporium Location
16336 S 104th Avenue
Orland Park, IL 60467
(708) 226-1614
See map

Hours: Mon-Fri 10-8, Sat 10-5
Sundays – Closed, Out diving

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Hiking in Palos Forest Preserves in February 2010

Don’t let the snow and cold keep you from exercising outdoors. With the right gear and proper supplies, you can still hike and enjoy the great outdoors!  And the Chicago area forest preserves are open all winter to help keep you on track.

I’ve had the good fortune to get out a few times in the past month and hike in the Palos area forest preserves with my partner, Jay. We both have snow shoes and poles but it’s been too slushy for the snowshoes. So we hike it and use the polls for an even better cardio workout. Don’t get me wrong, the gym is still a great place to go in winter for cardio and strength training. But being outdoors gives your mind a chance to get away from televisions, loud music and…crowds.

Moss covered rocks peeping through the snow heralding Spring!

We hike in waterproof boots and wear warm down coats. But as the hike goes on, we end up taking off our gloves and peeling off a layer as our bodies warm up.  It’s important to bring snacks to keep our blood sugar up and water for hydration. Even though it’s been relatively milder temperatures, we still need fluid and energy for the ups and downs of the ravines we travel.

If you feel a need to “get away from it all” but don’t have the time or money to fly somewhere, try the forest preserves in winter and see if a few hours of hiking in the woods doesn’t make you feel like you did indeed, “get way.”

Palos Ravines, the trail to the left, a nearly frozen creek to the right

For a map of the hiking trails in Palos Forest Preserves Trail System, click here.

Great Hiking Gear for Winter Hikes

• Columbia Sportswear Woman’s Moonlight Mover pant click here.

• Yukon Charlies 3 Section Adjustable Hiking/Snowshoe Poles click here.
• Pacific Outdoors Optima 10-by-32 Snowshoes click here.

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