Our hope is that we continue to grow and our mission is to provide everyone with a safe and fun environment to explore, enjoy, learn, and grow. I have had the pleasure of watching some of you test your limits and being able to celebrate with you when you do reminds me why I do what I do.
Growing Up Wild
By Meg Harbin
Hiking provides a splendid opportunity to learn more about our children. We are gifted a chance to witness them stretch their limits and delight in new-found confidences. The piece below is a reflection on a hike my son and I took together up to Len Foote Hike Inn near Amicalola Falls in northern Georgia last Independence Day, just after his thirteenth birthday. The experience itself was a beautiful metaphor of parenting a child through coming of age, and how we all do best to learn how to lean on each other through a process of interdependence.
Dreams Vs Doubts
Are my dreams just too big? I have to ignore the doubt that swirls around in my head. We can set up roadblocks which cause us to doubt our dreams no matter how big or small. I’m not smart enough, I don’t have enough money, the doors keep closing on me, I’m not strong enough, I’m not in shape, I don’t deserve it… the dream crashing begins. When we want something bad enough, we have to learn to ignore the negativity that creeps in. When that inner voice causes you to drift away from your dreams, you need to stand strong and keep moving forward.
My Empty Nest
By: Sabrina Lamberth
My empty nest has definitely been the year of first. My children had always been my life. Every day was intertwined with their schedule and I loved it. I wondered what in the world would I do with an empty nest. I knew I needed to find a hobby and a passion to keep me busy. A friend knew I loved the outdoors and invited me to a ladies camp out. I had always wanted to learn to camp and absolutely loved the outdoors. On my first camp out I met some of the sweetest fun ladies. We arrived at camp and our tents were set up, chairs were around a crackling fire and our hammocks were hung in the trees with care. Sounds almost like the night before Christmas and for me it was. I had never done much for myself so this was a treat and I knew I was hooked. I loved sitting outside laughing with the girls, eating amazing food and sleeping under the stars and Michele could not have made it any easier. We tucked in for the night and we were awakened the next morning by the grill sizzling and the absolutely amazing smell of fresh coffee. I promise it's the simple things. We had breakfast and then I was off for a little quiet time. Some of the crazy girls went for a trail run, I spent my time in devotion and prayer while relaxing in the hammock. How could I not take a moment and thank Jesus for his marvelous beauty and gift of the earth? After everyone regrouped we had a yummy lunch and went on a really beautiful hike. The hike was a little over 3 miles of trees, streams, and beauty, though all the laughing and talking made it seem much shorter. Pine mountain has some of the prettiest hiking trails around Georgia. I hated for my weekend to end but I knew I would be back for more.
We left before the children and grandma woke, stealing away in the dark before the rising sun. We made our way on two separate 737s, meeting again on the tarmac to weave through customs, a quick stop at the Hertz rental car counter, and lunch at a roadside food stand of coconut rice, plantains, beans, and onion sauce (pickled spicy-sweet onions, peppers, and carrots). Then we were onto the pot-holed streets through Belize City.
Pine Mountain Trail Association
The PMTA needs your help maintaining the 43 miles of trail to keep them safe and clear for everyone to enjoy. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of work and a lot of volunteers to accomplish this. Volunteer and enjoy the great outdoors! We are offering 20% off coupons for those that volunteer for the PMTA.
I was breathless. My arms were on fire, my legs had found muscles I didn’t know existed, and my hands were cramping. I was getting frustrated at myself; I don’t like not accomplishing a challenge, but I really don’t like not accomplishing a challenge in front of other people! But I was getting tired, so I began thinking to myself “I know one person in this entire group. And that’s my new husband. I won’t see these other people again, so who cares if I’m the only one who doesn’t make it?!”...
Preparing Your Feet for a Long Distance Hike
Your feet can cut a long hike short but there are things you can do prior to your hike and during to help prevent any issues. First, get to know your feet. Are they wide, narrow, do they sweat, toes that rub, etc. If you know your feet, you can research solutions that can resolve potential issues before they begin. Knowing your feet will also help you to know what type of shoe to use and how to lace your boots.
We teach all about foot care and how to properly lace your boots for your needs. Join us for one of our Backpacking Basics classes to learn proper technics.
Seacrest Wolf Preserve Experience
“Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mate, and their pack. They are experienced in adapting to constantly changing circumstances; they are fiercely stalwart and very brave.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
Become A Stronger Hiker
Your core is a complex series of muscles that extend far beyond your abs. Our core muscles are incorporated into almost every movement we make. For this reason, it's important to strengthen your core to improve your hiking. Your core acts as a stabilizer and force transfer center. This makes up pretty much all of your torsi, and then some. When you are looking for exercises that you are comfortable doing, think front, back/shoulders, sides, and upper legs. Remember to get the green light from your Doctor before starting an exercise plan.
The best way to become a stronger hiker is to hike. So strengthen that body and get out there and hike. You can gradually increase your distance. If you plan to do any backpacking we recommend that you train with your backpack. As with distance, gradually add weight to your pack for training purposes. A general guideline is that your total pack weight should not exceed 20% of your body weight. Carrying to much weight can make a backpacking trip miserable. If you are day hiking the general rule is 10% of your body weight. Calculate what you should carry and gradually work up to your max weight. Some great side effects from hiking/backing could be shedding some extra weight and strengthening your body. So as your training unfolds be sure to adjust your max pack weight.
Group Hike Series
We have started a monthly group hike series. This is an opportunity to learn about us, meet new friends, and take advantage of all the benefits of being in the great outdoors. You will meet Mike who is a big friendly guy that loves to lead our hikes. There will be some months that we have more than one as we will also join Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park and the Pine Mountain Trail Associations group hikes as well. We hope you will join us!
Preparing For Your Outdoor Miles
Aside from burning a lot of calories and providing allover toning, hiking never gets boring. There are also other benefits such as an overall feeling of happiness. The best way to train for a hike is to hike. But there are exercises you can do that will make your hikes smoother and safer. A strong core is a good place to start as it helps you maintain your posture and maintain stability on the uneven terrain.
Introducing 2018 Iron Braid Ambassadors
We are thrilled to present our 2018 Ambassadors. We are excited to be working with these amazing women to help spread our passion for the outdoors. They will be sharing their knowledge and passion of the outdoors with you throughout the year. Please visit our Ambassador page to learn more. Watch for their blogs throughout the year, upcoming classes they will be teaching, and all the exciting things we will be doing.
Sabrina is a proud single mom of three. She has a son in medical school and twin girls in nursing school. They had a great role model as Sabrina is an RN. Sabrina has recently gotten engaged and will be lovingly doubling her family. She also has her own small business empowering people to take care of themselves using essential oils. She loves teaching women about natural alternatives to support a healthy lifestyle. She has a strong Christian faith and her love for Jesus gives her strength.
You will find Sabrina camping, hiking, Kayaking and fishing in her free time. She loves the outdoors and finds great strength and peace there.
"Being outdoors soothes my soul and is my happy place. To sit by a campfire listening to the crackling wood and sleeping under the stars is better than any antidepressant!"
Anna is an outdoor enthusiast and has always loved the outdoors. She is a mother and a nurse and is always looking for ways to learn more. Anna is also a Rodan & Fields Executive Consultant. She plans to get her Wilderness First Responder Certification soon. You can find her sailing, scuba diving, backpacking, or kayaking just to name a few. Anna's love really took off in 2014 when she took a travel assignment in Yellowstone National Park. There she learned a lot about the outdoors and soon learned to be comfortable exploring the wild places.
Anna has logged many miles hiking in Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite, Ecuador, and many other places. She is excited to share what she has learned and how empowering that feeling is when you know how to safely explore. We are so excited to have Anna share her stories and passion with you all.
Shannon is a mom that has overcome a lot of difficult events in her life. She is a shining example of how we can take difficult situations and turn them into positive things in our lives. Shannon lived in what she calls "my safe little box" where she was comfortable but miserable. It seemed each year brought a new difficult event but Shannon chose to begin a path that she would find her strongest self. In addition to the life changes that occurred, she also began to tackle her fears and break out of her box. Although afraid of water, she went kayaking. She has also zip lined, loves camping, and enjoys hiking. Shannon and her son are on a mission to visit every state park in Georgia, of which they have visited twenty-one to date. Her favorite outdoor activity is hiking.
Shannon also trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and regularly attends her gym. She has been busy with school and is close to a bachelors degree in Sociology. In addition, she has a full-time job.
"I'm not here to be average; I'm here to be awesome."
Brittany & Morgan Hill
These sisters grew up in the mountains of New York always spending time outdoors. They spent their time hiking, kayaking, canoeing, camping, fishing, horseback riding and of course playing in the snow. Theses sisters attended 4-H when they were younger, learning all sorts of things about nature. This blossomed their love of the outdoors. Now as adults, they continue to love the outdoors and share it with their two dogs. Brittany has conquered many 5K's, triathlons, and obstacle course races. They both love snorkeling and Brittany is a certified scuba diver. They both have a huge adventurous spirit and Morgan loves to explore the unknown.Brittany and Morgan are constantly encouraging each other to tackle new adventures. They are going to add a lot of excitement to our team with their energy and laughter.
When they are not playing, Brittany is a Senior Occupational Therapist and Morgan is a Welder.
Meg is a mother of three nature lovers. They spend most of their weekends in search of adventure. You will find them hiking in the Georgia and Tennessee mountains. Meg also spends some time on solo adventures. She has explored the pacific northwest, some southeastern beaches, the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Springs. Meg has planned next year to explore the jungles of Belize during the winter and volcanoes of Guatemala in the summer.
Meg is a psychotherapist and has her own private practice in Peachtree City where she provides individual, group, and family therapy. She integrates yoga, mindfulness, and expressive arts along with other conventional therapies. She traveled to the Everglades to become certified in Dancing Mindfulness. We are excited to have her share her knowledge to help us empower women and share her passion for the outdoors.
Stacy is an environmental consultant. She gets paid to play in the woods. The picture above was taken during her den work this past winter. Who wouldn't love to have her job? Her passion is to get women outside and to not fear the outdoors. She also teaches women to respect and protect our wild places. Stacy advocates for women of all sizes to get out and be active. Her loves are hiking, bird watching, and spending time with others outdoors teaching them ways to disengage from all the energy we are bombarded with on a daily basis, and how to re-energize and ground ourselves with the wonderful vibes nature has to offer.
"Getting women outside the box and introducing them to new adventures really makes my soul sing"
The Year Of Giving - Karen Burrowsfield Spotlight
We would like to introduce a woman who is a leading example of service. Karen Burrowsfield was born in upstate New York and moved to Florida when she was five years old. She knew from an early age that she was meant to serve and wanted to go to the Peace Corp. God had a different plan for her though. Karen gave her service in the Army. She was in the Army Intelligence in the 1980's when she met her spouse, who was in the Air Force. The military was her family from 1984 to 2014. Karen went through a divorce then moved to Columbus, Georgia without knowing anyone here.
Her service didn't stop there. Karen volunteers twice a week in a 5th-grade classroom, monthly at the Columbus Dream Center, seasonally for Feed My Sheep growing vegetables, monthly for Empowered to Foster babysitting for foster care families, she also teaches at her church during Vacation Bible School and other children's activities. Are you exhausted from reading this so far? She also works full time as a job coach for the developmentally disabled here in Columbus. I have had the pleasure and blessing of meeting this amazing woman who is a shining example of service and selflessness.
I asked Karen what service means to her and her answer was - joy.
"Joy to me means me being apart of the bigger picture. I hope my service brings joy."
Amongst all her service and work, she finds time to explore, enjoy new adventures, and spend time with her friends and family. Thank you, Karen, for being a leading example of a life filled with service.
The Giving Year
This is the time of year that we give to those we love and to perfect strangers. As we walk out of the store we hear that familiar sound of the bell ringing and we drop our change in the slot. We decide that we will use part of our holiday funds to provide food or gifts to those less fortunate. We find joy in buying gifts for others instead of gifts for ourselves. People tend to have kinder spirits and compassion towards others.
What would happen if the giving season was spread throughout the whole year? I asked our friends to answer two questions. Who has inspired you recently and what was the last nice thing you did for someone. The answers left me feeling hopeful and happy. It seems we are surrounded by such negative stories and certain actions are glorified by giving them the attention they do not deserve. This, at times, leaves us feeling disappointed in humanity and we lose hope.
Upcoming Events & Courses
2018 Iron Braid Adventures Ambassadors
We will be introducing our 2018 Ambassadors in January! We are so excited to partner with these amazing women. They will be sharing their knowledge and stories with you while helping us spread our passion for the great outdoors.
We will be starting our courses back up in March. We will offer Wilderness Survival, Backpacking Basics I, Backpacking Basics II, Trail Safety & Self Defense, and Land Navigation Basics. These are all basics skills that will help you to have safe and fun adventures.
Iron Braid Adventures Online Store
We currently have items on sale to make room for new and exciting items for 2018. Check out the savings and watch for our new and improved store.
Monthly Group Hikes
We will be doing a group hike once a month on the Pine Mountain Trail. This event will be free and open to everyone. Watch for dates posted on FaceBook! We also do a group walk at Flat Rock Park in Columbus the first Tuesday of every month.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We will be taking a break to spend time with our family and friends during the holiday season. We will be doing an end of year hike on December 30th and we hope you will join us. It's a great way to end the year! We will also be joining the Pine Mountain Trail Association on their First Day Hike 2018.
Iron Braid Adventures End Of Year Hike
On December 30th we will meet at the WJSP TV Tower parking area at 11:00 and hike the Wolf Den Loops 6.7 miles. We will take a break to eat and relax so bring your lunch or a snack. Come alone, bring a friend, or drag your spouse along.
This event is FREE but please send us an email or text us if you plan to attend so we know to expect you.
firstname.lastname@example.org / 706.573.2968
FIRST DAY HIKE 2018
Hike in the New Year with Pine Mountain Trail Association Guides and a herd of new friends. Trek the Overlook Loop Trail 3.4 easy to moderate miles through winter woodlands along a narrow section of Pine Mountain Ridge. Meet at the Callaway Country Store Overlook parking lot. Dress for the weather. Geared towards ages 8 and up. Bring water and a snack. The event is free.
This event is not sponsored by Iron Braid Adventures
"It’s not about the trail. It’s about what we find on the trail."
What Children Do With Out Technology
In my experience when you take kids into the woods, they survive without all of the technology that we are surrounded by. They will actually use their imagination and play with each other. Children today seem to communicate more through their phones than in person. We love to see them working together, playing, and laughing. Although technology is part of our life, it's also important to get the kids disconnected from it once in awhile. This past weekend I was so happy to see the kids running through the woods, playing hide and seek, and making up games. I also witnessed them supporting each other and showing kindness. With everything we see on the news today, it's a blessing to witness the joy on children's faces from just simply being outdoors.