Hiking Adventures: Ape Caves!


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Location
South Cascades -- Mount St. Helens

Length
2.8 miles round trip (Lies see below)

Elevation
Gain 350th

Other Helpful Info.
There is a 5 dollar parking fee. Cash or check accepted.

Let's address the lies that all the website stated on the mileage. Washington Trails Association said 2.8 miles round trip. All Trails say 3.1 miles. MountStHelens.com the upper caves are 1.5 miles. Lies all lies every website lies!!!!!! I clocked on my Fitbit Blaze over 6 miles round trip. That started from parked car to parked car. I wish I would have taken a picture of my blaze before we left but I didn't think of it. So aside from what I thought how long the hike was and how long it really is. It was totally worth it. Would I do it again? Probably but its gonna be a while!

The Ape Caves are located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest to the south of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. They formed over 2000 years ago from lava streaming down the southern flank of Mount St. Helens. While the outer edges of the lava stream cooled in to harden crust, the inner molten lava was able to drain forming a tube before it hardened. There is an upper and a lower cave you can hike through. The upper cave is a difficult hike that has 27 rock piles you climb over. The lower cave is a little uneven walk with wide open cave to explore.

There are a couple theories of why the lava tubes got their name of Ape Caves. One is that the first explorers called themselves Mt St Helens Apes, and that is where the name came from, and the other is Sasquatch. Only in the PNW would we name caves after Big Foot.

The Hike

Lower Caves
The kids loved and hated it. As I mention before there is a upper and a lower cave. The lower cave is an easy walk, we went in this one first. Make sure that you have ankle supportive footwear, if you have weak ankles. Its so dark in there its easy to miss your step and roll your ankles. This cave is great if you bring a lantern to light up the whole cave. You can also rent one from the little hut before the entrance to the cave. At first my daughter was very nervous but she got over it after a little bit.






















Upper Caves
The upper caves, this is the more difficult hike. There is 27 boulder piles. If you have kids that love to climb and crawl this is a great hike for them. The most difficult part is an 8 foot high lava wall, with only 1 good foot hole. It was at this point that I wanted to turn back and go out the way we came, but my husband was determined to finish. I wanted to cry. But we got over those 27 rock piles, with only 1 break down from my daughter, one almost break down from me, a son who secretly loved the hike but claims he doesn't, and triumphed husband who didn't want to go in the first place.









































It was fun, its one of those things you might only do once, or maybe once every five years. 


Helpful Tips

Pack
Cash or check for parking
Headlamps with extra batteries. My headlamp was getting pretty dim by the end of the hike. My husband didn't want to take a head lamp and used a flash light, he had to change the batteries twice. I recommend a head lamp instead of a flash light in the upper cave because you are going to have to crawl over rocks and you need both hands.
Extra Batteries. For reasons I stated above.
Water. Lower caves not as needed. If you hiking the upper caves definitely needed.


What to Wear
Layers! The temp is a steady 42 degrees. At first it will seem pretty chilly but about half way through you be shedding your layers.
Small Back Pack. There are some places that are a tight squeeze.
Shoes that grip and provide ankle support, if you need it. I actually saw a guy in flip flops, I'm sure he was not happy by the end of the hike.
Pants! All four of us slipped, adds a little extra protection.
Fitbit Blaze. This is to prove my point about the mileage, not really necessary.



What I Wore
Nike Zip Up Hoodie
Nike Women's Training Pants
Teton Back Pack
Adidas Trail Runner Shoes
I didn't a pic of me.

The Kids Wore good gripping tennis shoes, jeans for a little extra protection for scrapes, T-shirts and hoodies.

Tip: I wouldn't wear jeans if your thigh touch. Just sayin.









10 Things I Say Every Soccer Season


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#1 We don't have time! We have to go! Your game starts in 15 minutes and it takes 20 minutes to get there!

#2 Where is that smell coming from?..... There is no possible way your cleats smell that bad, I can smell it all over the house. I thought something died in the crawl space.

#3 No I don't know where your green socks are, why don't you wear your blue ones! Both of your blue ones are right here. Fine, you can wear one green one and one blue one, just get dressed. We have to go!

#4 It's pouring down rain you can't just wear shorts and your uniform shirt.

#5 Yes you have to say good game even know you lost.
I know you didn't think it was a good game but its good sportsmanship.
We will talk about sportsmanship in the car JUST GO SAY GOOD GAME AND GRAB YOUR SNACK YOUR SISTERS GAME STARTS IN 15 MIN AND IT TAKES 20 TO GET THERE!

#6 I don't care how many times they fouled you and ref didn't see it you don't foul them back. We have already discussed what good sportsmanship is 15 billion times this season. and it's important. Keep your hands to yourself this is soccer not tackle foot ball.

#7 It doesn't matter if you get creamed it matters that you learn something and have fun! Yes, you can have fun even though you get creamed. Stop saying creamed!

#8 Stop picking flowers while you're on the field. That's how as you say it "get creamed"

#9 I will yell and scream and cheer for your team all I want. I paid your registration fee.

#10 Child: why are we at the store after bedtime......
 Mom: Because I'm snack mom tomorrow and I forgot.
Child: You always forget.

Bonus Round

Why is white even a color available on soccer uniforms, do they know I don't have time for grass stains!!!!

If you like this post check out my other post on soccer mom tips.

Adventures of a Soccer Mom: Soccer Field Survival

Adventures of a Soccer Mom: Soccer Mom Survival Kit

Adventures of a Soccer Mom: Essential Oil Soccer Mom Survival Kit

I would love to hear what you have said as a soccer mom!!!



My Favorite Essential Oil Books

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This is a list of books that I own and reference to a lot! If you know of any Essential Oils or Other good books please let me know in the comments! I'm a huge book worm and would love new material! If I find a new book that I love I will add it to the list, so keep checking back!




How To and Saftey

The Art of Aromatherapy - Robert B Tisserand
I love reading this book. It gives a ton of history on each oil. In general, I follow Robert Tisserand closely.



Essential Oils Safety - Robert Tisserand /Rodney Young
This is a text book style of book.



The Aromatherapy Bible - Gill Farrer-Halls
This was the first book I owned on aromatherapy when I was just a new massage therapist. It's great for beginners. It gives good information without getting too overwhelming. My favorite chapters are on aromatherapy and the chakras, and astrology.



The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils - Julia Lawless

I love this book when I'm working with an oil that I'm not super familiar with. It has all the info I need, this book is good for experience oil blenders as well as beginners.





Recipes

Essential Living  - Andrea Butje
This book is great for beginners that don't already blend there own oils. This was one of my first books that I used.



The Complete Book of Essential & Aromatherapy  - Valerie Ann Worwood
I love this book, when I'm stuck and can't come up with a blend this book has it!!










Massage Books

Accupressure's Potent Points - A Guide to Self - Care for Common Ailments  - Michael Reed Gach 
I use this book a lot in my practice, for issues like headaches, pregnancy, and for any kind of pain. I use a lot of points on myself. It's easier to find a point and hold it then it is to try and self massage. 

How to Use Essential Oils

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To use oils effectively and safely do your research. Know your oil and why your are using it. Don't use an oil because you saw it on a Pinterest post. Don't use an oil because you saw on this blog, until you do your own research from a trust reliable source. Just because it is natural doesn't mean its safe.

How to Store Your Oils
Store them in a cool dark, air tight glass container. Sunlight and heat speeds up oxidation of your oils, breaks them down faster. Do not store them in plastic containers.

How to Make a Blend
Chose your Carrier oil. Like with Essential oils, Carrier oils have properties and purposes too. Like coconut oils is a warming oil, so I don't want to use it on a sunburn, Aloe is a better carrier for that. Then comes the fun part choosing your essential oils. To make a well rounded aromatic blend, choose 3-5 oils. Also look for Base, Middle and a Top note. Then chose the size then the percent that you want to dilute and mix away. The easiest way I found to make blends is in the diffuser. All you need is the neat oils, no carriers. The plus to this is that if your love it, then you cant make a blend later with the carriers and use it on your skin. But if it is awful and you don't like the smell dump it out and start over. The oils are super expensive so I would hate to dump a full blend.

I use a simple formula to calulate my blends, this will give you a 2.5% dilution
# of ML divided by 2 = total drops of essential oils for the blend


There's 3 ways to use EO (Essential Oils) Topical, Inhalation, Ingestion.


Topical
Apply EO blend to desired area of the skin. EO should always be diluted when applied to skin.

Dosage or Dilution of oils.
For Childres dilute .05%-1%  so 6-8 drops EO if your 1oz container

The most common dilution is 2%-2.5% about 15 drops EO for 1oz container

For Fragrance and Therapeutic Aromatherapy 2.5%-5% 30 drops EO for 1oz container
(I do not recommend putting this on your skin! My skin will have a reaction to this percentage.)

Anything over the listed above I would do so under the supervision of a Medical Professional.

Carrier Oils
Carrier oils are what you a dilute the EO with. A few of my favorites are Coconut oil, Aloe Vera, and Grape seed oil.




Bath (inhalation and topical)

You can use Neat (undiluted) in your bath water but take caution. As everyone knows, oil and water don't mix, therefore the oil will bind to the fatty acid in your body and may mild to sever irritation. To dilute the EO for a bath use 1/8 to 1/4 oz of alcohol or whole milk in a glass container, add 12-60 drops of EO mix, then add to your running water.
Note: Remember EO is a fat, and fat binds to other fats.

Inhalation
This is my favorite application and what I use most often. Just inhale the smell of the EO. A few inhalant application are diffusers, steam, and spray.

Ingestion
This is the most controversial way of using EO. Essential Oils are regulated by the FDA so you can use it internally, but I would use extreme caution while doing it. I personally do not use them in this manner, so I have no advice on how to do so safely. But bellow is a great interview with Robert Tisserand on this subject. I also posted a link to his book below, its kind of a text book so its not easy reading, but its my go to if I have a question on oils. Here is a really good Interview with Robert Tisserand where he talks about this.

Some Cautions
Some oils cause photo-sensitivity or Photo-toxicity. If worn it will make you more sensitive to the UV light and can cause blistering and  sun burn from a small amount of sun exposure. Oils to look out for are: Orange, Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit, and Bergamot.

Another Caution is Sensitization. Sensitization is cause by using an oil continuously or for long term and you develop and allergic reaction to it. Using neat oils continuously will increase the chances of sensitization to happen. To avoid this mix up your blends. If you make your own face wash your should have 3 different with all different oils and rotate them.

Also if you like to take a free class from Aromahead Institute, the link is below as well.
Free Intro to Essential Oils.

Oh to My Foam Roller


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It's no secret I love my foam roller. I have touched on it in a previous post DIY Massage! 5 Ways You Can Massage Yourself. that foam rolling is a great way to self-massage. But honestly, it is my favorite form of self-massage. You can get almost a full body massage with it, and do it daily.


As a massage therapist, I have a strong opinion that regular massage is good for your health. It helps reduce stress, muscle injuries, scar tissue, increases flexibility, the list goes on and on. But as a busy mom, it's hard to take time for myself and go get a massage. So I foam roll.


I try to foam roll daily. Being a massage therapist is a pretty physical job. I am reaching with my arms out in front of me all day and that is horrible for my posture. So coming home after a long day and laying on the roller opening up my chest and shoulders feels amazing. I also get frequent headaches from holding my tension in my neck and shoulders. So massaging that out on the foam roller when needed has reduced my headaches.


There are several types of foam rollers, there are long, skinny, short, fat. All have different ways to use and different purposes, you could even do workouts with them.

I use one like this



The inner and outer pieces separate, so I can customize my roll. The inner roller is a little more spongy while the outer roll is firmer with little massagers to help get in deeper.

There are also longer ones too.




Same concept just longer.  This roller would be more comfortable for laying on and opening up your chest and shoulders or if you are not vertically challenged like me.

There are also these kinds





They tend to be a little bit more spongy so it's a softer roll. I'm a deep tissue kind of girl so I like the ones with the massagers better.


Adventures of a Soccer Mom: Soccer Field Survival


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It is a long soccer season, when they are little it's only 30 minute a practices and short little cute little games where they follow the ball like a bee hive. But as they progress it turns to 2-3 hour and half long practices a week, and early morning games in another town. Both of my kids have been playing since they were 3 years old so I've learned a thing or two. Here is a list of must haves to bring to the field to help you survive the soccer season. 



Mr. Heater




When your little soccer player has a game at 9 am in early spring, this little guy will save your teeth from chattering.
Portable Toilet





Before your like WHAAAAT! Here me out! I can't tell you how many times I've taken my soccer player into the porta potties and was like NOPE not going in there! Or there isn't a porta potty available. I stick it in the back of my SUV, if someone needs to go, put up blankets to cover the back windows and BAM safe place to potty. It has saved our bottoms, literally.

Rain Coats



This maybe a PNW thing but I don't use umbrellas. I have an umbrella in our soccer wagon but half the time I'm carrying so much stuff that I forget about it. So to save yourself one less thing you have to carry invest in a good rain coat.

Rain Boots



Soccer fields are muddy. This is probably the #1 reason why my son loves the sport, he gets to play in the rain and mud!

Folding Waggon


This makes life just so much easier. When it is soccer season we don't fold it up, we just keep everything it in. Soccer ball, folding chairs, umbrella, a bag of snacks, and The Soccer Mom Survival Kit. Put it in the car and off you go.

Camping Chair


Some fields do not have benches you can watch the game on, and some fields don't allow these chairs on them.

Bleacher Seats


Bleachers are just not comfortable!

OPTIONAL

Sports Tent



My husband really wants one, but the problem I see with these is the stakes. Most fields don't want you to put stakes down, and if its a windy day then its more trouble then whats it worth.

What do you bring with you to soccer games that you can't live without!