Quiet cabin in the mountains
  • Quiet cabin in the mountains
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‘Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

Lake Tenaya in Yosemite

Lake Tenaya in Yosemite

John Muir knew what he was talking about. I find there is nothing quite like a week in the Sierras to clear the mind and quiet the soul. At least until we get to the cabin and realize we forgot to pack some essentials. This year, Patrick suggested, “You know quite a few friends who are road tripping professionals. Pick their brains on what to bring.”

The following day I messaged my ladies. They never fail me.

“My favorite new thing is called Doterra TerraShield,” shared Bernice. Those mountains are gorgeous but they come with lots of bugs. “It’s a blend of many essential oils, it is a natural bug spray, and safe for everyone in the family. Plus, we put it in a diffuser, so when we are sitting outside we are bug-free. You’re basically using nature to protect yourself from nature,” she laughed. (TerraShield Outdoor Blend by doTerra, $14 for a 15 ml bottle, $26 for a 30 ml sprayer, My.doterra.com/Joyful.Mama)

“Lavender essential oil is extremely versatile and a perfect addition to any first aid kit,” confirmed Maire. “Strong antimicrobial properties provide immune support and cleansing properties, and it’s well known for its soothing and healing effects on skin. ($28 for a 15 ml bottle, $18.33 for a 10 mL roller bottle at My.doterra.com/Joyful.Mama)

For entertainment, added Bernice, “I love to bring a brand new puzzle whenever we go up to the cabin. The whole family works on it here and there throughout the week. We spent last week on vacation and we worked on a puzzle of the doors of Dublin.” (Melissa & Doug 1000-Piece Knock Knock Doorways puzzle, $12.49 on Amazon)

“I don’t roadtrip without my Nalgene water bottle,” replied Evelyn. “When I have a bottle with me, I am reminded to drink water, because it is so easy to get dehydrated on a trip. I prefer the wide-mouthed style Nalgene. And you can put hot or cold liquids in it. Plus for cabin vacations, I do lots of hiking, and I’m set with my Nalgene.” ($10.95 for a 32-ounce wide-mouthed water bottle at REI)

“I also don’t leave home without my sketch pad and a good book,” she added. “I like the Moleskine Cahier Journals, they are thin and easy to carry with you and work on during a trip.” (Amazon, Moleskin Journal, $8.12 for a 3-pack of 3” by 5” soft-cover books) “I also always pack my portable hammock and do my reading in it, keeping an ear out for bird calls.” (REI, $41.93 for a ENO SingleNest Hammock)

Katie, my most organized friend, has a Google Docs list of her camping essentials. “After returning from one trip long ago, I realized I should have saved that supplies list that I had put in the recycle bin. So I pulled it out and typed it up in a doc so I wouldn’t have to reinvent a new list for each trip. Over the years I have adjusted and refined the list with each subsequent trip. The first thing that pops into my head that have become essentials on all our recent trips are bags, Ziploc bags and trash bags,” she said. “Ziploc bags are so handy for frugal travels. We’ll buy lunch fixings along the way to cut down on fast food stops. Once the sandwiches are prepared at the cabin or hotel, we use the Ziploc bags to hold everyone’s sandwich for easy eating in the car as well as to contain the leftovers of poorly packaged lunch meat and cheese. I pull out as many Ziploc bags as I think we’ll need for the trip, roll them up, and cinch them with a rubber band, which also comes in handy on the trip. The tightly rolled Ziplocs hardly take up any space in the suitcase.” (Ziploc slider quart bags, $4.78 for a box of 42 at Walmart. Sandwich bags 180 count $11.99) “Trash bags come in handy because we use them to contain our dirty laundry along the way and also to hold wet bathing suits to keep them from soiling the rest of the clothes in the suitcases.”

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