Hiking with Essential Oils: Free Printable

Hiking with Lavender, Peppermint, and Melaleuca

Hiking with Lavender, Peppermint, and Melaleuca

I want to begin this post with saying I am no expert on Essential Oils. Just Google essential oils and thousands of articles giving facts, uses, and cautions are available at your fingertips.

BUT I do want to share the positive impact using just a few basic oils have made on my family. This is especially true on hiking trips.

About a year ago, my daughter turned me on to the benefits of essential oils. Since then I have added Lavender, Peppermint, and Melaleuca oils to my basic hiking first-aid kit replacing:  Sudafed, antibiotic ointment, and reducing the number of Ibuprofen tablets I carry. By using the oils daily on trips, I have less congestion, breathe easier at high altitudes, sleep better, and have fewer headaches. Also, everyday cuts/scrapes/bruises/blisters/muscle & joints throb less and heal faster.

Some of you have even emailed me after viewing my 2014-15 BACKPACKING GEAR LIST asking about the oils. This post is long over due.

One of the first mistakes I made when starting to use essential oils was buying inexpensive, poor quality oils found at drug stores or Whole Foods. I found they do not work as well. If this interests you, I urge you to do your research and buy quality oils. The oil companies I have experience with and have worked well for me are: doterra, Young Living, Mountain Herbs, and Spark Naturals.


To get you started, I have a special discount coupon code “ladyonarock” to take 10% off any Spark Naturals essential oils order.



How to Hike with Essential Oils:

First and foremost, I wanted the trio to be lightweight and sealed. This took some trial and error. After a few experiments, here is how I carry the oils.

1. Add each oil to a 5/8 dram bottle designed just for carrying the oils. I tried other options, but oils leaked. I love these and they come in a 5 pack. Tap once on the bottom of the bottle to dispense a half a drop.

2. Apply a round sticky 1/2″ label on the lid, then label with a sharpie. This stays on better than applying the sticker directly on the bottle.

3. Seal bottles in a small ziplock baggies and add to your first-aid kit. I like snack size bags or smaller.

4. Entire tiny kit weights less than an ounce and will last a month or more on a long distance trip.

Common Sense Cautions:

Essential oils are very strong. One drop is usually plenty. More is not better. Do not get into your eyes by rubbing, applying too close, or dropping directly into the eye. Use caution when using on children by diluting oils with a carrier oil, lotion, or salve.


My Favorite Uses:

I created a handy 1/2 sheet chart of my basic uses for backpacking and hiking to add to your first-aid kit.
Extra Tip:
My nightly essential oil routine non-bear areas.
Apply Lavender to any cuts or scrapes and a couple drops to the bottom of my feet to help me sleep restful. Apply Peppermint to sides of nose and chest to keep sinuses clear in the night. If I have any muscle pains I might add a drop of Peppermint to a bit of salve and apply to tender area. I always carry a small pot of Fragrance Free Neutrogena Hand Cream.

Click on the image or link below to download printable.


Rockin's Favorite Backpacking and Hiking Essential Oil Uses

Do you use essential oils in the outdoors? Please comment and share what works for you. 


IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: None of the health topics presented on Lady on a Rock have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. They should not replace personal judgment nor medical treatment when indicated, nor are they intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Hike Crag Peak – Chasing Rain

Crag Peak

In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday tomorrow…
“Life’s too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”
~Dr. Seuss

Bad weather forecast? Yes. Rain? Yes. Snow…hopefully.

With optimistic attitudes, we headed into the Southern Sierras to climb Crag Peak.

Normally this peak would not be accessible in winter, but with extremely low snow levels currently in California this climb was possible.

The drive into the Sierras showcased exquisite lighting, clouds, and rainbows. Before starting the hike, we were able to pick up winter equipment on the way for Pepper and Trauma.

Crag Peak is just north of Kennedy Meadows, west of the Pacific Crest Trail. The route starts at the north end of the Kennedy Meadows Campground, then heads north on the PCT about 4.2 miles, leaving the PCT heading west through Clover Meadow and cross-country to the summit.

The cross-country route took longer than expected due to bushwhacking, mud, rain, and navigation. On a clear day the summit would most likely be visible during the climb making navigation easier. We reached the top thankful and tired.

I am told that the top has amazing views of Olancha Peak, Mt. Langley, Kern Peak, and lovely meadows below!

Because of wet, windy, cold, and slippery weather conditions, we climbed the official Crag Peak and did not climb the highest point 1/4 mile north. This point requires a shimmy across a rock knife-edge and a bit of Class 3 climbing.

The clothing and rain systems we used on Scotland’s Great Outdoor Challenge worked perfectly for the day’s wet conditions. We even popped out the umbrellas in brush free areas.

We arrived back at the trail head at dark, feeling tired but very happy about our day.

Trip Date: February 7, 2015
Distance: 14.7 miles, out and back
Elevation gain: 4158′
Summit Elevation: 9,480′
Season: Spring, summer, and fall
Difficulty: Strenuous with trail, route finding, bushwhacking and cross-country travel, Class 1 and 2
Trail Head: North side of Kennedy Meadows Campground
Extra Information: Crag Peak is on the Sierra Peaks Section list

Click once on any photo below to view full size. Flip through all photos by clicking arrows on the sides of photos or on mobile device, swipe. To exit slide show, click X in the upper left hand corner.



Video Interview: Pepper and Trauma Winter PCT Thru-Hike

I think the word adventure gets tossed around a lot, I think my take on it is that if you know ahead of time you are going to be successful or you are going to achieve something, there is no adventure in that.
~Shawn Forry

Justin "Trauma" Lichter and Shawn "Pepper" Forry at Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road

Justin “Trauma” Lichter and Shawn “Pepper” Forry at Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road

We are lucky to have had the privilege to host in our home two very humble, courageous, and fun thru-hikers. Over the last few months, Shawn “Pepper” Forry and Justin “Trauma” Lichter, “Team Bad Winter” have been hiking southbound through snow, ice, wind, rain, mud, and freezing cold. They have now made it safely through the high Sierras and are on their last leg of the first ever wintertime thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.

They were kind enough to agree to an interview answering student generated questions by my tHInK outsidE outdoor class. One of my very clever and professional students agreed to conduct the following video interview on behalf of the entire class. It was a sweet and special experience to be witness to the interview. Grab some coffee and sit down for a special treat. These guys are unique. Don’t miss it.


Pepper, Rockin', and Trauma

Pepper, Rockin’, and Trauma


Trauma and Pepper leaving from Tehachapi

Trauma and Pepper leaving from Tehachapi

Thank you Pepper and Trauma for sharing a part of your adventure and yourselves with our family. Wishing you the very best on the rest of your journey.

Find out more:

Sawtooth Peak Superbowl Climb

You say the hill’s too steep to climb,
Climb it!
You say you’d like to see me try,
Climb it!
You pick the place and I’ll choose the time
And I’ll climb
The hill in my own way
–Pink Floyd, FEARLESS

Sawtooth Summit

Sawtooth Summit

Low levels or no levels of snow in California continues to be the pattern this winter. On a normal snow year, climbing Southern Sierra’s Sawtooth Peak in February would be more of an expedition.

Sawtooth has been on my informal list of peaks to climb for a few years. I took quick advantage of a warm, windless day with my husband and son to bag this peak.

The plan was to follow Jenkin’s semi-loop route featured in the guidebook, Exploring the Southern Sierra: East Side. I highly recommend the optional route from the summit back to the PCT. It drops the hiker through a narrow and very scenic canyon with interesting ledges to navigate.

The approach begins hiking south on Pacific Crest Trail at Cranebrake Road and Chimney Creek. We hit the trail at 8:30 am and quickly were surprised that Chimney Creek was bone dry. This year-round creek is an important water source. Very scary.

After hiking up gentle trail for 3 miles to a saddle (about 6,300′), the cross-country route heads north UP steep, sandy slopes. The terrain changes to boulders with some bushwhacking through Pinyon Pines. Sawtooth is a calf burner.

Views from this Sierra Crest peak is commanding with countless peaks to identify. After scouting out our path down, Silly Chili took the lead. The highlight down was the ledge system around a 60 foot dry fall.

At 1:30 pm we were heading home to make homemade pizza and watch the Superbowl. Well for me… just the half-time and commercials.

It was hard not to be cheerful, happy, and in complete awe of Katy Perry’s courage riding the lion robot and flying high as an actual firework.

Trip Date: February 1, 2015
Distance: 9.1 miles, semi-loop
Elevation gain: 2600 feet
Summit Elevation: 8,000′
Season: Spring, Fall, and Winter
Difficulty: Strenuous with trail, some route finding, bushwhacking and cross-country travel
Link to Trail Head and Detailed Guide: Exploring the Southern Sierra: East Side by J.C. Jenkins and Ruby Johnson Jenkins (out of print and difficult to find used)
Click HERE to view Sawtooth Peak Climb in guidebook
Extra Information: Sawtooth is on the Sierra Peaks Section list

Hey, I am trying out a new photo mosaic. Tip: Click once on any photo below to view the photo full size with camera information and flip through all photos by clicking arrows. Please let me know what you think. Thanks Drop n’ Roll for the inspiration.

Happy 5th Birthday ladyonarock.com!

I stand in awe

Pretty exciting that Lady on a Rock adventure blog has been around 5 years tomorrow. This month marks the celebration of my first blog entry. Five years old is very ancient in blog years.

When I started this journey, there were few woman hiking bloggers. Now, it has become common for women to write online about their experiences. Very exciting.

Also, at the beginning, few bloggers used their “real” name online. The social media craze was just starting to accelerate. The iPhone produced poor quality video and photos compared to now. Uploading photos to a blog post from the iPhone was slow and tedious. Just posting a few photos with cell service took a long time. And more importantly hiking solo, as a woman, was not common place.

I owe a large part of the blog’s success to you my readers. Because of your questions, suggestions, and thoughtful words I often go further, get outside more, and persevere on days I am tired, dirty, and hurting. But I think the biggest pleasure is meeting so many of you online. This blog has introduced me to smart, interesting, and genuinely great folks. Some of you I have hiked with, ate dinner with, or have stayed at my home. Thank you for sharing your stories, your struggles, and lives. A few of you have followed me from my very first post. Pretty crazy to think about. I thank you all for that.
I am not much of a numbers and fine detail person, BUT I do love looking at the big picture. I thought it would be interesting to share a bit from the beginning, 5 years ago.

Readers, you have followed along with me…

on countless mountain tops
trekking through California and Oregon on the PCT
across the country of Scotland
on camping trips with grandkids
hiking multiple times on the John Muir Trail
evolving into lighter weight gear
as my kids and family have grown
transitioning to gluten-free food on the trail
hiking Colorado and Wyoming on the CDT
on a plethora of day hikes and climbs in several states
in the creation of tHInK outsidE outdoor classes for kids
on backpacking trips galore
with my endless love of gear and just getting outside.


  • First blog entry, “Why Didn’t I think of this Before” – January 29, 2010
  • First trail photos were all taken and uploaded from an iPhone 3 powered with a small Surge Solar Charger and no spell check back then.
  • First blog comment, my daughter Emily, on “To My Daughter: A Woman’s Hiking Blog
    “You make me cry, I love you too, and am SO proud to call you my mom, friend, and teacher, and am honored and humbled to have something so monumental dedicated to me! I’m so excited to follow your upcoming adventure more closely this summer via this blog! I admire your drive, dedication and free spirit! You ROCK! “BE SAFE, make good decisions, remember your please and thank yous,” AND HAVE FUN ;) Love you!”
  • First hiking gear list “2010 PCT Gear
  • First food post, “Let the Packing Begin
  • First “Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off” ADZPCTKO
  • Three firsts: First post from the trail, first photo of myself from my iPhone, and first day hiking solo EVER, “June 12 – Surprises
  • First gear review, “The North Face Women’s Stretch Diad Jacket – My Take
  • First hiker I met on the trail – “Tomer from Israel
  • First comment from a total stranger,it was a shock, from “eArThworm, “Enjoying your blog immensely. I’m sure you’ll soon learn that ‘water CACHE’ is the correct spelling. :-))”
  • First famous quote was posted on “Gas and the PCT
    “I knew that if you look after the ounces the pounds look after themselves”
    Colin Fletcher, The Thousand Mile Summer

Fun Facts…

  • Who is this Lady on a Rock anyway? From blog entry “June 28 – Lady on a Rock
    “This is the location of Lady on a Rock (north of Muir Pass on the JMT). You see it is not me, but a woman I met briefly at this location on the trail a couple of years ago. She was resting on a rock and I stopped to talk with her a bit. She told me she was a retired flight attendant from Chicago and had been hiking sections for a few years to complete the entire Pacific Crest Trail and she was solo. She even said that her family jokes that if she dies before it is completed they will have to carry her ashes to finish the trail. WELL, just this small moment in time with this lady on a rock gave me the courage and inspiration that I too could do it. So here I am. Thank you Lady on a Rock! This is a pic of the approximate location and of course the only rock I could find that was visible (frozen Wanda Lake is in the distance). So cool.”
    Update: Through a friend of Wired and Facebook, last year I connected with Marilyn, the real life Lady on a Rock. She continues to hike and enjoy the outdoors. Now that is pretty neat!
    My Lady on a Rock
  • The day I got my trail name, Rockin’ “Trail Names at Last
  • Most all time popular page on Lady on a Rock “Gear Lists and Yearly Favorites
  • Posts with the highest hits,  “2013 Continental Divide Trail Gear List” and “Joshua Tree National Park Loop Backpack
  • Most popular videos on You Tube, “Life on the PCT 2012 – Just for Fun“, “John Muir Trail 2012
  • Lady on a Rock has been viewed by 176 countries (there are 196, I googled it).
  • Top emailed questions by readers: something about photos (my camera and photo editing) and gear.
  • My favorite post: Anything from the trail, they are raw and take everything I’ve got to write while super tired in a tent. I treasure those memories the most.
  • Majority of blog posts on this site have been written on trail, in a tent and posted when cell service is available.
Happy happy birthday Lady on a Rock! Wishing you many more birthdays to come.

Welcome 3rd Annual tHInK outsidE

As we passed on, it seemed those scenes of visionary enchantment would never have an end.
~from the journal of Meriwether Lewis


3rd annual tHInK outsidE workshop begins tomorrow!

The last couple of years, I have had the pleasure to teach a 10 week course about the Pacific Crest Trail for students 6th-8th grades. Students explored a variety of topics using technology, field trips, and media focusing on: navigation, survival, gear, trail maintenance, environment, physical preparation, and food. During the course, students used a companion website, thinkoutsideresources.wordpress.com I created just for students and teachers to experience, learn, and teach about thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

The students even experienced guest speakers and conducted interviews with noteworthy long distance hikers: Monkey and Mama Bear, Sunshine and Balls, Wired, and Swami. Quite the line up, right?

*NOTE*  If you are a long distance hiker, naturalist, or would like to share your outdoor expertise, I am searching for this year’s guest stars. Simply email me. I will get right back to you. 

2015 tHiNk outsidE’s curriculum is changing up, so that some of the students that attended the course last year are able to take part this year. I have 30 students, grades 5th-8th ready to hit the outdoors starting tomorrow. This year, the kids will be going on weekly local hikes and learning outdoor nature skills such as: being a great observer, animal tracking, knot tying, bird identification, poisonous plants, recording information in a nature journal, and observing Leave No Trace Principles.

Below is an article featured in the August issue of Bakersfield Life magazine. The article’s focus is the PCT in Kern County and a bit about myself teaching the kids. It came out while I was hiking this summer and thought now is a great time to share.

Click on the clip below to access original article.

BakersfieldLife Magazine Featuring the PCT and tHInK outsidE

BakersfieldLife Magazine – Friday, Jul 25 2014 – Featuring the PCT and tHInK outsidE

Gossame Gear Ambassador Adventure

I want to see what’s on the other side of the hill — then what’s beyond that.
~Emma ‘Grandma’ Gatewood, at age 67 first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (1955)

Peekaboo Trail - Canyonlands

Peekaboo Trail – Canyonlands

Last weekend I traveled to Moab, Utah to spend the weekend hiking with fellow Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassadors. Initially, I have to say I was just a tad bit nervous meeting up with hikers that I had only read about in magazines and online articles.  Just a few minutes after meeting everyone, I knew it was going to be a fabulous weekend.

Will Rietveld planned and led beautiful and fun off-trail day hikes for the group. The weekend weather was cold at night, but perfect during the day. Excellent hiking conditions.

Day 1: Culvert – Goldbar Canyon Loop/Jeep Arch

Trip Date: January 17, 2015
Distance: 7.5 miles
Elevation gain: 1750 feet
Season: Spring, Fall, and Winter
Difficulty: Moderate with some route finding
Link to Trail Head and Detailed Guide: Hiking and Walking- Culvert Canyon/Jeep Arch

The group headed out sporting a variety of favorite Gossamer Gear packs. We hiked, we talked gear, and shared upcoming trips and experiences.  It was super informative and inspirational.

This weekend I used my Gossamer Gear Type 2 Utility daypack. This all season versatile pack is perfect for all types of day hikes. I especially love the fit, material, and pockets.

The loop trip lead up a scenic slick-rock canyon to a jeep shaped arch, then to expansive views of the La Sal Mountains.

Beginning of Culvert Canyon Trail

Beginning of Culvert Canyon Trail

Culvert Canyon

Culvert Canyon


Jeep Arch

Jeep Arch

Sirena, Beekeeper, Bearclaw,Trinity, Allison, Rambling Hemlock, Rockin', and Snorkle

The ladies in Jeep Arch


La Sal Mountains

La Sal Mountains


After finishing our loop hike, we headed to Arches National Park to enjoy the sunset at the Windows Arch Trail.


Guthook, Sirena, and Allison at Windows in Arches National Park

Guthook, Sirena, and Allison at Windows in Arches National Park

Guthook at Turret Arch

Turret Arch


Day 2: Peekaboo Trail – Canyonlands National Park

Trip Date: January 18, 2015
Distance: 10 miles
Elevation gain: 1200 feet
Season: Spring and Fall
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous with some rock scrambling and route finding
Link to Trail Head and Detailed Guide: ProTrails Peekaboo Trail

I looked forward to visiting the Needles District of the park and the area did not disappoint. The terrain was gorgeous with expansive views, physically challenging, and very remote. This is a perfect area for a nice spring backpack.

The Peekaboo Trail is well-marked and diverse, but during the winter shaded rocks hold slick ice. After encountering a long icy ledge, the group decided to take an alternate route. The route maneuvered up and around ledges, a small canyon, small water pools, and breathtaking overlooks.

At the day’s end everyone met for a delicious dinner at The Moab Brewery.

Grant and Glen - Peekaboo Trail in Canyonlands National Park

Grant and Glen – Peekaboo Trail in Canyonlands National Park


Jabba and Allison Peekaboo Trail

Jabba and Allison Peekaboo Trail

Open views

Open views


Guthook and Disco - Detour off Peekaboo

Detouring off the Peekaboo

Bobcat, Jersey, Snorkle, Glen



I am so thankful to Gossamer Gear for making this weekend possible and for this hiking community. It is packed full of such interesting, giving, incredibly smart and driven folks.

Look for an upcoming blog post on new gear and food tips I learned from the experts.

Interested in more trip ideas in this area? Check out: Delicate Arch ~ A New Perspective and Destination…Moab, Utah.

Mammoth Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe

“The best adventure is always the one that I will go on tomorrow.”
~Kilian Jornet, Skyrunner

Top of Unnamed peak above Deadman Pass
Hmmmmmm….what to do when everyone is away for Christmas and it is impossible to join them?

Plan a micro adventure of course. The timing was perfect for a winter excursion with a snow storm coming in and temperatures in the teens.

Our micro adventure blasted off with a lovely Christmas Eve dinner at the Totem Pole Cafe in Lone Pine, CA with our hiker friends, Love Note and Burly.

After spending the night in Bishop, CA, we woke up to a white Christmas morning with new snow icing the surrounding mountains.

Lake Mary Basin Cross Country Ski

Day 1 we spent the day exploring Mammoth Lakes Basin on cross country skis. The Tamarack XC Ski Center south of the town of Mammoth Lakes has everything for the beginner to advanced skier including groomed trails through frozen alpine lakes and forest. Nineteen miles just waiting to be explored.

Lake Mary Basin

Twin Lakes
Lake Mary

Lake Mary

Lake George

Gossamer Gear Type 2 Utility Pack


Minaret Vista and Deadman Pass

Day 2 we strapped on snowshoes and headed out from the Mammoth Ski area main lodge. Our first destination was Minaret Vista. This is a popular drive during summer months with some pretty spectacular sunsets. During the winter it is a quiet and tourist free snowshoe.

Next up with the help from my iPhone GPS, we trekked up to San Joaquin Ridge. This ridge is open, high, and is known for high winds, but so worth the exposure. The views are endless with breathtaking panoramas of the Minarets, Mount Banner and Ritter, and views north to Yosemite.

Next we headed down to Deadman Pass then up to an unnamed peak with lunch at the top.


I highly recommend this winter excursion. Challenging and the reward is great.
TRIP DATE December 26, 2014
LENGTH 10.4 miles round trip
TRAIL HEAD Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge
DIFFICULTY Moderate to strenuous

Dan heading up to San Joaquin Ridge

Skyline of the Minarets and Mount Banner and Ritter

Deadman Pass

Snow frosting
Lunch Spot

View east from Deadman Pass

View Back of ridge and unnamed peak just climbed

Tree Root Art
I love planning and going on these little trips. You come back home fully exercised, relaxed, and feel like you have been away for a week.

What micro adventure have you been on lately? We all need inspiration. 


Download GPX File
Photos on Flickr