Wannabe on the Trail: Influencing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately— inspired by a documentary.

Imagine that.

Anyways, I watched Fake Famous. It’s an interesting look at how we view influencing and a social experiment into how to become a mega influencer.

Me, trying to be “on brand”

I related the most with Chris but I don’t think I deserve to be famous in the same way he does. However, I do admire his principles about going with the 100 real followers over the thousands of bots. I also agree with not changing myself drastically in order to get famous either.

I have no inclination to be a mega influencer, yeah, the perks are kind of cool. But I don’t really want to do merch advertising for other people or paid partnerships. Collaborations with other posters in my niche would be cool. I’m happy with people buying my designs, photos, and the ad revenue. Maybe write some books.

I don’t plan on getting rich off any of it or being “famous” like most influencers.  All I want is a little extra money to fund a college/trade school fund for my kid (maybe kiddos), fund a hiking/rafting trip each year, and the rest into savings.

This little guy!

Lofty goals I know—right now, I’m just starting out in the grand scheme of things and the possibilities are endless.

However, as I watched I realized at all the wasted time I could have been building this blog or my Instagram. I’m late to social media bubble. It honestly doesn’t appeal to me in the way it does most people. Partly because I have luddite tendencies but also, I thought I was boring. I also didn’t think I was pretty enough to cash in on the selfies either. Plus, with the dopamine chasing from ADHD if I didn’t have Facebook, Instagram, or now TikTok actually open I sometimes forget they exist—which was great in college.

But mainly, I’m boring.

I liked to read (still do). Canoe or kayak. Hike. Ride horses. Take photos—basically some of the stuff I still do now but at the time I didn’t realize I could brand any of that, because, to reiterate, I thought I was boring.

Now, that I’ve been messing around trying to find my niche with this wannabe blog I realize had I started back in early days with Instagram I could have cultivated a bookstagram theme and reviewed books on YouTube. Because I am a huge bookworm—although I prefer Ink Drinker, and daydreamed about reviewing and reading books all day.

Books!

I could have gotten into cosplay—it would have been mainly Lord of the Rings, but it would have been cool.

I could have become a “horse girl” on there.

Really pushed out canoe and kayak content—photos, videos, and articles on how to handle the gear… (stares at day job media webpage…never mind).

Had I settled into the seasonal park ranger life a little more I could have been a lifestyle guru fulfilling Chris Farley’s inspirational “living in a van down by a river!”

Some saw this as bad thing…others wanted to live the dream

Okay, maybe I wasn’t as boring as I thought I was.

I was not feeling bored.

Had I built on any of my interests or hobbies I might have cultivated a larger following and had a totally different brand.

 I could have done a lot of cool stuff, but would I have wound up where I am?

Great job, sharing happiness (and a little grumpiness) with the love of my life, the best little man ever, and the cute dogs. The grumpy cat is starting to like me which is nice. Or would I have fame, fortune, and a branding deal? Would I be happier?

Nah, I’m happy were I’m at and who I’m with, plus who I am as a person, but it would be kind of cool to be a micro-influencer. I still don’t plan on chasing the fame. I’ll continue to plod along with my rambles, thoughts, and cute photos. Maybe I’ll turn into a “mommy blogger” for ADHD wannabes that think they lack the mom gene sometimes but try their darndest to make their kiddos happy—maybe by taking a hike.  

Or playing in the leaves!

Keep wandering,

BJ

Smith Falls State Park: Day Hikes & Baby Wipes

Wade and the Pups on the boardwalk to Smith Falls

We had a busy weekend! We took a day trip down to my sister-in-law’s house for a birthday party for my nephew. Did some shopping, spent way to much time in a car– fun times.

It actually was a lot of fun! The cake was amazing. Hunter got to hang out and celebrate with his same day birthday bud.

But I wanted to go hiking. We didn’t make any stops on the way home so yesterday we decided to go to Smith Falls State Park. It’s a little further east of Valentine than my usual stomping grounds at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s a gem– hybrid aspen that only occur at Smith Falls, tallest waterfall in Nebraska, and a pretty campground along the river.

Niobrara National Scenic River at Smith Falls State Park

**Side note I just realized I haven’t gone camping this year yet. Dammit.**

It was a late afternoon hike. Hunter had his nap and was ready to explore!

Heavy little boy rocking out in his carrier– look at those eyes when he sees the waterfall.

Momma, found out that she really needs to start just walking the dogs while carrying the little man because I was out of breath barely moving.

We didn’t take the full MacAllister Trail which goes up by the aspens but we still had a fun trip. But it was a bit of a trip getting out. Wade and I both were grumpy with each other, not a big fight or anything just general grumpiness. He did get a little mad at Freya because she was so excited to go outside that she kind of pulled him into the door frame. Little puppy, big muscles. Once we were out walking though the grumpiness and stress went away. Freya burned off most of her abundance of energy. Although, I was nice and didn’t take a bunch of pictures of my favorite guy like I would normally do since he doesn’t like it most of the time.

Waterfalls, river, and dogs– plus a few selfies. That’s it.

I’ve talked about Smith Falls before, so I won’t go into great detail about how amazing the location can be for folks. Ecosystems comingle, water and rock come together, and it’s just a relaxing place.

Check it out on your next visit to Valentine or Nebraska!

Keep wandering,

BJ

‘The Comeback Kid’

I’m still alive!

Well—par for the course I’ve been neglecting this blog for almost a year. I feel guilty about it sometimes but I’m not going to lie. I’m tired. I don’t feel like I have a lot going on other than work, Hunter, and trying to get caught up on all the other little projects and graduate classes I have. But it does build up overall and all I want to do is sleep. Plus, depression factored into most of the early part of the year—postpartum, fall out from the Covid-19 stuff, and just life in general. It happens, talk about it, we go to the doctor to fix physical ailments. Getting your brain checked out is good too. On a positive note, I’m doing a lot better and I’m trying to get out and about as much as possible before the weather gets ridiculous! Although… this might be the year I bite the bullet and invest in good winter gear and get out there.

“I like this stuff”

I have done a few little hikes—nothing major. Mainly, because work tied me up a lot this year. While not as short staffed as we have been, we did have to hustle to get stuff done. I also took on some new duties and now, more than ever, I’m looking at a computer screen more. I don’t know why but I find this more exhausting than doing major events with hundreds of people. I just want to sleep or relax and not think about anything other than Hunter and engaging stuff for him on weekends.

Weekend fun!

Plus, figuring out how to travel, mitigate exploding diapers, and pack everything I need for a two-day trip is astronomical. But I’m working on it! It’s also a little tricky to juggle the dogs—some public lands they’re allowed but a lot of places *cough NPS sites* are not as dog friendly as others. **Side note, Freya is loving the hiking life.** I get the why but it’s tricky and boarding gets expensive. I’m thinking about doing a video about traveling/hiking/dogs/baby now that I actually have weekends off with Wade again. I’m privileged that I have an awesome husband that helps me work through stuff and is willing to help me with my “little side projects”—once I get a game plan figured out, I bounce it off him and we run through it. He keeps me from getting stubborn, pissy, and flouncing away in anger. I teach him patience, which I have a lot of unless I can’t figure out how to make something work or math’s involved. Wade doesn’t have patience but he’s working on it, lol.

Wade the lifesaver when shopping lol

I truly respect single mom’s and dad’s who do all this alone. I also think you’re a witch. Magic is involved somewhere I’m sure 😉

So aside from the doldrums early this year, it has been a wonderful year! Hunter just turned one, we’ve done some hikes, and I’m working on getting my writings out there. Plus, working on my photography, the Pennington Books project, and my little side hustles to fund my hiking passion.

I’m also going to make some more posts on here before the end of the year!

Here is a little catch up/way back Wednesday post of some of this year’s hiking/baby/traveling highlights so far!

We had to go to my hometown in Missouri for a funeral in February which was the first time Hunter got to meet his grandparents on my side of the family. It was a bittersweet trip to say the least, but we did some wanderings on the old family farm.

This spring we checked out the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge—I know I go there a lot… but it was Hunter’s first time! I talked about that in an Instagram/Facebook post, but I didn’t do a little blurb on here. Maybe I should just do a little one paragraph post on here to at least keep it active… I’ll think about that for the future.  

Wade did most of the heavy lifting that day—it was spur of the moment trip, so we didn’t have the carrier or even the chest harness. Hunter had a blast and wanted to grab everything; poison ivy worried me, but dad did a good job corralling him while I had the camera.

We came back out a couple of times—we brought the dogs and the baby hiker set up. Which worked out well if we had plenty of snacks.

I had a family reunion in Oklahoma and other than wandering in Bass Pro in Springfield, MO we didn’t really get any hiking done while we were there.

My sister made a return trip to Nebraska with my niece! They arrived to a concerned Hunter giving them a once over and then it was a week of fun and adventure. We checked out the pool, floated the river (sans Hunter), and checked out the Badlands!

Finally, Las Vegas… I still don’t care for cities, but the food was amazing. There were several fun things to do—the Stratosphere was awesome (if you’re not afraid of heights). Wade and I want to go back and do it at night (and do the jump, well I do) and check out some other stuff. Due to timing, scheduled events, and a few other things (Wade…) I didn’t get to check out Red Rocks Canyon NCA or the Hoover Dam. I was a little bummed by that, but Wade was like a kid in a candy shop—or one of those cartoon animals when food is involved, he really enjoyed Guy Ferrari’s burger joint.

Wade preparing to devour a monster burger…

Locally, we took Hunter for a nice hike through our local city park– which is amazing!

That’s the short, condensed version of what’s happened so far this year. We have some stuff coming up and I will keep you all posted—even if it’s just a photo and a blurb!

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. Happy Birthday to my little man!

Back and Ready for it!

It’s been a while!

Those of you that follow me on Instagram and Facebook probably know that I’ve been struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. In great news, I’m finally coming out of the fog and starting to do the things I enjoyed.

Here’s to new content, updates, and maybe some new videos and photos coming soon!

Hunter and I at the Fort Niobrara Overlook

Keep wandering,

BJ

Adventures in Motherhood

Hi all…

It’s been a minute.

I need coffee, a shower, and a nap… the order doesn’t matter.

Once again the blog got neglected but this time I have a good reason… a tiny almost ten pound reason. Hunter takes up a lot of my day- then there are the naps.

Plus, I wanted to wait to write about the birth story once I recovered and got all the funny details out of Wade. I don’t remember much once they gave me the “good stuff” during the C-section.

I’ve been rewording, rewriting, and rethinking this post- it’s a little personal but at the same time I think it’s worth telling.

It will be coming out here soon!

I’m also going to add a post about weeks 38-40 before I drop my birth story.

After that I hope to return to some more normal hiking posts but winter is creeping in…

Keep wandering,

BJ

He really is the best thing about 2020!

Feeling Lazy at Week 37…

Hi all,

I’ve been busy with grad school (again), “helping” Wade get the nursery done, and finishing up some stuff for work before I go on maternity leave. I haven’t gotten out an explored, nor have I done any book reviews. I’m hoping to change that soon…

I’m to the point in pregnancy where I just want to lay around, keep my feet propped up, and stay cool. I feel so lazy.

But! I’ve been working on some content for my Baby Wipes and Day Hikes page which is now live!

Introduction to Baby Wipes and Day Hikes page!

Contrary to my laziness quip above, in the last two weeks Wade and I:  

  1. Cleaned up the house
  2. Went through all the baby shower gifts (I hope to get the thank you notes out soon…)
  3. Finally got around to putting the nursery together (99% was Wade… but I helped- someone had to hold stuff…)
  4. Packed our hospital bag
  5. And spent a little time at the river with friends!

It felt great sitting in cold water even though it took a few minutes for me to acclimate to it…

I’m hoping this week on my way down (or back) from the doctor I can swing into the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. Hopefully I can take a little time and at least wander through some of it- I need to get outside, I’m getting that itch. Even with the swollen feet I need to do some exploring.

I’m finishing up editing on my dad’s book we’re reprinting through Kindle Direct Publishing. I’m now working on redoing the cover art and getting it all uploaded for our Oct 1st deadline. So exciting!

Short post… I’m sorry…

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. I want cookies and a nap…

P.S.S. Technically, I’m at week 38 now but when I wrote this Monday night it was 37…

Baby Blues and Hiking Boots

I need bigger hiking boots…and flip flops…maybe I’ll just go barefoot. My feet are swelling and right now shoes of any kind are the bane of my existence right now.

Plus, fun fact a lot of women that have babies wind up moving up a shoe size- so, I might need to find bigger hiking boots for the future.

Joy, joy.

While I’m cranky about the changes, I’m happy to be a mom.

I just hate buying new shoes, jeans, etc.  It’s the whole reason I got back into shape several years ago- I didn’t want to buy new clothes.

It was another slow week/weekend for me. I didn’t do a lot of hiking- although, Wade and I checked out the Nature Trail at Cody Park in North Platte after my doctor’s appointment.

Cody Park is a nice little park off Highway 83. It’s not got a lot in the way of hiking trails- the Nature Trail only goes so far before it became to overgrown to comfortably walk in the flip flops and shorts. Plus, at 35 weeks on a hot day I wasn’t feeling too adventurous.

However, it’s great for kids and the plant life is beautiful. I also like the little zoo they have. They even have peafowl… FYI only the males are peacocks, the females are peahens, and when they are together peafowl. There’s your learning lesson for the day!

We then headed to McCook for the night. The next day we had a baby shower for my sister-in-law.

The Roshone siblings are having a banner year- three babies, all boys, within two months of each other, almost.

That’s a lot of blue… or in our case green*… clothes, blankets, and so on.

*I like green…I wear green for work…the bridal party colors were green; we did the accent wall in the nursery in green…. I might have issues.

I just feel so exhausted right now- which is, according to the books, normal. I felt bad at the baby shower because my feet were swollen, and I just sat around a lot- and at one point dozed off in my chair.

I’m now at week 36… I can no longer see my toes and bending over is a chore. Sleep is golden when you can get it and Hunter is using my lungs as a trampoline–the bladder as a speed bag.

Wade finally got to see Hunter moving his feet against my stomach… it reminded him of alien… he said he would see me in 18 years. He’s not as funny as he thinks he is…

We’re in the home stretch though!

We’ve been reviewing the books and prenatal classes.

Learning how to swaddle.

Trying to find cute little baby hiking boots.

In daddies’ case, cute little work boots to match the Carhart overalls he got for him…

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. Compression socks are life now…

Wandering Sisters!

This weekend wasn’t long enough.

For a couple reasons.

One, my sister, P.J. flew up for the weekend- I wish I could have kidnapped her and kept her up here for a few more days… or a month…or a year…

My sister! Checking out Norden Chute.

Two, we had to pack a lot of stuff into mainly one day… I need more sleep and my poor feet are swollen- nearly three days later…

But it was worth it!

She is the best big sister in the whole world! Not going to lie I needed a girl’s day with my sister- between the pregnancy, lingering SAD symptoms, and Covid my mental health was blah at best. I wasn’t as bad as I was during the shutdown, but I needed a “break.” She helped break me out of my funk and we had a little fun- plus, she didn’t treat me like glass.

The best thing about living in rural Nebraska is that you’re two-three hours away from everything. The bad thing about living in rural Nebraska is you’re two-three hours away from everything.

PJ’s flight came into Grand Island at 10:30…pm. Three and a half hours away from Valentine.

I had a nice sunset drive going down part of the way. Then I was driving into the dark which night driving never really bothered me. However, with pregnancy I have to stop every five minutes, it felt like, to walk around, wake up, and go to the bathroom.

But we timed it well, I pulled in on the airport road as her flight was landing and was pulling into the airport terminal while they were taxiing. Originally, I was just going to wait for her outside in the idle lane, but Hunter was excited and bouncing on my bladder…

So, after a quick circle and finding a parking spot I ran inside. Well, waddled inside- my eyes zeroing in on the bathrooms. I saw PJ but I was on a beeline. She thought it was funny and met me right at the doors to the bathroom.

We hugged after we got back outside.

Then food! Late night drive throughs are awesome, and we got to chat and catch up in the parking lot of Raising Cane’s. New car didn’t want to eat in it- I’m weird I know…

A late-night drive through the Sandhills was fun- we stayed awake and somehow, I made it without needing a bathroom, lol.

We got to Valentine at 3 a.m.–we stumbled in and went to bed after saying we’re getting up at ten to go exploring.

Surprisingly, we did get up at ten, we had breakfast, and then the exploring began.

Snice it was a short trip I decided to show her the highlights along the Niobrara National Scenic River. We drove out to the Niobrara Valley Preserve to check out the Norden Chute. It’s one of my favorite places and the drive along the river valley kind of reminds me of home.

We hopped out of the car and meandered down to the river and took the trail that leads to the chute. It’s a little steep heading off the parking area down to the river side trail. PJ said to “be careful if you fall and go into labor I don’t know where I am, nor how to deliver a baby.”

So, she did treat me a little like glass, but she didn’t harp on it…

I was there in June- the water has dropped a lot. Which is normal but still noteworthy.

I apparently make people worry- I walked up to the edge to get some photos and my sister is like… “You’re going to die!”

Well, not that dramatic but she still was like move back this way…

I wandered into the water which felt good on my footsies. Yes, I say footsies. 

We spent a little while taking photos- even photos of each other…

We hoped in the car and went up River Road- it was fun showing my sister where I usually spend most of my time in the summer. She’s visited before but in the winter and a lot of the locations are inaccessible during that time.

I actually convinced her to come back (hopefully next summer) with the kids for a float trip! I’m happy about that.

We made a bathroom pit stop at Brewer Bridge. Then headed to Smith Falls State Park.

Smith Falls State Park is home to the tallest waterfall in the state of Nebraska and is on the banks of the Niobrara River. We made the one-mile trek to the waterfall. Since it was a Saturday, I warned her that there might be some… inebriated… people around. But we hit it in the late afternoon and the crowds weren’t too crazy.

It was a hot walk.

By the time we hit the slot canyon the temperature decrease felt good. One of the best things about the Niobrara River Valley is the hydrology and geology. Because of the geology, the Ogallala Aquifer is near the surface and there are places where it seeps out creating waterfalls. Since, the water is mainly from underground it stays around 50 degrees- even in the summer. So, the waterfalls and side creeks are gloriously cold!

My hot, cranky, and pregnant self loved that the temperature dropped. I was ecstatic when we got to the waterfall and I could put my poor swollen feet in the water. I just wished I had brought a change of clothes or a towel because I wanted to crawl under the waterfall for a little while and just chill. Best perk of my job during the hotter months.

PJ thought it was cool! And cold…

All too soon we were heading back to the vehicle; luckily, I have awesome a/c.

The original plan was to stop at the Fort Niobrara NWR upper overlook and then head on to the house for dinner–then head back to the lower part of the refuge after dinner. However, the truck ahead of us had some interesting characters… that seemed to be inebriated… or at least the guys in the back seat who was poking his upper body through the back window and digging in the cooler and waving at us while the driver slowed down… they turned off so we decided to head on to town and walk the dog before dinner.

We made a good call.

After the dog was walked, we headed to one of our local restaurants- Peppermill. It was really good, and Wade met us there for dinner.

Afterwards, I dragged him out to the refuge for maternity photos– he hates getting his photo taken but since PJ encouraged him to tickle me, he was a good sport about doing it.

PJ got to do my makeup and hair which made her happy- she does a great job. I think she would make a great makeup artist if she wanted too!

I was so happy to be home- my feet and legs were swollen. I propped them up with a big glass of sweet tea and we decided to break the news to my mom that PJ came up.

My parents are older and don’t travel as much–especially with a pandemic. However, mom wanted to see me pregnant and all, so we felt bad that PJ flew up. It’s easier for PJ to fly out of Dallas since she lives in the metro area, like me the parents live several hours from an airport.

Once she realized who was on the phone… apparently, we sound alike… she wasn’t too upset. An hour later we were finally off the phone and popping popcorn!

We then binged watched Grimm until late in the morning. We also said we’d get up at 8 and hit a few of the last spots before taking her to the airport in Grand Island….

Wade and PJ were up at eight… I was unconscious until like nine…thirty.

So, we had to amend our mornings activities.

We hit up the Cowboy Trail Bridge- I about died. It was weird normally the mile hike out and back doesn’t bother me, but I was sweating, hot, and cranky by the time we got to the middle of the bridge. But it was worth showing it to my sister- she liked it. I wound up getting mad the last little bit of the trail and speed walking to get to the car so I could get tissues and Wet Ones to wipe the sweat out of my eyes and clean up my face. Plus, down a bottle of Gatorade.

Looking back, I think I pushed it the day before and even that morning–I don’t want to hold back but the baby does put a lot of stress on the body and I’m 35 weeks. Hence why it’s three days later and I’m still recovering.

Then it was the long drive to Grand Island- we did stop for lunch which took a little longer than we thought… well the trip out to the bridge and actually stopping for lunch took a little longer than we thought it would.

We also–Wade and I– thought that the drive was only three hours (Wade) and the flight was at 3:15 (me).

PJ was in the back seat…. uhm… my flight is at 3:01…

“It only takes three hours- at this point in Broken Bow we can make it in two, so you’ll have thirty minutes.”

I am checking the driving time on my phone…

“This says we’ll get there as the flight is taking off…”

Que panicked mode.

Wade might have exceeded the speeding limit a time or two, but we made it with twenty minutes for PJ to get through security and board.

I love that Grand Island is a small regional airport with two gates. Plus, the security line isn’t crazy and the one benefit of Covid-19 only “x” number of passengers on the flight.

Because of the panicked running we didn’t have a tearful goodbye- although, after she was through security and waiting to board, we stared at each other through the glass and texted how the weekend was too short and that I should have just kidnapped her.

Ten minutes after getting into the terminal they started boarding- fifteen minutes she was in line and going through the gangway.

Wade and I watched her plane taxi off, get clearance, and hit the sky.

She was home nearly an hour and a half later.

We were still driving.

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. I get to see her again in about a month!

P.S.S. We made it home before the sunset and had a nice walk with the dog.

One last thing…. check out Pike Creek Girls on Instagram it’s a little project us #wanderingsisters are working on! https://www.instagram.com/pikecreekgirls/

Best Laid Plans

Well…

That didn’t go as planned.

Also short boring post this week.

The doctor appointment went well but we didn’t leave as early as we would have liked going to North Platte and then we didn’t leave North Platte until almost six and I had a dog that practically ran me over to get outside when we got home.

So, there was no stopping at Thedford or the Valentine NWR this week. Luckily, the art gallery is going to hold onto my pictures, and they signed me up to sell on commission there… I’ll see if my photography is good enough to sale. Exciting.

This week is going to be work and reading heavy I’m afraid…

Other than when I’m hanging out watching Ultimate Frisbee- then I’ll be taking some photos or falling asleep in my awesome lawn chair!

But my weekend is going to be fun- I have a surprise visitor that is going to do some local adventures with me!

No, it will not be an early delivery lol. Sorry friends and family that keep making cracks about how it’s twins or I’ll be giving birth early- the doctor said I’m on track for a late September date, as expected.

Since it looks like my adventures are coming to a middle for the time being how about we change it up a little more. I showed my stack of books on hiking and adventure last time. How about I toss in a review of the books I’m reading?

At least this way I can feel productive and still talk about hiking (and river adventures)!

I’ll probably do them as a separate post that starts with “Book Review:…”

**Due to some whacky planning, I’m taking a couple of grad classes in history during this time period too… however, I doubt you all want to hear about early colonial America or the Age of Enlightenment so I will try to not to get the book reviews confused…**

Heck, I might even reformat my blog and play around with other themes.

Reinvention is important in this day in age!

In other news, I’m working with my dad to republish a book he wrote in 1970 about a hunting dog in the Ozarks. It’s great to collaborate with him on stuff like this- I’m hoping we can do more things in the future!

Book in question- one of the original copies. We’ll probably do some new cover art!
Back cover…

I’m also being horrible and putting the Baby Wipes and Day Hikes behind a paywall…

I decided since I probably will be backing off on some of my other jobs, but still need to fund Hunter and I’s hikes, I would just put that page behind a monthly $5 fee.

I was just going to do a tip jar but unless you fork out almost $300 for a business plan you can’t use that plugin… If I get some more traffic/followers and some of my other ideas pan out I might change the format to the tip jar but for now, I’ll just stick with Stripe and the $5 subscription. I might also switch to $15 a year- which puts the monthly price at $1.25.

I might do a poll in a later post to see what people think…

I will be putting highlight or blurb whenever I make a new post on the Baby Wipes and Day Hikes in my “main” blog so you can decide if you want to read more/subscribe.

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. Milk gives me heartburn…but Hunter still craves it…