FP Escapes: Montana in Review

FP Escapes: Montana in Review

A look inside our last FP Escape of the summer…

This post comes from retreat guide and yogi, Maria Margolies

Every retreat we take opens up a whole new world of opportunity. The opportunity to step out of our comfort zones. The opportunity to be adventurous and bold. To experience something fresh. Meet new people and learn from them. Connect with Mother Nature in ways we normally wouldn’t. Most importantly, it gives us the opportunity to slow down so we can pay more attention to what’s around us and inside us. To listen and feel, so we can drop deeper and become more intimate not only with ourselves but with one another. Ultimately, isn’t this what we are all searching for?

Glacier National Park blew me away in every way imaginable. From the striking contours of the landscape with its soaring mountain peaks and sharp edges to the never-ending stretches of evergreens and golden fields carpeting its valleys.  Even the colors and texture of the earth and its stones commanded my attention and touch every step of the way. And of course the water… It was everywhere: frozen in time in the ancient but powerful glaciers, cascading powerfully in creeks and streams, floating above us silently in massive clouds or falling rhythmically as rain on the meadows and forests.

This Escape managed to combine all elements of awakening mind and spirit in a breathtaking setting to create a uniquely incredible and inspiring experience. A seamless immersion with nature incorporating beautifully prepared and delicious plant-based foods to nourish us, yoga to start our days, meditation to end them, hiking to discover hidden lakes, horseback riding to take in the scenery, DIY beauty by crystal blue water and paddleboarding to test our balance.  All of this filled with many laughs and truly wonderful connections at every turn.

Thank you to the beautiful tribe of women that came.  I feel so grateful and honored to have held space for you to grow, open up, and plant a little seed of change. There will be many more journeys to come! Stay tuned.

A big thank-you to Maria, Under Canvas Glacier, The Cyclists Menu and Sorel for making this trip happen, we can’t wait for the next!

+ Want to learn more about our FP Escapes? Click here! 

Follow April on Instagram

Free People Blog

FP Escapes: What to Pack for Montana

FP Escapes: What to Pack for Montana

Adventure awaits in the great outdoors…

In two weeks we set a course for Glacier National Park, ready to embrace Mother Earth in all her glory. We head west to nourish mind, body and soul with yoga by Maria Margolies, and dance under the stars to later rest our heads at Under Canvas Glacier. For this great adventure, and perhaps your next spirit quest, check out a few of our favorite Montana must-haves.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
+ Join us on our last FP Escape of the summer — book here today

Photos by Jana Kirn

Free People Blog

FP Escapes: Inside Glacier Under Canvas

FP Escapes: Inside Glacier Under Canvas

Get a glimpse inside the breathtaking campground, home to our August FP Escapes retreat

Where peaks touch sky, glaciers move earth, waterfalls carve rock, and wildlife roam free… Welcome to Glacier Under Canvas, and home to our August FP Escapes retreat. Glacier Under Canvas takes camping to a whole new level, with luxury tents and endless mountain views giving you the opportunity to camp without ditching the comforts of home. Still not convinced to join us this August? Read below our conversation with Crystal McDonald from the Under Canvas team to help make the trip to Montana that much more desirable. 

We love your mission statement, “To enrich lives by enabling people to share experiences in the outdoors in comfort and style.” Could you tell us a little more on how Under Canvas continues bring this mission to life. 

Being outdoors definitely inspires, restores and connects people!  Adventuring in the wild doesn’t come easy for everyone, but experiencing the outdoors also doesn’t have to mean “roughing it.” We provide unforgettable experiences and believe that immersing yourself in nature strengthens relationships and fosters environmental consciousness. Not to mention it allows you to decompress from the daily demands of being so connected!

Can you share with us some of the things that Glacier Under Canvas guests would be privy to: tours/activities/etc.?

We offer many fun activities that our guests can enjoy, like whitewater rafting and canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, horseback riding, guided backcountry tours to Glacier Lake, even cowboy cookouts. Did I also mention Llama Trekking?  How cool is that!?  The park is nearly one million acres in size, so the list is virtually endless. You might even spot some cute bear cubs!

Under Canvas has a few other locations. Where are they located?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite because they’re all so fabulous!  Next month we are opening Under Canvas Zion, and our team has some really special things in the works!  I hear there’s going to be an amazing lobby tent with a fire pit and trees inside, a campfire-inspired restaurant AND a huge yoga platform with a meditation area! Each location is totally unique and incredible in its own way — but you guys already know that because you’ve visited our camps in Yellowstone and Moab!  Here’s some other exciting news too — we have more new locations rolling out in 2018, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

5 words that capture the essence of Glacier Under Canvas?

Adventure, relax, escape, inspire, discover.

Giving back is a huge part of who Under Canvas is. The months of May & June are blocked off specifically for hosting charitable camps. Could you tell us more about this? 

Yes, giving back is at the core of who we are!  We love sharing the gift of nature and we support organizations who work in partnership to offer that experience to children, youth and the disadvantaged.  Before our Glacier location opens each season, we host charitable camps and help provide the ultimate experience in the great outdoors — and when it comes to sleeping in a safari tent there is never a lack of excitement (or late-night laughter)!

Our mission to bridge society to the great outdoors is a priority. Organizations can always contact us for more information!

If Glacier Under Canvas had (or has) a spirit animal, what would it be?

A bear! They are wild and powerful creatures, yet beautiful and graceful.  And nothing says adventure like a bear!

What does the word free mean to you?

Not having a care in the world.  But more importantly, being confident and truly comfortable with yourself!

+ Join us in Glacier National Park this August! Book here today!! 

Want to learn more about our Glacier National Park Escape? Meet and stay up to date with our yoga teacher and holistic health coach, Maria, who will be joining us in Glacier NP!

Free People Blog

Park Visit: Denali

Park Visit: Denali

With six million acres in wild land, Denali National Park is worth the trek to the Last Frontier…

Growing up in Alaska, Denali National Park holds a special place in my heart. Its seemingly endless acreage is home to the largest peak in North America, sitting over 20,000 feet above sea level and named ‘big mountain’, or Denali, by my Athabaskan people. Long before I was born, my own father even summited this beautiful beast during a mountaineering expedition in the late 70s. Needless to say, I was pretty lucky to grow up under such a mighty force. Denali stands alone from other national parks as it has a sole road that runs throughout the whole park, a majority of which can only be accessed by designated park buses. This vast and wild land offers lively wildlife, historic glaciers, and peaks whose dominance beckon its visitors to acknowledge the immense power of the Earth. Check out my guide below:

Where to Stay:

Byers Lake Cabins — This is my favorite hidden gem, located about 90 miles south of the Denali National Park entrance. An amazing weekend getaway if you’re looking to spend some time in the great outdoors without fully committing to tent camping. There are three cabins located on Byers Lake, all easily accessible via a one-mile hike or a three-mile kayak trip across the lake. These cabins may rest on the outer limits of your Denali adventure but provide quiet nights, lake access and stunning views of Denali. Each cabin sleeps six and is close enough to be able to visit Talkeetna after your park visit.

Wonder Lake Campground — There are six campgrounds located inside the national park, each different from the last and each offering a more intense version of an off-the-grid experience are you head deeper inward. Wonder Lake is one of the six and furthest from the park’s entrance, 85 miles to be exact, and can only be accessed in the summer months. The campground is also the closest to Denali Mountain…with 26 miles standing between you and the base. Open to tent-only camping and also guaranteed bear sightings, this otherworldly location to lay your head at night is not for the faint of heart.

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge — Ok, ok so I know not all of us are ready to sleep on the Earth’s floor, let alone kayak for three miles just to drop off your pack. If this is you, however, Princess Lodges are where it’s at. Be warned — this is tourist-central and khaki shorts and selfie-sticks will be spotted. All that aside this lodge is beyond stunning and is located right outside the park’s entrance in the small town of Nenana Canyon. The lodge will set you up with guided hikes, whitewater rafting, which make adventuring Denali National Park effortless.

Where to Eat:

Prospectors Pizzeria & Alehouse — There are quite a few options within the mini “strip” of Nenana Canyon, from ice cream shops to killer Thai food. But nothing quite beats a hearty slice of pizza and cold beer after a long day of hiking and soaking in the fresh air. Prospectors Pizzeria is a must-stop for locals and tourists alike.

What to See:

I’ve come to accept, with the 6 million acres of land Denali National Park has to offer, “seeing it all” is quite daunting and unrealistic. So, to make your life a bit easier, I’ve provided some of my favorite spots to see if you have just a few days to explore. Of course, if you have a week, a month, a summer!!  TAKE IT, as every day in the park will provide you with a different view, another wild animal and endless gratitude for this beautiful life we get to live.

One full day: 

Savage River Loop Trail — This is a perfect, easy day hike for all levels. The trail is located at mile 15 and is actually the furthest point to you are allowed a private vehicle within the park. This trail provides parking for both RV’s and cars, and is a 1.7 mile loop that runs along the Savage River.

Sled Dog Kennels — Yes, sled dogs!! You will see signs throughout the entrance to “slow down for sled dogs” or “sled dogs exercising”. Nothing gets more Alaskan than that! Located three miles from the park entrance, the sled dog kennels are open year-round to visitors. No parking is available here, so please plan on using the buses or walking the 1.5 miles from the Denali Visitor Center to the kennels. Demonstrations are given three times daily in peak season — be sure to check out more on sled dogs demonstrations here!

Wild Life Viewing — The wild animals of Alaska can be seen through out the park no matter the location or time of day. Yet there are certain animals for certain locations — check out the National Park’s guide for viewing here!

Bus Tours — As the park is sprawling, with only 15 miles of its sole road accessible by private vehicle, a bus tour is the best way to get the most out of a one-day adventure. The park offers narrated and non-narrated tours that include history lessons for the full 95 miles of park road.

Two Days:

The previous four points of interest plus…

McKinley (River) Bar Trail — leading from Wonder Lake Campground to the McKinley River. It is 2.5 miles one way, with negligible elevation gain. The trail travels through spruce forest and past several small ponds, offering chance to see water fowl and terrain which differs from much of the park. It is plagued most of the summer by mosquitoes, so bring a head net.

Kantishna Experience– This is a full day (12-hour) adventure that travels the full length of Denali’s park road to the old gold town of Kantishna. Lunch and snacks are provided as you drive into the history and and role that this interior town has to offer.

Mount Healy Overlook Trail — Unlike other trails in the park, Mount Healy overlook is not a loop and provides a rugged terrain for those looking for incredible views.  A little over five miles round-trip, this is one of Denali’s steepest, gaining about 1,700 feet in elevation.

Please note: 

Seeing a wild animal in the backcountry can be an incredible experience. But knowing how to behave in an encounter scenario might make all the difference. Whether it’s a moose, a bear or smaller animal, be prepared to react accordingly.

Make noise in areas of low visibility.
Stay 300 yards away from any bear.
Stay at least 25 yards from a moose.
If a wild animal changes its behavior because of you, you’re too close.

+ Have a favorite Denali adventure to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

Learn more about our partnership with the National Park Foundation here!

Follow April on Instagram.

Free People Blog

What to Pack: Parks Edition

What to Pack: Parks Edition

Adventure-ready styles for the summer days ahead…

Last week we introduced you to the Free People x National Park Foundation partnership, aka #LoveYourParks, in an aim to celebrate and bring awareness to our national parks and all things adventure! This week we are preparing your for those tree-lined trails and giving you a jump start on what to pack. Tailored with room to roam and ready to take on any terrain, this packing list is sure to inspire a new adventure.

We The Free My Boyfriend’s Tee:

An effortless take on a borrowed-from-the-boys V-neck. This tee is perfect for any weather that may come your way while exploring incredible vistas. Easily layer a thermal under for those chillier temps, or simply add a tank underneath such as the Hudson Tank when ready to shed a layer!

Levi’s 501 Cutoffs:

Featured in the same iconic fit as the Levi’s 501, these vintage-inspired jean shorts sit just below the waist and with a button fly. You can never go wrong with a good pair of denim cutoffs — might as well make them Levi’s.

Let It All Go Plaid Top:

For that lived-in look, we turn to plaid. Tie around your waist or toss over the Boyfriend Tee. This boxy shape pullover will take you from early morning hikes to late night camp fires.

Insect Repellent Travel Size: 

Let’s get real, no one loves a bug bite. Enjoy the outdoors without worry about the stress of pesky insects when using this 100% Organic Insect Repellant. Botanical oils keep bugs at bay while skin stays nourished with essential oils to help keep your people happy and bite-free!

Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen:

As most of us head to the parks during those glorious summer months, sunscreen is a must. Balance skin tone and smooth fine lines with this natural matte tinted BB cream. Crafted from antioxidant-infused, plant-powered ingredients, this unscented mineral sunscreen improves elasticity while rejuvenating the skin. Hello summer tan, goodbye fine lines.

Deodorant Stick:

Because we are real woman who sweat, hear us roar. Crafted from all-natural ingredients in Portland, Oregon this certified vegan deodorant provides all-day odor protection and wetness relief. Keeping our minds focused on nature and not our stink.

Beach Club Bandana:

Don’t let the name fool you. The ultimate bandana with unfinished raw trim. Tie around your neck, hair or ankle for a versatile outdoor style.

Baggy Lace-Up Boot:

Made for any outdoor adventure, this boot is the way to go. All things cool and rugged, in a cotton canvas that has been dyed and washed to create a vintage-inspired look. Wear as a high-top while trail hunting or fold down the collar when roaming around the camp site. An extra cushy footbed for extra comfort and support.

Adventure Crew Sock:

The name says it all, ready to take on any adventure and the perfect pair for your Baggy Lace-up Boot. Slightly stretchy fabrication and elastic band for an easy, effortless fit. Did we mention they come in seven different prints? One for each day of the week, to add some pep to your trail-bound step.

Napoli Distressed Backpack:

Now that you have your list of must-haves you need something to pack it all into. Nothing beats this Italian made canvas backpack with adjustable straps, a drawstring closure and inner and outer pockets to hold your water bottle, map, park pass and more!

Be sure to enter our Instagram contest ending Friday, April 28th for your chance to win a dream National Park bundle.

+ Where is your next adventure? Headed to a National Park? Let us know in the comments below!

Follow April on Instagram.

Free People Blog

Park Visit: Death Valley

A must-see, Death Valley is the largest national park in the contiguous United States…

Otherworldly and barren, Death Valley National Park is a surprising land of constant discovery. This surreal and natural adult amusement park of sorts, sits on 3.4 million acres, making Death Valley the largest national park in the contiguous United States. The vast and arid land that spans across California and Nevada offers picturesque sand dunes, lively wildlife, lush desert oasises and mountains so gigantic that perspective is easily confused. Death Valley is a must-see for any avid traveler or National Park fan. Check out my guide below:

Where to Stay:

Panamint Springs Resort –– Located on the western end of the park, this homey western-style resort offers weary Death Valley visitors a peaceful and rustic resting place. The small town includes a restaurant and bar, gas station, market, and a family-owned and -operated inn. The resort offers hook-ups for RVs, sites for camping, and charming, clean cabins equipped with a bathroom and shower.

Furnace Creek Resort –– The most popular resort in Death Valley is Furnace Creek. Outfitted with two hotels, four restaurants, a saloon, cocktail lounge, spring-fed swimming pools, tennis courts, a market, and wifi (!!!), Furnace Creek serves as a literal and figurative oasis for tourists. The resort is situated in a lush oasis where palm trees provide needed shade from the unapologetic heat of the Death Valley sun.

Where to Eat:

Forty-Niner Cafe –-: at the Ranch in Furnace Creek offers hearty meals, cold beverages, and a relaxed and casual atmosphere. This family diner serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, specializing in sandwiches, burgers and salads, as well as vegetarian options.

What to See:

EVERYTHING! But because the park is extremely large and scheduling varies per trip, I have put together a list dependent on how many days you have dedicated to exploring.

One full day: 

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes — Seemingly endless, this ever-changing must-see is the largest sand dune in the park. According to the NPS, this spot includes three types of dunes: crescent, linear, and star-shaped.

Badwater Basin — Here, you are standing at the lowest point in North America (-282 feet below sea level). The dried salt lake bed is expansive and bright — a wonderful spot for a photo opp.

Zabriskie Point — The most popular vista in the park, Zabriskie offers intense and photogenic views of the vast park. Arrive early for sunrise to beat the crowds, but also to experience the radiating colors bouncing off of the hills and mountain formations.

Artist’s Drive — This nine-mile drive loops through the captivating volcanic hills doused in colors of green, purple, blue and orange.

Two Days:

The previous four points of interest plus…

Dante’s View — If Zabriskie Point is the most popular, then Dante’s View may be the most underrated. Sitting at almost 5,500 feet, the view presents a grand POV overlooking Badwater Basin and the Panamint Mountains. Fun fact: this is the only place in the park outside of Furnace Creek where I had cell service.

Ubehebe Crater — Created by a forceful volcanic steam explosion, Ubehebe (U-bee-hee-bee) is a half-mile across and 600 feet deep. Though it is a bit of a drive (about an hour from Furnace Creek), I highly recommend this special place.

Devil’s Golf Course — Rock salt that has been eroded by harsh winds and rain makes up this jagged field of spires. Tiny pops can be heard coming from the salt as the mini crystals expand in the heat.

Mosaic Canyon — This easy-to-moderate hike takes you through massive canyons where water once flowed, and the resulting rounded rock formations are smooth to the touch. Near the beginning of the hike small broken off rocks are cemented in canyon walls, resembling a mosaic masterpiece.

 

+ Have a favorite Death Valley adventure to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

Learn more about our partnership with the National Park Foundation here!

Follow Joanna on Instagram and check out her website.