Mack Prioleau’s Top 2 Reasons for Visiting New Mexico

Mack Prioleau on Visiting New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment

Welcome back! This is Mack Prioleau and I’m glad to see you all here again. As you know, I love traveling, and I jump at the opportunity every chance I get. This year, I vow to pay more attention to places and attractions that I haven’t been to in the country; starting with New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment.

My top two reasons for wanting to go to New Mexico are; first, its archeological sites (which seem to be all over the place), and second, its awe-inspiring Native American communities. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate these wonders of New Mexico but if you are, all the more reason to go!

Archeological sites. It seems that everywhere you turn, you see an archeological site in New Mexico! If there’s only one archeological site that you have time to really explore, then I would suggest that you head straight to the Aztec Ruins National Monument. The ruins were said to be part of the migration journey of the Pueblo people. Follow the trail and walk back in time as you discover the paths that the ancient Pueblo people took.

Native American Communities. There are 19 Native American pueblos or communities that you can discover in New Mexico. The Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and here, you can discover the cultural and traditional way of life of Native Americans as the residents here live in much the same way as their ancestors did. You can meet the locals and learn about their traditions and culture, and maybe even regaled with stories of old.

I feel that I didn’t do justice to these amazing wonders of New Mexico; but in my defense, you can’t really put into words just how awe-inspiring New Mexico is. You’d have to be there to experience it yourself!

Stay tuned for more travel posts from me, Mack Prioleau.

 

 

Mack Prioleau’s Top 3 Tips for Surviving a Winter Surf

Mack Prioleau Shares Tips to Help You Enjoy Surfing in Winter

For Mack Prioleau, surfing is a way of life. Either you live and breathe it every day or you don’t. There’s no middle ground; at least for serious surfers, in his opinion. In his latest blog entry, he talks about “extreme” surfing; that is, surfing in the cold, harsh winter weather. You are invited to read on to learn more about his thoughts on the matter.

You might wonder why anyone would even consider surfing in winter. But the harsh winter weather—and cold waters of the ocean—are actually what some extreme surfers look forward to every year. Besides, if surfing is in your blood, every day is a good day to surf, regardless of weather conditions. Only when your safety is at risk do you even slightly consider surfing another day.

So if you’re eager to surf in winter, below are a few tips that I suggest you consider—just to make surfing as enjoyable and smooth as when you’re surfing in perfect weather.

1. Suit up. When you’re out in the cold waters of the ocean, you’d want to stay as warm as possible. The last thing you want to take home from your winter surfing expedition is hypothermia! Go for a neoprene suit. Neoprene helps keep the cold out, keeping you warm while you’re out in the cold. If you can’t find a suit at the last minute, go for a vest that you can wear under your wetsuit, or a jacket that you can wear over your long johns or regular suit.

2. Warm up before hitting the water. Don’t expose your body to the shocking chill of the cold water immediately upon arriving at the beach. Do a few warm-up exercises first. Load up on carbs and protein, and drink water to stay hydrated. It’s also recommended to cover up while walking towards the beach. Wear a good pair of boots, cover your hands with thick, warm gloves, and cover your head with a hoodie. Once you’re out at the beach, start stripping off and do a few stretches again to warm-up before finally paddling out.

3. Keep your skin and lips moisturized. Cool air can dry your skin and lips so fast that before you know it, you’re already nursing chapped lips or getting itchy skin. Apply a liberal amount of moisturizer on your lips and skin and then keep the moisture in by adding a layer of petroleum jelly on your lips and skin.

These are but three essential things that I would recommend to anyone looking to go surfing in winter. You may also have your own rituals and safety measures for winter surfing, and if you’d like to share them with the rest of our readers, please feel free to do so! We welcome all types of helpful tips to make for a more enjoyable winter surfing experience!

You may get in touch with me, Mack Prioleau, through this site for tips and comments that you’d like to share. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Mack Prioleau’s Top 3 Tips for Surviving a Winter Surf

Mack Prioleau Shares Tips to Help You Enjoy Surfing in Winter

For Mack Prioleau, surfing is a way of life. Either you live and breathe it every day or you don’t. There’s no middle ground; at least for serious surfers, in his opinion. In his latest blog entry, he talks about “extreme” surfing; that is, surfing in the cold, harsh winter weather. You are invited to read on to learn more about his thoughts on the matter.

You might wonder why anyone would even consider surfing in winter. But the harsh winter weather—and cold waters of the ocean—are actually what some extreme surfers look forward to every year. Besides, if surfing is in your blood, every day is a good day to surf, regardless of weather conditions. Only when your safety is at risk do you even slightly consider surfing another day.

So if you’re eager to surf in winter, below are a few tips that I suggest you consider—just to make surfing as enjoyable and smooth as when you’re surfing in perfect weather.

1. Suit up. When you’re out in the cold waters of the ocean, you’d want to stay as warm as possible. The last thing you want to take home from your winter surfing expedition is hypothermia! Go for a neoprene suit. Neoprene helps keep the cold out, keeping you warm while you’re out in the cold. If you can’t find a suit at the last minute, go for a vest that you can wear under your wetsuit, or a jacket that you can wear over your long johns or regular suit.

2. Warm up before hitting the water. Don’t expose your body to the shocking chill of the cold water immediately upon arriving at the beach. Do a few warm-up exercises first. Load up on carbs and protein, and drink water to stay hydrated. It’s also recommended to cover up while walking towards the beach. Wear a good pair of boots, cover your hands with thick, warm gloves, and cover your head with a hoodie. Once you’re out at the beach, start stripping off and do a few stretches again to warm-up before finally paddling out.

3. Keep your skin and lips moisturized. Cool air can dry your skin and lips so fast that before you know it, you’re already nursing chapped lips or getting itchy skin. Apply a liberal amount of moisturizer on your lips and skin and then keep the moisture in by adding a layer of petroleum jelly on your lips and skin.

These are but three essential things that I would recommend to anyone looking to go surfing in winter. You may also have your own rituals and safety measures for winter surfing, and if you’d like to share them with the rest of our readers, please feel free to do so! We welcome all types of helpful tips to make for a more enjoyable winter surfing experience!

You may get in touch with me, Mack Prioleau, through this site for tips and comments that you’d like to share. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Mack Prioleau: The Best Woman Surfer, Bethany Hamilton

Mack Prioleau: Why Bethany Hamilton is My All-Time Surfing Hero

I first learned about Bethany Hamilton when I saw the film “Soul Surfer.” Prior to that, I must admit that I was clueless about her. Hello, readers! I’m glad to see you all again here! This is Mack Prioleau, and today I’d like to give you a brief account of the harrowing experience of the young Bethany Hamilton—an experience that changed the course of her life forever.

Soul Surfer, the Movie

I saw the movie back in 2011 when it came out because the title caught my attention. Before I watched it, I avoided reading up on her. I wanted my first introduction to come from the movie; to give more life to the introduction. I don’t know. It’s just how I wanted it. Anyway, I was glad I stayed away from any literature on Bethany Hamilton because then I might not have watched the film anymore—and I’m glad I did.

Bethany was 13 years old when a shark attacked her. She was on her board out at sea waiting for a wave and all of a sudden, a shark seemed to have come out of nowhere and bit her arm off. In all the frenzy and panic, she remained calm and had her wits about her—something the doctors said could have saved her life.

When the accident happened, she was on her way to becoming a world-class champion surfer, having won numerous awards and bagging a major sponsor. Everything came to a halt after the attack. It was determined that she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark.

The media frenzy, the physical changes, and everyone walking on egg shells around her took a toll on her self-esteem. But Hamilton’s dream of surfing again eventually resurfaced and her determination to beat the odds proved to be a worthy endeavor. She used a custom-made board, designed by her father, to help her paddle out into the water without getting washed over. She also began rigorous training exercises, and soon enough, she was back on the competitive circuit.

Bethany Hamilton today

Today, she is one of the most popular surfers in the world, winning numerous awards over the years. Of these, the most notable are those that she won during the first competitions she joined following her shark attack. These include the following:

  • 2004 NSSA National Competition, 1st place
  • 2005 NSSA National Competition, 1st place
  • 2005 O’Neill Island Junior Girl Pro Tournament, 1stt place

Other awards she has won since:

  • 2007 NSSA Regionals, 1st place
  • 2007 T&C Pipeline Women’s Pro, 1st place
  • 2014 Surf ‘n’ Sea Pipeline Women’s Pro, 1st place

She also placed 13th in the 2015 Swatch Women’s Pro, and 3rd at the 2013 Fiji Women’s Pro.

If there’s one lesson that we can all take away from her story, it is this: no matter how much the odds are stacked up against you, if you are determined to beat these odds, and persevere, you will eventually come out on top.

Mack Prioleau will share more posts about outdoor sports on this site so please make sure to come back for those.

 

 

Mack Prioleau talks about Bangladesh’s inspiring surfer girls

Mack Prioleau on the Inspiring Surfer Girls of Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, girls are expected to be married between the ages of 15 and 18. And they don’t spend their time being educated in schools. They are expected to help the family earn a living, and usually, by age 8 onwards, this is what they do. Hello, everyone. This is Mack Prioleau and today I thought I’d share with you the inspiring story of eight young girls who defied the odds and broke tradition to follow their dreams.

Swimming, I later learned, was considered as “indecent” for girls in Bangladesh.

Working at the break of dawn

For most of these girls, their day starts at the first sign of the sun rising. They would hit the beach area to sell whatever their mothers have prepared for them to sell; hard boiled eggs, snacks, water, and trinkets. Sometimes, when they’re not at the beach selling their merchandise, they are at someone’s house serving as their housekeeper or cleaner. Such is the kind of life that most of these girls live every day—and it’s the only kind of life that they know.

But as we all know, life sometimes has a weird way of working out differently from how we planned it.

Destiny calling

Some people may call it fate or destiny, while others deem it as Divine intervention, but whatever it was, one thing was certain; one incident on one particular afternoon was about to change the course of the lives of these girls.

It was Shoma Akthar who saw a lifeguard riding the waves on a surfboard. Fascinated, she told the man she wanted to do that too. The man, Rashed Alam, agreed to teach her. The lessons were to start the following morning but Shoma didn’t show up. It would take her several weeks to finally muster up the courage to show up.

It was one thing to break tradition and an entirely different matter to go behind her mother’s back. To cut a long story short, Shoma took the lessons and soon enough, other girls followed her lead. Their coach was all-out in giving his support to the girls—to the point of visiting each of the girls’ houses to talk to their parents.

The news wasn’t received well as you could imagine but after a long, hard-fought battle, the girls and their coach slowly won over the parents’ hearts and although reluctantly, they gave their blessing.

More girls have joined since then. Today, the girls are not only being taught surfing techniques; they are also being given lessons on life skills: CPR and rescue, and English language lessons. Incidentally, Shoma joined a local competition where she bagged third place and won $40—what she would’ve earned working as a housekeeper for two months.

This inspiring story shows us that no dream is too big for someone who believes in herself. It also shows how one person’s faith and belief in the girls ultimately changed the girls’ course in life.

There’s one other inspiring surfer girl that I know of, and I’d also like to share her story one of these days. You may have heard of her; Bethany Hamilton.

Thanks for reading my latest post! If you have comments you wish to share, please feel free to contact me, Mack Prioleau, through this site.

 

 

Mack Prioleau explores Avignon, Provence

Mack Prioleau on Visiting Avignon, Provence

Ever since I started traveling on my own, I’ve always made it a point to explore the streets of the city or country I’m visiting on foot. A walking tour, in my opinion, is the best way to truly get to know a new place. Hi, everyone! It’s Mack Prioleau once more. I’ve been to France before, but I must admit that I haven’t yet explored Avignon on foot. For this post, I wish to take you on a virtual walking tour around the medieval Provençal town of Avignon.

Avignon has sealed its place in history for being the town where popes resided during the 14th century. The years from 1307 to 1377 are known as the Avignon Papacy because it is during this time when the popes made their home in this town. At the time, Avignon was part of the Holy Roman Empire in the Kingdom of Arles.

Palais des Papes

When you visit the papal residence, the Palais des Papes, you will be looking at a magnificent structure covered in controversy. It was said that French Pope Clement V refused to stay in the official residence in Rome because of a conflict that ensued between the French crown and the Papacy.

But controversial history aside, the Palais des Papes is considered as the largest structure in Europe built in the architectural style of the Gothic period. Before you walk towards the structure, you might want to pause for a few moments to enjoy its magnificent façade. From a distance, the palace looks like a castle straight out of a fairy tale.

There are several rooms that are open to the public, such as the Great Audience Chamber, the Consistory Hall, the Banqueting Hall, and the Papal Bedchamber. The Chapel of Saint John located on the ground floor presents you with breathtaking frescoes by Italian painter Matteo Giovanetti.

Petit Palais

This 13th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site is another example of the architectural design during the Gothic period. This building served as the residence of Episcopal bishops before the construction of the Palais des Papes.

The building has been transformed into a museum where beautiful works of art by famous Italian painters are on display. Of note is the “Virgin and Child” painting by Botticelli. You will also see works from the Avignon School of Painters.

Other notable structures that you can visit during your walking tour are the Saint Bénézet Bridge, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-des-Doms, Eglise Saint-Didier, and the Place de I’Horloge.

If you love walking and hiking like I do, then a walking tour of Avignon is a must.

On that note, there are also hiking trails around Provence that you can check out if your feet are itching to go on a hike during your vacation in France. From wine trails to lavender paths, chapel discovery trails, there are plenty of hiking paths that you can explore near Avignon.

I do hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please check back again soon for more posts on outdoor adventures by yours truly. Again, this is Mack Prioleau.

 

 

Mack Prioleau’s top ice fishing spots in Wisconsin

Ice Fishing Spots in Wisconsin Recommended by Mack Prioleau

Ice fishing is an outdoor activity I always look forward to doing every winter. It’s a different kind of fishing experience; one that is definitely an acquired taste.Hello, everyone! It’s Mack Prioleau once more. If you’re thinking about going ice fishing, and you’ve never done it before, I recommend that you also read my ice fishing tips for beginners, which you can also find in this blog.

There are plenty of ice fishing spots scattered all over the country, and choosing one could be quite a challenge especially if you’ve never gone ice fishing before. To help narrow down your search, this post shares with you ice fishing spots in Wisconsin that you might want to check out.

Lake Namakagon in Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest, Namakagon, Northern Wisconsin

If you’re looking to catch a trophy-sized muskie, then this is where you should go come the winter season. It could be quite a challenge to hook this (usually) 40-pound fish, but if you’re patient enough, you might be able to bring home this prized catch. On the other hand, if the muskie aren’t biting, you can always settle for largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, crappie, bluegill, and walleye. Also, if you’d like to get a head start on ice fishing in winter, you should definitely head out here as the lake usually freezes over earlier than other lakes in the state.

Lake Nebagamon, Douglas County

Looking for abundant fish in winter? Lake Nebagamon is where you should go. Considered as one of the best fisheries in Wisconsin, you can expect to find largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, catfish, trout, walleye, bluegill, and perch here. Fish are aplenty at this spot!

Additionally, if you’re up for an ice fishing tournament—whether as a spectator or participant—there’s plenty of them here, held throughout the winter months.

Webb Lake, Burnett County

If what you’re looking for is a fly-fishing hotspot in the winter, then head for Webb Lake. If luck is on your side, you could go home with the freshest catch of largemouth and smallmouth bass, muskie, northern pike, walleye, bluegill, and crappie.

Webb Lake is a popular spot for anglers not only in winter but all throughout the year.

Bone Lake, Polk County

This large 1,781-acre lake in Polk County is a popular fishing spot year-round. During the winter months, you can find bass, bluegill, northern pike, perch, and crappie in abundance here. For a lot of anglers, their take-home fish is usually perch.

Other ice fishing spots you could check out include Balsam Lake in Polk County, Lake Wissota in Chippewa County, Alice Lake in Lincoln County, and Big Sand Lake in Burnett County.

Please be aware of the bag limits per fishing spot, and the fishing regulations of the State of Wisconsin.

Have you been ice fishing in Wisconsin? How was your experience? Please share it with us here. You may reach me, Mack Prioleau, directly through this page.

 

 

Mack Prioleau on ice fishing for beginners

Ice Fishing Tips for Beginners from Mack Prioleau

The winter months will soon be upon us. For outdoor lovers like myself, the long winter months could mean forgoing our favorite activities and waiting out the season indoors. Thankfully, I discovered ice fishing, and I’ve been doing it every winter since. Hello, all! This is Mack Prioleau. In this latest blog entry, I thought I’d share with you a few tips to help you have a smooth and enjoyable ice fishing experience.

Wear proper clothing

It cannot be emphasized enough how dangerous it could be for you if you stay under the cold, winter weather for long hours without being properly covered. I recommend that you wear under layer clothing made of polypropylene material—from top to bottom—as this type of material provides you with a moisture barrier. If you find yourself sweating underneath all your layers of clothing, the moisture won’t stay on your skin, preventing hypothermia from cold sweat.

It is always best to use layers and then remove each layer as you see fit. Multiple layers of clothing will keep you protected from the harsh, cold winter air. And when the air gets a little warm for you, you can just remove your top layers—better to have layers to remove than to be lacking in proper warm clothing when you’re out at your ice fishing spot.

For your footwear, thick sock and pack boots are what I would advise.

Ice shanty

Where there are ice-fishing spots, there usually are ice shanties for rent as well. These are typically 6′ x 6′ plastic or wooden shanties that you can easily set up within minutes. To keep the interior warm, you can use a heater or stove. Be sure to practice caution when using such heating devices to avoid accidental burns.

These shanties can also comfortably accommodate two persons so you can fish with your buddy out on the ice.

On another note, you could consider bringing your ice skates with you so you can get up and get moving every now and then to stay warm and stretch your muscles.

Equipment

First, you will need appropriate equipment for transporting all your fishing gear. A sled or toboggan is commonly used for this purpose. Next, you will need the proper tools for the actual ice fishing. The basic tools that you should bring along are an ice auger for drilling your fishing hole, a skimmer for scooping out slush or ice chips from your hole, an ice spud or chisel, bait bucket, a seat or chair, dip net, and a hook disgorger.

For fishing, you will need a jigging rod, tip-up (that tells you when a fish is on your line), hooks, lures, jigs, line, and leaders (wires that you attach the hooks on).

The ice shanty rental place may have some of these for rent as well so make sure to check first to know which ones you need to bring on your own.

In the coming days, I will share with you ice fishing spots that you can check out so make sure to come back for those! This is Mack Prioleau, and I hope you enjoyed reading this post.

 

 

Mack Prioleau shares tips on preparing for a winter hike

Winter Hiking Tips by Mack Prioleau

When I embarked on my first winter hike a few years back, I didn’t expect the trail to be hard. I’ve hiked the trail so many times during the summer that I knew it like the back of my hand. What I didn’t expect was that it could be so challenging in wintertime. Hi, all! Mack Prioleau here. Let me share with you a few tips on winter hiking so you won’t have as hard a time as I did when I tried it for the very first time.

Suit up

You know how temperatures change as you ascend to reach the summit? From the foot of the mountain, the temperature could be at a relatively cool and comfortable level, but as you get higher up, you could feel the air getting colder and colder. Expect these changes in temperature to be magnified during the winter! So my first tip is to suit up. Wear properly insulated clothing to keep warm and dry. And take along an extra pair of insulated pants and jacket for added measure.

For winter hikes, make like an onion and layer up!

Set out early

There are two main reasons why I suggest that you make an early start for your winter hikes. First, the sun generally sets early during winter. The last thing you want is to be stuck in the middle of the trail when the sun goes down. Hiking with only your headlamp as a source of light in snow-covered trails puts your safety at risk.

Second, the trail, as I mentioned above, is going to be far more challenging in winter, which means a trail that you’ve managed to complete within a couple of hours in the summer could take you all day to complete in winter. In other words, make sure to give ample time for hiking the trails in colder, snowy conditions.

Bring safety and emergency gear

When you go out on a hike, you should always be prepared for surprises. This is especially true during winter. Bring a first aid kit, extra warm clothing, a compass, trail map, and headlamp, of course. You’ll never know when heavy snowfall could suddenly occur so be prepared to spend the night, too, even if you only planned (and chose a trail) for a day hike.

Check, double and triple-check the weather

It goes without saying that one of the first things you should do when planning a hike is to check the weather regardless of whether you’re hiking in the summer or winter. But during winter, it is advised that you keep checking the weather until the time you have to start your a hike. Make sure to check for incidents of heavy snowfall and avalanches on the mountain you’re planning to climb. As I’ve said, winter conditions present you with more challenges compared to summer, and it is always prudent to double—even triple—check the weather.

Do you have tips you want to share? Please feel free to let me know. You may reach me, Mack Prioleau, directly through this site.

Trail running camps to kick-start your training

Training Camps for Trail Running: Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into the Wild

Hello, everyone! This is Mack Prioleau. Today I thought about talking a little bit about trail running. As a lover of the outdoors, I spend a great deal of time hiking trails to reach the best summits in the country. I also like trekking the trails of our national parks. I guess you can say that I’m quite experienced when it comes to hiking and trekking. But there’s one thing about the outdoors that I have yet to master—trail running.

There’s no doubt that trail running is very much different from regular running or jogging. Where your feet can easily get accustomed to running on paved paths so much that the only challenge left (most of the time) for regular runners is to beat their last record run; for trail running, it’s a whole different ballgame. Soft, muddy terrain, grass, slopes, twigs, branches, and a multitude of other obstacles challenge your skills and stamina on every trail run.

I know that I have to get the proper training in order for me to be physically and mentally ready for an honest-to-goodness actual trail run. And since I like to travel, I decided to check out trail running camps in the country that are outside of where I currently reside, which is Nashville, Tennessee. I figured, traveling locally to join a trail running camp allows me to still enjoy two of the things I love most: traveling and the outdoors.

Trail Running Camp Locations in the US

1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jackson Hole is a valley that sits between two mountain ranges in Wyoming; Teton Mountain Range and the Gros Ventre Range. As such, you will find running trails of varying degrees in this area. Check out Mountain Running Academy if you’re up for a dose of extensive training. Choose from three courses: Cool Impossible Camp, Ultra X Training, and Peak FX Training Camp.

The camp usually runs for three days but check their official website as well to get the latest updates on length and schedules.

2. Colorado. Colorado is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders during the winter but when the snow has melted and the mountains have unveiled their lush greens once more, the state will have trails perfect for running. Check out Hut Run Hut for trail running that takes you from Aspen to Vail. It’s a 100-mile run that takes you to the amazing trails across the Rockies. If you’re looking for a scenic trail running training camp, then this one’s for you.

There are three six-day camp schedules available. Kindly visit their official website for more details.

3. Flagstaff, Arizona. There are two trail running training camps available here: Rob Krar Ultra Camp and McMillan Running Getaways. Rob Krar Ultra Camp takes you trail running during training days and enjoying your natural surroundings with a picnic lunch in the outdoors during breaks from training. It’s a training session \and vacation rolled into one!

Now, for those who are looking for a more extensive and athletic training, McMillan Running Getaways is for you. Train on trails that some of the country’s most elite trail runners have traversed. Training includes high altitude running along Arizona’s highest peaks, the San Francisco Peaks.

I’m not sure yet which one I’ll do, but I’m more inclined towards training in Flagstaff, Arizona. What about you? Do you have a trail running training camp in your area? Buzz me up! I’d love to check it out. You may reach me, Mack Prioleau, through this site.