Fearless Female of the Month: Natali Zollinger

by Joslin Fritz
( September 25th, 2014 )

I’m starting a new series of posts here on Wanderlust and Lipstick called Fearless Female of the Month. Each month I will interview a woman who is paving the way for others in her outdoor recreational and adventurous lifestyle, and inspiring us to do the same in our own lives. My first fearless female of the month is Natali Zollinger, who is a game-changer in all things Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP board). Natali is a competitor in whitewater SUP racing, a trained SUP instructor, and avid SUP yoga proponent. I spoke with her recently to find out more about her passion for SUP boarding.

Natalie Zollinger-SUP Boarding-Female AthletesHow did you get into water sports?

I grew up on a farm in Northern Utah with three ponds surrounding our home. From swimming to iceskating, that was my life. I’ve always loved water. In high school, I competed on in swimming, diving and waterpolo. After highschool I got a little sick of chlorine, so I moved on to running and joined the rugby team at Utah State University, as I’ve always been a competitor and athlete.

Why Stand Up Paddleboarding?

After college I went on a rafting trip with some friends near Moab, Utah. It was the tipping point in my life, I quickly became hooked. Rivers were that thing that was missing in my mermaid, athletic lifestyle.

 I kept seeing SUPs out on the river, and so I asked my friend Shaine from Shabomee SUP to teach me. One trip down the river and I knew that I had found my sport. It’s been the best of both worlds, river guiding and SUP boarding. I get to be on the water everyday, but don’t have to push my body through such a physical stressful state that I was beginning to feel from river guiding.

You’ve got a cool mix of yoga and SUP boarding experience. How do you think these two activities work well together?

Yoga has always been an interest of mine, and one that I’ve pursued by getting my 200 hour yoga teaching certification. I think these activities pair nicely due to the fact that you can do both at the same time. You can paddle out for an evening training sesh, then place your paddle down on the board and move right into your yoga routine. I like to think of my SUP board as my floating yoga mat. :)

SUP Racing Natali ZollingerTell me about whitewater SUP racing.

 Whitewater (River) SUP racing is a relatively new sport. It’s similar to whitewater rafting, but on a SUP board. We compete for time down a river, and whomever is fastest, wins. You can imagine how challenging and adventurous it is, as you need to ferry across the river, catch eddies, and well, stay on your board. It’s been amazing because I love the sport, and have found an incredible family of paddlers (especially ladies) that will be lifelong friends. I’m definitely in this sport for the long haul. I hope to help it grow and develop so it can be accessible to anyone and everyone in the world.

What’s your advice for newbie female SUP boarders?

Don’t be intimidated! SUP boarding is the fastest growing sport in the world for a reason…anyone can get on it and go! Choose the right board for the right interest. For example, narrower boards are better for training and sprint workouts, while wide boards are super stable and good for SUPyoga and general fitness. I like Hala Gear, they have inflatable boards so you don’t have to worry about storage and they’re softer for the body to kneel or lay on. Whatever your SUP flavor, there’s plenty of options that’ll fit your needs.

If you had a crystal ball, what would you predict you’d see in the future of SUP boarding?

Thats a good one. Probably a break-down paddleboard to see if they can replicate the same activity on a SUP. I’m thinking a ski SUP, a mountain bike SUP, who knows what they’ll come up with. :)

You can read more about Natali and her upcoming events on her website, Nautilus SUP.

Photos courtesy of Natali Zollinger.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have a suggestion for our next Fearless Female of the Month!

Adventure On,


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Culinary Camping with Grandpa’s FireGrill

by Joslin Fritz
( September 22nd, 2014 )

Grandpa's FireGrill CampingMy camping cuisine usually consists of one-pot wonders, namely macaroni and cheese and tuna. As much as this is delicious and always hits the spot (hunger is the best spice), my outdoor cooking has improved this summer thanks to Grandpa’s Grill by Light My Fire.

This 6 by 6 1/2 inch metal grill puts my mac and cheese to shame. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking on my stove when I’m outdoors. There’s a certain zen zone I get out of it, prepping the stove, waiting for the water to boil, all the while enjoying my surroundings. The grill rack though, cooks food faster and is an easier, quicker clean up.

Outdoors Camping CookingI have been using my grill this summer for all food that can be cooked over the fire. Think chicken, fish and vegetables. In this sense, it’s been better for my car camping adventures, since I usually don’t bring raw poultry and broccoli on my backpacking trips. Where ever I ended up camping, I could always find a stick to position the stainless steel grill on, and I’d have dinner in no time. The wires are adjustable, and so a wide variety of sticks can fit. It took a few tries to figure out the latch if you use it folded together, but I had no trouble after a while.

Grandpa's FireGrillI found chicken and fish was my favorite food to cook in the grill. About 8-10 minutes over the fire and the marinated chicken was fully cooked and very juicy. A few weeks later I tried a fillet of fish, which also grilled to perfection. Considering my excellent track record, I tried some broccoli, squeezing them between the rack, and roasting them over the fire. Unfortunately, the broccoli ended up taking quite a bit longer, and it had a smoky flavor that I could’ve done without. In retrospect perhaps I’ll leave broccoli to be wrapped in aluminum foil and roast in the fire as a package next time.

You can purchase Grandpa’s Grill by Light My Fire on Amazon for $24.99.


Adventure On, 




All photos taken by Joslin Fritz.

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The People of the River of Mist at the K’San Historic Village

by Joslin Fritz
( September 12th, 2014 )

“Chiefs, Female Chiefs, and the rest of the people. My heart is full to see that you’ve come here to see us today. I am glad that we will share this beautiful day together.”

K'San Historical MuseumAlice Barnes, our guide at the K’San Historic Village, welcomes us with this traditional Gitxsan greeting in her native language. We’re just starting our afternoon walking tour of the  interpretive museum, built to showcase the heritage of the Gitxsan people. Immediately I feel welcomed and intrigued. Located near the town of Smithers in Hazelton, I’d already fallen in love with the mountain vistas and rushing rivers of Northern-Central British Columbia. But, as with many of my travel experiences, it’s my interactions with the people tied to the place that, in turn, gives me a deeper connection to the area as well.

For the rest of the afternoon, as we walked from one longhouse to another, Alice shared the history of her people, transitioning from topic to topic with personal stories that provided a more meaningful experience. Alice, not only a tour guide but also a hereditary chief, explained that the name of the tribe, Gitxsan, translates to the People of the River of Mist, as they live near the Skeena river.  She clarifies on this, that, “We don’t own anything, we’re simply the caretakers of the lands.”

Lineage is matriarchal, and are broken down into four different clans: Wolf, Frog, Fireweed and Eagle. Alice’s tribe is the Wolf, and she proudly shows me her carved necklace of a wolf. Each longhouse is named after a clan and each signifies a specific part of their culture. For example, the Eagle House is known as the treasure house, holding the various regalia for special occasions and performances, while the Frog House shows life of the Gitxsan people before contact with the outside world. In this manner, an overall understanding of the Gitxsan people can be grasped in a relatively short period of time.

Carving K'San Historical VillageA highlight for me was the House of Carving. Father and daughter duo Randy and Cecelia Adams are the main carvers, working in both wood and jewelry mediums. There used to be a carving school, due to a lack of interest they had to shut it down. Randy explained that it’s hard to get new carvers, as it takes time to build up skill and eventually make money.  In the Museum gift store, carved pieces are in higher demand than they can keep up with. Unfortunately, the younger generation is more interested in mining. “What they don’t realize” Randy says, “ is that carving is another type of gold mine.” When asked if her kids practiced carving, Cecelia replied that they are still too young, but are hoping that when they are older they will want to carve as well. They remain positive that one day they will reopen the school. On this note, Alice adds, “It’s important to create living cultural centers, not just showcase what we used to do.”

K'San Historical Village

Alice explains the significance of the totem poles in a way that changed the way I viewed totem poles. Since the river was the mode of travel for the Gitxsan people, the totem poles were like addresses, or house numbers. From the totem pole, you could tell who was chief and which clan the homeowner belonged to. If you were ever in need of help or lost, you could look at the totem pole and tell if the person belonged to the same clan as you. You could tell the homeowner your full name and clan, and soon you would begin a conversation about how you were related, and they would help you.

Interestingly enough, while Alice can show you how to read the totem pole, but she can’t interpret totem poles that are different than her clan, as it’s inappropriate. She could interpret it incorrectly, and this would cause great shame to her and her family.

I left the K’San Historical Village with a much deeper understanding of the Gitxsan, thanks to Alice. I reflected on what she said as we parted ways. “When you’re got so little left of the culture, it’s just that much more important to share all that I know.” I knew that each tour she gave, she was passing on her knowledge so that it could be appreciated to all that came to visit.


Adventure On,


All photos taken by Joslin Fritz.

My visit to the K’San Historical Village was provided by Aboriginal Tourism BC, but as always, my opinions are my own.

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