Denise Bornhausen

Denise Bornhausen is a volunteer instructor with Becoming an Outdoors Woman in Minnesota and is raising a hunting and fishing kid.

Posts about Outdoors Women

The 12 Days of Christmas - Days 2 and 3

Posted by: Denise Bornhausen Updated: December 15, 2009 - 5:43 AM
With more fresh snow, day 2 brings a gift idea for the whole family. 
While down hill and cross country skiing are popular, they can be expensive sports for a family - not to mention that it often involves travel to participate. A more affordable way to play on the snow is snowshoes. They can be used anywhere from the backyard to the woods. These are "out of the package" gifts - no complex instruction manual or batteries needed - just strap onto your boots and go. Today's modern metals and plastics mean that there are price entry points for all budgets. Plus snowshoeing is a great low impact aerobic excercise that burns more calories than running or walking at the same speed. Many park districts and nature centers have rental snowshoes and you can purchase children and adult sizes at local retailers including REI and Sports Authority

Day 3 brings gifts that keep on giving. 
For teens and adults that cross country ski - a MN Ski Pass gives them acess to miles of groomed trails in state parks and forests. At just $15 for the season a MN Ski Pass is a great stocking stuffer! Passes can be purchased anywhere that offers electronic license purchase, online at the DNR website or at State Parks. A three year pass is also available. 

For kids a membership to the local nature center gives them opportunities to explore nature all year. A membership paired with a field guide or flashlight is a great stocking stuffer. Staffed by naturalists and volunteers who love the outdoors these local treasures are the the forefront of the no child left inside movement. They offer trails for walking and hiking, educational classes and more. Many are preserving nature and wetlands with in an urban setting. Just a sampling in the metro include Woodlake Nature Center in Richfield, Dodge Nature Center in South St. Paul, Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings and Westwood Hills in St. Louis Park. 

Tomorrow - Shopping the bookshelf.

12 Gifts of Christmas for Your Favorite Outdoor Women and Children

Posted by: Denise Bornhausen Updated: December 12, 2009 - 10:46 PM
This week's snow has finally put me in the holiday spirit and looking at the calendar it's less than two short weeks until Christmas. If you put off your shopping or are looking for creative ideas for the outdoor woman or child in your life - I'll be posting two ideas a day up until Dec. 24th!

With apologies to Frederic Austin, composer of The Twelve Days of Christmas, here's my Christmas list.....

For the outdoor kid - Smartwool socks 
If you family is anything like mine - socks are always under the tree. As adults we always put on performance socks for outdoor activities, but think nothing of sending our kids out with cotton socks in their snow boots. And unlike most of us - kids spend far more time outside in the winter than we do. Fill their stockings with a a pair or two of Smartwool socks. They'll keep their feet warm and dry and they come in lots of fun designs and colors for even the most descrimating kid. 

For the outdoor woman - Smartwool sweater
Smartwool has applied their "woolology" technology to performance clothing and sweaters. I find myself fondling these lightweight, washable, "no itch" sweaters everytime I'm in a sporting goods store. Their clean, classic designs mean these functional sweaters will also be fashionable for years to come. Santa - Snowflake Full Zip size large, please. 

You can still place orders on line at and receive before Christmas or stop by a local dealer including Gander Mountain, Joe's Sporting Goods, Dick's, Sports Authority, Hoigaards, Nokomis Shoes or Midwest Mountaineering to make your holiday purchase. 

Tomorrow - snowshoes for the entire family.

Back to Class

Posted by: Denise Bornhausen Updated: August 30, 2009 - 1:51 PM

By now the kids are all ready for back to school with fresh pencils and notebooks, shoes and backpacks. They are eagerly waiting to start learning new skills and making new friends. And why should we, as adult women, be left out of the fun? Eagle Bluff ELC near Lanesboro and MN Becoming Outdoors Woman (BOW) are hosting the Discover BOW Weekend September 11-13. It’s an opportunity to “go back to class” to learn new outdoor skills and make new friends.

Taking advantage of the beautiful southeast Minnesota location, the BOW weekend has everything from exploring the Root River via canoe, kayak, or with a fly rod to hiking and orienteering through Eagle Bluff’s extensive property, learning about the flora and fauna of the region. Other classes include archery and a mock 3-D hunt, upland bird hunting or fire arm safety skills. There’s a bicycle ride along the Root River trail out of Lanesboro, or for those who need more adrenaline, a high ropes challenge. Classes are limited to 12 persons or less with lots of hands-on, step-by-step instruction from experienced outdoors enthusiasts, most of whom are women.

I attended one Minnesota’s first BOW weekends nearly 15 years ago at Gunflint Lodge and have been hooked ever since. It was so empowering to spend the weekend with a group of women learning how to load and shoot a firearm and how to tie on my own lure. There were lots of beginner’s mistakes, but there was also lots of help and tons of laughter. I now understood the easy camaraderie of the hunt camp and I wanted more of it for myself. Progressing from a participant to instructor, I’ve learned new skills like pheasant hunting, polished old, like fishing, and most importantly, made many wonderful new outdoor friends.

My increasing comfort and confidence outdoors has naturally passed on to my daughter, who is becoming quite the outdoor girl herself. She’s anxiously counting the years until she’ll be old enough to participate in my “girls only” Canadian fishing trip and our hunting trips, many of which have more women than men.

Doctors and scientists say that we should continue to learn new skills throughout our lives to keep our brains healthy. Lifelong learning doesn’t need to just come from books and the classroom. Plus, homework never entailed a beautiful walk through a fall woods or an afternoon on the water with a bucket of minnows and rod. And best of all – practice makes perfect!

 (It’s not too late to register for the fall BOW workshop at Eagle Bluff. Download a brochure at or call 1-888-800-9958.)

Women's Bike Maintenance Class June 12th

Posted by: Denise Bornhausen Updated: June 4, 2009 - 1:20 AM
Now the the weather has finally gotten nice, many of us have hauled our bicycles out of storage and starting hitting Minneapolis and Minnesota's beautiful trails. If you discovered that you had a flat or that your bike wasn't performing well - then the Beyond BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) bike maintenance class on Friday, June 12th is for you. The friendly staff at Boehm's Cycle in Mendota Heights will lead a hands on class focusing on fixing flat tires and simple maintenance tips and techniques. Register through the MN DNR at 1-888-646-6367. 

Then take your bike out and ride!

Mother's Day gifts for an Outdoors Mom

Posted by: Denise Bornhausen Updated: May 10, 2009 - 12:04 AM


While I love flowers and manicures as much as the next mom, below are a few items that I’d love to receive this Mother’s Day and I’m betting may some other outdoor moms wouldn’t mind getting, too.

MN State Parks Annual Pass

For just $25, this is the gift that last until next Mother’s Day. Vehicle permits are good for a full year from the month of purchase and give access to a whole roster of outdoor activities and fun at Minnesota’s 72 state parks and recreation areas. Annual permits can be purchased at state parks, the DNR License Center, REI metro locations or by calling the DNR information center at 1-888-MINNDNR. The family vehicle needs one of these pronto!

Keen Waterfront Sandals

You would think after all my years of fishing; I’d have a good pair of non-slip, waterproof shoes. With my Canadian fishing trip coming up later this summer, I’d love to get a pair of Keen Waterfront sandals. I love their closed toe design, lug soles and quick dry features. Plus they look good après fishing, too! Nokomis Shoes in South Minneapolis and Crystal carry a nice selection and their personal service is some of the best in the metro.

Fishing with Bluegill “Bro”

I met Brian Brosdahl while working in the outdoor field and his panfish prowess is legendary. Time spent with a guide is always money well spent – not only will you learn tips and tricks, you’ll usually bring home a limit of fish. Bro guides around the Walker and Bemidji area and you’ll have a trip filled with fast action. Just be prepared to sign a blood oath not to tell what lake you were on.

Rapala Wear

I never go fishing with out a sweatshirt or jacket close at hand for those early mornings or windy days. I’ve always loved Rapala’s classic logo and their witty advertising slogans like “cast it out – fish bring it back.” I’ll take anything from – I especially like the soft green classic sweatshirt. 

MN BOW Workshop or Beyond BOW Event

As a mom so much of our outdoor time is spent watching over and taking care of our families, that we don’t get work on our own skills. A weekend workshop or Beyond BOW event is a way to try out a new activity or improve skills in a fun, supportive atmosphere. The fall weekend workshop is September 11-13 at Eagle Bluff in Lanesboro. Or register mom for one of these upcoming Beyond BOW events. June 27-28 is the Women’s Fishing weekend at the Baker Near Wilderness Settlement in the west metro and Introduction to Fly Fishing at Glendalough State Park is on June 13th.

No matter what my family gives me for Mother’s Day, the best days are ones spent together creating memories. One of my favorites is an early summer fishing trip where we spent the afternoon sight fishing for sunnies and going through a whole package for red licorice as bait!

To all of the outdoor mom’s out there – I wish you a happy day today and all of the days you spend afield with your family!