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Let's Go Forth

Really excited to begin this class! After way too much time spent thinking about how it'd be great to start a local travel/hiking blog, my boyfriend and I finally decided to just get started. This class definitely tackles a big problem I have which is how do I write in between. 

http://www.letsgoforth.co


Assignment 1: All the Places I've ever Traveled (I think)

Home

Chicago, IL

Visiting Family
Pennsylvania (Extended Family)
Iowa (Karen)
Ohio (Family Cabin)
Kentucky (Dad's Extended Family)

Grandparents
Florida Trip (Disney World)
US West Trip (South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado)
US West Coast Trip (Washington, Oregon, California)
US North East Coast Trip (Maine, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connetticutt)

Mom
Wisconsin Dells
UK Trip (Graduation Trip - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
Las Vegas Trips (Once for Wedding, Once for Mom's 40th Birthday)
Upper Pennisula Trip (Waterfalls and Lighthouses)
South Dakota Trip (Badlands NP, Mount Rushmore, Custer SP, Deadwood, Suiox Falls)
Smokey Mountains National Park
Alaska Trip (Denali NP, Wrangell St. Ellias NP, Kenai Fjords NP, Seward, Anchorage)

Kris
Starved Rock State Park (First Camping Trip Together)
Nashville, TN (First Road Trip Together)
Colorado Trip (Rocky Mountains NP, Great Sand Dunes NP, Boulder, Denver, Red Rocks)
New Orleans, LA
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Devils Lake State Park (Camping Trip with Friends)

Other
Florida Trip (Everglades NP, Fort Lauderdale)
South Dakota Trip (Badlands NP and Black Hills)



Assignment 2: Dig deep into a past trip. First Camping Trip to Starved Rock.

It was October 4th, 2013, a little after camping season is generally considered over. Kris and I had only officially dating for a couple of weeks but knew we wanted to get a camping trip in before it got too cold. Neither of us had really gone camping before. I grew up mostly taking trips in my grandparent's RV and the closest Kris had done to camping was at a Yogi Bear Campground. It's something we'd both always wanted to do but never could find others interested enough to go with. We even had all the supplies, just waiting to get outside.

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We grabbed Fenrir (who was still a awkward puppy at the time) and made the hour and forty five minute drive down to our campsite in North Utica, right outside the Starved Rock State Park. It was dark when we arrived at our campsite. While this wouldn't pose much of a problem for us today - we were new to tent camping and found ourselves struggling with setting up the tent especially with a puppy constantly investigating what we were up to. Eventually, we succeeded and curled up inside for the night.

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The rest of the weekend was spent exploring. The trails at Starved Rock are unlike anything you'd expect in the Prairie State. Beautiful Canyons, Bluffs overlooking the Illinois River and if it's been a rainy season - some gorgeous waterfalls. The West End of the park is by far the most popular. It boasts beautiful waterfalls - especially at St Louis and LaSalle Canyon where we stopped for a lunch break. However my favorite part of the hike is on the East end of the park - Council Overhang, a beautiful sandstone auditorium tucked back along the trail. Best of all this beautiful spot on the trail doesn't get nearly as much attention which meant we felt like we had the place to ourselves.

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Fenrir also seemed to enjoy the trails a lot. It was his first big trip outside of our suburban streets and he it was clear he loved exploring his new surroundings.

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While our trip may have began with a lot of uncertainties - it definitely was clear afterwards that we had found a new love for sleeping under the stars. We packed up camp and headed back home already thinking of new adventures for the future. Our time in Starved Rock boosted our confidence to hike further, camp in more remote places, and travel further and further together.


Assignment 3 - Create A List Post

Still needs some fleshing out on details but I wanted to make a list of some backpacking hikes around the Midwest that I'd like to do before/if I ever move.

Midwest Backpacking Bucketlist

1. Manistee River Trail - 23 miles - Michigan
2. Pictured Rocks Lakeshore Trail - 42 miles - Michigan
3. Greenstone Ridge Trail - 42 miles - Michigan
4. Knobstone Trail - 58 miles - Indiana
5. Adventure Hiking Trail - 25 miles - Indiana
6. Yellow River Trail - 25 miles - Iowa
7. Zaleski Trail - 24 miles - Ohio
8. Sage Creek Wilderness Trail - 22 miles - South Dakota
9. Maah Daah Hey Trail - 96 miles - North Dakota
10. Red River Gorge Trail - 36 miles - Kentucky
11. River to River Trail - 160 miles - Illinois
12. Ice Age Trail - 1200 miles - Wisconsin


Assignment 4 - Reoccuring Post Ideas

1.  Trails & Ales. Monthly outtings with friends to a local trail followed by a nearby brewery. 
2.  Adventure Quotes. A collaboration of Kris's hand lettering over my photography.
3.  Weekend Travel. 48 hour getaways. No vacation time, no problem.
4.  A Pint in _____. Local drinks and breweries we try while traveling.
5.  Lazy Sunday. Weekly recap post. Photos from the week. Hikes. Books. Music. Movies. Internet finds. 

Assignment 5 - Mini Expert

We are mini experts in traveling within limitations of a regular work schedule.  
Making the most out of Long Weekends.
Traveling within 7hr radius.
Researching new locations.
Staying at campgrounds.
Bringing Fenrir along! Dog friendly travel.
Roadtrips. Playlists. 
Making itineraries.
Creating new experiences.
Finding local spots, avoiding cliches.
Google Hacks - Calender, Maps, Sheets.

Assignment 6 - Why Do We Travel?

Jade - Fondest memories from childhood were on the road. Shaped me into the person I am now.
Kris - To find where home is.

Assignment 7 - Bringing the World to You.

Oktoberfest: While it'd be amazing to attend the infamous German festival, it doesn't appear to be something forseeable in our near future. Luckily our city has its very own Oktoberfest on the weekend of September 23 - 25. It'd be nice to accompany the festival with a house party featuring Hefeweizen and Witbier (my go to drinks) and maybe make some German dishes, or leave it to the professionals at the local "Lachet's Inn."  

Some other ideas: 
New Orleans: Big Brass Bands, Hurricanes & Hand Grenades, Purple, Masks, Mardi Gras
Greece: Art exhibits, Explore Ancient Greece at the Field Museum, Read up on Greek Myths
Space: Explore the planeterium, Plan a stargazing night - maybe during a meteor shower
Wilderness: Bringing the outdoors in with decor choices and indoor gardens

Assignment 8 - Questions for other Travelers (In our case, hikers/backpackers as well)

How do you make time for traveling around your work schedule?
What are ways you lighten your pack?
What is the one item you always forget to pack? 
What outdoor brand(s) do you support and why? 
If you had to pick any place to live out the rest of your days, where would it be?

Assignment 9 - Choose Favorite Idea

It's really hard to pick just one! But one of the ideas I'm going to start working on first is a recurring post on local drinks and breweries - "A Pint in ___." We are planning on giving it a first go this weekend on our weekend getaway to Nashville. I'll make sure to post a link once it's up and ready! 



Thanks so much to Theresa for an amazing class! Really got the wheels turning and made me feel more confident on keeping up with our new adventure blog!

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