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Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

Black Hills National Forest and the Black Elk Wilderness

Black Hills National Forest and the Black Elk Wilderness

I’m typing this blog from around 8,500 feet over the South Dakota Badlands. My friend Tim is piloting his Cherokee 6 towards home and his wife and my husband round out the crew on board. We’ve had an outstanding long weekend in South Dakota and it’s clear to me looking out over the wing that it’s all thanks to taking the road less traveled.

Rushmore snap!

Rushmore snap!

An adventure vacation doesn’t always mean going to an exotic location, but if you’re lucky enough to go somewhere different, my suggestion is to do your research and find the little gems that make a place special.

Day one in South Dakota served up the obligatory visit to Mount Rushmore, but day two started bright and early in Custer State Park near Sylvan Lake at the base of Harney Peak.

Harney Peak is a a mountain in the Black Hills that tops out at about 7250 feet; it’s the state high point of South Dakota as well as the highest peak east of the Rockies in the entire USA!  There is a fire lookout on top of the granite mountain that on a clear day gives a bird’s eye view of the entire Black Elk National Forest; that was our destination.

This is Harney Peak Lookout as viewed from the top of Little Devil's Tower

This is Harney Peak Lookout as viewed from the top of Little Devil’s Tower

Besides being a high point, Harney is also a place of special significance to the Lakota Indians. Their Chief Black Elk was on the mountain as a child and had a vision of the “great hoops of the world” which he recounts in the book Black Elk Speaks. I highly recommend the book for a read.

When we planned our route we decided not to take the most commonly hiked trail and opted for trail #4.  4 is a more rugged path that traverses wildflower meadows before turning rocky and passing amazing granite formations like Little Devil’s Tower and the Cathedral Spires.

The meadows in the early morning were lovely beyond words. Gray jays and juncos called out over the grass, a few mule deer and some marmots ran around just off the trail. The meadow was in full bloom with familiar plants like fleabane, dandelions, and black eyed susans, along with dozens of flowers in dazzling colors whose names I didn’t know.

The Little Devil's Tower intersection

The Little Devil’s Tower intersection

We moved along at a pretty good clip and came to the intersection leading to Little Devil’s Tower before the dew was off the grass.

Little Devil is so named because it resembles the famous Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Little Devil is just shy of 7000 ft tall (making it almost as big as Harney Peak) with about a 1000 foot prominence off the trail we were on.

Justin in one of the tight spots on the Little Devil's Tower Trail

Justin in one of the tight spots on the Little Devil’s Tower Trail

The climb to the summit of Little Devil was a rocky and steep boulder scramble which included a fun section where we needed to wedge ourselves between two huge granite slabs and shimmy up a few dozen feet.

Little Devil's Tower as viewed descending trail #9

Little Devil’s Tower as viewed descending trail #9

We were richly rewarded for the tough scramble up Little Devil because the clear blue sky offered us impossibly beautiful views of the park. To the west we could view the famous Cathedral Spires and to the north, we could see our second destination: the lookout tower on Harney.  We snapped photos, soaked in the view, had a snack and were on our way.

The glorious view from atop Little Devil's Tower!

The glorious view from atop Little Devil’s Tower!

It was almost tougher going down Little Devil than up and it took a little time to get back to the beginning of the spur. At the intersection we met the first other people we’d seen all day: a group of women from Springfield, IL! They asked about Devil and we quickly told them it was tough but totally worth it! (PS Kathy from Springfield: if you found my blog.. I hope to see you on the Capital City Century!!)

The trail then wound around the Cathedral Spires and through some lodge pole pines for a few miles before beginning to really climb. A section of steep switchbacks with feldspar scree was the final obstacle before Harney Peak Lookout came into view.

Adventure Foot on the lookout!

Adventure Foot on the lookout!

The lookout was crammed with people who had taken the shorter trail to the top. It was neat to be there at the top of the Black Hills, but our group agreed that Little Devil had been a bit more exciting since we got to stand on it alone.

Still, the vista was gorgeous and we could look back at Little Devil and see how far we’d come. Pretty amazing to have the two summits all before noon!

As it is with all summits, we had to leave all too soon. We eased back down the common trail. Trail #9 is less rugged and is down in the forest section, so views weren’t as pretty as they had been on #4. Occasionally though, we’d round a corner and be greeted by an enormous chunk of granite we didn’t even know was there!

Justin on top of Harney Peak

Justin on top of Harney Peak

As we reached the bottom of the mountain, we could see an afternoon thunderstorm firing up over the ridge and were happy to be back down at the lake.

You could spend weeks and weeks in Custer State Park and the Black Elk Wilderness and not see all there is to see. I’d love to go visit again and backpack to some back country areas. This was a short trip though and a second adventure awaited us underground at Wind Cave the next day…

Adventure to be continued….

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Hey Barred Owl! You're going to need a permit!

Hey Barred Owl! You’re going to need a permit!

Summertime provides ample opportunity to get out and follow your Adventure Foot, and one of the very best ways to do that is to go camping!  Whether you’re tent camping with the kids out of the back of the mini-van or planning a backpacking excursion “off the grid,” a few simple steps can make your next camping trip a safe and fun adventure!

A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

Justin putting up a tent at Sand Ridge State Forest

Justin putting up a tent at Sand Ridge State Forest

We’ve all forgotten something important on a trip before, but when we forget something important on a camping trip, it tends to cause more inconvenience than usual.  I’ve found that the way to become a better camper and to forget fewer things is to make a list!  Make a list of the items you’ll need and lay the items all out on the kitchen table before you start packing them in your bag.  When all your items are laid out, you can make sure you haven’t forgotten anything crucial to the trip- matches, bug spray, sunscreen, toilet paper…   don’t leave home without them!

Just as important as what you bring is what you do not bring.  If you’re taking the kids, leave the Nintendo DS at home! Camping time is unplugging time and you will thank yourself for giving all the technology a rest.  Also look for things you can leave out of your life for a day or two.  Pare down the things you’re bringing to just the necessities.  Decluttering is part of the beauty of the outdoors. Besides, whatever you don’t bring, you don’t have to carry!

I like to keep a running list for camping trips.  At the end of the trip, I look to see if there are any items in my pack that I haven’t used at all, and I cross those off for next time.  It lightens the load and helps me to be a more efficient camper.  Likewise, if some item would have made my life easier, I add it to the list and next time I’ll have it!

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

Putting the Mmmmmm in Mmmmmarshmallows

Putting the Mmmmmm in Mmmmmarshmallows

Fire safety is every camper’s responsibility.  When building a fire, find out if the campground or space has any rules in place for fire building.  Check for dry conditions and don’t build fires any larger than necessary.  Fire pits or rings are great assets at campgrounds; use them!  They’ll keep the debris all in one place and also help keep the fire from spreading.   If there is not a fire pit, look for a campfire site that is downwind and at least 15 feet away from shrubs, overhanging branches, tents or any other flammable objects.

Please remember: do not transport firewood from one place to another.  There is plenty of loose wood around to collect and burn, and moving firewood is one of the main vectors of invasive species like the extremely destructive Emerald Ash Borer Beatle.

The Bare Necessities

I love Ryan's trail hammock.  Lightweight and even has a bug shield.

I love Ryan’s trail hammock. Lightweight and even has a bug shield.

Water, shelter, food, and waste disposal.  That’s what you’ll need for a camping trip.  If you’re heading out to a state park or campground, water might be easy to come by and all you’ll need is a few water bottles.  If you’re backpacking or going on an especially long hike you may need to bring water purification equipment or tabs.  Plan ahead and know where your water sources are.

Shelter is important too.  Check the weather forecast before you go and pack appropriate gear. In my experience, a forecast for 25% chance of rain turns to 100% if I forget my tent’s rain fly or my poncho.  It’s just the way it works.  Also, pack appropriate gear for the temperatures.  You don’t need that sub-zero sleeping bag if it’s not going to dip below 70 degrees at night.  Likewise, a nice day doesn’t guarantee a warm night, so check and double check the forecast!  It’s not a bad idea to look for safe places to go in case of a storm even if none are forecast.

Food safety is especially important on camping trips, and I’ve heard more than one story of a great camping trip spoiled a day later by intestinal distress.  Don’t forget your safe food handling practices just because you’re out in the woods.  Make sure you cook any meat you are eating thoroughly, be aware of opportunities for cross contamination (don’t touch the fish and then the apples!!), and store food safely.  Make sure you’re storing your food and trash out of the reach of wildlife too.  Even though there aren’t bears in Illinois, a cranky raccoon wandering through camp isn’t much fun either.

Check the Visitor Center for park rules and regs!

Check the Visitor Center for park rules and regs!

Waste disposal doesn’t often get much forethought, but it’s important to plan for too.  Bring trash bags and make sure you keep your campsite clean. You’ll often hear the phrase, “leave no trace.”  This basically means: bring everything out of the woods that you took into the woods.

And while we’re on the subject of waste… sometimes you’re by a porta-john or latrine, and sometimes you’re not.  If you’re in the back country, protect the ecosystem and other travelers by following trail rules.  This often means digging a small hole 10-15 feet off the trail and away from any water sources, doing your business, and covering it up.  If my cats can cover up their dootie, so can you.  In especially delicate ecosystems, you may be required to bring any solid waste with you out of the woods.  Obey rules and posted guidelines!

Maps, Flashlights, and Emergencies

My smartphone has Google Maps, a flashlight, and can call 9-1-1.  Guess what doesn’t usually work in the woods though? My cell phone!  Come on people, you knew that!

Trail tortoise at Fall Creek

Trail tortoise at Fall Creek

Make sure you’re bringing several light sources for your trip.  I’m a fan of hands-free headlights and small LED flashlights.  On longer backpacking trips, I like a hand-crank flashlight and radio combination, which can be used regardless of battery life.

Bring basic first aid equipment for emergencies and even consider a flare or other signaling device if you will be a long way from emergency services.

And bring a printed park map.  Keep the printed map in a plastic bag or have it laminated.

 Hazard Inventory

Riding and camping are a great combination! This is at RAGBRAI 2012

Riding and camping are a great combination! This is at RAGBRAI 2012

The last great piece of camping advice comes to you courtesy of my grandpa.  He said, “Beware of things that bite, sting, itch, or get you all wet!”  Make a list of the hazards you might experience in the area you’re camping.  Know how to identify poison oak and poison ivy.  Know how to identify and safely remove ticks.  Know if anyone in your party is allergic to bee stings and bring appropriate first aid materials for that person.  Know how to identify a potentially hazardous snake or a harmless one (clue: most snakes in our area are harmless).  And lastly, be aware of any water hazards, especially if you have kids around.  Don’t build your tent close to the creek; flash floods can happen whether it’s raining where you are or not.  Keep the kids away from lakes or ponds after dark.  Don’t cross flooded streams.  Just use your common sense!

Justin out on a long hike!

Justin out on a long hike!

So there you have the Adventure Foot Guide to Safe and Fun Camping!  Be sure to check out these related blogs about some of my favorite local state parks.  I highly recommend Wakonda State Park in La Grange, MO, (second winter Wakonda link here!)  Cuivre River State Park in Troy, MO and Siloam Springs State Park in Liberty, IL (second Siloam link here!) for local camping adventures.  You might also check out Sand Ridge State Park near Peoria.  This park is enormous and especially fun in the late fall and winter! Oh and don’t forget Mark Twain Lake!  There’s no excuse not to camp with so many great places to go!

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Hey Everyone!

I know what you’re thinking.  Where in the world has Adventure Foot been!?

Adventuring, of course!

IOU some major blogging and I’m really going to get it done this week, so check back often.  I have to tell you about my run at the Allerton Trails Half Marathon and Bridge the Gap Half Marathon, about getting my bike professionally fitted, and the Folks on Spokes metric century bike ride we did a few weeks ago, what I learned about the curse of flat tires, our Ride of Silence Event… I’m just saying, there’s a lot.

How’d I get so far behind?!  That’s primarily due to my Quincy Bicycle Club media blitz!  I was recently elected President of the Quincy Bike Club and my first order of business was getting the word out that it’s the best club to ever hit wheels.  To that end, my outstanding Vice President and I got on the horn to the local media and booked gigs with The Quincy Herald Whig, KHQA-TV, WGEM-TV, Y101 Radio, and WGEM Talk 105 all in the same week.   Also, I redid our entire website.  Check it out at http://www.quincybikeclub.org

Anywho- excuses aside, I’ve got announcements RE: Adventure Foot Contest Winners and my excellent blog sponsors!

As you all know by now, Adventure Foot is proud to be an ambassador for Nuun Hydration and VI Fuel Endurance Gel.  These are two products I really believe in and use allllll the time on my adventures.

Nuun Hydration tabs are electrolyte drink tablets that you just drop into your water bottle.  They’ve got lots and lots of great flavors (my faves are Lemon Lime and Tri-Berry) so I’m sure you’ll find one you love.  The best part about Nuun is that these tabs are not over-sweet like many sports drinks.  That kind of gatorade junk upsets my adventure tummy- especially in extreme heat when you need hydration the most. Nuun is delicious with just a hint of sweetness and the electrolytes keep me going!  Nuun tabs come in a handy little tube of 12 too- so they fit in your bike seat pack or that little pocket on your hiking bag or wherever!  I also love that they create so much less waste than a big plastic-bottled sports drink.  Oh! And if you’re out adventuring to loose weight, Nuun is the electrolyte drink for you!  While a bottle of Gatorade has 75 calories per 12 oz (or 130 for a 20 oz. bottle), Nuun tabs have only 7 calories!  It’s a good decision!   Check out my Official Nuun Ambassador Page by clicking here! 

Anyway- by random number drawing- the winners of a Nuun Water Bottle and 1 tube of Nuun are Cindy and Jacob!!!!!

cindy

Cindy’s yoga Adventure Feet!

jaco

Jacob out for an Adventure Foot bike ride!

Now, onto the second sponsor!  I first discovered V-Fuel Endurance Gel through a friend in the Heartland Roadrunners Club.  I was in the middle of training for my 2nd half marathon at the time, and I’d had a “bad day” of running after eating 2 Gu brand gels on my 10 mile route. I think runners can all relate to what I mean by “bad day.”  Anyway, my friend Dave said that I should try a different brand of energy gel, V-Fuel.   He promised it was different.  He promised no upset tummy.  He promised great flavors.  And he promised better performance.  Guess what?  He was TOTALLY right.  Seriously you guys.  This gel is different.

V-Fuel comes in 3 flavors: vanilla, chocolate and peach cobbler.  The consistency of the gel is thinner than what you expect from a Gu, which I really like on the run.  And the boost in performance is huge, especially on the long runs or rides when you’re trying to avoid the dreaded “bonk.”   But the very most important thing to me is that V-Fuel doesn’t upset my stomach and has never, ever caused an unexpected bathroom break. I asked the creators of  V-Fuel why it was so much easier on my tummy and here’s what I learned:

“VFuel, like other energy gels, starts with maltodextrin as the primary carbohydrate. But from there, we take a very different path. Most other gels use Fructose, or some sort of rice syrup or evaporated cane juice, all containing Fructose. VFuel uses Dextrose as its secondary carb, a more expensive (on our end) option, but one that is drastically easier to digest.”

All of that adds up to a happy Adventurer!

And speaking of happy Adventurers… I have 3 winners to announce for V-Fuel prizes but you are ALL winners today!  V-Fuel has offered my readers a SPECIAL 20% off Discount for your first order! Believe me when I say your first order won’t be your last.  Some people buy their significant other chocolate for special occasions…. my husband and I buy each other chocolate V!  (That’s true.  You just ask him what I got him for Valentine’s Day!)  So where was I?  Oh yeah. Discount.   Type in ADVENTUREFOOT and save 20%. Woohoo!!

And here are the winners!!!

stephen

Stephen coming with the double threat… cycling and ultimate frisbee! That’s the kind of multi-tasking I can get behind!

sarah

Sarah with the tron-looking 5 fingers!

jared

Jared out on a “casual” birthday ultra-run 🙂

Congratulations to all my winners! I’ll be putting together a new banner this week featuring your Adventure Feet!  Everyone else, please check into these two companies and click their links.  I wouldn’t endorse them if I didn’t think they were the very best for my money and for my adventures.  Folks local to Quincy, you can find Nuun Hydration at Madison Davis Bicycle Shop as well as Hy-Vee on Harrison in the heath food department.  V-Fuel is only available online at this time, but my code is good through July, so order some today!  I happen to like chocolate best, but I think the most popular flavor is peach cobbler.  If you have any questions about either of these products, please don’t hesitate to ask!

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Doug and I take in the view from the top of Monk's Mound at Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site.

Doug and I take in the view from the top of Monk’s Mound at Cahokia Mounds World Heritage Site. You can see the St. Louis Arch in the background.

Have you ever dreamed of visiting something iconic, inspirational, and culturally significant to the history of humanity?  The Pyramids of Giza. Persepolis in Iran.  The archeological remains of Pompeii in Italy. The Temple of Apollo Epicurus in Greece.  The Taj Mahal in India. Stonehenge in Northern Ireland.

In 1994 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched an initiative to compile a list and work on the preservation of the most important cultural and natural sites in the world.  This list of World Heritage Sites is awash with one jaw-dropping wonder of the world after another.  It includes all of the sites I listed in the paragraph above and more.

Stone artifacts/axe heads found in various burial pits near Cahokia.

Stone artifacts/axe heads found in various burial pits near Cahokia.

Now to visit the amazing sites I listed above would take a whole lot of time and a whole lot of money.  But what if a true wonder of the world, a record of the technological achievements of man, a significant stage in human history preserved in the archaeological record, and an exceptional example of a civilization that has disappeared was located just two hours from where you’re sitting now?  Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to go and check it out?

Ladies and gentleman, I give you: Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois.

Recreated village scene at the visitor's center museum

Recreated village scene at the visitor’s center museum

My own trip to Cahokia (pronounced Ka-Hoke-ee-ah) came from one simple truth: we were tired of being in the car.  My friend Doug and I had just run the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon in Lexington, Kentucky and were headed home.  Over 5 hours into our trip home, I spotted a brown historic site marker on the highway and exclaimed, “We’re right by Cahokia Mounds! I’ve always wanted to see it!”  Doug made an impressively quick decision and an equally quick lane-change with the car, and just a few miles down the road, we arrived at the park.

Cahokia Mounds is the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico.  At its height, the chiefton-based civilization covered 4000 acres, included numerous villages around the main city structure, and was home to nearly 20,000 people.  These Mississippian people flourished from 800 AD to approximately 1200 AD and had highly structured communities with a complex social system which included art, agriculture, community, trade networks, and many scientific and engineering achievements.  In AD 1200, Cahokia was larger than London.

The Cahokia Mounds site today, as it was in AD 800, is organized around a central Grand Plaza and the largest earthen pyramid in the US, Monk’s Mound.  Monk’s Mound and the 100+ surrounding mounds are made of earth and wood using stone and wood tools.  The earth was transported primarily on people’s backs in woven baskets.  It is estimated that Monk’s Mound- with a base that covers 14 acres and a height of 100 feet- is comprised of over 22,000 cubic feet of earth.  Anyone else’s back sore thinking about moving that much dirt?

Monk’s Mound was a cultural focal point and once was topped with a massive building where the most important chief would run the government and conduct ceremonies. Other mounds were built for other purposes.  Most contained burials, and some may have just been built to elevate the residence of important figures in the society.  Today some of the mounds have been excavated and amazing artifacts have been recovered and preserved.

Infographic at the main plaza. Monk's Mound can be seen to the left in the distance.

Infographic at the main plaza. Monk’s Mound can be seen to the left in the distance.

All of the mounds have been cataloged and numbered.  Of particular interest is Mound #72.  The excavation of this small mound found over 300 ceremonial burials, mostly of young women in mass graves.  Atop of this, an elite male, estimated to be 45 years old was buried on a platform of flat beads made out of shells.   The shells were arranged around the body to resemble an eagle or hawk.  There is a recreation of this chief’s burial inside of the park’s interpretative center which is truly amazing.

The interpretive center of the park is very nice and the displays are engaging for kids and adults alike.  There is no admission to the center, though there is a suggested donation of $4 for adults, $2 for kids and $10 for families.  Along with many wonderful artifacts like tools, beads and pottery, there is an auditorium which shows a film every hour as well as a recreated village to explore.

Since Doug and I had stopped on the way home from an exhausting weekend, we did not have the time to explore the true breadth of the park, however we did take the opportunity to climb to the top of Monk’s Mound.  Under cloud dotted skies, the view from the top of the mound was vast and gorgeous.  The St. Louis Gateway Arch and skyline, 7 miles away as the crow flies, was clearly visible to the southwest. Farm fields and lakes spread out to the north.  And all around, you could see tops of the mounds which made up this ancient city.  It was easy to imagine how inspiring this vantage point would have been to the people who lived here.

"Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi" by Timothy R. Pauketat is available at the Quincy Public Library.

“Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi” by Timothy R. Pauketat is available at the Quincy Public Library.

The top of Monk’s Mound is made even more significant by its placement in relation to the rest of the structures in the society.  Its crest falls at the point at which the sun rises during the equinox, making a strong connection between the chief and the life-giving sun.  Another unique structure at Cahokia is a sun-calendar known as “Woodhenge.”  This site, discovered in the 1960’s, was built of concentric circles of enormous cedar posts that aligned with the sun at the equinox, and would have probably been important as both markers in the calendar and for ceremonial gatherings.  One of the rings of “Woodhenge” has been recreated at the park and can be viewed both up close and from the crest of Monk’s Mound.

Now listen, AF readers… I don’t normally get bossy with my advice, but I’m telling you:  Go to Cahokia. 2 hours from Quincy lies a site of significance to the whole world, and you shouldn’t miss it.  I’m glad I finally had the chance to visit, and I plan on returning to walk more of the grounds and explore.  For further reading on Cahokia, visit:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/198

http://www.cahokiamounds.org

And check out this book (also available at the Quincy Public Library): http://www.amazon.com/Cahokia-Ancient-Americas-Mississippi-American/dp/0143117475

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO ENTER MY ADVENTURE FOOT PHOTO CONTEST! WIN AMAZING PRIZES FROM NUUN HYDRATION AND V FUEL ENDURANCE 

Also, a special hello to Amanda… who we met on the top of the pyramid.  🙂  Hope your adventure was fun and educational!

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It’s BIG news Adventure Foot Readers! I’m announcing my first ever sponsored blog contest featuring FABOULOUS PRIZES from my blog sponsors: Nuun Hydration and V Fuel Endurance Gel!

3 Winners will be chosen to get a box of V Fuel Endurance Gel.  It's awesome.

3 Winners will be chosen to get a box of V Fuel Endurance Gel. It’s awesome.

Here’s how the contest works:

Take a gander at that super sweet banner at the top of my page.  See how it has 5 Adventure Feet pictured?  Well, I am going to update that banner with 5 brand new feet- and if I choose yours- you will win a fabulous prize!

What are the prizes?

3 Winners will win their choice of a 24 Pack of the very best endurance gel on the market, V-Fuel.  You can have Peach Cobbler, Vanilla or Chocolate (my favorite!).

2 Winners will win a Nuun Hydration Prize Pack which will include a Nuun Hydration Water Bottle, one package (12 servings) of Nuun Hydration Lemon Lime (also my favorite) and a super sweet Nuun Hydration white vinyl sticker.

2 Winners will win One tube of Nuun, One Water Bottle, and One Sticker!

2 Winners will win One tube of Nuun, One Water Bottle, and One Sticker!

How do you enter?

FIRST you MUST “Like” Adventure Foot, Nuun Hydration and V Fuel Endurance on Facebook.  You’ll be glad that you did- ‘cause these are great companies making great products.

Then you upload a PHOTO of your Adventure Foot on my Adventure Foot Facebook page.  I don’t care what kind of footwear you chose- just get out there and snap a picture mid-adventure! I’m looking for some creativity here people, so have fun with it.  You may also include a sentence or two explaining what kind of adventure you’re having!

How are the winners chosen?

I’m going to put all of the photos which are entered in numerical order and then I’m going to use a random number picker to choose winners. DEADLINE FOR ENTRY IS MAY 15th!  (This is extended… so get your photos in!) People who had their entries in by April 22 will get additional numbers in the drawing so that it’s fair!

Adventure Feet

Adventure Feet Example

Fine Print?

You have to like all three pages on Facebook or your picture will not be eligible.  By entering a photo, you agree to let me put it on my blog and in my new header if you’re selected to be a winner.  I will not put your name on your photo or spam you or anything like that.  Also, I’ll do my best to contact you through Facebook but sometimes people have Facebook settings so tight that a “page” cannot send you a message.  This is my first contest so I’ll do my best to make it fair.  I’m going to say- void where prohibited and no purchase necessary to win.  Since I don’t sell anything, I believe that is enough legalize.  I’m thinking I will announce winners on or around April 30th.  Stay tuned for that.

Anything else?

YES!  You are already a winner because

V Fuel Endurance Gel is giving MY READERS ONLY a SPECIAL DISCOUNT!!!!!!!!!!!!  20% off all orders through the contest period by using the code AdventureFoot at checkout.       

 

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Look at all the yum in this photo!! I can't wait!

Look at all the yum in this photo!! I can’t wait!

Don’t you just love a good farmer’s market? Every summer I head down to Washington Park to peruse the fresh produce and marvel at it super bright colors endless variety and…

And I pretty much end up buying exactly the same thing every time I go.

This, for the record, is a Kohlrabi.  I don't even know if the Great River CSA grows these. But I'm buying some this year and I'm going to learn how to cook 'em.

This, for the record, is 4 Kohlrabi. I don’t even know if the Great River CSA grows these. But I’m buying some this year and I’m going to learn how to cook ’em.

What have I been thinking?!  I mean, we all have our favorites.  I love the homegrown broccoli that you can get in the spring, or the beefsteak tomatoes that start showing up midsummer, but I bet I’ve passed over a hundred delicious veggies (what the heck is a kohlrabi anyway?) because I didn’t know much about them or was afraid to try something new.

And “afraid to try something new” is just a silly way for a pretty-good-cook with an Adventure Foot to live.

Check the logo!

Check the logo!

So to bring ADVENTURE to my kitchen, I decided to sign up for the Great River CSA program this year!  For those unfamiliar, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is basically a program in which you pre-purchase a share of a collection of farmers’ produce for the growing season.   This is great for the farmers because you’re paying for their expenses such as seeds, feed, labor, and supplies, and they have a guaranteed buyer for crops they produce.  It takes the guess work out of how much to grow and lets the farmers concentrate on doing their thing!

Adventure is delicious...

Adventure is delicious…

With Great River, that means that every single week from June through the beginning of October, I’ll be picking up a basket of delicious fresh veggies, fruits and herbs and taking it home to cook up something new.

I’m most excited about the variety in the basket.  What am I going to do when presented with a bunch of squash that I’ve never cooked or more cucumbers than could possibly be cut up for sub sandwiches?  I’m going to have to be creative!  And creativity, my friends, is the very heart of adventure.

If you’re interested in getting giant baskets of good food from Great River CSA, there is still time. There website lists all the details.  A full vegetable share costs $475 and a half share is $360. The CSA also has chicken and egg shares, as well as Thanksgiving Turkey Shares.  From their website:

For the vegetable share, each week you can expect a wide variety of in-season, delicious, fresh vegetables and herbs. One full share will contain enough to feed a family of 4 each week. The half share will contain enough to feed 2 people.

Ca-caw! Ca-caw!  (I think that's the sound a chicken makes...)

Ca-caw! Ca-caw! (I think that’s the sound a chicken makes…)

For the summer chicken share, every other week we deliver two chickens (about 3.5 pounds each), plucked, quickly frozen, and packaged in a plastic bag with the giblets, heart, and liver inside the chicken. $162 for the season.

For the summer egg share, every other week we deliver 2 dozen fresh brown eggs of various sizes. They get bigger as the season progresses. $52 for the season.

For the Thanksgiving turkey share, one fresh turkey ready for pick-up just in time for Thanksgiving. Prices vary based on size and type of turkey selected.

Shares are limited, so if you’re interested, sign up soon! 

… and if you have any good recipes for kohlrabi, you just let me know.

HEY READERS!!! SOMETHING IMPORTANT!!!!

Did you know that you can get all new blogs emailed to you when I post them? It’s true.  If you go to the side bar right under that super nice ad for Nuun Hydration (which you should totally click, by the way) is a little box that says “Follow Adventurefoot.”  When you write your email there, you will get blogs right to your inbox.  It’s super easy. And you can unsubscribe if you want later… but I hope you don’t!   If you’re currently viewing this on your phone, the box is not in the sidebar… it’s below this text somewhere at the bottom of the page.

HEY READERS!!! SOMETHING EXCITING!!!!

You have heard how much I love Nuun Hydration and VFuel Energy Gel— well my adventuresome friends, I’m going to be doing a BIG GIVEAWAY from my two favorite blog sponsors in April.  You can get a head start on WINNING if you go and like Nunn Hydration and VFuel on Facebook.  Official contest announcment will be made on April 1st… no foolin.  😉

And One More Thing…

So, WordPress- the site which I host my blog on- has started adding a lot of stupid ads and videos at the bottom of my blog.  That makes me sad because I already pay enough for hosting and stuffs and now they want $60 a year to take the stupid ads off my site.   I might do that at some point, but right now any extra money is going toward race entries!  So anyway, I just wanted to say I’m sorry about the ads.  IF you see ads at the sidebar of my blog (like my Nuun one or VFuel or any of the blogs that I list)  I PROMISE these are not scary links. You just click on them and they go to exactly the website I said they went to.  No tracking or anything icky like that.

Okay, one more, more thing…

Exciting news: I’ve been elected President of the Quincy Bicycle Club!  More on this later… I just wanted to share.

thanks-for-reading

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This is what spring looks like to me!

This is what spring looks like to me!

Hey there, Adventurers!

Can you feel it?  Spring is in the air and it’s time to ramp up the activity level!   I’m just so excited I can’t hardly take it!

Personally, I’m gearing up for TWO half marathons in the next 3 weeks.   I’m going to Run The Bluegrass in Lexington, Kentucky on Easter weekend and then the Allerton Trails Half Marathon on April 6th in Monticello, IL (near Decatur, IL).  If you’re looking for some last minute running plans, you can still get in on either of these events.  The Allerton event is especially nice because, even at this late date, sign up is only $40 for the half marathon or $30 for the 10K.

CLICK ME!! :)

CLICK ME!! 🙂

How am I going to get through 2 half marathons on back-to-back weekends, you ask?  With help from my Adventure Foot Sponsors, of course!  You have probably heard the news by now that I’m an ambassador for Nuun Hydration, but I’m also adding a second sponsor to the blog roll this week!  I’m pleased to bring you the very best energy gel on the market:  V-Fuel Endurance Gel!

CLICK ME, TOO! :)

CLICK ME, TOO! 🙂

V-Fuel is a Colorado based company, and they’re flipping the script on regular old Gu and have created a true endurance fuel that tastes good and keeps my tummy feeling good too (regular users of Gu will catch my meaning).  I’m going to write a full product review on both Nuun and V-Fuel in the near future- so stay tuned.  Even better: I’m planning a CONTEST for April where you could win product or gear from my sponsors! Woo hoo!

Heartland Road Runners Club is in full swing right now, but there’s still plenty of time to start running for Spring.   Come check out “Road Runners After Dark” if you want a taste of how lovely running with the club can be.  RRAD meets at a restaurant every Tuesday night for a fun, social run.  No runner left behind, we promise!  For the month of March, we will be meeting at Kelly’s Restaurant in Quincy.  Running starts promptly at 6:15.

I simply do not get tired of this photo of Jackie Joyner Kersee  handing me a medal at Bridge The Gap.

I simply do not get tired of this photo of Jackie Joyner Kersee handing me a medal at Bridge The Gap.

And as long as you’re running, you should plan on signing up for Quincy’s biggest running event, Bridge the Gap to Health Race!  This race, now in its 13th year, supports the MedAssist program.  MedAssist helps low income patients afford prescription medications.  The race will once again be marshaled by Olympic Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.  If you’ve never been handed a medal by an Olympian, now is your chance!  There are a ton of options for this race including a walking or running half marathon, walking or running 10K and a running 5K.  There will also be a 5K Leisure Walk which starts an hour after the other races start.

Best day ever?!! Greg Davis of Madison Davis Bicycles and I pose by my brand new Trek Madone!

Best day ever?!! Greg Davis of Madison Davis Bicycles and I pose by my brand new Trek Madone!

And, saving perhaps the best for last: It’s BIKE SEASON!  I’m so darned excited about starting to really rack up the miles on my bike, I can’t even contain myself.  If you’re new to cycling, I suggest you try out the Quincy Bike Club’s Thursday night group.  This group will start meeting on April 4th.  The park which it meets at is TBD- I’ll keep you posted.   Once again this year I’ll be leading “Wednesday Night B Group.”  B-Group for 2013 will B a medium to medium/fast paced ride and I’m going to work in some training exercises  for all of us.  Maybe one week we’ll work out on some hill repeats. Maybe one week  we’ll do some flat sprints.  I don’t know. We’re going to be better cyclists for our work on Wednesday B Group!   Wednesday A and B group (A Group= really fast and experienced riders) will both leave from Madison Park Shelter House at 6 pm.  The first B group will meet April 3.  I will bring Easter candy as a bribe.

OH! And don’t forget to attend the Grand Opening celebration at Madison Davis Bicycles.  It’s April 11th at 6 pm.  The new shop is absolutely gorgeous and Greg is planning some great sales to kick it off.  You won’t want to miss it.

And Adventure Foot Readers- don’t miss this great spring sale from my blog sponsor, Nuun Hydration! $18 for a 4 pack of Nuun plus a water bottle (most of the 4 packs are normally $24 without a water bottle, so yeah. Stock up now.). It’s a great deal!

Click here for an awesome sale on Nuun!

Click here for an awesome sale on Nuun!

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