" 2016 was packed with adventure "

A year of adventure – Reflecting on an astonishing 2016

Looking back at 2016, I was surprised by the memories Niecie and I made. It seemed like we couldn’t go a month without making a memory that would stick with us for the rest of our lives. Plenty of great movies, great food, but even greater adventures….

May

Into the west

In May, my girlfriend and I road tripped across the west, hitting sites like Wall Drug, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, and Moab to name a few.

We did a lot in a very short period of time. I don’t think we ever spent more than one full day at any one place, and that was exhausting considering that almost half our 3,300-mile trip was spent behind the wheel.

In just over seven days we traversed South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. It was a lot of ground to cover in a week’s time…

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June

Zumbro Bottoms

There are more than half a dozen state parks and forests right in my backyard.

These places are often filled with hidden treasures, beautiful vistas, and quiet camping spots. Because of their proximity, I like to call these weekend excursions “backyard adventures.”

A few weeks back, we decided to go on our first backyard adventure of the season and explore the Zumbro Bottoms State Forest

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July

Frontenac State Park

This summer, Niecie and I got together with my sister Frannie and her husband Dustin for a weekend camping trip up the river in Frontenac State Park.

This camping trip was special for a couple of reasons. First, this was the first time I’d gone camping with my sister for more than a decade. Second, my sister was bringing her dogs along for their first ever camping trip. My sister wanted to see how the dogs would handle a trip like this.

We decided to pick somewhere close by. That way, if the dogs became a problem, we wouldn’t have to go far to get home…

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July-August

Iron Range

In mid-August, while visiting my family in Duluth, I decided to take my little brother on a trip out to Gilbert, Minnesota, to do a little off-roading at the Iron Range OHV Park.

This was my second time visiting the park which offers everything from rocky forest trails to rock crawls and mud bogging.

Like my last trip out there, we had no intention of doing any more rock crawling or mudding than we had to.  As it turns out, even forest roads can make for dangerous…

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August

Black River Falls

It had started out fine. Even the stock TJ Wranglers, the smallest Jeeps in our little convoy, would make it through the muddy trail unscathed, or so I thought.

Then, with a sudden stomach-churning drop, the front end of my Jeep came crashing down into a sticky, black mud puddle.

For a few brief moments, I feared I wouldn’t come out the other side…

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October

Fall in Great River Bluffs State Park

I’ve always found it easier to think walking in the woods.It’s true, I always have. Much of my childhood was spend along rough cut hiking trails, searching for plants for my mother’s book. I learned to love hiking by my parent’s side. On these trails, I learned to quiet my mind and open my eyes.

It was always easier to lose myself in the woods. A camera around my neck, I could forget about the weight of the world and enjoy myself for a moment. I was able to take in the colors and aromas of the forest.

Last Sunday, Niecie and I did just that. Early in the evening, we took a short drive up to Great River Bluffs State Park for a short stroll…

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November

Black Friday on the trails – Great River Bluffs

This year’s Black Friday was different, but not because we decided to stay home. We’ve never taken part in Black Friday shopping and we weren’t about to start. Instead, with my family gathered for the holiday, we decided to do something together and take a hike on Black Friday, literally…

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