Mainstream Adventures

When You Constantly Push Your Limits You Will Never Reach Them

Turkey Run State Park Has The Most Amazing Slot Canyons In The Midwest

Do you love hiking, trekking, or just enjoying nature? Indiana has some pretty amazing places to hike, as well as some killer hiking trails. If you want to make sure you have an unforgettable experience while hiking this spring or summer, check out the 11 hiking trails open to the public at Turkey Run State Park.

This picture is owned by Barry Steward

Turkey Run State Park is a gorgeous treasure nestled within Marshall, Indiana. Turkey Run State Park is home to many historic sites, like the ravines that lead you to the stunning sandstone gorges, that are hundreds of millions of years old.

Turkey Run State Park has 11 gorgeous trails spread throughout the park, spanning around 14 miles in total. The trails are ranked at different levels so anyone can enjoy a great hike.

Trails 1 and 2 are slightly more advanced, with the three miles of Trail 1 being marked as “Moderate to Rugged” while the 1 mile of Trail 2 is seen as “Rugged”. If you’re up for the challenge of these two trails, you’ll experience some amazing moments with nature.

Trail 3 is one of the hardest rails, clocking in at 1.7 miles and labeled as “Very Rugged”. However, Trail 3 is packed full of sites, such as the cliffs along Sugar Creek, the steep walls of Bear Hollow, and a ridge top over a series of ladders. The trail continues with the Punch Bowl (which was carved out by ancient glaciers), then along Rocky Hollow and past Wedge Rock, returning you to the suspension bridge.

Trails 4 and 5 range from moderate to rugged. Trail 4 is 2 miles and passes through the old coal mine, back to the Punch Bowl from Trail 3. Trail 5 is .7 miles and considered moderate, also meeting up with Trail 3.

Trails 6 and 7 are fairly short, yet range from moderate to rugged. Trail 6 forms a circle, beginning at the Turkey Run Inn, passing around Lieber Cabin, Turkey Run Hollow, and Overlook Cabin, and returning, to the Turkey Run Inn. Trail 7 begins at the campground and and descends into a canyon at one point. Trail 7 offers a gorgeous view of Sugar Creek and hemlock trees.

Trails 8 through 11 end our hiking journey. Trail 8 spans 1 and a half miles and is a fairly moderate hike. Trail 9, however, is extremely rugged, cutting through Falls Canyon and Boulder Canyon for 1 mile. Trail 10 is a moderate 1.4 mile hike that cuts through Crevice Rock, and the last trail, Trail 11, is an easy half mile trail, perfect for beginners.

With so many miles of trails, caverns, bridges, and fantastic historical sites, Turkey Run State Park is the ideal place to go for the best hiking trails the Midwest has to offer.

Have you ever gone hiking at Turkey Run State Park? Let us know which of the 11 hiking trails was your favorite and share any insider tips you might have in the comments section!

Cumberland Falls In Kentucky Is Too Beautiful For Words

Niagara Falls is truly one of the great waterfalls of the world, but of course, you have to travel a bit to reach it from the Midwest. If you love a good waterfall, you have to check out Cumberland Falls. Cumberland Falls in Corbin Kentucky is a stunning piece of Kentucky’s landscape and a sight everyone should see. This magnificent waterfall is too beautiful for words, and these incredible photos prove it.

This picture is owned by Jeff Moore.

Cumberland Falls, located within Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in Corbin, is perhaps the most popular natural feature of the Bluegrass State. Often called the “Niagara of the South,” it’s an unexpected rush of beauty tucked into the breathtaking Kentucky landscape.

This picture is owned by Patricia Poole.

The falls are spectacular from any angle, but they look especially impressive in this aerial view.

With a 125-foot wide curtain of water rushing down the Cumberland River, it’s a powerful display of nature and a true treasure of the Kentucky park system. Thanks to Kentucky State Parks, this waterfall is easily reached and accessible to all who want to experience its wonder.

The park itself is a popular destination for all sorts of activities, and you can easily make a vacation out of a visit, or just spend a few hours here on a day trip.

DuPont Lodge and Riverview Restaurant are both great places to visit when you are in the area. You can make this your home base as you venture out to see the falls.

If you are a true fan of waterfalls, you should really experience Cumberland Falls at least once during each season, as it is stunning all year round.

In the fall, it’s surrounded by brilliant color and at times during a very cold winter, the falls can almost completely freeze over. And of course, the rushing water in the spring and the filled out trees of summer also make it a sought-after destination.

Another feature that truly makes Cumberland Falls unique is its rare moonbow. This rare phenomenon is not found anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere, and can only be seen on certain nights of the year.

You can check the calendar for possible viewing times on the state park’s website, linked below. And just as there are rides to get up close to the Niagara Falls, you can experience a variety of trips near the falls through Sheltowee Trace Adventure Resort.

If you have yet to visit this gorgeous park, add it to your list and check out the Kentucky waterfall that is just too beautiful for words.

Cumberland Falls is a natural wonder of the Bluegrass State, and its beauty is truly unmatched.

Check out the website for Cumberland Falls State Resort Park here.

This Incredible Attraction Takes You Through Every Habitat On Earth

The Midwest is full of incredible attractions, from Mount Rushmore, to the Great Lakes, to The Shawnee National Forest there is no shortage of amazing places to visit.  However very few people realize that one of the most amazing sites in the country is also located right here in the Heartland.

Wonders of Wildlife  National Museum and Aquarium is the largest most immersive fish and wildlife attraction in the world!  The aquarium features a 1.5 million gallon tank and is home to over 35,000 live fish, crabs, reptiles and more. This fantastic new animal and nature museum opened its doors in September of 2017, and has been voted America’s #1 new attraction, and America’s Best Aquarium by USA TODAY!

At this multi-level aquarium , visitors are able to get up close and personal with several species of fish, sharks, and sting rays. In fact one of the most popular attractions allows guests to go underwater and get face to face with sharks.

The underwater river tunnel is a great way to see what really goes on at the bottom of the ocean, and provides visitors with spectacular views of a wide range of aquatic animals.

The Penguin Cove exhibit is one of Wonders of Wildlife’s most popular attractions, featuring 11 playful Gentoo penguins. Penguin Cove is located within the Polar Exhibition region in the Wildlife Galleries section.

This breathtakingly beautiful museum allows visitors to step into all the worlds habitats, in a single day.  Once inside you’ll be surrounded by the sights, sounds and even smells as you explore the countless indoor exhibits. Your journey will take you along more than a mile of twisting trails through the world’s most diverse habitats and ecosystems.  This is the next best thing to visiting the worlds most exotic locations.

The  countless wildlife galleries bring visitors face to face with some of the most spectacular creatures to ever roam the Earth.

The King of Bucks exhibit has the largest collection of white-tailed deer in the world! If you have deer hunters in your group they won’t want to miss this impressive attraction.

The average visit lasts between 3 and 5 hours, so you won’t run out of things to see.

In a world increasingly disconnected from the great outdoors, it’s more important than ever for people of all ages to connect with nature through fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation to ensure we can protect wildlife for generations to come. Wonders of Wildlife shares this passion with visitors through an authentic, educational and fun celebration of wildlife conservation.

Tours take place  seven days a week and are as much educational, as they are entertaining.  Wonders of the Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium is located at 500 W Sunshine St., Springfield Missouri.  For more information visit their website by clicking here.

(Product Review) When Looking For The Best Outdoor Gear ALPKIT Delivers

With summer coming to an end, I decided it was time to replace some of my adventure gear.  My sleeping bag was getting pretty thin and the zipper was sticking.  The same was true with my hammock, and my dry sack had stopped keeping my gear dry. I had gotten a lot of miles out of this gear and we had shared some amazing times.  From whitewater rafting in the north-woods, to backpacking across Shawnee National Forest.  My gear has been put thru the ringer, and it was time to move on to something new.  Getting rid of gear has never been easy for me, but replacing it is always fun.

Recently I had found this company online called Alpkit.  Right away one thing about this company really stuck out.  Just like me, they didn’t seem to really specialize in any one activity, but instead offered products for a wide range of outdoor adventures.  A one stop shop if you will. On their site I found an assortment of  outdoor clothing for both men and women, camping equipment, including tents, tarps, and packs, as well as  wet-suits, trekking poles, and even mountain bikes.

After much consideration i decided to try out the Mountain Ghost 300 sleeping bag,  the Airlok 24L dry sack, and a Mora Hammock.  All three products where designed, manufactured, and shipped from  Alpkit, a small company  located in the United Kingdom.

Mountain Ghost 300 Sleeping Bag:  The Mountain Ghost 300, is perfectly suited for 3 season adventures, and is rated for use in temps as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit, or -5 degrees Celsius.  The bag is constructed from a soft rip-stop polyester that feels great against your skin and more comfortable then nylon in warm weather.  Another feature I really liked is the Primaloft Silver Insulation, this is a synthetic fibre which create millions of tiny air pockets to trap body heat. It uses water-repellent finish to improve performance in extreme conditions, maintaining its thermal properties even when wet, this allows the bag to maintain some of its insulating ability when damp.  This will give you greater comfort in sustained damp conditions and it will dry more quickly.

The sleeping bag is also equipped with a full length zipper.  The zipper is protected by a baffle with an anti-snag strip.  The simple stitch-thru construction and roomy chest girth make it a very practical bag for year-round use in all but the harshest weathers.

To test the sleeping bag, I took it on a three day backpacking trip thru the rugged Ozark Mountains.  At night the temps dropped as low as 41 degrees Fahrenheit.  During my adventure it never rained, however there was dew on the ground every morning, but I stayed warm and dry, and the sleeping bag fit nicely into my hammock.

After returning home, I wanted to further test the water repellent properties of the bag.  I decided I would stuff if full of paper towels and hang it from the clothes line with the sprinklers turned on.  I left it out there for 4 hours.  At the conclusion of this testing I found some of the paper towels to be damp, none of them were soaked, but most impressive was how quickly it dried.  Within an hour the bag was dry and ready to use again.

The bag weighs in at just over 3 lbs, and seems to be perfect for my backpacking needs. Overall I was impressed with the function , comfort, and quality of this sleeping bag.  The sleeping bag is sold for a very fair price of $99.99.

Airlok24L Dry Pack: I took the dry pack with on my trip, but never needed to use it, as it was pretty dry the entire time.  So to fully test the bag I decided to put it thru a series of tests. For the first test,I filled the bag full of paper towels, and set in in the shower with water spraying on it directly for 15 minutes.  For the second test, I filled my kitchen sink full of water, this time I put some extra weight in the pack to see if it could float. I threw in a tennis shoe a set of keys and a Nirvana T shirt , and let it soak over night.  The dry pack passed both of these tests with flying colors, keeping everything dry inside and continuing to float over night..  For my third test, I soaked a towel with water, turned the pack inside out and filled the pack with the wet towel.  I than let it sit for a few hours on my couch.  At the conclusion of this test, my couch was still dry.  For the final experiment I submerged the pack underwater for 5 minutes, stuffed with paper towels, at the conclusion a couple of the paper towels had become damp.  Not wet but damp. I considered operator error was the cause, as the pack had cruised thru my other tests without problem.  So I dried the pack thoroughly inside and out and performed the experiment again.  Once again a few of the paper towels were a little damp.  I asked my partner to perform the test again the next day and once again the same result.  Now this is not to say that the pack is flawed or doesn’t do its job.  In 3 of the 4 tests I put it thru, it performed perfectly, and even in the final test it did a great job in an extreme test situation.  I can’t say the Dry Pack is 100% water proof under all conditions, but I can say it does a fantastic job in normal situations and would likely keep you gear perfectly dry in a down pour.  The Airlok24L Dry Pack sells on their website for a very affordable $14.99.

Mora Hammock: This hammock is light, compact, comfy and easy to hang. You can sleep under the stars in mild weather or pair it with a tarp for a 3-season setup for a more comfortable sleeping experience than a tent.

The Mora includes a simple but effective suspension system for minimal faffing when you’re setting up and taking down. Simply wrap the tree straps, thread them through the loop and clip to the provided karabiners.  It doesn’t get any easier than that, I literally took the hammock out of the package, and was relaxing in it within 3 minutes, that’s how easy this was to set up.

There is 3 ways to best describe this hammock. Easy to use, lightweight, and comfortable.

Overall my experience with ALPKIT was  a positive one.  I was really impressed with the variety of products available.  The items I used performed almost perfectly. Everything I looked at was very fairly priced, and the customer service I received was outstanding as well.  This won’t be the last time I trust ALPKIT for my outfitting needs.  For more information on this company, visit their website by clicking here.



This Unrivaled Canyon Hike Everyone Should Take At Least Once

It may not be the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but Hickory Canyons in Missouri can still make for a pretty neat day hike. As a bonus, it’s located just 16 miles from Farmington, where you can head after your hike to enjoy a bite to eat and drink in one of Missouri’s most underrated towns.

This picture is owned by Amanda Bosler

Hickory Canyons feature two hiking trails, both of which are relatively easy. The Allen Brohn Memorial Trail is a one-mile loop trail on the north side of Sprott Road.  There is also a short half-mile out and back trail located on the south side of Sprott Road.  Both trails descend into a heavily forested deep ravine featuring sandstone bluffs and rock outcroppings, wet weather creeks and seasonal waterfalls.

This picture is owned by Amanda Bosler

Hickory Canyon Natural Area is a botanically rich area and is home to 541 native vascular plant species and 152 bryophyte, not to mention a gorgeous waterfall.   During the winter months the waterfall freezes over, creating a stunning site.

This picture is owned by Doug Neidholdt

On the way to the Canyons, you’ll cross Hickory Creek.  Once you get to the Canyons, you’ll notice the Lamotte sandstone. This sandstone was formed from the sandy beaches of a shallow ocean that existed 500 million years ago.

This picture is owned by Tom Sims

The Glacial relics at Hickory Canyons include hay-scented fern, fir clubmoss and winterberry.  This natural area is quite the hidden gem in Missouri. As a matter of fact, some days you’ll find yourself as the only one on the trail, making it that much more enjoyable.

This picture is owned by Steve Cazzaniga

Ready to take a trip? Once you get to Farmington, go east on Highway 32 to Highway C. Go north about three miles on Highway C and turn left (south) onto Sprott Road (gravel). Head west on Sprott Road for about 1.75 miles until you reach the parking pull-offs for the trailheads.

Looking for Lodging?  Farmington is located just 16 miles away and has several great options available.  For more information on where to stay in the area click here.

After your hike, you can grab a bite to eat at 12 West Bar and Grill in Farmington.

This area is a hotbed for hiking and is loaded with beautiful sites. For more information on attractions in this area click here.




Enjoy An Unforgettable Adventure At Lake Red Rock

When most people think of Iowa outdoor’s they think of mile after magnificent mile of cornfields. But what they don’t think about is all the amazing destinations hiding within the states borders.  From the mysterious Maquoketa Caves State Park, to the rolling Loess Hills, to the amazing Ledges, of Ledges State Park, Iowa has a more diverse landscape than most people realize.

This Picture is owned by Helen P/Alltrails

Another one of Iowa’s  extraordinary attractions is Lake Red Rock!  The lake is the largest in the state with more than 15,000 acres of water!

Aside from soaking in the beauty of the lake, there is also 35,000 acres of beautiful wilderness surrounding the lake!  Elk Rock State Park, Cordova Park, and Roberts Creek Park are just a few of the places to explore along the lake shore.

This picture is owned by the Red Rock Lake Association.

Another great place to explore is the Gladys Black Bird Refuge,this 32 acre refuge is a  prime habitat for bald eagles as well as neo-tropical migrants and other wildlife.  Lake Red Rock is one of Iowa’s best bird watching areas.  Depending on the time of year, you’ll see bald eagles, herons, egrets, pelicans, gulls, ducks and more.

This picture is owned by the Red Rock Lake Association.

If you enjoy fishing, the lake is home to white bass, black bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, walleye, & many other kinds of fish.  Fishing is open year-round, with opportunities during the winter to ice fish in many of the bays or fish open water under the dam.  The lake is an ideal location for anglers of all skill levels, and is considered Iowa’s premier destination for crappie fishing.

This picture is owned by the Red Rock Lake Association

Don’t Miss:  Cordova Park is home to Cordova Tower, an observation tower that stands a staggering 106 feet tall.  If you’re brave enough to climb to the top, you’ll be rewarded with some amazing views.

Logistics:  Located on the Des Moines River just 45 miles southeast and downriver from Des Moines, and a mere 16 miles from historical Pella.

This picture is owned by the Red Rock Lake Association.

Best Time:  There is never a bad time to visit the lake, in the summer you can enjoy boating and swimming, in the winter there is ice fishing, and eagle watching.  I suggest visiting during the week, to avoid any crowds.

This picture is owned by the Red Rock Lake Association.

Pit Stop:  Grab a bite to eat at the  Liberty Street Kitchen located along the Molengracht Canal in Pella.

This picture is owned by Liberty Street kitchen.

Lodging:  Horn’s Ferry Hideaway has two gorgeous cabins located about 50 yards from the banks of the Des Moines River, right below Red Rock Damn, and only a two minute drive from Iowa’s largest lake.  For more information click here.

Extended Play:  The impressive mile long bridge crosses the lake and is located on Iowa Highway 14.  This Iowa landmark is a site to be seen.

This picture is owned by the Red Rock Lake Association.

Travel Smart:  Any lake of this size, can be extremely dangerous.  Plan your trip with care and caution.  During the summer don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray, and always wear a life jacket.

This picture is owned by the Red Rock Lake Association.

Bonus Adventure:  One of the most popular trails in the area is Volksweg Trail, connecting the town of Pella with Lake Red Rock.  Volksweg is a Dutch word, meaning “people’s path,” and it is a 14-mile paved trail perfect for hiking and biking.

For more information on the incredible area click here.

(Product Review) Paratus 3 Day Operators Pack by 3VGear

Just recently I came to the conclusion that this would be the last year for my current pack.  We had a lot of good memories together but it had seen better days, and was starting to  look pretty thin in a few spots.  I started looking around online, eventually coming across the Paratus 3 Day Operator’s Pack.  The company behind the pack (3V Gear) claimed the pack to be the toughest and most versatile pack on the planet. This is exactly what I needed to hear.  With my crazy life of adventure, durability and versatility are the main things I look for.

Right away upon opening the package I could tell this pack was different than other packs I had used in the past.  Just the feel of it, I could tell that it was built to last.  The pack is built with heavy duty 600D PVC backed polyester, and all the seams are double stitched.  The padded drag handle also seemed reinforced, as well as all the other straps and clips.  This really appears to be a solid  well constructed pack all the way around.  While many packs on the market are durable, this one even comes with a lifetime warranty

While durability is a great quality to have in a pack, its versatility is also of equal importance.  I enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities, and I need a pack that can perform in a variety of different conditions.  This is where the pack really shines.  The Paratus tactical backpack makes long distance hiking or walking easy and comfortable, while the detachable deployment pack and MOLLE pouches allow you to ditch the larger pack for shorter adventures.  Military spec MOLLE adorns most of the bag allowing you limitless options for attachments and arrangements.   With all the different pouches and pockets on the pack, organization is a breeze.

The MOLLE compatible, 4-in-1 pack, features the main Paratus backpack, the Rapid Deployment Pack, and two Ally MOLLE Pouches. The modular design of this pack makes it extremely versatile and durable.  Side-release buckles and compression straps keep your load secure and make it easy to tighten the backpack. A molded EVA back panel aids with airflow against your back and gives the backpack additional structure. Padded shoulder and waist straps give comfort and support while keeping the backpack secure.

The Rapid Deployment Pack is fully MOLLE compatible and will attach to any MOLLE pack, vest or other gear. This compact pack has a convenient grab handle or it can be carried with the concealable waist/shoulder belt. Perfect for when you need to grab your kit and go or for 100 other possible uses, i.e. first aid kits, ammo bags, climbing harnesses, survival kits, or other emergency situations.

The pack has almost 2,500 cubic inches of storage space, which is perfect for transporting all your supplies, while rock climbing, hunting, or backpacking.

So far I have been very impressed with this pack, and I think its time to take it on a field test or two.  All to often great looking products fail when put to the test.  To test the durability of the pack I planned a 3 day out and back backpacking trip. I also plan to do some spelunking to see how the bag holds up while being drug across and over rocks.

I had a trip coming up to Shawnee National Forest and decided this would be a perfect opportunity to try out my new pack.  For a 3 day backpacking trip, I was going to have to pack a lot of gear, sleeping bag, hammock, extra clothing, a first aid kit, a life-straw, an extra pair of shoes, food, matches, etc etc .  I figured loading the pack to the extreme, will not only test its comfort, but will also test the seams and zippers as well.  I was really impressed with the storage space of the pack, but most of all I appreciated all the extra pockets and pouches it had.  Organization is key, and with this pack it was pretty easy.

Over the next 3 days, I saw some amazing sites, and breathtaking views in the Shawnee National Forest.  On the second night, I camped out below Jackson Falls, about half way thru the night it started to rain.  My hammock was water proof but I had no room in it for my new pack.  It sat in the rain for over an hour.  The next morning to my surprise, the contents inside where still dry.  Again, I was very impressed.

After the completion of this hike I wasn’t ready to head home yet, so I continued on to Maquoketa Caves State Park, to do some spelunking. During this portion of the field test, I had to drag the pack across rocky surfaces, thru tight passages, and wet crawl spaces.  Again the pack performed great!  Upon arriving back home I thoroughly inspected it, inside and out.  I saw no real sign of damage or excessive wear.  In fact after hosing it off, it looked as good as new.

My conclusion on the Paratus 3 Day Pack, is that its a very solid pack, and a great value as well.   Online the pack sells for $63.95. My last pack was double that, and so far this one has performed just as well.  3V Gear, refers to the Paratus 3 Day Operator’s Pack, as the crown jewel of their line.  After my inspection, I would have to agree.  This is an extremely tough and versatile bag, at a great cost.

My likes for the Paratus 3-Day Operators Pack include:

Durability- This pack is built to last.

Cost- $63.95 is a great price for this pack.

Versatility- There are so many ways you can customize this pack.

Storage Space- There is over 2,500 cubic inches of storage space.

Weather Resistant- My second night on the trail, it poured and the pack kept my gear dry inside.

Organization-This pack has so many pockets, it makes organization easy.

Zippers-Heavy duty zippers, add to the durability of the pack.

My Dislikes for the Paratus 3-Day Operators Pack include:

Padding- The padding on the shoulder straps are a little thin.

Weight-The pack weighs almost 4.5 pounds.

To find more great products made by 3V Gear, visit their website by clicking here.

For The Adventure Of A Lifetime Visit Grafton Zipline

Many times on our quest to find the best adventures in the Midwest, we end up out in the middle of nowhere.  Surrounded by nothing but wilderness. While that type of trip is usually what I crave the most.  Every once in awhile it’s nice to go on an adventure, without sacrificing comfort.  This is the case with Grafton Zipline, who has partnered with Aerie’s Resort to provide guests with the best of both worlds.

Grafton Zipline is the premier zipline course in the Midwest, with 7 incredible lines totaling 2 miles in length. The ziplines range  from 300 feet to the longest line checking in at just over 1600 feet.  As is the case with any zipline course, it’s only as good as the views around it.  At Grafton Zipline you soar high above a lush forest  overlooking the confluence of the Illinois & Mississippi Rivers.

At Aerie’s Resort your treated to an incredible adventure with first class accommodations.   Whether you’re planning a romantic rendezvous for two, a fun retreat with friends, or a weekend adventure for the family, Aerie’s offers a variety of accommodations with something sure to fit your plans. If you’re looking for comfort, convenience, and the Best View in the Midwest, book your stay with Aerie’s.

Aerie’s Resort and Grafton Zipline is so much more than just a beautiful resort and Canopy tour.  There is also an amazing winery.  The winery at Aerie’s Resort is the perfect choice for award-winning wines, fine dining, and live entertainment.

The Terrace at Aerie’s Resort is a unique venue for weddings, banquets, conferences, and corporate events.  The banquet room is gorgeous and has wrap around windows with panoramic views. There is also a 4,400 square foot outdoor deck overlooking  the lush green hillsides and rolling rivers.  Memorable events deserve an unforgettable setting and at Aerie’s Terrace you and your guests will have the experience of a lifetime.

Some people visit for the heart pounding rush of the Grafton Ziplines, others come to enjoy the fine dining and live music, others plan their trip for the award winning selection of wines, while some just come for the breathtaking views surrounding the facility.  No matter what your reason is, we are sure you will have an amazing time at Aerie’s Resort and Winery, and Grafton Ziplines.

Grafton Zipline is located at 14 West Main Street, Grafton Illinois. For more information click here.

Start Your Day With Alpine Start Instant Coffee

Just recently I was approached by an energy drink company wanting to be featured on my page. At first I was pretty excited, to have my brand associated with such a large and mainstream company.  I thought having energy is exactly what one would need to complete the adventures we feature on our page. But after doing some research, I learned that, there are several health risks associated with energy drinks. With some consideration, I decided to pass on this opportunity. Still this raised the question, what is the best way to get energized while on adventure? I did some more research and found that there are several health benefits associated with drinking a daily cup of coffee.  Even still I wasn’t sure.  My primary concern was brewing.  Often when camping or backpacking, it just isn’t practical. After an online search I came across a small company from Boulder Colorado called Alpine Start.  There promise was simple, Instant Coffee That Actually Tastes Good.

I decided to give them a try, to see if they delivered what they promised.  Upon looking into the history of the company, I found that it was created by an avid rock climber.  The company was born out of a desire to make a great tasting, affordable instant coffee that you can take outside or on the go.

I decided to try 3 different flavors, the Original Blend, The Coconut Creamer Latte, and the Dirty Chai Latte.  These were offered in a bundle at a discounted price for buying all three.


Brewing:   The brewing process was really simple, open packet, pour into vessel, add water. Done! It doesn’t get much easier than that. You don’t even have to heat the water up first.

Taste:  When compared to freshly brewed coffee, it really doesn’t measure up.  However when instant coffee is your only option, it sure can taste good on a cool September morning.  I tried all three flavors with both cold and warm water, and prefer it brewed with cold water more than warm.    The Original Blend was my favorite of the 3, however this is just personal preference.

Likes:  There are several things I liked about Alpine Start, first the customer service i received was exceptional.  I ordered the coffee over a holiday weekend, so a delayed response would of been totally acceptable.  To my suprise the company emailed me back the very next day, and the product arrived just a couple days later.  Second the packets are so small, a box of 8 of these packets will only weigh you down 1.56 ounces and that includes the box!  When backpacking, every ounce counts.  Lastly, all three blends are dairy free, and feature 100% high altitude arabica beans.

Dislikes:  Really none,  the flavor wasn’t great, but it was more than acceptable.

Alpine Start is a term used by mountaineers, to describe beginning a climb before the sunrise. Alpine Start is also a nice option for anyone looking for a  good cup of coffee that’s easy to brew.

For more information on Alpine Start visit their website by clicking here.

Plan An Unforgettable Vacation At Big Cedar Lodge

You’re probably already in love with the many breathtaking sights in and around Branson Missouri, and maybe you think you’ve seen all the amazing wonders the area has to offer.  However there is another fabulous attraction you may not have seen yet.  The Big Cedar Lodge is a hidden gem in the area that definitely calls for a visit.

Branson is full of amazing views and incredible sites, but until you’ve seen the view from the Big Cedar Lodge, overlooking Table Rock Lake you’re missing out.

Often referred to as America’s Premier Wilderness Resort the lodge has  inviting accommodations, spectacular restaurants, two full-service marinas, four golf courses, a 50,000-square-foot activity center, unparalleled fishing and countless outdoor adventures, Big Cedar Lodge is a world-class resort where you and your family will make memories to last a lifetime.

Built to embrace the natural landscape of the beautiful Ozark Mountains, Big Cedar Lodge offers 302 private accommodations, including grand lodges, cozy cottages, private log cabins, and inviting camp-style units.

During your visit, enjoy a variety of activities and amenities included with your stay. From a state-of-the-art fitness center to numerous pools and hot tubs, the goal is to make your stay as unforgettable and fun-filled as possible.

Missouri is well known for having some of the most beautiful attractions, and natural wonders in the entire Midwest, and this resort  certainly adds to that reputation. The Big Cedar Lodge is ranked by Travel & Leisure Magazine as the #1 resort in the Midwest.

The Resort is spread out across more than 800 acres in the heart of Missouri’s ruggedly serene Ozark Mountains. It serves as the perfect vacation destination.

If you’re looking for the ultimate vacation resort, Big Cedar Lodge has everything you need and more.

The Cedar Creek Spa is a fantastic place to get away, with packages for both men and women .  This 18,000 square foot world class spa is the perfect setting to unwind and rejuvenate your spirit.

Don’t Miss:  During your stay be sure to make your way to the Bent Hook Marina and partake in the Goin’ Jessi Lake Tour, this private champagne & sparkling grape juice tour on Table Rock Lake is an amazing experience the whole family will enjoy.

Family Fun:  Fun Mountain is the newest addition to Big Cedar Lodge and is great for kids of all ages.

Must See Attraction:  Experience the unforgettable two and a half-mile journey on an electric cart as you explore the Top of the Rock Lost Canyon and Nature Trail. This dramatic trail was created to highlight stunning rock formations, waterfalls and views of Table Rock Lake.

Dining:  There are numerous dining options found at the Big Cedar Lodge, my favorites include; Arnie’s Barn, The Buffalo Bar, The Devil’s Pool Restaurant, and Uncle Buck’s Grill.

Enjoy a nightcap:  At the End of the Trail All-American Wine Cellar, you’ll find a full wine bar of unique higher-end wines offered by the glass, whiskey room, and a cigar humidor.

Big Cedar Lodge is located at 190 Top of the Rock Rd. in Ridgedale, MO. For more information on reservations, visit them online by clicking here. Or call them at 1-800-225-6343.  

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