Unofficially, however. The last full weekend of August, a few of us Mountain Chicks got together for a weekend of camping and hiking. It was a beautiful weekend of getting to know each other a little more and tackling some trails. As you can see my summer has been quite fulfilling, but with not enough hiking. I changed that a couple weekends ago. We are training to leave for our Appalachian Trail section hike in a few weeks so hiking as much as possible up until that point is necessary.
BK, S (plus Fernando!) and I (with Cash!) met up and camped at St. Francois State Park. Friday night we stayed up late talking and listening to music. We turned in around midnight probably, and got up the next morning to head to Mina Sauk Falls at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park. While there were no falls running, it was a beautiful hike still.
After Taum Sauk we ventured to Hughes Mountain to hike the Devil’s Honeycomb trail. It was so cool! There were crazy views of Missouri on top of Hughes Mt. (1,200ft. elevation). Hughes Mountain summit is comprised of rhyolite, a type of igneous rock.
After hiking all day, we were thirsty and exhausted. We came back to our campsite and changed into comfy shoes and clean clothes, then drove down to the creek to sit until the sunset.We spent the evening around the fire with some beer and s’mores. I am so grateful for these girls! It is so difficult to meet people as you get older. Getting to be a Mountain Chicks Ambassador has been a great gift for me! It has taken this extremely introverted, “say no to everything” anxious mess of a girl and turned her into a mountain climbing, squat to pee in the woods, dirt and sweat caked, trail loving, ramblin’ woman.
Another fellow Mountain Chick – H, messaged me this past Wednesday night and asked if I had any plans for Friday. B and I had the day off work. We were actually planning to go backpacking for two nights but he got called in to work on Sunday. Instead we decided to just dayhike.
So the timing was perfect when H texted me because B and I had a 12 mile hike planned, and he is MUCH faster than I am. I let H know the plan and she happily obliged to coming along and I am SO GLAD SHE DID. The hike (Pine Ridge Trail at St. Joe State Park) is listed as 12.6 miles, but it ended up being 13.something miles (we can get one of those marathon stickers now, right?) and my feet found blisters in places I didn’t know blisters could form. I am glad to be getting these hotspots out of the way and calloused before our trip in a few weeks!The majority of the hike, H and I talked her PCT adventure, and about sangria and watermelon. So we took it as a sign when we went to Applebee’s for post hike food that the seasonal drink on their cocktail menu was…Watermelon Sangria! I must say this summer has been one of the best yet. Making new friends and adventuring as much as possible as well as pushing myself to new limits. I am loving this new chapter in my life; my 30s. I have never been more open to new things or accepting of myself. It is glorious. I highly suggest it.
OMG. I am caught up on my blog. I solemnly swear I am not going to fall that far behind again! I will be blogging here as well as vlogging our Virginia and Appalachian Trail trip on our YouTube channel.
This coming weekend I have organized another Mountain Chicks Midwest event. If you’re located anywhere in the Midwest click the link there and stay tuned for lots of chapter events all over the Midwest! (States Served: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.)
Like my last entry, this one is late. By about 4 weeks. Better late than never?
We have had a pretty mild August (weather wise) surprisingly. Enough to tent camp comfortably, with even a little chill at night…MY FAVORITE! Last year on the same weekend, M, K & I ventured north to Savanna, IL for an all women’s motorcycle meet up and camp out. It was an absolute blast…becoming one of my favorite weekends of the year to look forward to. We camp out near Mississippi Palisades State Park on the Mississippi River, on a stretch of privately owned land. Attached is an abandoned restaurant and bar.
This year, M’s co-worker (we will call her K2!) came with and so K and I followed the two of them up in my car and acted as their support vehicle. (Mostly I felt like those guys on Sons of Anarchy who tail the biker club in a black van…) This event is one of the most laid back, accepting and inclusive groups of girls I have ever met. I don’t even own a motorcycle and they don’t question why you’re there. It’s all about the company and enjoying a fun weekend in a neat little town.K2 hanging by the river Our little tent cityShower bus!Some of the best pizza I have ever had was at this little eclectic place in Iowa called “Bombfire Pizza“.There was a very cool meteor shower this same weekend and we sat out under the stars, with local Rhubarb wine and karaoke blasting in the background.
After the Babes in Motoland 3 weekend, B and I spent a couple days at the lake with his parents and mine. The week before BIM3, I had the beginnings of a gross cold setting in. The lake weekend, I believe it was at it’s peak. I was SO sick I ended up sleeping a lot of it, and stayed up in the cottage out of the heat because it was making me miserable. The first time I have ever been to the lake and spent the whole weekend inside! We still had fun though! The next week, I battled off the rest of my sickness and it finally disappeared after day 15. Ick.
The first three quarters of August was busy and so much fun. The last of it was just the same! That will be saved for my next entry, as the whole post is related enough to work together!
***Edit: The next series of posts are VERY TARDY!! I started this July based post in early August and am just finishing up this evening. Oof! Expect a couple other August posts! I have been so busy this summer (a good thing!) So catch up on what I have been up to if ya wish. Here we go!
Why is it called dog days? Well I just looked it up and it’s interesting at least! Ironically, this post is about our trip to Florida which officially began on July 22 – the start of the “dog days of summer.”
Right now I’m lying in my living room, resisting the urge to light fall scented candles as my windows are open and I can hear cicada calling. It’s already beginning to get dark a little earlier than the week before. It’s only the beginning of August but it sure is feeling September-y. False advertisement!
This nice weather is looking like it will be sticking around for Babes in Motoland 3 (here’s my post on BIM2 from last summer!) which I will be attending again this year with M & K. Looking forward to another fun weekend up north with some good craft beer and fun ladies!
Let’s get on the roadtrip to Florida track!
We left Thursday, July 20th (my 33rd birthday!) around 6pm. My mother in law got me the PCT book I’ve been wanting! We drove about 3 hours to Calvert City, Kentucky and spent the night, getting an early start Friday morning and driving to the very bottom of Georgia where we stayed in Lake Park, GA.
A couple pics from Friday:Right next to our hotel was a little restaurant called Cowboys Firepit & Grill. We ate and listened to some live music and had a laid back evening after a super long drive. I slept amazing that night. The next stretch of driving was 3 hours to our condo. Off we went!We got to the resort at 10am and checkin wasn’t until 3 or 4. So we just chilled by the pool and I started Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart and enjoyed some fruity drinks. After we got settled into the condo we met up for dinner with the rest of B’s family and called it an early night.
Sunday was my lazy day. B got up to golf (first of three days) at 5am and I slept in, read my book in bed and watched some HGtv. Fascinating – I know! B got back around 1 and we went to one of the pools we hadn’t seen yet and walked around. We again met for dinner and drinks that evening.Monday me and B woke up super early and went for an hour and a half drive up to Paynes Prairie State Park and then hit Ocala National Forest on the way back. It was so hot! But what a different hiking experience!After we left Payne’s Prairie we drove to Ocala to check out Juniper Springs. Such an interesting place – so different from our Midwest parks! The springs are crystal clear and accented with the most beautiful blues and turquoise. AND ALLIGATORS!Turtles!The rest of the week was filled with sun, some Daytona sand, family and spent poolside with a lot of fruity drinks!Florida sunsets will never get old.
Forever grateful for our opportunities to travel and getting to spend our time doing what we love!
All last night I couldn’t sleep. It was a good “can’t sleep” though. Scheduled for today was the first group hike for my local chapter of Mountain Chicks that I had planned a couple weeks ago. I am sitting here now, 13 long hours after my alarm has gone off for the day. Thinking about how happy I am and how incredible this morning and afternoon was. I stepped outside of my box and I think it was the best thing I could have ever done.
Being mostly an introvert; group outings can be daunting and overwhelming for me. However, this was a different kind of gathering. It wasn’t for something I didn’t want to do. It wasn’t an obligation. It was something I volunteered for; something that I chose to do to challenge my ever-changing-self. Meet up with a bunch of strangers (outside of the safety of my phone or computer) and hike around the forest.
Let me just tell you, after we left our late lunch and said our goodbyes this afternoon, I couldn’t wipe the dorky smile off of my face. There wasn’t one lady today that I didn’t connect with for a brief time. Each individual brought an element to the table that made for the perfect first group meeting. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN.
Aside from the very first moments when we nervously introduced ourselves and recognized faces, we all got comfortable fairly quickly and were joking and sharing stories in no time. After all, we all came here to do the same thing. To be outside and to meet other women who love and appreciate hiking on a hot Midwestern day, just the same.
I learned so much today! We talked openly about the struggles of trying to play it cool when really, you’re breathing as heavy as Fernando, Sara’s GIANT Mastiff-Lab mix, and trying to hide it.
We discussed future goals and our bucket list locations (JMT 2019!) We shared water purification and carrying preferences. Talked about gear with people who actually care and understand your obsession. Wireless headphones or wired headphones?! (Heather!!!) Excitement for our overnight backpacking trip in October. It was truly, just a wonderful experience for the first time I have ever hiked with more than one person besides myself or B. It was a relaxed day. There were no expectations and we just enjoyed our walk in the woods; in the company of each other. Pics or it didn’t happen: I have a feeling that great new friendships built on a passion for the outdoors will be born from this, distant adventure dreams will soon become realities, and seeing as how we can talk about bodily functions and fluids with nobody flinching…lots of camping trips and weekends well spent.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone has never been more satisfying. This month has by far contained the the most incredible and rewarding things. Everything is falling into place and I am so grateful to be given the opportunities that are in my hands right now. Being a representative for THREE (yes, you read that right – I have another announcement) great organizations, running my business at max capacity (and voted best salon in the county…unreal!), having a seamless and liveable schedule, and starting my new Monat business…I am thoroughly hashtag blessed. Thank you to every person that supports me in any way. By reading, by following, by being a client, by being a friend, or even by being just a quiet observer.
With that being said, here is my NEW news! I was accepted by Madera Outdoor to be a brand ambassador! This company is changing lives, people. For every hammock purchased, they plant TWO trees (#hammocksneedtrees). “With our support in developing garden forests, Madera provides farming families within the countries of Uganda, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania, and Cameroon with sustainable sources of food, livestock fodder, fuel, and forest products to consume and sell at nearby markets.”
And my gift to you for supporting Madera when you purchase a hammock + straps (sold separately!) is 30% off of your order using the code JPTT30 at checkout! If you have been thinking of buying a hammock, now is your chance! Treat yourself, and help people at the same time.
Can you even handle all of the good things?! I cannot!
I am going to sleep well tonight, and look so forward to the events to come!
This number will signify a few things in this post. Firstly – my Facebook page has ONE HUNDRED followers! How cool is that. Thanks so much!!
Secondly – besides the last couple days, the Midwest weather has felt like 100+ degrees. Ugh. Is it fall yet?
Lastly, and the most important thing I have to say – is my hair has been 100% AMAZING the last month. Because of MoNat.
YES – ANOTHER HAIR POST! This is my third hair post in the year I’ve been blogging. (If you’re new here, I am a hairstylist and I make the occasional beauty post for those of us outdoorsy women looking for natural fixes for hair tricks.) I try to stick with my nature theme here – even in my non-hiking/traveling posts.
The first post was a guide to No ‘Poo. A habit I picked up after suffering from crunchy dry and brittle hair for a stretch. I stuck with No ‘Poo long enough to do a follow up post a handful of months later and up until 4 weeks ago – I had No ‘Pooed for 9 solid months. Until MoNat hit my radar.
*Stop reading if you want bad hair.*
Carry on if you want a great change.
I had seen MoNat being plastered all over social media. My first thought was “Great, another gimmick. “ItWorks” in hair form.” Wrong. I reluctantly took a sample and was wowed in one wash. Here’s why I decided to try it though after committing to no chemicals for so long…
MoNat is a botanical and essential oil based line of hair care. Non-toxic and vegan (cruelty free!) and designed by scientists. It is an independent company that will never sell out to diversion – your shampoo will be delivered to your door and will never be watered down. All drugstore and even salon shampoos and conditioners are 80% water and 20% actual product. MoNat is 60% product and 40% reverse osmosis water that contain zero contaminants such as heavy minerals and pesticides. MoNat is made in small batches, guaranteeing you a fresh product, which also comes with a shelf life.
It is the ONLY hair care product that is proven to reverse split ends and aging on your strands. I have been doing hair for 13 years and I have not seen or used products that do what MoNat does. I have had my hardest to please clients won over. I don’t even have to TRY to sell these products. They legitimately sell themselves!
I am just excited to share my newfound love of products that encourage new hair growth, strengthen hair from the inside out, keep blondes from turning brassy, help give body and life to fine, limp hair…spring those dry curls into a shiny ringlet! It is possible to have hair you love. Let me show you!This is my sister 3 weeks into MoNat Balance System. Her fine, thick but limp hair just hangs when she was using cheap shampoo. The after photo is Monat, DAY 2! She used to wash her hair daily and is now going 2-3 days. Her hair is fuller, shinier and so much healthier.This is my husband after 2 weeks of MoNat’s Classic Confidence System. Look at all of his new hair growth!! Black and white so you can see the new dark hair coming in.This little lady has super curly, free spirit hair. She was the flower girl in my wedding! Her mom is a friend of mine and she has tried EVERYTHING on her curly girl. MoNat gave her these shiny and defined curls in one wash. One. Wash. Top before – bottom after.These photos are MY people. I know their hair. They are not an ad or stock photo. These are real results. They wowed me!
Here is MY before and current. No ‘Poo on the left, last Thursday on the right. Notice the split ends and brittleness in my before photo, and the full, shiny fresh ends in the after. I have not cut my hair since February.How ’bout that!
I want to see your before and after. Please if you have any questions feel free to comment! If you’d like to order MoNat – visit my distributor site at http://www.jenpotts.mymonat.com – if you are interested in being a market partner let me know! It’s an incredible opportunity.
With a 30 day money back guarantee…you can’t go wrong trying it for a month to see how your hair works with MoNat.