I have been struggling lately letting my mind wander back playing old reels that don't serve me well. I am glad that I scheduled this weekend months ago. It is just what I needed to slow down and remind myself that life is good if I stop to look around and appreciate it. On my first day hiking the Forest Glen Preserve I made it to the Group Campsite. It is a short easy hike with only one major uphill trek. There were several other campers that first night. They were all having a good time chatting and laughing. They weren't at all doing anything inappropriate I was just hoping for something a little quieter. I took several pictures of spring flowers on the first day. It always amazes me that something so delicate can make its way through those heavy wet leaves from last season. 

On this trip, I used my new *Nemo Hornet 2p tent. I had to figure out how to lighten my pack weight so I bit the bullet and bought this new tent. It lightened my weight by 4 lbs! So far I love it! It rained lightly the first night and I had no problems. It was pretty breezy the second night again no problems. I didn't quite figure out correctly how to set up the tent my first night. I thought the company shorted me three stakes. I figured out my mistake the second night. It still was one stake short. I don't think I would need to stake out the back of the tent all the time but in wet and windy weather I definitely would need to. I do still feel like they should have included one more stake for the price.

The photo above on the left shows the back of the tent. In the center, there is a place for a line for the rainfly to be staked out. In my opinion, it is necessary because the rainfly is short here and it is right at your head level when you are sitting inside and if it is raining I would want the rain to flow away from me and not come in the screen underneath. 

I am definitely happy that I purchased the two-person tent. It is a tight two-person. I would not have been able to get my pack in a one-person tent. I hope to have a dog as a hiking companion in the future and I will need room for her/him. Another new item I packed was a water bladder. I loved carrying my water in a bladder vs the bags that come with the sawyer squeeze. The bladder was much easier to fill at the stream and it was easy to hook on the outside of my pack for hiking. I was able to hook it in a tree at camp so I could easily pour water from it. 

I was a little chilly when I went to bed so I took out my emergency blanket and put that over me. I was warm for sure but I woke up in the night and realized that it had created condensation between it and my quilt. I threw it off fearing it would get my down quilt wet and I would have a miserable night's sleep the second night. Lesson learned I will not do that again. I did find a better use for it the second night. I laid it out and used it for yoga. I didn't slip!


I was very happy with my food choices this time. I still packed too much food. I am working on getting it right. The first night I did not hike far enough to warrant the dinner I made. I couldn't finish it and that bummed me out because I had to waste it. It was a Backpacker's Pantry meal. It was pretty good. Warning it is spicey which I love! 

My favorite breakfast on my hikes is good old-fashioned oatmeal and a cup of green tea. I make my own instant oatmeal with recipes I got from a cookbook called Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure by Kadey, RD Matthew. This particular morning I started with Mocha, Yum! I make my mixes a little different in that I add a tablespoon or two of instant steel-cut oats to my mix when I make a batch because I like a little more texture to my oatmeal.

Lunch on my second day was my favorite Zesty Miso Broccoli Slaw from Food for the Sole. The reason this is my favorite is not only because it is delicious but it is a cold soak meal. I love that I can put the water in without boiling it first and twenty minutes later I have a tasty filling meal. In this case, I set up camp and did some yoga to stretch out the muscles after my morning hike after which my meal was ready!

My dinner on my last night was wonderful! Another one of my favorites, Triple Peanut Slaw. This one is not a cold soak. Another thing I like about these meals is they don't take a lot of water to rehydrate. You may wonder why that makes a difference? Well if there isn't a water source you have to carry your water and this way I don't have to carry two cups of water for each meal. I'm learning a little more with each hike. It really does feed the soul. 

I have added more pictures of the scenery of my hike below. I hope you enjoy them. If you are interested I have a short video of my trip on my YouTube channel. Thanks for visiting my site.

The Dragon

*Any items that I mention I have purchased myself. I do not get anything from any company for telling you all about them.

This hike is part of the River to River Trail starting in Alto Pass, IL ending at Inspiration Pointe. 

I did some spinning by the campfire using my takhli spindle. I am wearing a great pair of Oboz that kept my feet comfortable through the entire 22 miles! You can find links to other items I mention in the video on my YouTube page in the description. Take time to enjoy the things you love. You deserve it!

First Snow

 One of my other passions is hiking. My love of the outdoors began when I was a kid walking with my dad. We had a cabin in Northern Michigan, and we spent all of our weekends and the whole summer there. The winter was magical as we tobogganed at night in the moonlight. I went ice-fishing with my dad, and I will never forget the sound of the groaning ice underneath our feet. I never felt worried or anxious when I was outside, and I remember being able to let my body and mind relax and just be consumed by the beauty of everything around me. I looked closely at every detail of my environment and could find beauty in the smallest detail. I encourage you to get outside, even on a cold day, and take a walk. You don't have to go fast. I actually suggest you go slow and really look at what you are passing. You will be glad you did! 

Forest Glen Preserve - Georgetown, IL 

October 17-19, 2020

I planned two short backpacking trips close to me in the spring, and I was going to top it off with my first trip to Colorado in late summer. Of course, all trips were canceled by the parks due to COVID-19. I unexpectedly had a pretty complicated surgery in June. I was in the hospital for four days, and when I got home, I had six weeks of recovery and a 6” scar down my stomach. I wasn’t going to let any of this stop me from achieving my goal of backpacking. So I started slowly walking, at first, I could only get past a couple of houses, then down to the corner, etc. I started my weight routine. I kept it in mind not to push too hard because I didn’t want any setbacks. I was able to carry my 40lb pack four miles by Labor Day, so I decided it was time. I made a reservation at Forest Glen Preserve. My hike was scheduled Saturday to Monday, but I saw the weather was better Friday through Sunday as the time drew near. I walked into my boss’s office on Thursday and asked if I could take Friday off. It was the best decision I made. The weather was fantastic!

As you can see, I have an old outside frame backpack. It belongs to a man I consider to be my Dad. He cannot go on these trips with me, so he asked me to carry his pack. We both felt like he was with me. I will list some of the items I used and let you know how I liked them. I'll start with my favorite things. The light that is in the top right of the collage above, I absolutely loved it! It is a blow-up solar-powered light that I picked up for a couple of bucks. I tossed it on the dashboard when driving and, with the attached strap, hooked it on the outside of my pack while hiking. That was enough charge for the entire weekend. Since I'm talking electronics, I loved and will never go without my Anker 20000PD Power Bank that I bought for about $60. I was able to charge my phone to a full charge three times on my trip and still had at least one charge left when I got back to my car.  I purchased both of these items from Walmart. A few of my Amazon purchases that I am happy with are: Outdoor Vitals Down TopQuilt rated for 15 degrees $215, Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Air Mattress $120, and the Pibella Travel Pearl $23. The Pibella is something I wish I had a long time ago. For all you ladies out there, you can take a pee like a guy. You won't have to pull your pants down; there is no squatting involved.  It is heaven!  Now that I am writing things down I don't think there is anything that I hated. My tent was an Ozark two-person tent from Walmart. I have used it several times. Because of COVID a couple of times was only in my backyard, but I wanted to try it in the rain and snow before I got out on the trail. Overall it is a quality tent for only $44. The only trouble I had was in the rain; the ties would drip water a little. The seams were taped, and caused no problem. Overall I was very happy with the Ozark. It is not ultralight. It weighs 4lbs, but for the price, I'll take it. I really spent most of my money on sleeping gear and clothing as I thought those would be the most important to me. If I got cold, I knew I would be miserable. If anyone is interested in a complete list of what I took and how much it cost, feel free to ask. I would be happy to post it.  

I hiked four miles the first day. It was only three miles to the first campsite. However, I got lost once so it took me four (LOL). I met a rat snake lying across my path the first day. I greeted him with a friendly hello and gave him a wide birth to go on his way. I set up camp and went to the stream to collect water. The campsites were excellent, they had fire rings and picnic tables. The fire rings were deep which help reduce the blowing away of embers from the fire. The outhouse was pleasant as far as outhouses go. I met two young men who joined me by the fire I had going. We talked well into the night. They offered me a drink which I might have taken them up on during non-covid times.  I bid the boys goodnight and retired to my tent. 

During the early morning hours, I enjoyed my time alone with my luxury item a tahkli spindle. ( photo below) Once the sun rose and I finished my breakfast and tending to hygiene I packed my day pack with food and water. I hiked to the next campsite which was about five miles further. That is where I enjoyed my lunch. I then finished the trail to the entrance and then and on to my campsite giving me a total of 13 miles hiked on the second day. The landscape was lovely and peaceful. There was a lot of up and down which I enjoyed. I passed a few runners and some hikers. I don't think this would be a good trail for bikes as the up and downs are very steep. I learned an important lesson that day, bring more food for thirteen miles! I only fell once, it was on a steep downhill. I fell backward and rode the leaves to the bottom. No harm was done to anything but my pride. I was starving by the time I returned to my tent. There was a new couple setting up when I returned, but I had to go straight to my tent to make dinner before I could make polite conversation, LOL. After dinner, I said an early good night to my neighbors went to my tent where I slept a glorious 11 hours. After having a leisurely breakfast I broke camp and started back to my car. It was another nice day. It started to drizzle just as my car came into sight. Again I was so pleased I decided to come a day early. I highly recommend this trail! I plan on coming back in the spring. I'll be sure to show you the difference.



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