Last Minute Get Away

When you moving back in with your parents, as an adult you quickly learn that its nice to get away. Hence why Dan and I skipped away for a long weekend. We chose the hour and 30-minute drive from Chicago, to the town of Utica, IL.

Within Utica, IL is Starved Rock State Park. This park is one of the few places within Illinois where you can find the wonders of nature. As I am sure most of you know, Illinois is in the plains, meaning it is flat, flat and more flat. Dan and I had hiked at Starved Rock a few times and loved it. So we thought, why not!

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Packing for your First Ski Trip

I am a notorious over packer. I would pack every pair of shoes I own, regardless of season if there wasn’t a weight limit when checking your bags. Also, I have this tendency to want to bring along items I never wear. I have this idea that vacation equals special occasion, which also equals wearing cute clothes that I hate wearing because of how uncomfortable they are. Not to mention, IF I choose to actually wear these uncomfortable items, and that is a big IF, nine times out of ten I become extremely self-conscious when I am about 10 feet out the door. I begin to think, “They know! They know I am a tourist. It is written all over these fake suede booties.” Then I turn right around and change into my chucks. It happens all the time and never fails.

This time around, I told myself I would only pack what I need and that is that. So this is what I packed.

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Jackson Hole Iditarod Dog Sledding

We were picked up from our hotel at 8:15 am. We were the first ones in the van. From there, we went around from hotel to hotel picking up folks, who were to joins us for the journey. A family from Dallas, a rich couple from Nashville, a young traveler from Ohio and a couple who were new residents to Jackson Hole. Our driver pointing out wild life along the drive and described the crazy avalanches from the week before. You could feel the van filled with anticipation and excitement.

After the 30-minute drive, we finally arrived. We pulled up to a driveway not only surrounded by snow cover hills, but a driveway lined with plowed snow about 7 feet high. Then we heard the dogs. Some howled, some whined either way you could hear them, a lot of them. We claimed up a 10-foot high snow bank and the pups were revealed. There were rows upon rows of hand made wooden doghouses, each with a name painted on the front and a dog by its side.

We were lead inside where we met the staff and the owner himself. Frank Teasley, the owner introduced himself, gave a brief history about the company and its mission. After asking our shoe size and handing over the biggest boot I had ever seen, he said to make sure to take it all in, because this was going to be the highlight of our trip. And boy, was he right.

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