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Three Daily Breathing Exercises in Under 3 Minutes

Conscious breathing might be the key to finding relaxation

We take approximately 20,040 breaths in a day, that’s roughly 960 breaths per hour, approximately 16 breaths every 60 seconds, and one breath taking almost 4 full seconds. How many times a day do you truly listen to your breath? Most of us don’t unless we’re taking a yoga class where an instructor is telling us to focus on our breathing. We also might if we’re doing a vigorous exercise that’s causing us to get short of breath. More people I see today that are looking to find relaxation through nature, with yoga, Reiki or Thai massage are telling me they are holding their breath certain times of the day for no reason, their breathing is all in their chest, and it’s hard to take a deep full breath from their diaphragm and lengthen the inhales and exhales.

Photo by Le Minh Phuong on Unsplash

When an animal in the wild breathes in its chest it means it’s in danger, the heart rate rises, blood flow increases causing the body temperature to rise, senses are heightened, etc. Over time if an animal had this kind of reaction every day without being in danger, stress and anxiety becomes apparent. As humans when we have short breaths in our chest it’s telling us something is wrong, and if we have that happen over and over again anxiety can become more present in the body. The good thing is we can change the way we breathe, but like anything else it takes conscious effort, practice and patience.

Below are 3 daily breathing exercises all in under 3 minutes you can try to aid in relaxation and increase your health and wellness. 

Morning: With your eyes closed count 4 seconds on each inhale and exhale, after a weekly practice lengthen the exhale by one second.

Throughout the Day: At least 3 times bring your awareness to your breath, it could be every 2 hours or at random — set a reminder in your phone so you don’t forget. Try different times with your eyes closed and other times while doing your normal daily activities. You can focus on your breath while driving your car, sending an email, during a meeting, and many other times. You might find it hard at first to focus on your breath while doing another task but the more you do it the easier it gets.

Evening: Before going to sleep count the inhales and exhales you take in one minute.

When you are focused on your breathing make sure you are not holding your jaw, relax the facial muscles. If the face muscles are tightened, you cannot relax the rest of the body. Slightly open your mouth to make sure your jaw is released. Take your inhales through your nose, add some exhales out the mouth and include a “sigh” for even more relief.

Finally, record your findings. Take notes on how you feel before and after your breathing exercise. After 30 days note your physical, mental and emotional feelings. Over time you should see that your breathing will increase in length, in many cases people find more relaxation, lower anxiousness and a higher consciousness in their daily life. You could also see an improvement in sleep patterns, your mood, productivity and so many other benefits! In more advanced breathing exercises people noted building abdominal muscles. Could you image getting “abs” by better breathing?

With the holidays approaching try these breathing techniques to relieve stress and anxiety and remain calmer and more centered. Share with our community which breathing exercises you enjoyed the most! We hope to meet you in person, check out what adventures we have coming up!

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First Year in the County!

Kate and I are officially country gals

A year ago Kate and I set off on a big new adventure. We packed up our belongings, gave away and threw away a bunch of items in the process and moved from our cute little city “town” of Broad Ripple in the heart of Indianapolis, to Brown County, Indiana. One of my biggest fears was not being able to get my groceries delivered, turns out where we live we can’t even get a pizza delivered! We actually really enjoy it though, Kate and I cook much more at home now baby Asher starting to “eat” with us now too!

I will admit, we have discovered Home Chef and that has really come in handy! We got some meals as a gift when Asher came – great gift by the way! We’ve continued ordering from them and it’s been really nice having a few meals a week that we know we already have all the ingredients for, it’s healthy and delicious!

Bean night

Since we’ve been down here Kate has started her weekly Trek Tribe Bicycle ride in Brown County State Park. Look for an update on the time and date for the winter season! Kate also started the first Brown County youth mountain bike team through NICA – National Interscholastic Cycling Association and it was super fun! I was able to make a few of the practices with Asher and we had a blast. I am looking forward to being more involved next year and for the kids to get to race other teams across the state as well. Check out the video below from the last practice – Kate let the group jump her! This was definitely one of the highlights of the season!

Brown County Eagles NICA Team

Kate and I started doing events at Hard Truth Hills, which has been super fun! Kate led a series of co-ed mini Busted Knuckle mountain bike clinics and I am still teaching monthly yoga sessions. We’ve had great weather all summer and are looking forward to continuing to practice this fall and winter inside the distillery!

Kate and I joined the Halloween Town Committee part of the Brown County Visitor’s Bureau Board and are looking forward to the inaugural Halloween Town event next Saturday October 26th in Nashville, come join us for a haunted bike ride in the parade!

That brings us to today, currently we are continuing to improve, grow and work on going into the 5th season of hosting the Women’s Adventure Giveaway. This program is so near and dear to our hearts, we are so fortunate and grateful we get to offer this amazing experience to very lucky and deserving women each year. We are in the process of working with a production company to produce a documentary series to follow the winners of the 2020 Giveaway and stream their stories worldwide next year. We feel it’s important to keep documenting the experience to inspire people all over the world to live a life filled with adventure and ask the question, “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” If you or a company you know would be interested in partnering or learning more about the Women’s Adventure Giveaway please let me know!

Women’s Adventure Giveaway

Looking back at everything Kate and I have done this year and not just in Brown County but we’ve also traveled with DNK Presents to North Carolina, Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and we’re getting ready to head to Virginia. We have really learned and grown a lot but our biggest accomplishment of the year would definitely be growing our family and raising our beautiful baby boy Asher! He brings an immense amount of much joy, love and light to us each and every day, we are so blessed to have him and we hope you get to meet him sometime soon.

Having fun on the Salt Creek Trail

Have you visited us in Brown County yet? Please let us know when you’re coming to town, we’d love to meet up with you on the trail, over a beer or share with you our favorite places to check out! Now that we’re country folk now I can officially say, Happy Fall Ya’ll and Happy Trails!

Campside Sessions Brown County

P.S. Did you know you can stream our award winning film, “Live Adventurously” on You Tube and Vimeo now? Check it out!

We were on Indy Style WISH TV Channel 8
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6 Simple Ways to Enhance Your Connection to Nature

DNK Presents, wellness, nature, corporate retreats, adventure retreats,

There are thousands of studies and articles about how nature benefits us physically and emotionally. What a great, free resource just waiting to nourish us! However, as technology nudges its way further and further into not just our work hours, but personal hours too, it can be tough to nurture our innate connection to nature. Our busy schedules often make us feel like we don’t have the time for adventure or long hikes into the woods. But what if it’s simpler than that? What if we can work in simple adjustments that allow us to connect with nature throughout our day?

Here are 6 simple ways to enhance your connection to nature!

1. Bring plants into your life

It doesn’t matter if this means getting a houseplant that requires little attention, filling your space with plants, or making some room on your porch for some potted vegetables and/or herbs. Bringing plants indoors is a great way to remind you of nature and give you something small to take care of. A quick tending to your plants will help you ground and recenter as you water, prune off dead leaves, and notice new growth. It’s even better if those plants produce food you get to nourish your body with!

2. Cook with fresh food

Maybe you’re getting this fresh food from your garden, the farmer’s market, or the grocery store. Make a point to add in fresh herbs, veggies, and fruit to your meals as a way of reminding yourself where your food comes from. Nature benefits us not just from being in it, but eating it too!

3. Take a short walk during lunch or after dinner

Mealtimes are a great time to disconnect from technology and be present. If your work allows, take a break from the fluorescent lights and get outside for a quick walk around the block. It doesn’t have to be somewhere full of trees or grass. Notice the sky, the sun, the breeze. If lunch time doesn’t quite work, hop up after dinner for a slow walk either on your own or with loved ones. Again, the amount of time isn’t what matters. It’s the jolt from routine and time spent in fresh air. Nature restores our attention span and allows us to get back to work with a fresh, clear mind.

4. Make use of your favorite local park

Parks are there for a reason! Find the one that makes you feel most peaceful and then do some of your favorite activities there instead of your living room. Bring a book, a meal, a yoga mat, or a blanket and settle into your downtime in a new location.

5. Get a plant identification book at the library

Use your resources and start learning more about what is around you. The next time you go for a walk, practice mindfulness and really see the plants and trees you pass. As the year goes on, you’ll begin to notice the changes in these plants and watch their life cycle play out.

6. Remind yourself of nature throughout the day

It’s inevitable that technology will be a part of our day and that meetings and assignments will beg for our attention. That doesn’t mean we have to forget about nature until we have time to go for a hike on the weekend! Place reminders for yourself in places you look often: change your phone/computer background to one of your favorite natural spots, put photos up at work, use a planner and/or notebook with a nature design on it. Treat your hardworking brain with frequent doses of nature throughout the day.

 

While we’re busy and unsure how to fit the next meeting in, let alone some time in nature, it is vital that we connect when we can. Nature provides exactly what we need and restores our attention when we need it most. Find simple ways to weave some nature into your daily life and you’ll reap the benefits of a close connection to nature. We have some awesome ways to get into nature starting this weekend! Friday meet us at Upland Brewery in Bloomington for a bike ride and movie screening of “Live Adventurously” afterwards, Saturday morning join Danielle for yoga at Hard Truth Hills or a hike with Kate in Brown County State Park, and next Thursday yoga at Stone Head Nature Preserve. We hope to see you on an adventure with us soon!

 

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First Time Backpacking Tips

 

Your first backpacking trip is always full of expectations, unknowns, and a lot of trial and error. While a day hike or car camping may be nothing new to you, combining aspects of both together to create the backpacking trip of your dreams can take some practice!

DNK Presents led an overnight trip to Shades State Park for beginner backpackers. The backpacking trail at Shades was a great place to start as it is about a 2.5-3 mile hike in to the campsites. A trail this length provides a good taste of what carrying a pack for a longer distance would be like without jumping in too deep at first.

The ladies on this trip provided some feedback on their experience trying out a new outdoor adventure. Overall, the women found that backpacking is a bit tougher than expected! The miles backpacking do not equal the miles hiking like they thought. That extra weight on their back added quite a challenge to the hike. Below are some more thoughts on ways to prepare for your first backpacking trip!     

Gear

 

Play around with your pack. Pack and unpack several times throughout the trip until you find the method that feels the best to you. It’s helpful to loosen all straps every time you put the pack on so that you can adjust as needed each time. This will also help you learn which straps do what in order to find your perfect fit.

 

 

Camp chairs are worth the investment. Specifically the Crazy Creek style camp chairs that fold up and can be strapped on the front of your pack. They’re great for sitting around the fire, taking a break on the trail, or cushioning a picnic bench if you’re lucky enough to have one at your campsite.

 

 

Hammock camping can be a nice alternative to tent camping if you don’t own a backpacking tent or are backpacking solo and don’t want to carry the whole tent yourself. There are a few things you can do to make hammock camping more comfortable. Depending on the season, you may or may not want a sleeping pad. In the warmer seasons, you really just need a lightweight sleeping bag or blanket. A bug net and rain tarp aren’t essential, but can make the experience much more enjoyable. Closing the hammock by flipping the weighted pocket over the side creates a cocoon and can keep bugs out, but it’s a bit suffocating in warmer weather. The bug net and rain tarp keep air circulating while protecting you from insects and the elements. It’s also helpful to keep shoes close, put your essentials in the pocket, and to put your rain cover on your backpack as a preventative measure.   

 

“Brain” into daypack

 

A good number of backpacks include a “brain” (top portion of your pack that fits on top of the rest of the pack) that can transform into a day pack. These are super handy if you want to leave camp and check out some shorter trails near your site. Even if your pack doesn’t have this feature, it’s not a bad idea to bring along your own packable day pack to store water, snacks, map, and other essentials.

Food

 

Dehydrated meals are an easy and delicious way to get meals taken care of on backpacking trips. They’re lightweight, fold down, and bulk up to a good amount of food. All they require is boiling water and time to rehydrate. In the beginning, dehydrated meals remove the potential overwhelm of meal planning so that you can better focus on the rest of your trip. If prepared meals aren’t your thing, they provide some great meal inspiration.

A common anxiety on the trip was having enough food and snacks to last the weekend. Food is a very personal aspect of backpacking and everyone has different needs. Even if food is being planned for your group, it’s helpful to have bars, trail mix, and other easy to grab snacks that you know you can eat whenever desired. Bulk up your oatmeal in the morning with some of your trail mix! Don’t forget to bring some comforts from home with you like your favorite candy, instant coffee, or tea.

Safety

Feeling safe while backpacking is a vital part of enjoying your time in nature. Whether adventuring solo or with a group, it’s important to know what will make you feel the most comfortable. Wander around the campsites so you have an idea of the layout, chat with other campers so that they are aware you’re there, and most importantly, trust in the community. While it’s essential to be cautious and mindful, it’s also important to remember that the majority of people out in nature are there for the same reasons you are.  

Backpacking may seem daunting at first, but with a few trips under your belt, it becomes a great escape even for a quick one night sleep under the stars. Experiment with different gear, meals, ways of packing your pack and you’ll be well on your way to dialing in on what you need to make your trip as rejuvenating as possible. Let us know what tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way!

 

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6 Outdoor Adventure Podcasts to Inspire Your Next Trip

In a world where we consume media almost constantly, make sure some of that media is nourishing and inspiring. Lucky for us outdoor lovers, there are plenty of podcasts to tune into that will feed that wanderlust and leave us ready to pack our bags and explore.

Here are 6 of our favorite outdoor related podcasts that keep us wanting more!

1. Wild Ideas Worth Living by Shelby Stanger

“What if… You could sail to French Polynesia, run from San Francisco to New York, skateboard down the busiest freeway in California, quit your job and ski around the world, start a business, move to Costa Rica, surf every day, get in the best shape of your life, fall in love, and GET WILD?”

2. She Explores: Women in the Outdoors

“Interviews, narrative stories, and listener submissions make up a tapestry of over 100 episodes covering themes such as solo hiking and camping; entrepreneurship; aging; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); conservation; motherhood; chronic illness; and feminism as they intersect with outdoor experiences. Hosted by Gale Straub.”

3. Women On The Road

“Honest experiences of life on the road, told from the perspective of women who’ve lived them firsthand. Whatever you drive, and for however long, this is a podcast for those drawn to road travel. Interviews, in-the-field recordings, and listener voice submissions range in topic from helpful tips to get started to the inspirational experiences that get and keep us out there. Hosted by Laura Hughes.”

4. Out There

“Are you yearning for a change? Could a grand adventure help you find what’s missing? Could doing something selfish for once be just the thing your relationship needs? Let Out There be your calm oasis, your quiet walk in the woods, the rainy window you gaze out of when all is gray outside. Hosted by Willow Belden, the award-winning podcast captures the understanding, the strength, the inspiration, the healing that humans draw from spending time outside, to help you navigate life’s big questions and ease the anxieties of adulting today.”

5. Dirtbag Diaries

“This is adventure. Climbing. Skiing. Hiking. Biking. Travel. Whatever your passion, we are all dirtbags. Outdoor writer Fitz Cahall and his team presents stories about the dreamers, athletes and wanderers.”

6. Outside Podcast

“Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will entertain, inspire, and inform listeners.”

Now are you ready for your next adventure? Check out what we have coming up on our Adventures page! Contact us if you don’t see something that fits with your schedule we organize and guide custom and private adventures too!

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Traveling with a Toddler

Traveling with a Toddler

By Ashley Iyer

I just returned from traveling to Zion National Park, Bryce National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Monument Valley Navajo Travel Park, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. My travel companions were my husband and two-year-old daughter.  I have always loved road trips, specifically West of the Mississippi. There is something cozy about being packed in a small SUV together with half eaten snacks on the ground and luggage and coolers packed to the brim of the trunk.  We explored the pink and red sandstone cliffs in Zion, outlandish hoodoos in Bryce, the majestic Mittens Buttes in Monument Valley and endless curves and warm hues of Antelope Canyon.

Traveling allows me to see my husband and daughter in a different light.  I enjoy my daughter’s unexpected leg hugs and the faint smell of marinara from last night’s dinner in her hair. I love nestling my daughter’s little Disney toothpaste and toothbrush next to my big toothpaste and toothbrush in my toiletry bag.   I am always impressed with my husband’s ability to problem solve and the amount of Dad jokes he can spew out when traveling.   We were surprised at her insistence on saying hi to literally every person that passed us as on day hikes.  She was insistent on being outside and loudly shouted “doggy doggy” every time a dog passed.  Nothing beats the simple joy of a child.

Traveling with a Toddler
Traveling with a Toddler

 

I have included some travel tips for traveling with toddlers our family has found helpful below:

  1. If you can honor your toddler’s sleep and meal routine or make slight modifications everyone will be happier for it.  For example, when we were in Arches National Park we decided to get up very very early to avoid the heat and complete the hike to Delicate Arch and come back to our Airbnb in Moab Utah and take a nap.  Later in the evening we returned to the Arches National Park to look at the rock features during the sunset.  Also, we tried to do most of the driving between parks during her nap time.
  2.  Our favorite baby carrier brand was Deuter.  It provided a visor that we could temporarily put up during sunny hikes, there was also a place to put a water bladder. She even learned to drink from a Camelback during the trip!   My husband and I took turns carrying.
  3. Book an Airbnb with a wash machine every 4 days or so to be able to pack less clothes.
  4. I let my Mommy guilt go about increasing my daughter’s screen time during long car and plane rides.  It was important that we downloaded her favorite shows before going on the trip because we were in many areas without service.
  5. During the plane ride I packed 6 new books and toys from the dollar store and a couple old ones to keep my daughter occupied. I also made sure to have lots of grab and go snacks.  If kids cry on the plane and you are making an effort to entertain your kid people can get over it.
  6. Of course, the best toys I brought were not meant to be toys at all.  She loved collecting zip lock bags full of rocks and sand.
  7. We packed two big suitcases.  One stayed in the car during all those hotel changes, we brought one up with us. 
  8. We bought a couple of disposable coolers first things when we landed.  We bought grab and go lunch and breakfast food for everyone.  Mostly we just ate out for dinner. 
  9. Call ahead to see if the hotel will provide a pack and play, so you do not have to pack one.
  10. Some things My husband and I decided we would do the next trip include: Getting a portable highchair, bring small almost Bento like boxes to separate her food. We decided we would stop to eat meals more often rather than in the car.  Happy trails!

Traveling with a Toddler

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Rafting Ocoee River DNK Presents Women's Adventure Giveaway

The Women’s Adventure Giveaway Reflection

By Bridget Sealy Roberts

The DNK Presents Women’s Adventure Giveaway . . . what an extraordinary opportunity that has been created for women thanks to Danielle and Kate, and the support of many other inspirational women, wonderful people and companies.  I first learned about this giveaway at a mountain bike clinic that I attended.  I watched the film from one of DNK’s past adventure giveaways called “Live Adventurously” at the clinic, and I dare to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  To see how the experiences transformed these already amazing women was something that felt personal, even though none of us knew any of these women.  It was so impactful, even as a movie.  

From the time I found out I had been nominated, until that momentous call when I found out I was one of the winners, it was a whirlwind of both excitement and disbelief.  I was both honored to be nominated, and humbled to be selected.  Having the opportunity to spend time with such a wonderful group of women in the outdoors could only lead to epic adventures.  

To the Backcountry

The Women’s Adventure Giveaway Day 1

Of all the emotions I experienced leading up to the adventure, none of them could compare to what I actually experienced during the time I spent adventuring with the three other winners (Hannah, Chelsea, Kristen), Kate, Danielle, Noel and all of the other wonderful women who were helping support us during our time together.  Each and every one of us were pushed outside of our comfort zones, but supported each other in a way that made it feel like we could accomplish absolutely anything.  The environment that this experience provides allows you to have those “don’t hold back” moments that are opportunities unlike anything you would normally ever have a chance to do.  I found myself so emotionally overwhelmed at the end of the day by how much I was able to do, and how incredible it all was.  It truly was all life altering.  And all this happens while you are surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery that nature has to offer.  This adventure is the chance to reconnect with Mother Nature and remember how revitalizing and healing it can be.  

Transformation

The entire experience in so transformative, and you feel such accomplishment with each adventure together.   And, you do all this while bonding with some of the most amazing women you will ever meet.  The bonds that you make over the weekend are so strong that you leave feeling like there aren’t enough hugs, and there is a piece of your heart being torn out as you drive away.  The time spent together definitely etches a mark in each person’s heart before departure.  

White Water Rafting Ocoee
White water rafting on the Ocoee River

My weekend ended with my “I’ll never” list being a little shorter and my “family” list being a lot longer.  If you’re considering nominating someone next year for the Women’s Adventure Giveaway, don’t hesitate; it will change their life, and seeing that impact will change your life too.  I can’t thank my nominators Noel and Alex enough for thinking of me and for DNK for creating such an amazing opportunity for women everywhere.  My heart is so full and all I want to do is share it with everyone.  

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Hannah Kelling DNK Presents Women's Adventure Giveaway winner

Women’s Adventure Getaway: Laughter, Challenge, Reflection

By Hannah Kelling

Our Getaway Weekend was the gift that kept on giving. Whether we felt ready to admit it or not, each one of us participants (and maybe our guides, too?) needed a break from the onslaught of the daily grind. Mothering, schooling, moving, and bounding over the hurdles of life in a seemingly endless routine had worn each of us down to a point where we didn’t really recognize ourselves anymore. That began to change when we arrived at the Lula Lake Land Trust on Thursday evening. Like it or not, we had to let go of that routine which was both demanding and comforting, tiring and reliable. We were blown away by a wonderful set of gear and then promptly set out for destinations unknown. Arriving at the overlook where (unbelievably) we would spend our first night, the demands of the “real world” started to fall away. We had no responsibilities beyond setting up our hammocks and being present for each other. We were asked only to listen, to laugh, to reflect, and to engage mindfully with the beautiful scenery and extraordinary company we’d been gifted. One by one, little by little… We let go. We allowed ourselves to be surprised. We lost control, and found adventure.

The weekend continued in a series of grand and little surprises. An incredible salmon dinner. A couple four leaf clovers. A rafting adventure on the Ocoee. A chance to read our nomination letters. You would just catch your breath, and then it would be taken away again by another incredible gift. We told each other stories, tales which seemed to illustrate exactly why we needed to be there. Stories of challenges and survival, sacrifice and generosity, loss and discovery. I grew to really genuinely love everyone. Chelsea for her good listening and kindness, Bridget for her vivaciousness and strength, Kristen for her generosity and gentleness. And our guides and hosts… How could we ever thank you enough? How could we ever put to words how much that meant to us?

 

Driving back home, I didn’t THINK much. My mind wasn’t occupied with trying to plan/control my future or ruminating on the mistakes of the past. For once, I was just wrapped up in a feeling. Something like contentment, but spiced up with real joy and playfulness. The feeling that I really was the luckiest person on Earth.

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Our First Mother’s Day

Welcome to the world Asher!

Welcome to the world Asher Philip Nolan! We were so blessed that Asher came into this world with us at 6:07am on April 9th weighing in at 9 lbs. 2 oz. and 21 inches long! Both mommas are doing great and we are falling more in love with our little man everyday.

Just celebrating being one month young Asher has already been to his first Women’s Mountain Bike Festival in Brevard, North Carolina. Momma Kate guided rides for ROAM – the only women’s mountain bike festival in the country. She along with guides Tiffany “Hutch” Hutchens and Meagan Shelter took so many rad women out on the trails over the weekend. We heard things like, “This was the best ride of the weekend”, “I’d ride with you anywhere”, “I did some things I never thought I could do today and I’m so proud”!

Kate and Asher at our favorite Shredly booth!

Momma Danielle stayed on the festival grounds and “womaned” the booth with the other vendors. Baby Asher definitely stole the show, making his rounds to the booths and getting to meet all the awesome people part of this amazing event. One of them being the co-author of the children’s book “B is for Bicycles“, Jannine Fitzgerald! She and her 11 year-old son were so awesome and we got our own book signed by her for Asher! #heartmelt

We were both lucky to be part of the event for its inception year last year and we look forward to being part of future ROAM experiences! Momma Danielle is recovery well from a natural delivery and is looking forward to getting out on the bike again soon. Momma Kate is going at full speed this spring and heading into summer. Our next big event will be guiding the Women’s Adventure Giveaway weekend, we can’t wait to take these women on an epic backcountry adventure next week!

Don’t forget we will be back in Brevard, North Carolina June 28-30th for the Campside Sessions Women’s Mountain Bike Camp. Get signed up today and use the code Shred25 for $25 off of registration – only good for Mother’s Day weekend only! See you on the trails!

DNK Presents the Footdown Hoedown at ROAM!
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pregnant adventuring, pregnant outdoor hiking, dnk presents, outdoor women, corporate retreats, adventure, live adventurously, living adventurously

Living Adventurously While Pregnant 

Turns out being pregnant is an adventure all of it’s own, check out what adventures I was able to withstand during my pregnancy.

Baby Nolan is coming in less than a month and I wanted to take time to reflect and share my experience being pregnant while continuing to guide trips, run a business and live adventurously!

This is our first child so everything is new as Kate and I start to grow our family, and that starts from the very beginning. We chose to get our donor from a sperm bank and worked with the Midwest Fertility Specialists in Carmel, IN. I think I learned more about sperm, my vagina, and the women’s body in general more in those months than I ever have, it was a bit overwhelming but also so fascinating! The fact that we can grow a human in our bodies is something so incredibly amazing and Kate and I are so grateful to be able to experience this process together.

I broke down my pregnancy experience based on some of the adventures and trips I guided below. I hope if you’re a mom or want to start a family it can give you some insight on how to start or continue to live adventurously while pregnant. Of course every woman, every pregnancy, every day is different, I would love to know your thoughts in the comments about your pregnancy journey!

Recreating in the First Trimester

Looking back I think mine was pretty typical compared to other stories I’ve read. My energy levels were pretty low, I had nausea, I had to wake up to pee EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. During this time though I was teaching about 6 yoga classes a week, one was heated at 6am, luckily I never hurled during that class but it was close… I continued to ride my mountain bike, lead rides, coached clinics and led some backpacking trips as well.

One day Kate was driving and I thought I was going to throw up, she pulled into a CVS and got me these wrist bands for people who are traveling and have motion sickness. It looked like I was ready to do an 80’s work out video but it DID work! I felt better! This was probably around end of July or beginning of August so I probably looked a little ridiculous with my sweat wrist bands but totally worth it!

I led a private backpack trip for a group of friends that wanted to try it out. I was also training a new guide on this trip, it was August and the weather was hot and humid. It was still early in the pregnancy so we weren’t telling anyone yet even though I really wanted to tell these women, they were all high achieving ladies in the Indianapolis area, and most were moms.

We set up camp in the backcountry area, hiked to a beautiful lake, took a wonderful swim and made our way back. Two of the women were about to go on big adventures of their own and it was awesome to be together with them before the next big transition in their life, and little did they know I was embarking on one of my own.

outdoor women, living adventurously, dnk presents, living adventurously while pregnant, pregnant adventures,

I remember on this trip I knew I was dehydrated because I didn’t have to wake up and pee in the night. You have to drink way more water while your pregnant and since we hiked all day, it was hot, etc. I didn’t have enough, so I do remember thinking when recreating to make sure I’m drinking plenty of water, and of course it’s always good to drink plenty of water in general.

More Adventures in the Second Trimester

For me this started in September and went into December. Probably about week 15 for me I noticed I felt better, I didn’t have to eat saltine crackers and preggie pop drops to soothe my stomach. I did get some energy back but this was also a big transition time for Kate and I so I feel like I was still a little tired. We sold our house in Broad Ripple, moved into a rental in Brown County and had most of our stuff in a storage unit there. We also had a sold-out women’s mountain bike camp with our sister company Campside Sessions in Brown County in September and another in October in Virginia so we did not slow down to say the least.

I felt good but I was definitely being more cautious as a rider, Kate many times thought I was not being cautious enough! I listened to my body and when I felt good and confident I went for it.

One event we did was at the Brown County EPIC, a huge mountain bike festival at Brown County State Park, Kate and I teach a free mini clinic for those wanting to ride Hobbs Hollow, the first downhill flow trail in the park. The next day we did a long ride out to Crooked Creek and back. It’s a long ride in general and they open up more trails in the park and in Hoosier National Forest during this event and I remember being so tired, I had to drink SO much water again. I finished but I could tell that the baby was taking up some of my energy for sure!

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We had another sold-out Campside Sessions mountain bike camp at the middle/end of October. I was definitely more cautious on my rides at this time, getting to coach while pregnant was super fun though. This camp was in Stokesville, VA which was so beautiful, it has some great rocky, rooty terrain with some steep inclines and really awesome descents. I did get tired more quickly on the ride with the coaches but still had some fun and even let myself get a little bit of air when I was super comfortable. We had a great time and I think it was inspiring for the women to see me out there getting after it too!

Right after this was about the time I needed to start unbuttoning my bike shorts as my rides would go longer! Since I mountain bike I almost always wear a shammy with baggy mountain bike shorts on top. I heard that bibs would be more comfortable for me but I ended up buying some cheap bigger padded shorts that were on sale and was able to ride through with most of my regular shorts through trimester two.  

After October I then got to lead with my wife and another one of our guides, Candice Baggett an amazing women’s backpacking trip in the Big South Fork National Recreation Area in November. It was pretty cool since over the summer the last time Candice and I did the trip to scope it out I had just gotten inseminated, but it was too early to know if it had worked. Here I was now 20 weeks into pregnancy on the same trail with a bunch of rad women, it was awesome! I felt great and at that time if you didn’t know me it might have just looked like I had too much ice cream LOL! Although I was starting to realize the extreme lack of pregnancy or maternity clothes for hiking, backpacking, or outdoor adventurous women in general! I could have worn my other pants with snaps but over time the belly bands would get annoying to me and almost all my pants I really liked had snaps so I couldn’t use the maternity waste bands that go into buttons.

Over all the second trimester was great, I can see why it’s usually considered the “favorite”. After feeling nauseous, tired, waking up to pee in the night, and extremely painful breasts and nipples, the second trimester was a breath of fresh air!

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Living Adventurously throughout the Third Trimester

For me this started at the end of December, what a ride it had been so far! Kate and I closed on our new home in Nashville, IN the weekend before Christmas. We were officially Brown County residents, the same place we had gotten married just 3 ½ years ago and about to expect our newest addition to the family. After our last big trip of 2018 backpacking it was nice to have some family time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, this also gave us some time to move in and get settled. Although I think we’ll be settling in for a while, seems like there is always something to work on with a new house!

Danielle Wolter Nolan

Our Indiana winter was not that forgiving this year. We as well as most of the rest of the country experienced the polar vortex with the extreme negative temps. The one thing I had going for me was that my body temperature was higher so that was been nice to be able to walk outside and feel good even with the colder temperatures!

I definitely started taking it a little easier in the winter months, naturally as our bodies should. DNK Presents always lead free monthly hikes and bike rides in and around Central Indiana, this program is also growing with our Ambassadors expanding throughout the U.S. and Canada. Kate led a New Year’s bike ride in Brown County State Park and it was great. We had the perfect snow weather for riding, we did the ride over the weekend so it was during the day and we all loved it. I was unsure how I would feel about riding in the snow – it can be very slippery but when I got out there I felt confident and comfortable so I just kept going.

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We led our first Wild Women’s Hike of the year at the Stone Head Conservancy, and we had an awesome turn out. We focused the hike on new goals and aspirations for the year and many people had really inspiring goals to share, one woman had been diagnosed with cancer 6 months prior and opted to get outdoors instead of taking treatment and was doing great, another woman had lost 80 lbs. after suddenly losing her brother the year before, the exercise she started doing was hiking. I shared that my goal was to have a healthy, happy baby.

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As far as my body since the weather was colder I was not doing as much longer outdoor activities so I still felt really good as my belly was growing and growing. The peeing in the night started up again and my breasts we sore again but it seemed not as bad as the first trimester maybe because I was used to it more now?

Usually this time of year Kate and I get to play out West or like last year I was in Guatemala leading a yoga retreat so this year I knew I wasn’t going to get a taste of any warm weather since I was in the “no fly” zone now. With our move it also didn’t work that we take a trip before I went into my third trimester too. Kate did head out West to Sedona, AZ for our annual women’s mountain bike camp and then stayed the following weekend to coach for Ryan Leech at the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival. Since I had had a healthy pregnancy and after discussing it with our Midwife we were all comfortable with her leaving for almost 2 weeks as I was in the 35-37 weeks of pregnancy!

The weekend she got back we had our baby shower which was super fun. At 37 weeks and 5 days I went on Kate’s women’s bike ride in Brown County State Park, I wasn’t sure again how I would feel but again I started riding and felt really good with my knees hitting my basketball sized belly as we went up and down the hills of Brown! We rode the North Gate Connector and North Tower, most of the other trails were closed due to rain and mud. We went on about a 6.5 miles and had an absolute blast, we were all tired but felt good taking a nice ride after a long winter! Now I will say during the ride I felt good, the next day I was teaching a yoga class and giving a Thai massage and I was sore! My sacroiliac (SI Joint) was really sore but after a day of stretching it and exercises I felt much better. I may have slightly over done it but it was worth it, you can’t beat getting out early spring when the weather was nearly 70!

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During the third trimester of bike riding I will say at this point I had to move on to my GORE WEAR bike shorts, they were the only pair I had with an elastic waste with build in shorts that I loved! I wore a belly band on this ride because the shirt I wore wasn’t quite long enough for the the big baby belly. It also kept me warmer but I will say half way through the ride I took it off!

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I’m officially over 38 weeks now so I have a full term baby inside me, we had a final ultrasound to confirm head was down, fluids, placenta, etc. and yes all systems are go! The ultra sound tech said she estimated about 7 lbs. 4oz. this could be off by 7 oz. either way but yes that’s a nice sized baby in there!


We had another 70 degree day and Kate and I got out to hike a beautiful trail where our March Wild Women’s Hike is located, Browning Mountain, it’s at 928 ft. which is pretty mountainous for Indiana! It’s a steep incline, you go up about 400 ft. of elevation in less than a mile but the view and scenery is totally worth it.

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The Next Big Adventure – Preparing to Meet Our Baby!

These final weeks we’ve been preparing for our home birth! We’ve got packets of birth kits for our Midwife and her assistance, the Aqua Doula is set up close to our laundry room, we’ve got just about everything we need for our new baby bundle to arrive so soon!

You can tell from reading this that I mention my wife Kate a lot. I can’t imagine going through this without her or having someone to help with the hard days. I am SO lucky to have such a great partner in my life, we are so excited and ready for this next big adventure in our lives.

This week I’ll be at 39 weeks so I’m wrapping up my adventures for this blog now in case baby arrives, but I will update afterwards for sure. I wanted to wait as long as possible so I could share my entire adventure experience while being pregnant. I really have enjoyed carrying a child, I’m so grateful Kate and I get to bring in a new wonderful life into this world and share our love of adventure and the outdoors with them.

Danielle and Kate Nolan
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