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.
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”!
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!
Take 3 doses of trees, 2 hikes and 1 ounce of meditation per week — your favorite MD
Over the past 200 hundred years humanity has started spending less and less time in the outdoors, and it has affected our mental and physical health. The millennial generation –this is what I fall into, is the most depressed and anxious generation we have seen so far, we actually have earned the nickname, “Generation Stress”. You can read more about who is stressed and why from the American Psychological Association.
Stress is mental but it can lead to physical problems and conditions in the body so much that 75–90% of doctor visits are actually stress related or PREVENTABLE and only about 25% or less of doctor visits are from pre-existing conditions.
There are many reasons as to what causes stress, money, career, family, and health are the top four. Luckily there is something we can do besides getting a script to get healthy and happy again.
Go outside, get dirty, be wild.
In Japan this form of nature as medicine has been used since the 1980s, it is called, Shinrin Yoku — which literally translates as, Forest Bathing. Shinrin Yoku has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve mood, reduce blood pressure, even increase immunity levels, and so much more. You don’t have to live in Japan to experience the benefits of the healing components of nature though.
Here are just a few benefits of going outside.
Trees give off oxygen and absorb harmful gasses such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. A study from the University of Chicago showed that trees reduced stress in neighborhoods because of the green environment. Hospitalsare now adding photos of the outdoors as well as more windows because it has been proven to quicken the healing process. Check out this inspiring storyof a chemo patient who saw a photo of the Grand Tetons and made it his mission to hike the 13,000 ft. mountains.
When you are outside, you are moving your body, AKA not sitting at home binge watching Netflix or getting sucked into cat videos on Facebook (guilty as charged with both of these). Exercise as we know is not only good for us physically but also mentally. Even exercising outside has more benefits than doing it in a gym, like increased levels of self esteem, mood, and energy levels just to name a few.
3. Increased overall health and wellness
By taking more time to disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself through nature you are able to become more fully present and therefore become more in touch with your own mind, body and spirit.
Of course going outside shouldn’t be a replacement for seeing your regular physician, always consult your doctor with any health related questions or concerns. Exposing yourself to more time outside might be something that works for you, it has for me and many others who have been part of our adventure retreats.
*Previously published on Medium via Thrive Global
The Venture Out Project
The biggest surprise to me was how many folks have come on more than one trip. When I founded Venture Out I thought it’d be the kind of thing where people came on one trip, learned some skills and then went to backpack on their own. But what I found was that for so many folks, Venture Out was their only trans or queer community. In many cases our participants may have had friends online, but many had never hung out with, or even met, another trans person. People come back for a second, third, fourth or even fifth trip because they know that’ll it’ll be an opportunity not just to be outside, but to make friends and find community.
I found out about TVOP in 2015 when a friend posted something about it on my Facebook wall. Like “Hey look at what these queers in New England are doing”. I’m originally from New England, but was/still am living in Portland, OR. I immediately contacted Perry, the founder of TVOP, and asked I could lead a trip for him. We agreed on a week long backpacking trip that summer on The Long Trail in Vermont. There were three guides and two participants!
Six months later, he hired me on as his Office Manager and now I’m the Director of Operations. We also now fill our trips to capacity (and even have wait lists!)
Ever wanted to learn how to rock climb but didn’t want to go as a beginner or alone? Our developmental program meets every Wednesday from 7 to 9 PM from October 11th until November 11th. On November 10th-11th the program will take a weekend trip to Red River Gorge to climb outdoors. The facility we will meet at is EPIC Climbing Gym (1931 Stout Field W Dr. INDPLS, IN 46241). EPIC Climbing Gym is an indoor facility where everyone in the program will be taught safety and technique when it comes to indoor rock climbing. Experts will be teaching a 2 hour instructional class a week, a month of unlimited practice time and a weekend trip to the Red River Gorge for outdoor climbing. Take your skills to the test with the last class being an outdoor trip to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky! You’ll leave the class confident and with your own gear to take on your next climbing adventure! If you are an EPIC Members the cost is $350 per person* ($25 off if you already have gear) and if you are a non-EPIC Member the price is $375 ($25 off if you already have gear).
Our program at DNK Presents is the ONLY Indoor to Outdoor Rock Climbing Program in Indiana and this is our last program of 2017!
Go to the link to learn more and sign-up!
*Must be a member at EPIC for a least a month prior to the Indoor to Outdoor class to obtain the discount.
>>>DNK Presents are certified Lead Climbers, Wilderness First Aid and CPR, and are in the American Mountain Guide Single Pitch Instructors Apprenticeship program. We will provide climbing instruction and belay for the group for the Red River Gorge Trip.<<<
We hope your summer has been filled with lots of love, happiness, and of course adventure. We know ours definitely has! Our big season started out with a bang with our documentary film, “Live Adventurously” winning Best Documentary and being nominated for Best Cinematography in the Alhambra Film Festival in Evansville, IN. We then got to guide our new 2017 Live Adventurously Women’s Adventure Contest winners on their big adventure in central Indiana. This year the weekend was filmed by a local Indianapolis woman film maker, Lindsay Mitchell, stay tuned as she develops her feature adventure film.
In July we took some time off to work on our mountain bike skills, had some down time with family, and then got to assistant coach at one of the most exclusive mountain bike clinics in the world, The Trek Dirt Series. We began our adventure by taking one of the most famous of the Trek Dirt Series clinics, in Whistler Canada, where founder, Candace Shadley was born and raised. I not only got to celebrate my birthday in Canada, on Canada Day, on top of a mountain with my Trek Session downhill rental, but got to learn from some of the most bad ass, and professional women coaches in the industry. We highly recommend these west coast clinics, but are SO excited to offer you amazing coaching and mountain bike camps on this side of the country! Stay tuned and look for more events coming up from Campside Sessions, a joint venture formed from DNK Presents and other fellow Trek Bicycle Women’s Advocate, Erin Wells’ mountain bike business in Baltimore, MD, Muddy Pedals. Our first mountain bike event together is taking place in Brown County State Park, September 22-24, learn more by clicking here.
The summer may be coming to an end, but the adventures for fall are just beginning. We have a lot going on Brown County, who doesn’t love those beautiful autumn leaves? Join us for some bike clinics, backpacking, yoga, hiking, etc. Oh and did we tell you DNK Presents is guiding our first adventure trip out of the country? Yes indeed, Feb. 17-24 we will be guiding a yoga retreat in beautiful Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, filled with yoga, hiking, paddle boarding, meditation, relaxation, and so much more. Check out all the details here!
Danielle & Kate