Lightening soared and thunder erupted as I headed to Morgan Monroe State Forest (http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/4816.htm) to meet the women of growing organization, Purple Ink. Purple Ink is a human resources consulting firm, which offers customization and flexibility, with locations in Indianapolis and Grand Rapids, MI. I’m sure these women were a little hesitant driving down with their co-workers during the rainstorm that was making it’s way through the vast, open cornfields. Luckily their fearless leader, JoDee Curtis was confident the adventure hike would go on.
As we approached the Tecumseh trailhead the first trail blaze on the tree invited us to partake on our journey into the wilderness. The Tecumseh Trail is named after Chief Tecumseh, who often traveled the trail prior to the defeat of his warriors by General William Henry Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe on November 7, 1811. More information on Chief Tecumseh can be found here:
The Tecumseh Trail blaze in Indiana is marked by a white rectangle. The portion of the trail we were on coincides with the Low Gap trail, which is marked by a white diamond. When you see a double blaze together it means the trail is taking a change of direction, road crossing, or other indication of variation on the trail.
Trail blazes direct our passage through the wilderness, and guide us along the correct path. We found out through our adventure hike that day that the women of Purple Ink were blazing their own trails in their personal and professional lives. The owner of Purple Ink, JoDee Curtis, blazed her trail by starting the business 6 years ago. She told the story of hiring the first employee, who announced on the trip that day, she was pregnant!
Another employee told the story of when she started working at Purple Ink. She wanted to start working again after taking many years off to be with her family, but was nervous about being inefficient on the latest technology. She admitted, the last time she was working, email was not even around. She knew she could do the job though, but she could not have succeeded without the support and strong leadership of the entire Purple Ink team.
The clouds cleared, and the rain luckily dispersed, we quickly were all able to delayer our ponchos and rain gear. The women devoured their first backcountry meal on an MSR stove, they learned about the latest technology in filtering water with our gravity bag, and the principals of Leave No Trace (https://lnt.org/).
The women of Purple Ink definitely blazed their own trail through the backcountry that day. Their initial fear of the dark, stormy gloom quickly passed as they made their way deep into the woods. As in life, we sometimes have dark days, and go through trying times, but with the support and encouragement from our team and co-workers, we can get through most obstacles together. These women are most definitely blazing trails in their careers, in their family life, and in the community. I am excited to see where the trail leads them next.
By: JACQUELINE CROMLEIGH, Communications & Community Relations Manager Indiana Humanities
Our Next Indiana Campfires program is connecting us to some fantastic Hoosiers, including Danielle and Kate Nolan of DNK Presents. Learn a little more about these passionate and inspiring ladies below.
Meet Danielle and Kate Nolan of DNK Presents!
You can join the duo on an overnight camping and hiking adventure through Morgan-Monroe State Forest on July 8-9. New to camping? No worries! They’ll be teaching you everything you need to know about outdoor adventures including what to pack, how to set up a campfire and more.
Tell us a little more about DNK Presents. How did it start?
Danielle & Kate: We started DNK Presents because of our love of the great outdoors and adventure. We truly live our lives adventurously, and found that others were noticing and wanted to join the fun. We wanted to bridge the gap for people to try something for the first time, disconnect from technology and reconnect with themselves through outdoor experiences. We also realized that we excelled in our professional and personal lives because of our connection with nature and the challenges we had overcome in the outdoors. Outdoor adventures improve quality of life, reduce stress, help build relationships, improve sleep patterns, reduce anxiety, and provide endless physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Our goal is to provide a well-cultured, active and adventurous community and lifestyle.
What sparked your love for the outdoors?
Danielle: Our love for the outdoors definitely started at a young age for both of us. It was not uncommon to have my mom flickering the lights to signal it was time to come inside and have dinner since it had turned dark.
What drew you to Next Indiana Campfires?
Danielle & Kate: Next Indiana Campfires is an awesome program to get people enjoying the great outdoors in Indiana. We have so much to offer here but sometimes you do have to seek it out. Next Indiana Campfires is making it easy to get outside, meet new people and learn about the history of our great state as well.
You’ve adventured to the Grand Canyon, “netwalked” along the Cultural Trail and even enjoy some rock climbing. Can you describe a few of your adventures? What makes our Next Indiana Campfires adventure special?
Danielle & Kate: With DNK Presents Adventures we focus on getting people to step outside their comfort zone and try something for the first time. We lead backpacking, hiking, mountain bike clinics, indoor to outdoor rock climbing programs and paddle trips, consisting of day, overnight and week long excursions. Our adventure with Next Indiana Campfires is so exciting because we get to partner with an awesome nonprofit like Indiana Humanities, we get to learn ourselves from the exciting scholar they have selected for our backpack adventure, and we get to do all this and expose people to one of Indiana’s best backcountry trails!
Where’s your favorite place to spend time outdoors in Indiana? Have you discovered a hidden gem that more Hoosiers should know about?
Danielle & Kate: There are SO many awesome places to go in Indiana but one of our favorite spots has to be camping on the Peninsula Trail in Deam Wilderness which is part of Hoosier National Forest. It is Indiana’s only accredited wilderness and is named after Indiana naturalist and scholar himself Charles C. Deam.
Is there a piece of environmental literature you think everyone should read?
Danielle & Kate: John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Charles C Deam and Ralph Waldo Emerson all have written so many beautiful books.
What’s on your Bicentennial bucket list?
Danielle: I think it would have to include the waterfall tour! We’ve been seeing these maps popping up in our newsfeed on Facebook, I’m not sure who started it but we would love to do a tour of the waterfalls in Indiana, how fun!
Kate: This year’s Hoosier Mountain Bike Association’s Brown County Epic Ride. We’ve been volunteering to build new trails at Crooked Creek in Yellowwood State Forest but haven’t had the opportunity to ride them. The trails will be part of this year’s Epic Ride. I’m very excited to cover 100 miles of Indiana single track!
Curious about DNK Presents adventures? Learn more here.
Next Indiana Campfires is a unique way to connect nature, literature and Indiana’s Bicentennial. The program is supported by the Efroymson Family Fund, the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires. Indiana Humanities is supported in part by Lilly Endowment Inc. and the National Endowment of the Humanities.
This post is part of the weekly blog series devoted to the initiative. Check back every Tuesday to learn more about Indiana’s great environmental literature, find out interesting facts about Hoosier stewardship, get all the latest program details and more