Events

Backcountry Women DNK Presents

Wild Women’s Backpacking Overnight

Wild Women’s Backpacking Overnight Along the Beautiful Tecumseh Trail!

Celebrate Earth Day weekend with us along the beautiful Low Gap and the Tecumseh Trail in Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood State Forest. We’ll learn and practice Leave No Trace ethics, how to prepare meals in the backcountry, filter water, make fire and do it along side our favorite outdoor backcountry women! Grab your boots, your best friends and let us know what equipment you need. We will limit this to a small rad group so sign up today. DNK Presents will provide meals, water filteration systems, trowels, etc. Rental gear is available on a first come first serve basis, if you need/want gear sign up ASAP! 
This is a beginner to intermediate hiking trip. The hike in will be about 6-7 miles, the hike out on Sunday will be about 3-4 miles for a total of 10 miles for the weekend, the terrain is rugged. If you have questions please contact us hello@dnkpresents.com  

Itinerary:

9am meet at the Low Gap Trail parking lot

10am Begin hike into the backcountry along Low Gap/Tecumseh Trail

4pm Arrive at the backcountry area campsite

Make dinner, share stories that evening around the campfire, learn to how to hang food, make fire, hunt bear, whittle swords, etc!

7:30am wake up, make breakfast, stretch!

12pm Arrive back at the parking lot, celebrate!

 

Equipment DNK Presents can provide on a first come first serve basis: 

Backpack

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Pad

Tent (2 person)

Headlamp

Trowel

Backcountry cookware

*Food is provided for everyone (dinner Saturday, breakfast Sunday, lunch Sunday). All of the backpacking food is vegetarian, we can accommodate for most food allergies if we are notified far enough in advance.

The full gear list for the weekend below.

 

Gear list and recommended clothing:

Tent or hammock (we can also provide)

Flashlight/headlamp

Extra batteries for flashlight/headlamp

Snacks/Extra food

Extra Clothes, Layers (dry fit, wool or technical – cotton is NOT recommended because once it gets wet it stays wet)

2 filled water bottles (Nalgene size 32 oz. at least or 64 oz. total) OR water bladder ***Come with it filled

Whistle

Insect Repellent

Hat

Gators (for shoes – optional)

Trekking poles (optional)

Sunburn Preventative

Hand Sanitizer

Plastic or zip lock baggies for storage of small items

Bathroom “Kit” – zip lock bag, wipes – you may want to duck tape the outside of your waste bag or use a dark bag

Baby wipes or face wipes

Zip lock bags for small items

Camp shoes (cheap pair of flip flops to wear when we get to the camp site area)

Hiking boots (highly recommended)

Extra socks

Rain Gear (jacket, poncho, rain pants) – Always a good idea even if the forecast does not call for it

Band-Aids’, other First Aide items you may need (DNK has First Aid Kit)

Personal items

 
Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time.
 
Please contact Danielle at 812-449-6134 or email danielle@dnkpresents.com with questions
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5 Ways to Overcome Fear Through Adventure

Do your fears overcome you, or do you overcome your fears?

One of the reasons Kate and I started DNK Presents was because of our love of adventure, and we know there is a direct correlation with the challenges we have faced in the in outdoors and the success we have had in our professional careers.

Fear is the unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, or may cause pain to us. As humans we fear a lot of things in our lives, objects like spiders, snakes, heights, and non-object things such as, asking for a raise, public speaking, and failure. Some people may never overcome their fears, but many times in order to move forward with our life we MUST overcome these fears to be successful and reach our goals.

Signing up for your next adventure is one of the ways you can overcome your biggest fear, and transmit that into your personal and professional life. Check out the list we put together below and start living your next adventure!

 

Number 1:

Adventure is FUN!

While you’re busy worrying about your biggest fear at home or the office you could be out living your next adventure, whether that’s taking a hike in your favorite park or white water rafting the Pacuare River in Costa Rica. Sometimes you need to step away from what is haunting you in order to see it from a different perspective.

Number 2:

Reconnect with NATURE

According to Everyday Health, (http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/major-depression-resource-center/how-nature-helps-depression/) spending time outdoors is a key component in the evidence based treatment called, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which encourages the human body to accept things in life that make people fearful or uncomfortable. Being in nature instills more mindfulness, and makes you more at ease with your worries and fears. So get outside, take some deep breaths, and THEN think about a new career, and take a walk on the wild side.

 

Number 3:

Not relying on TECHNOLOGY

A recent study done by Kleiner Perkins Caufield, says the average phone user checks their device every 6 minutes or around 150 times a day. Image NOT checking your phone for a day, but rather using your well powered brain to figure out your next move by following trail blazes and reading maps. Psychologists from the University of Utah and the University of Kansas conducted a study and that showed individuals scored 50% better on a creative test after spending four days in nature. http://www.zmescience.com/other/outdoor-activity-problem-solving-14122012/

 

This proves that those who spend time in nature are better problem solvers because of the ability they have to make conscience decisions without relying on technology.

 

Number 4:

Taking RISKS

 

According to the Forbes article, “Take a Risk: The Odds are Better Than you Think” by Margie Warrell, expert motivational speaker and best selling author, we as humans are innately risk adverse, it’s much easier for us to stay in our comfort zones, not speak up, or going along with change.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2013/06/18/take-a-risk-the-odds-are-better-than-you-think/#4c7580f61d09

 

But if no one took risks we wouldn’t have most things that have been vital to the advancement of our economy and human race. I’m not suggesting jumping off bridges or diving into something without weighing your options. You should definitely do your research before partaking in an offer or decision that is presented to you, but remember there is sometimes a greater risk in not taking one at all.

 

Number 5:

Fear what FEAR?

Taking on an outdoor adventure for at least 48 hours will make you realize your biggest fear isn’t so big after all. Overcoming challenges in the outdoors will prepare you to take on just about anything that comes your way. For example, taking a wrong turn on your mountain bike, leading you to the black diamond portion of the trail, it was scary and you may have felt worried and fearful at times, but guaranteed you’ll never forget the experience. These experiences change the way we approach situations that occur in our daily life.

 

 

Now, you have 5 reasons to take an adventure to overcome your fears! Hopefully it will let you see your fear with a new perspective, advise you to weigh the positive and negative risks, reconnect with yourself through nature, and most importantly have fun by living life adventurously!

 

How have your overcome a fear in the past? We’d love to know! Let us know in the comments below or drop us an email at hello@dnkpresents.com.

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The Trail Blazing Women of Purple Ink


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:

http://www.history.com/news/6-things-you-may-not-know-about-tecumseh

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.

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First Backpacking Adventure

My First Backpacking Adventure

By: Danielle Wolter Nolan

 

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

I said yes to a “weekend in the woods” not even knowing the exact difference between camping, hiking, and backpacking. I knew I loved the outdoors and I was ready to try something new, but this trip was going to be a real adventure for me. What I didn’t realize was that this experience would become the catalyst for dedicating my life to living each day as a new adventure, and discovering a whole new realm of wilderness I never knew existed, especially in Indiana.

 

The air was cool and crisp when we woke that spring morning in Charles C. Deam Wilderness*, I was with my partner, Kate. After taking a few moments to greet the day huddled in our tent, we packed our belongings to fit precisely in our packs. We built a small fire, prepared our oatmeal, and double-checked our food and supplies before heading out on the trail. It was time to get moving on our 8-mile hike to the backcountry campsite.

 

The first section of our hike was Axsom Trail; it has the most elevation gain and loss, with several switch backs leading through the forest. Axsom Trail is challenging and serene with the creek bed running through the terrain. Crossing over the rustling water, Kate and I found a rock in the shape of a heart. We took a photo, and honoring Leave No Trace ethics we left it behind to be shared with others. We worked up a sweat with the inclined hike, after shedding some layers and stopping for a quick snack, we made it through the first section of our hike feeling peacefully energized and refreshed.

Backpacking Heart Rock

 

We finally reached the top of the ridge, up ahead we could see our next turn, Grubb Ridge Trail. We were about midway, and it was the first time we had seen other hikers on the trail, but it was still very desolate. This was the perfect section to break in our fresh Keen® boots. Being a shared trail that accommodates those on horseback, and that was experiencing the spring thaw certainly made this a muddy, soppy stretch for us. Boots are made to get dirty, right? Well, we made sure of that after this portion of our hike! At one point it occurred to me how much I was enjoying not only the hike, but actual backpacking. It felt pretty liberating to know that everything I needed to survive for the weekend was on my back.

 

After a couple hours trekking through the mud we embarked upon the final stretch of our destination, the Peninsula Trail. The Peninsula trail is about 2.5 miles that leads you to the east side of breathtaking Lake Monroe. Weaving in and out along the shoreline, the trail narrowed before opening us up to a pristine pine forest. The juniper and sap smells filled the air as we wandered our way through the trees. The pine forest thinned, and as we approached a small hill the magnificent lake gleamed in front of us. We had made it! Our 4-hour hike was a stunning journey through some of Indiana’s most breathtaking backcountry.

Pine Forest Hoosier National

We turned west, following the trail along the shoreline and checked out our options for campsites. It was the first time I had ever seen backpackers use the natural surroundings to set up large limestone rocks for chairs, tables and fire pits. We picked a great spot and began to set up our camp.

 

We pitched our tent, took off our boots and relaxed for a moment on the rocky shoreline. The backcountry sites overlook the portion of the lake deemed a no-wake zone for boaters, because of it’s proximity to Deam Wilderness and Hoosier National Forest. I couldn’t believe how good it felt to finally make it to the backcountry camping area! Although, despite my newfound sense of outdoorsy accomplishment, I remember thinking, “I wish we were just beginning.” It was a feat to have reached this spot; a place unknown to us, surrounded by beautiful trees and a body of water. I didn’t want it to end.

Deam Wilderness Hoosier National Forest

 

As the sun began to sink behind the trees beyond the water, the most outstanding sunset I’d ever seen (and Indiana has some great ones) began to form over Lake Monroe. We sipped red wine from our insulated canteen and devoured a surprisingly delicious meal of freeze-dried pasta over the fire as the radiant oranges, yellows, and bright reds filled the sky. We made our way closer to the water to fully experience the vast sky’s beauty. I was completely content as the big red ball sank below the horizon and night began to take over.

sunset lake monroe

As darkness enveloped us the crickets, toads and other nocturnal forest creatures began to come alive. A whole new world of nighttime backcountry camping began to reveal itself at our campsite. Throughout the edge of the forest we were surprised to see other fires glowing in the distance. We checked our map, searching for the trails that led to those areas but were perplexed; were people camping at sites off the trails? We decided on the next trip we would explore the trails more to the west and discover the other backcountry campsites along the limestone beach.

 

Time seemed to stand still as stars emerged from the night sky. The galaxy spread over us like an immense blanket, encompassing in all directions as far as our eyes could see. It wasn’t long before we saw not one, not two, but several shooting stars streak across the sky above us. We breathed a relaxed sigh as we enjoyed one of the many magical phenomenons of the wilderness that occurred that weekend.

 

Waking up early the next morning, the sun hadn’t yet risen behind us when we heard the morning birds chirping and the occasional fish leap out of the water. We started our morning fire, brewed some hot tea, and enjoyed a bandito scramble over our Jet Boil® stoves. Settling in our limestone rock chairs, we noted how perfectly comfortable they were after sitting our cushioned sleeping pads on them.

Lake Monroe

 

After cleaning up our campsite and repacking our backpacks, we took in one last look at our accommodating but temporary outdoor home and made our way back to the trail. So much more full than an ordinary weekend, our exploration in the wilderness was a wild, surprising, marvelous adventure.

 

As we hiked out I reflected on my experience in the great outdoors. The first thing that struck me was that everything I needed to survive for the weekend including my food was on my back. It made me reevaluate all the “things” I have: the devices, apps, and the latest and greatest Apple products I “needed” for work or play. While fun and sometimes useful, they’re still just things. I learned I don’t actually require them and can be just as happy, if not more relaxed and less stressed without them.

 

The second realization was obvious, but still made an impression: hiking 8 miles to the backcountry site, everyone we encountered also arrived there by foot. No cars could drive to the point where we camped and no traffic could be heard while hiking in. Specifically, I knew that what I was experiencing could only occur when I was able to disconnect from technology and reconnect with myself in nature.

 

Lastly, I reflected on how quickly the minutes, hours, days, months and years can slip away from us. We all lead busy lives, but especially in the digital age we live in our brains are never able to completely “shut off.” “Relaxing” for me used to involve taking a few minutes to check Facebook or catch up on TV shows, with my face still connected to a screen. I noticed after unplugging from technology for just one weekend that minutes were counted by breaths, not from repeatedly checking the clock on my cell phone. I felt rejuvenated, energized, and fulfilled in a way I hadn’t in a long time.

 

Studies, such as those completed by scientist David Strayer*, have proven that taking a break from technology and immersing yourself in nature literally gives the brain a much-needed rest and reboot from everyday overstimulation that encompasses our lives. Cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin* indicates excessive and overuse of technology can cause people to be less productive, increasing stress, and anxiety, which can lead to poor health.

 

Since I discovered the natural endorphins of exploring and connecting with the wilderness, I’ve been hooked. I’m at my best when I’m able to spend time outdoors in nature, whether it’s a challenging rock climbing adventure, mountain bike race, or walking the dogs through the neighborhood. With the perspective of finding the adventure in everything, Kate and I have made it a priority to get outside and enjoy nature on a regular basis. I can say without hesitation that it has significantly increased our quality of life, and we hope to encourage others to live a life filled with adventure. I hope this story encourages you to get out and try something for the first time, and maybe we’ll see you on your next adventure.

Backpacking Hoosier National Forest

 

DNK Presents Overview:
Danielle and Kate Nolan founded DNK Presents in June of 2014, and began offering open signup adventures in April 2015. They know challenging, oudoor experiences, and reconnecting with nature has transformed them both, personally and professionally. They have made it their mission to facilitate the same for others. Danielle and Kate customize adventure packages according to their clients’ goals and expected outcomes. They particularly enjoy working with groups in leadership development, empowerment activities, and educational experiential learning. DNK Presents is a fully insured adventure business. Danielle and Kate are Wilderness First Aid and CPR certified, Leave No Trace trainers and have their lead climbing certification.

 

*Charles C. Deam Wilderness is part of Hoosier National Forest located in central Indiana. It is Indiana’s only accredited “wilderness” that was enacted in 1982 and includes 12,472 acres. A wilderness declares that the area is preserved in its natural state and is meant for solitude. It was named in honor of Charles C. Deam, Indiana’s first State Forester.

 

*Williams, Florence. “This is your Brain on Nature” National Geographic Online Magazine Jan. 2016

 

*Levitin, J Daniel. “Why the Modern World is Bad for your Brain” The Guardian Neuroscience The Observer Jan. 2015

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