Join Danielle Wolter Nolan for a guided outdoor day retreat, Wellness in the Woods, at the beautiful secluded Story Inn in Brown County Indiana. We will begin the day with an hour yoga session in the Barn behind the Story Inn, then we will drive a short distance to the trail head of the hike. The hike is short but steep and narrow. It has beautiful rock formations at the top of the hike, which is where we will do a short guided meditation and earthing session. Then we will begin our decent and travel back to the Story Inn. From there we will have lunch together on the patio at the restaurant at the Story Inn.
When: Saturday Sept. 12th
Location: Story Inn Bed and Breakfast
Cost: Early Bird $75.00 until Aug. 31st
$89.00 after Aug. 31st
9-10am Yoga in The Barn
10:15 Leave for Guided Hike and meditation
12pm Arrive back at Story Inn
Included in Cost:
- Yoga session
- Guided hike, Earthing, Forest Bathing experience
- Catered lunch and non-alcoholic drink at The Story Inn Bed and Breakfast (wine tasting included for an additional cost)
- Secluded beautiful safe space experience to explore with Danielle at the Story Inn and in the wilderness of Brown County Indiana
-Transportation to and from The Story Inn, there is a short drive to the hike location as well but we will be able to car pool
-Travel insurance or fees incurred related to preparing for the event
*We have extra yoga mats if you need to borrow one
Make sure to wear comfortable clothes, and shoes. The hike is not very long but very steep so you will need a sturdy trail shoe or hiking boot. Bring a small backpack to carry your water, electrolytes, snacks for the day, sunscreen, bug spray and anything else you might need to carry with you.
Danielle is a certified Yoga instructor, Thai masseuse, Reiki Master and Outdoor Wellness course creator and Wilderness guide. She is the co-founder of DNK Presents, non-profit women’s empowerment organization, Live Adventurously and nature healing business, Soulful Trail. She loves to reconnect people with nature to increase mental, physical and emotional health and wellness.
Participants are not required to wear masks during the retreat because we will be outdoors but please bring a mask with you in case we would need to be closer than 6 feet for some reason.
Do not come to the event if you have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the 14 days leading up to the event.
If you have any questions please reach out!
By: Anne McCarty
This October, 13 women and I decided we were going to heighten the bar of our limitations while doing something we love. Our adventure was in the ever beautiful Morgan-Monroe State Forest (http://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/4816.htm) just outside of Martinsville, Indiana and began in the Low Gap Trail Parking Lot and ended at the Fox Den Shelter at the end of the Tecumseh Trail. We set out on a trip that pushed us physically but relieved us mentally of our day-to-day stress.
Teamwork makes the Dream Work
Some of the group were veterans to backpacking while others, including myself, had not been on a trip this rigorous in a while or ever. Even so, everyone motivated and helped each other out when someone was struggling or couldn’t figure something out. At the beginning, most of us were strangers to each other coming from very different backgrounds and even different states, but by the end we were a dynamic and supportive (and also an exhausted) group of individuals ready to take on the world. This adventure was the epitome of having fun while learning especially since we were all wanting to learn for ourselves. For two days we learned about water filtration, leaving no trace behind, the basics of camping, trail reading, how to rehydrate/cook dehydrated food and most importantly about our mutual passion for the outdoors.
Disconnect to Reconnect
Going to the backcountry and not having cell service can be a bit daunting but we took every precaution by bringing first aid kits, having emergency contacts, letting the folks at DNR (MorganSF@dnr.IN.gov) know where we would be going and how many of us there were, and staying on the trail. Ultimately the benefits of not being able to check social media or email showed, in joking around, sharing advice to a fellow outdoorswoman, talking about goals and plans in life, the list goes on. Beyond that, you really tune into your mind and body which made conquering this 18-mile hike with 35 pounds on your back more than manageable.
Changed for the Better
A lot can happen in two days, and I think I can say for most of the ladies, their goals for going on this adventure with DNK Presents were met. I personally exceeded my own expectations having past injuries, and I couldn’t be prouder. I learned that you don’t need half of what you think you do; to bring a long flowy skirt and baggy shirt for the drive home; to be prepared for allergies you didn’t think you had to show up; always have some sort of measuring tool, to bring at least two large water bottles; that the word “bladder” is used frequently in the backpacking world and you can go further than you think you can.
We came. We learned. We conquered this adventure.
Check out the video summary of our wild wilderness adventure below, hope you can join us on adventures in 2018!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
A common theme among outdoor enthusiasts is a deep connection with the natural world. Because of this, outdoor enthusiasts are often very conscious of how what they are doing may affect the world around them. The deeper and deeper we get into the wild, the more of a harmful impact we are able to leave on the land surrounding us. But it doesn’t just start from following “leave no trace” principles. It also starts from making sure that the products we buy and use have a reduced footprint of their own.
So why not leave a positive impact and buy items that stay true to the values of an outdoorsmen instead?
Here are a few tools that will reduce your impact on this fine place we call Earth.
Whenever you finish up with a butane canister, the question is how can I dispose of this canister? You don’t want to fill landfills with more trash when you know it can be recycled but the problem comes in the form of safety. If there is any gas left, you risk the canister blowing up while it is being recycled. But look no farther!
This butane canister, recycling tool is easy to use and very well priced at about $6 a pop. When using this tool, you are actually puncturing the seemingly empty canister in order to allow it to be safely recycled when pressure is applied. The device will actually vent fuel in a safe manner before fully puncturing, according to their website, just in case. Once you’ve done that, indicate that the canister has been drained of gas by crushing it down or giving it a dent. The actual device is lightweight, rugged, made out of stainless steel, and simply clips onto a carabineer or keying. This simple solution will keep our land clean, one butane canister at a time.
Source: Sierra Club
Here’s a fun one. If you’re looking to completely avoid a canister, this might be the way to go. When cooking meals in the outdoors, the more efficient the burn, the happier we are. This device, which only burns wood, is described as being “hyper efficient with performance on par with white gas stoves”. So in other words, your food is going to cook, fast.
On top of that? Instead of wasting the heat energy, it actually harnesses it and converts it into electricity. This means you can plug up any USB-charging device, on the go. Surprisingly, it weighs only about 2.06 pounds and boasts and easy setup. The price at $129.95 may not seem all that attractive at first, but if you’re an avid outdoorsman, this piece may just come in handy, especially when you consider the amount of gas canisters you often find yourself buying and not knowing what to do with. Plus, no gas canister means less weight on your back.
This sleeping bag is made out of 97% recycled material. Made out of nylon, with a synthetic fill, it manages to feel as toasty as down insulation would. It has Insotect Tubic™ which, according to its description is a “revolutionary tubular insulation system” that was engineered with maximum comfort and thermal efficiency in mind. According to Inhabitat, it is “one of the most vegan-friendly” sleeping bags out there.
This cleaning product is biodegradable and phosphate, paraben, and fragrance free. Just a little bit of this product goes a long way. It is gentle on fabrics and skin while being effective when used on dishes and laundry stains. The tough packaging insures that leakage in your pack won’t be a problem. Note that although this is biodegradable, it is still good to keep with leave no trace principles and stay at least 200 feet away from a water source when using this product. From REI, 3 oz. of this stuff will cost you about $4! For how concentrated it is, that’s not bad at all.
It also comes in a pocket version!
GearTrade is a website for you to recycle your gear! Not only are you saving the Earth from waste, but you are also getting money back for it. How? Think E-Bay or Craigslist. With no image or listing fees, unlimited photos, and great brands, you’ll be sure to love this site. On top of being able to sell your unneeded gear, you can buy some of what you need at a discounted price! Conditions, brands, and sizes are listed and sellers are rated. The site will even compare the item to its retail price!
If you have any questions for sellers, you can directly ask them by scrolling down on a listing and typing it up. There are actually quite a few stores and online sites that offer used gear so be on the look out for those others as well.
A word of caution! When it comes to gear that is a matter of safety i.e. climbing rope or a harness, used gear is probably not the best route to go. Make sure to purchase items of safety brand new so as to guarantee that the item will keep you safe upon use.
To learn about even more eco-friendly camping gear, check out this article from Inhabitat!
And while you’re at it, find out what your next adventure with DNKpresents should be, here!
DNK Adventure Marketing Intern
Your next adventure awaits…
It has been filled!
Congratulations to Eden Ashebir, read the full press release and her bio below!
DNK Presents Our Newest Team Member
DNK Presents would like to welcome Eden Ashebir to their team this summer. Eden, an Indianapolis native, is currently attending Duke University. Eden’s bright, witty and up for adventure. She was drawn to the Adventure Marketing Internship because of her love of the outdoors and rock climbing. Danielle Wolter and Kate Nolan know her knowledge and experience will take DNK Presents to new heights.
Eden will be in charge of writing a weekly blog on the website, aiding in social media, advertising, and other marketing aspects of the business. Eden will also get the opportunity to join DNK Presents on their upcoming adventures. This position will allow Eden more time to get outdoors and gain first hand wilderness, adventure and business marketing experience.
DNK Presents is a full service adventure company. They provide guided adventures and retreats for individuals, groups and small businesses. Day and overnight trips are available, are you ready for your next adventure?
Eden Ashebir’s Bio
My name is Eden Ashebir and I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I am currently attending Duke University and will be a junior in the upcoming fall. I am majoring in Sociology, minoring in Visual Media Studies, and working on a Marketing & Management Studies certificate all in hopes of someday going into some aspect of marketing. I’m involved in various organizations at Duke including ΑΦΩ (Alpha Phi Omega), a national service fraternity. I’ve always enjoyed my casual hikes, bike rides, canoeing trips, etc. throughout different parks, but until recently, I hadn’t discovered my love for the more adventurous side of the outdoors. Currently, my favorite outdoor activity is rock climbing which I was fortunate enough to do at Pilot Mountain in North Carolina last April!
By the end of my internship with DNK Presents, I hope that I will have successfully helped in bringing this great company some more of the recognition it deserves. I also hope to have learned much more about what it takes to get a new business going.
I look forward to my time working with Danielle & Kate as well as to seeing you all out on some adventures!