The Best Vacation I’ve Had in a While

Hello world, fellow bloggers, and readers. First off: HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to me! WordPress has informed myself that today marks two years with corinnesdventure! I wouldn’t have been able to keep it going this long without your interest in my tips and adventures. I am super pumped to be blogging again. I have spent the last seven days in beautiful, sunny, hot California visiting one of my best friends from college for his birthday. Between this and my last post not much has happened, so this post today will take you through all the highlights of my much needed vacation, with tips thrown in with what else I have recently learned. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this blog (that I am currently typing aboard a 737 aircraft somewhere over the middle of the country).

Alright, so day one, last Wednesday: I landed in Sacramento, California at around 10am. I advise you all try to land in your destination as early as possible cause then that at least gives you half a day extra there. My best friend was waiting for myself at the airport. He drove me to his house where I could get situated and a little rested before beginning the best vacation I have had in a long while. We then this drove to an awesome part of Sacramento called Old Sac. The entire town is lost in time as it is staged very western. There are shops after shops with all types of things, like candy stores, trading posts, and costume shops. This was a super fun tourist based thing to do while in SAC because I wanted to spend a good time in the place my best friend lived. However, I try to stray away from tourist attractions though when I can. I enjoy the lesser-known parts of a town or area. I like to find the hidden gems rather than do the main tourist attractions because 1) then there are less people, 2) you are seeing things only locals know about, and 3) it just makes you seem like a badass that you are experiencing a part of a town or area that people wouldn’t expect. After hitting the shops, my best friend was kickass tour guide driving me around SAC where he grew up, telling me stories and sharing memories of the places he used to go. It was a great way to see the city and get accustomed to my new home for the next week.

Day Two, Thursday: The next day we had reservations in a camp ground at Donner Lake in Truckee, California. This was a place that my best friend had camped before, so he knew all the local places and new exactly what scenic drives to take. That’s another tip: having a local in your adventure group is a HUGE help. They know the scenic routes, where to eat, and always have so much history to share. My friend really did a great job with this. The drive there was stunning. The air was fresh and cool as we climbed to 6,000 feet. We started the day with a 3-mile hike through an abandoned train tunnel that was covered with graffiti. It. was. AWESOME. You popped out of the side of the mountain every once and a while to get stunning views. This was definitely a place only locals know. Afterword we set up camp, which was great on its own. The campsite was clean, quiet, spacious, and was my first experience camping in a tent on the ground, not on top of my car. Then we headed to dinner before deciding on a scenic drive to Bocca reservoir to end the night before heading back for a fire and reading the best book ever: 411. The Reservoir was beautiful and there was another one close by we wanted to check out. As we drove there, the road was closed. We pushed on a different way and ended up, long story short, off-roading in the valleys of nothern Cali in a Honda. Yes… a HONDA! It did great. We took it slow and safe and did end up eventually turning around. That was such a rush! So much to tell. I am keeping it short though so feel free to write me and I can elaborate if you’d like to know more.

Day Three, Friday: This day was jammed packed with fun because of what we saw, we did, and cause it was his birthday! We packed up camp and headed to Tahoe City by following a scenic drive parallel to the Truckee River, down HW 89. We got to stop at Commons Beach and Emeralds Bay, parts of Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is breathtaking. The colors are amazing and man, it’s HUGE! We continued to drive as the highway was packed with bikes and parked cars everywhere. We went though Camp Richardson, South Lake Tahoe, and ended up at Heavenly just over the border into Nevada. Here, we were spontaneous yet again, like with our Honda off roading adventure. We ended up paying and riding a gondola up Heavenly mountain, a staggering 9,600 feet up! This gave us breathtaking views. At the top of the summit you can zip line and do a ropes course and eat, but we simply enjoyed a game go cornhole atop a mountain. It made us feel like certified badasses, a new term I made up for this trip. It was incredible to think about where I currently was. Afterward we headed back down and drove home for the evening was spent at a family gathering for my best friend’s family. There was amazing food and tons of people to meet. The day was super busy, but every second was special. The only tip I can throw in here is the importance of NOT relying just on phones for directions. Being spontaneous is fun and fun means going off the grid and not having service. You NEED maps, whether printed out before had or huge folded ones, because iMaps will not always have your back. GPS’s work as well but having it on paper, in my opinion, helps see the whole area better.

Day Four, Saturday: In the morning we got my tattoo! It turned out so much better than expected. My best friends nephew did it at the place he works at: Monster Ink. He added his own style to it and it turned out SO cool. It is certainly still healing though. This was a chill day for us as the last two days were very busy. We enjoyed walking the mall and a dinner out for pizza with his parents to close out the day.

Day Five, Sunday: We did more tourist based things on this day. We toured one of only two Jelly Belly Jelly Bean factories in North America which was super fun and I learned a lot. Afterward we went to an auto museum in SAC where I got to see, in person, my favorite car ever: a DeLorean. Afterward we hit up Old Sac again for a special gift I wanted to get for us. My best friend and I got similar roped bracelets to wear to symbolize our friendship. How cool, right?

Day Six, Monday: This was was spent doing the things that most people think about when they think of Cali: Vineyards and the Coast. We drove to Napa valley in the morning through vineyard after vineyard and drove some very winding roads through the valleys. I got to stop at a local beef jerky place I had only been to one other time when I was in Cali 7 years prior. We drove around Lake Berryessa and then hoped on scenic HW 1 and the Panoramic HW to get to Stinson Beach. This was a beach he had been to before and it did not disappoint. We saw Muir woods and walked the shore and collected sand and rocks, and I even fell asleep while sunbathing! I did not know the next time I would be in any ocean so I really soaked in the moments.

Day Seven, Tuesday: Here I am, today, still on this place typing away. I had a marvelous time in SAC and I cannot wait to come back again.

Thank you all for reading and check out my Instagram above for pics! Or my Facebook, too! Here are some below. Enjoy! 

 

 

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A Much Needed Adventure

What’s up bloggers, readers, and adventurers?! I am back (not from the dead, don’t worry) and ready to go on countless adventures to close out the summer vacation. I know I have not posted in a while, but things have been rough, hence this blog’s title tonight. Today was a great day fueled by an amazing adventure at the most needed time. I am here to share my little journey with you all and then maybe even give a couple tips. This will be a short and sweet little blog tonight!

So first a little background. I know that I don’t need to share my personal life with you all and I probably shouldn’t regardless, but lately I have been basically down in the dumps. Things have been up and down lately. I have been having fun here and there, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time I felt like something had been missing from my life. So I thought about it. When was the last time I hiked? Biked? Rollerbladed? When was the last time I even blogged? I realized then that the thing missing from my life was something I definitely needed… a little adventuring. Work had been playing a huge role in this. Where making money is obviously a necessity for a college student like myself, it was also inhibiting me from doing what I love. That is why I have one more week of work and that’s all. I can now finish out the summer doing all that I love.

With no surprise, nature was a huge part in shaping who I am today. Just like that great piece of chocolate that you crave, I need to have some alone time with nature; it is what I crave now to make me happy. Once I realized that today was a great day to get a little fix, I decided on a hike for myself. Here was my thought process; it is one that you all can use, too, if you’d like!

  • What do I want to do? Hike.
  • How far do I want to drive? At most 40 minutes.
  • What terrain do I want? Slightly difficult.
  • Do I want to go somewhere new? Yes.
  • Do I want somewhere not so isolated? Yes.
  • How about the only park in the Louisville Park System I haven’t been to yet? YES!

Anyways, once I drove the half an hour to the park and found my trailhead, I was so ready to hike! The hike was about 1.5 miles and slightly difficult. It wasn’t much, but the peacefulness of it really made it special. I only came across one other group of hikers, saw some AMAZING butterflies, had nice weather, found a geocache, and just took in all of my stunning surroundings. It was the perfect much needed adventure.

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Summer Vacation Hike #1

Hello to all my lovely bloggers and readers! This is just another blog to check back in with you all and throw in some tips. My blog today, as seen in the title, is about the first big hike I conquered on this fantastic summer vacation.

Anyways, two days ago my Mom and I embarked on a 5.75 mile hike in Kentucky, which was about two hours from our Louisville home. Like I always mention before, we planned it out before we went, did our research, and told people where we were going. We planned to hike about a four mile loop that would take us to the top of the Natural Bridge in Natural Bridge State Resort Park (Slade, KY; seen below-yes that is my photo).

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We left home fairly early and arrived at our trailhead around 10am because we always like an early start to have the whole day with no rush and to beat the crowds. We knew the trail was a loop, knew the distances to certain sights of interest, and had plenty of food, water, and other supplies. We hiked the first part of the trail in about an hour: it was very steep, with steps, and was about 1.5 miles. This took us to Natural Bridge. We arrived at our place of interest! We climbed on top of it and noticed a short trail around the ridge of an adjacent mountain which would give a hiker a better view of the whole Bridge. Since we had supplies and time to rest, we decided to add the extra mile or so to our hike and do the extra trail; it was worth it! We got stunning views a nice place to rest.  We then hiked the last 3 miles or so of our trail that finished the loop. We didn’t see anyone else the whole time on this part of the trail and I was certainly a little paranoid to be so deep in the woods… and alone. But we had our bear bells, knew what to do if we had encountered a bear, had bear spray, and pepper spray on the ready. We just kept a good pace and did not rest until we were safely back at our car.

Overall, this was a wonderful hike for a variety of reasons. These reasons are some things to keep in mind if you are choosing a place to hike for your next adventure (here come my tips!). First, this was a well recognized trail with lots of information available online; I understand some people like to select trails on purpose that are much less traveled and are “hidden gems”, but for two females, we were fine with a State Park trail. We don’t like any surprises. Secondly, when choosing a trail, always go for one that fits your athletic needs. Don’t push yourself too hard; you want the feeling of success when you conquer it! I know I could never do a 10 mile trail right now. And lastly, I like to select trails that have either an amazing view, rock structure, wildlife, or something that just takes your breath away and can make you remember the trail. Makes it that much better!

Well everyone, that is all I have! Thanks for reading; I love you guys! I have a couple pictures added below for you all. Also, my blog is approaching 1000 followers and I am so overwhelmed with joy that the Instagram that started this all, @corinnesadventure, is over 1000 followers. See you all next time!

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  • Corinne

Summer Vacation Adventure #1

Hello to all! I am happy to blog this evening about the first big adventure this summer that I got to embark on! This blog will not have any tips, but hopefully my journey over the last few days will still inspire you enough to do something great this coming weekend (National Trail Day is Saturday!). Here is my adventure: 

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My family and I left our Kentucky home last Saturday morning, day one, for The Ozarks in Arkansas; a 8.5 hour drive. We planned to leave at 6:00am, but to our despair, the battery in our car just so happened to die. We had to go quickly buy jumper cables (we should’ve already had them) and jumped the car. There were a few other speed bumps before we finally got to leave, but it all ended up working out. We hit the road and have smooth sailing until we reached Missouri. This is where the scary part started. We knew bad weather was approaching, but we had no idea what was really heading our way. The rain and storm we hit was awful and then, in the middle of it all, we got an alert on our phones that a tornado was in our area and we needed to take shelter immediately. We pulled off the highway right away, along with many others, and waited it out. We found out later there were two tornados in our area: one was 7 miles away and the other was 10. With more weather coming our way, we opted to stay in a hotel instead of our tent for the first night.

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Our second day, Sunday, started off early. We drove south through the Ozarks on Scenic Highway 7 to the second highest rated trail in the area, Glory Hole Falls. This was a 2-mile out-and-back hike to a waterfall that pokes through a rock. A picture can be seen on my Facebook!

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Day 3 (Monday): We then headed further south again to Mount Magazine State Park, a very famous state park, known for having the highest elevation in all of Arkansas. In the state park we drove to stunning overlooks, saw some bluffs, and did a hike to the highest elevation in all the state. We wanted to do and see as much as possible, so we kept busy. We wanted to make the most of it. We also traveled to some small Arkansas towns to see “the scene” and grab some local eats. You never know what you will find when driving back roads. We found a town as small as 134 residents!

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The next day, day four, we headed to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Along the way, we stopped at Lake Ouachita, the cleanest lake in all of Arkansas. We dipped our toes in the water and saw the Three Sisters, three hot springs known for healing powers. We then went and saw more hot springs in Hot Springs National Park. We also found some more local grub to eat and enjoyed walking the city. Lastly, we stayed in a hotel our last night to recharge and clean up before the long drive home.

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Day 5: This was just a driving day. Nothing exciting happened like the drive there, but we did find a local BBQ joint along the way. I always find it phone to find a local place to eat; it can say a lot about the area you’re in.

As for the camping in the Tepui tent, the only negative thing was having three adults in it! It was a little snug, but it was made up for in comfort! The mat was think and durable. The windows kept a nice breeze in the tent, and set up was easy. Unfolding the tent and setting up the latter are all that’s need. We made it better with lanterns and other things hanging in and around the tent. As for the other parts of the camping experience, my first for that matter, it was also amazing, except for all the flies (the only thing that I am super girly about). We cooked s’mores, had a roaring fire with the packets that change its color, star gazed, and just lived a simple life. We swam in the lake at the campsite and loved walking around.

The only little tidbit I can add here is about camping in general. Depending on the experience you’re going for, I do recommend a campground with bathrooms and showers, a hookup for water, and lots of trees. You will want to at least wash your face, have water for dishes, and be able to have shade. 

All in all, this was a fantastic, wonderful, exciting first major adventure for this summer. I got to be with family, do things I love, and try new things. It was a great way to spend Memorial Day Weekend (good thing we planned in advance… the campground was packed!). I made the most of it and I urge you all do the same this summer vacation. To what you can, when you can.

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  • Corinne.

Find Your Groove

Welcome back bloggers and readers! It has been one week since I have been home from University and I have been busy! 

I am currently registered now for my first half marathon in Indianapolis on October 7th so this past week I have been busy training. I have been running at least 3 miles four days a week with one day of increased mileage. Week one is in the book with lots more to go!

My family and I have now also have our TEPUI tent totally ready to go! We have assembled it (seen below) and have bought all of our supplies. Tip: here are 3 quick things to bring that you wouldn’t maybe think of when camping: 1) a tablecloth for the picnic table at your campsite, 2) percolator for those coffee lovers out there (not me!), and 3) an inflatable sink to wash dishes! Anyways, we plan to use the tent for the first time very soon. Pics of that will surely come!

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The tent!

As for the topic of this blog today, I would like to talk about “finding your groove” (a play on words with my playful cover photo for this blog). Once you’ve been inspired to get outside and explore, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, it is important to find that adventure buddy/partner. This blog also focuses on this idea. 

During the last week of University I went to the beach 3 straight days in a row (seen by the next three photos). Now, this is easy for myself to do because: 1) I LOVE the beach and any water, 2) I had the free time, and 3) it is FREE and BEAUTIFUL on parts of the Dune National Lakeshore. Within these three trips, each one took me to a different free beach, I was always with one or more friends, and the weather was always pleasant and at a different time of day. But the one thing in common, obviously, between all three trips, was the fact I was with my adventure buddies! 

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Better with friends

So why mention this? Well, friends along for the ride bring such a different aspect to the adventure. I do hike alone and do advocate for the peacefulness being alone in nature can bring, but with a place like a beach, being with adventure buddies is just the cherry on top. My tip for this blog today is really just trying to convince you all about the benefits of friends joining you on your exploration to the beach for day (when the weather is pleasant, you have the time to unwind, and its not too busy). Friends are great to bring along because: 1) They can be your DJ for the longer drive, 2) they can help pay for your gas/food, 3) they give you someone to throw the frisbee or football with, 4) they give you someone to talk to as you walk along the beach, and 5) they can just make you smile. Now, I wrote earlier about how I went to see a sunset alone. That is different. The mission was to sit and see the sunset. When you go to the beach with friends for a day or afternoon, anything is possible!

So for you all today, I am telling you all to FIND YOUR GROOVE! Finding that groove can depend on what you are doing for your particular adventure, but just roll with it and have a good time!

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  • Corinne

It’s almost the end of the school year… now what?

Hello bloggers and readers! Let’s just move right on passed the fact is been a while since I last posted and focus on the bright future…

Tonight I found myself alone, in freezing wind, and watching probably one of my most breathtaking sunsets I have ever seen. Because of that, I was inspired to finally post again. 

So why tell you about this sunset? Well, the last two days I have been battling a bad sore throat + cold + headache combo that has basically kept me sidelined. It was around 7pm and I was already laying in bed in my dorm for the day. My friends were all attending a free concert at our University (I was too sick to go and stand and be cramped in a hot room) so I didn’t really have many options of things to do. But then it hit me. My window was cracked open so I took a look outside and noticed how beautifully sunny it was outside still with very few clouds. I knew then and there I wasn’t ready to just spend the rest of my night in my dorm even though I was sick. I pulled out my phone, checked for when sunset was, grabbed some colored pencils and a notebook, and headed out. I jumped into my car and pealed out. I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted to go, but soon I decided on one of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore free beaches. Now, I have blogged quite a bit about this spot previously, but I surprisingly never had been there for a sunset so I got very excited. When I got there, apparently lots of other people noticed the gorgeous clear sky as well, for there were at least ten other cars sitting at the beach waiting for the sun to set. Once I got out of my car, I realized why everyone was just waiting in their respective cars because, well, that wind was freezing! But I knew I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass, so I grabbed the blanket out of my trunk that I always keep in there (speaking of: TIP. Always keep a blanket in your car) and found a place to sit and wait for the sun to set. Like I stated previously, the sunset was amazing. Chicago was in the background, the sky was clear, the sun fell so quickly, and the colors on the lake were mesmerizing. Tonight was the perfect thing for someone like myself; someone who was sick. So here is my quick tip for this blog today: As you all know, I am here to inspire you and get you to love and appreciate nature like I do. The sunset is a great way to do that. Now, I know we have around 25,000 sunsets in our lifetime, so they don’t seem super unique, but oh the contrary is true. I kept saying out loud to myself how amazing this sunset was making me feel because not only was it beautiful, but it gave me a reason to get outside even though I was sick. So fellow bloggers and readers, GET OUT THERE!

Anyways, so I wanted this blog to be a quick check in as well! So with the school year truly ending in two weeks… what do I do now?! I am super excited to tell you all that this summer will certainly include lots of CAMPING *cheers*. We will be putting up the Tepui tent when I get home from my sophomore year here at VU! I also plan to do lots of hiking as usual. I also want to sign up for a half marathon (hopefully my knees agree with this). Mmmm… I will also be working, either a simple job or potentially as an intern at a paving company for my CE major, but that is still in the works. I also want to get my car painted with my logo on it and I am still open to making and selling t-shirts!

Overall, I am super pumped to be blogging on the regular again in two weeks when I am done with college for the year!

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-Corinne.