Dart Frog

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Mishaps We Call Adventures

This past weekend we had planned to do something extraordinary. Something we had wanted to do for several years now. We were going to go to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio and hike to the area waterfalls that are supposed to be absolutely spectacular when they are frozen in the winter. Usually things are rather frozen here in the Midwest in the middle of January. No problem. Just pick a weekend and go. Everything will be great. Keep reading

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Hello Darkness My Old Friend

#1 Backpacking Essential

Gear: Trials and ErrorsUtah Trip

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I have been doing significant research over the past few months to find the essential pieces of equipment that we would need to acquire to begin our overnight backpacking adventures. As I thought through these items I looked to meet basic needs and prioritize them for purchase. For instance, we all need sleep, right? So, I ask myself, “What are people doing besides sleeping on the ground under the stars with a rock for a pillow?” This led me to sleeping pads and hammocks. Which brings up the question of size and weight of products. Now what do I carry them in? And on and on it goes. So, what’s #1 on the priority list? Backpack…sleeping pad…sleeping bag…clothing…shoes? Well, one last detail to consider and the #1 spot is easily decided—Randi’s going. Therefore, the #1 piece of equipment that is most vital and necessary to the happiness and well-being of all involved is a coffee press. Keep reading

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Prep Time

Trail MixUtah Trip

Well, the preparation phase has begun. “Preparation for what,” you might ask. Why the Zombie Apocalypse, of course. The end of the world as we know it. No, we are preparing for our first great adventure into overnight backpacking in the backcountry of Utah.

Randi and I took the boys to Utah for the first time back in 2012. We took our truck and travel trailer and spent two weeks exploring the southern half of Utah. We thoroughly enjoyed camping with the RV and our day hikes into the national parks and monuments that make up so much of southern Utah. At the same time, there was an undeniable force drawing us to go deeper than day hikes would allow. Since that time, we have talked repeatedly about taking up backpacking. Well, enough talk. It’s time for action.

This fall, Justin will start his senior year of college. Honestly, once he graduates, our family has the potential to begin to change rapidly. This summer could possibly be the last chance we have to take a trip like this with our family as it has been for the last 18 years—dad, mom, and the three boys. We decided last year that May 2017 would be our grand adventure into backpacking in the backcountry of The Beehive State.

Over the next few months we will share with you what we are planning to do and what we are doing to prepare. Suggestions are welcome. We want to share what we learn as we go and also learn from those who have already been there and done that and have the blisters to prove it.

I don’t know about you, but I get hungry doing all this planning and prepping. No better way to take the edge off that hunger than with a good trail mix. Enjoy our second trail mix recipe—Justin’s Cracker Spectacular. Download the pdf and enjoy the video.

Happily planning,


Download Recipe

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From The HeartSeasons

Here we are at the end of the year. And here we are at the beginning of yet another one. One set of opportunities is passed and another lies before us. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I do find it a good time for reflecting on what has taken place over the last year. A good time for setting some goals for the future. Take a few minutes with me and let’s see where we’ve been and where we’re going. Keep reading

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