Epic Quest of Awesome

It’s Day 5 now since I started questing at Nerd Fitness Academy, and I have to say, the experience has been very fun so far. As I battle Bosses and Gain XP I am working each day to try to implement Steve Kamb’s Level Up Your Life ideals into my own.

This of course, means making my own Epic Quest of Awesome(Which, in short is a gamified bucket list). I have overlooked my Impossible List carefully and followed suit to separated each item into it’s own Quest Category.

Each Quest is worth 20 XP. After every 100XP is hit(or 5 Quests total) I gain a level. In addition to regular quests there are also Master Quests, extremely difficult quests that automatically level you up once you hit them.

The one tweak I’m making to my EQA draws from my Runescape-playing days, and color code the quests. Each Quests will be colored as such:

  • Quest Completed
  • Quest Started
  • Quest Not Started

Russ’ Epic Quest of Awesome

Below you will find a list of what I want to accomplish over the years. My Epic Quest is a progress and is subjected to change over time.

Completed Quests

Level 2

Level 1

North America Quests

  • Rock Climb Devil’s Tower
  • 50 points in 50 States(2/50)
  • Snow Board in Jasper, Canada
  • See an Aurora Borealis
  • Hike the Ice Age Trail(More Info.)
  • Strawberry Hill(More Info.)
  • Corn Palace(Morn Info.)
  • Travel to Canada

Central/South America Quests

  • Backflip on top of Macchu Picchu

Europe Quests

  • Paraglide in Chamonix Europe
  • Step foot in Sweden
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride in Sweden
  • Marcle Aches Cave(More Info.)

Africa Quests

  • Surf in Killer Point Mocorro

Far East Quests

  • Go to a Japaense Hot Spring
  • Bunny Island, Japan
  • Fuji Mountain Race(More Info.)

South Pacific Quests

  • A Simple Walk Into Mordor(More Info.)
  • Scuba Dive Australia’s Coral Reef
  • Bungee Jump off Victoria Fall Ridge

Ninja/Strength Quests

  • 10 Years Martial Arts(1/10)
  • 10 Years Weaponry(0/10)
  • Complete All Fitocracy Quests(More Info.)
  • Run Alpha Warrior(Texas & California)(More Info.)
  • 5 No-Kip Muscle Ups
  • 15 Second Human Flag
  • Sign White Block at Fight or Flight Academy
  • Post a 5-Minute Parkour Montage
  • Pick a Master lock

Flips & Twists Quests

  • Front Flip
  • Back Flip
  • Aerial
  • Side Flip
  • Corkscrew
  • 540 Kick

Personal Level-Up Quests

  • Skinny Dipping
  • Cliff Swinging
  • Make Food(Cheese, Wine, Yogurt)
  • Visit A Sunken Ship
  • Take A Sniper’s Course
  • Get a Wax
  • 1,000 Photo Challenge[Progress]
  • 1,000 Geocaches
  • Spontaneous Vacation

Rock Star Quests

  • [PIANO] Piano Man By Billy Joel
  • [PIANO] Roses and Butterflies By Making April
  • [PIANO]  Guitar vs Piano By Goukisan
  • [GUITAR] Guitar vs Piano By Goukisan
  • [HARMONICA] The Times They Are Changing by Bob Dylan
  • [HARMONICA] Piano Man By Billy Joel

Education Quests

  • Get a Helicopter Pilot License
  • Become SCUBA Certified
  • Learn to Sail A Boat
  • Get a Motorcycle  License
  • Publish a Mobile App
  • Write a Novel
  • Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
  • Obtain a Master’s Degree

Les Stroud/Survivalist Quests

  • Score 300 With Recurve Bow[More Info.]
  • Make Deer Jerky
  • Finish a Survival Adventure Race[More Info.]
  • Wilderness First Responder Certification
  • Waterfront Lifeguard Certification
  • Build and Shoot Arrows from Scratch
  • Take a NOLS semester Course[More Info.]
  • 7-Day Survival with BOB
  • 21-Day Survival, only Knife

Running & Races Quests

  • First Marathon
  • Barefoot Marathon
  • Minneapolis Ground Rounds(51 Miles)(More Info.)
  • 50-Ultra Marathon
  • 100-Ultra Marathon
  • Spartan Sprint
  • Spartan Super
  • Spartan Beast
  • Spartan Trifecta(Sprint + Super + Beast In 1 Year)
  • Triathlon Sprint(750m S/20K B/ 5K R)
  • Triathlon Olympic (1500m S/40K B/ 10K R)
  • Triathlon Half-Iron(1.2 mi S/90K B/21K  R)
  • Triathlon Iron(2.4 mi S/180K B/42K R)

Events/Conferences Quests

  • Eeyore’s Birthday
  • Room 13 San Antonia[More Info.]
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Cirque De Loteil
  • Google Local Guides Summit
  • Red Bull Art of Motion

Financial Quests

  • Have $10,000+ in Saving before 2019
  • Adopt a Minnesota Highway
  • Earn 1,000 Subscribers on Challenge List

Master Quests

  • Get A Career Allowing Me to Live Anywhere
  • Completed a Barkley Marathon[More Info]
  • Obtain a PhD

Challenge List Mini-Quests





The Photo Journal

Today I’ve been siting at home feeling sick. Since I’ve not been able to do work on some of my To-Do’s, I decided to take this opportunity to look on the bright side.

Being home bed-ridden opens me up to doing something I’ve been wanting to do for a long while. Since I created my second blog, 1k Photo Challenge it has been seeing a steady rise in growth.

It wasn’t not really my intention to separate this blog from my Photo Journal blog, but I felt that the two blogs had vastly inconsistent formats that would not work as one. Fortunately, today has given me the opportunity to keep these blogs separate but still merge them under one unity.

So now, under both sites you will find each one of them linking to the other blog. For the Challenge List you can go under:

Challenge Lists >> 1K Photo Challenge

If you are unaware of what the 1k Photo Journal is about, check over here for why it was started. You can also check out some of the top posts from the site:

Top Posts:

DSC00604Devil Lake State Park

As we begun our descent the sun started to blare down. We built up more of a sweat on our decline trip from the West Bluff Trail then we did during our incline. […]Read more



20160610_120055Minneapolis Diagonal Trail

It was a hot and sunny day today making the run especially sweaty […] Read More



20160624_105337Off On Holiday

Tomorrow I will be traveling north to run the Spartan Sprint then heading west to explore the area of Wisconsin.[…]Read More

Goal 8 Accomplished: Hike Up Eagle Mountain

Back in June, three of my friends and I made the journey to travel up to Northern Minnesota to visit the Spirit Tree. Unfortunately for us, the Spirit Tree was no longer accessible to the public and we weren’t able to complete our journey. While we still had a fun camping trip, I felt like the trip was no longer a challenge.


After thinking it over I decided to save up some money and make a second trip up north. This time, I was going to test myself physically by climbing up Eagle Mountain, the highest point in Minnesota. This 2,300 foot tall trek would be a 7 hour hike on rough terrain and will be the first to cross off on my list to trek the highest points in each of the fifty states.
Devil’s Kettle

My girlfriend and I readied ourselves for the trip. It would be a four hour ride from home to Two Harbors, where we planned to set up camp, then an additional half hour car trip to reach the start of the trail. We felt like taking advantage of our time up North so we planned a number of other visits along the way, such as touring Enger tower in Duluth and hiking to Devil’s Kettle.  After hitting up some of the sites we eventually landed to Two harbors on our third day. We set up camp in the early morning then headed off to Eagle Mountain. While the trail was 7 miles long the actual summit was a  3.5 mile hike from the closest parking space. We readied our gear, checked for water, then hit up the trail.


DSC00088The trek to the summit felt like a very easy walk. The silent nature that surrounded us was very captivating. By the time we started to hit the 2nd mile marker the weather got increasingly humid. We stopped by a small beach to dampen our faces with the cool water before quickly heading back on the trail. We arrived at the summit and found the trail getting steeper. We hit a nice clearing that we assumed only meant we were at the finish line. We would’ve stopped there too, if it wasn’t for a hiking couple who pointed out that the trail goes another mile upward.


We took this time to munch on some food and re-hydrate ourselves. We made the foolish mistake of packing salty treats with an inadequate amount of water. We finished out snacking and were down to less than a cup of water a piece. We carried on and soon found ourselves to the top of the mountain. We grabbed some pictures, enjoyed the lovely view, than drank the rest of our water. After we rested for a bit we decided to head back down the mountain.


DSC00096   DSC00091


Our Savior, the Beach

The hike back down felt a lot easier than the hike back up. Eventually we hit the small beach and cooled our faces in the water. The rest of the trail was going to be very rock and very hilly from then on out. We realized we made the huge mistake of not packing enough water. The weather started to hit it’s peak temperature during our trek back. We started to become exhausted from the combination of dehydration, heat, and exercise. We finally got back to the car where we drank a bunch of Gatorade as a reward for our climb.


The next day we drove up Ely to enjoy the rest of our trip in the Boundary Waters. It was definitely a worthwhile experience to take on Eagle Mountain. It also proved to be a valuable learning experiencing to make sure we pack more water for future hikes. Eagle Mountain, a very enjoyable trip, and is now the first out of fifty I have climbed.
8 Hike Eagle Mountain ACCOMPLISHED!

Goal 8: Road Trip to Spirit Tree

About a year ago my girlfriend and her friend found a magnet on the fridge. The magnet was a long forgotten souvenir with the words “Witch Tree” marked on it. They did not know much about the Witch Tree, expect that it was significant to the Ojibwe.

My girlfriend told me of the tree. Being of Ojibwe heritage myself, I was curious. I talked to my dad, who corrected me by saying it’s name is not “Witch Tree” but rather “Spirit Tree”. He told me the tree is sacred to the Ojibwe, where it has lived in Northern Minnesota for over a thousand years. Although, it’s not the age that makes it special, it’s how it has lived. Spirit Tree grows on a rock where none of the branches touch the ground. It’s a mystery that has baffled scientists since its discovery. Jokingly, my girlfriend wanted to know if I want to go on a quest to the tree with her friend. I agreed.

Her friend, Eli, my girlfriend, and I, were all not licensed at the time. We agreed we will make the trip once we are licensed. Over time we invited a fourth member, Steve, to the trip. Steve was able to drive, so we set out to plan for the trip.

The planning took many months. In order to cut cost, we decided to share a camping spot with my parents when they went on their annual Ojibwe language camp in Duluth. We left off on in the later afternoon then arrived at the campground at night. We past out shortly after setting up. We spent the majority of the next day browsing Duluth’s local shops. There were many spectacular amenities. One of my favorites was a local bakery called Positively 3rd Street Bakery. They had a variety of treats such as pumpkin raisin bread and banana cookies(banookies). A very savory treat for the road.

We then took a detour to Goosebury falls. Steve and I went off pathway to take a closer look at the falls. I skipped along the rocks to transverse across the water. I slipped on one of the surfaces and found myself knee deep in water. We eventually headed back to the campsite where I dried off by the fire for the rest of the night.

On day three we headed out to Grand Marias. We arrived at the campground by the evening. Upon our arrival we were met with a light drizzle. We quickly set up camp, gathered some wood, then ate canned soup cooked over a fire. We made sure to secure everything in a dry location before trapping ourselves in the tent when it down poured.
The weather did not let up throughout the night. By next morning we decided to make the trip to Grand Portage and visit the Spirit Tree. The Spirit Tree was located in an unmarked location on the Grand Portage reservation. In order to prevent any damage to the tree, the Tribal Council requires visitors to be escorted by a member of the reservation. We made a stop by the Grand Portage Reservation Heritage center to find a guide. One of the workers informed us we would need to speak directly with the Tribal Council Office. We drove to the Council Office, but discovered that the office was closed for the day.
The Heritage Center employee had suggested we try the casino down the road to see if any of the members would be available. We made our way down to the casino but found that no one was available to give us a tour. Defeated, we went back to Grand Marias. We parked by the Grand Marias’ beach in order to explore the town. I found that along the shore there was a hiking trail that lead to a rocky peak stretching into Lake Superior. I made it my quest to travel down that trail to reach the peak. The rain did not led up during my hike. By the end clothes were heavy, and the pathway was flooded. Nevertheless, I reached the peak stretching into Superior. I found the closet tree to the lake and dubbed it was “Lil’ Spirit Tree 2” before laying some tobacco down by it.
We made the walk back into the city while facing cold rain and harsh winds. With our clothes soaked and our stomachs empty, we went out to eat at a local cafe to dry off. After filling our stomachs we spent the remainder of the evening hanging around a laundromat playing cards until late in the night After enjoying a couple of drinks by the fire we had settled to get to bed early for our trip back home the next day.
The last day was nothing too adventurous. We had to spend some time drying out our camping equipment so there were long periods of waiting in between packing. We did manage to get some more hiking in before leaving. We stopped by a place close to Two Harbors known as Betty’s Pies. The place was fantastic, and I would recommend anyone near the area to try one of their delicious Pie Shakes. We made this stop our last before heading home.
Although we didn’t get a chance to go to Spirit Tree, I still found myself have a great adventure. I was able to explore new areas in Minnesota and figured out there are some items I want to add to my Challenge List for 2016. One item I hope to accomplish is hiking up the highest point in Minnesota, Eagle’s Mountain. I called the Tribal Council when I got home and found out they stopped giving tours to the Spirit Tree a long while ago. It seemed like it was a futile attempt but I do not regret the effort we spent getting there.
Would I say this goal was successful? It’s hard to say. On one hand I never did get to Spirit Tree. On the other, my goal wasn’t so much the destination, more so just making the trip to there. Still, I do feel as if I would be cheating myself out of my goals if I didn’t push myself to actually accomplishing something. So, I do intend to leave this goal unchecked for now. I have a goal I do wish to accomplish as an alternative, but finishing it is completely dependent on transportation. If I can figure out transportation, I will be revising my goal and make a second trip up to Northern Minnesota where I will make the hike up to the top of Eagle’s Mountain.
Eli and Steve
Eli and Steve