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:
Devil 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
Minneapolis Diagonal Trail
It was a hot and sunny day today making the run especially sweaty […] Read More
Off On Holiday
Tomorrow I will be traveling north to run the Spartan Sprint then heading west to explore the area of Wisconsin.[…]Read More
This month I had the pleasure of joining the Minnesota Caving Club for my first caving experience. I’ve been interested in going caving since watching the film The Descent, right before all the cave-ins and death. It not only looked like a fun, new challenge, but would also be a different kind of hiking adventure.
Being a complete newbie to Caving, I was not sure what I’d need. I shot an e-mail to the club president who told me all I need to do is to dress in clothes I don’t mind getting dirty. Just to be safe, my girlfriend and I went on a trip to gather some helmets, gloves, headlights, and boots for our caving endeavor.
The club met pretty far south in Minnesota early in the morning. Since we were a good distance away from their meeting location we got up before dusk. Not being familiar with the southern part of Minnesota, we got a bit lost once or twice in the vast farmland that stretched for miles. We met up with John “The Cave-man”, president of the club. John guided us down a 2-hour trip towards Rochester where we traveled to a privately owned cave.We learned that we were traveling to several caves that day, all of which were owned by John. The club itself consisted of a number of outgoing experienced cavers all very friendly to talk to. We also found that most of the equipment we did buy was completely useless for the cave, but the club had more than enough gear to spare. We spent little time above ground before going on our under ground tour down the cave.
Now, when I thought of caving, I had a different sort of idea of what I’ll be getting into. My only experience in caving was being guided through a Tourist Attraction of a cold environment that was extremely well lit. This caving experience was a whole another level than that tourist attraction. Shortly after getting into the cave we found ourselves in a cool damp area that was a complete blackout only lit by out head lights. The pathway was not the familiar flat terrain, but a rocky area where each step had to be taken with precision and caution.
During our tour, our guides, Anna and Trish, talked to us about certain caving techniques and information about how the cave’s structure formed.We got to some of the more unique area of the cave shortly into the tour. I was grateful to have skipped out on the fatty foods all this time, because we ended up spending a good chunk of time crawling on our stomachs through thin crevices to reach hidden rooms. Some of these crevices definitely had to involve some shimming, flexibility, and a good chunk of upper body strength. Especially when some of the holes we crawled through lifted our legs completely off the ground.
Since it was Spring a few of the cave pathways were not taken because of flooding. However, this only opened up the opportunity to explore other structures that required a different kind of traversing to get through. The second half of our caving adventure was on the higher ground. This was definitely the time to learn if you’re afraid of heights since much of the exploration involved shoving ourselves in between cave walls 20 feet above the ground and carefully stepping our feet to find the ladder mounted between the rocks.
The entire adventure did not feel extremely physical, but the four of us, all young and fit, were sweaty and out of breath by the time we finished. After we settled for lunch we took above ground to explore the creek and smaller caves around the area. Unfortunately for us, my girlfriend and I had to cut it short due to a family emergency. Although, both of us agree that the entire experience was definitely a memorable one, making it my top pick for the 1K Photo Challenge day of the month.
A little while ago I posted an entry explaining this idea called “The Impossible List” where I define the differences between an impossible list and a bucket list. I also provided my own Impossible List as an example. In my Impossible list I have an item where I would climb the highest point in each state. Since I cannot post all 50 states in the Impossible List without making the post super large, I decided it’ll be more ideal to make one post that will link each state I climbed to its own individual post.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.