1) What is your favorite park? Hands down number one question I get. This is a crazy hard one to anwaser because each park is awesome in it's own way. Plus I do so many different activities at each park to make them all fun, but I'll still break it down.
Hiking: Anything on the North Shore like Temperance River and George H. Crosby Manitou. But also Jay Cooke and Banning. I just love to hike by rivers on bluffs.
Biking: Lake Bronson was pretty legit. Mostly on the cross-country skiing trail, but I just had a blast! But of course Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is fantastic and I go there every year at least once. It has really developed into a must hit for Mountain Biking.
Paddle Boarding: Lake Vermilion was a blast in the big waves while putting in 8+ miles. Really made me excited to push myself more to see what Nala and I can do on bigger waves. Hayes Lake will also always stand out to me because there is nothing on the lake, just Mother Nature. Going down the St. Croix was pretty awesome too.
Challenge: Itasca hands down because I ended up doing roughly 22 miles hiking/biking and 9 miles paddling. Otherwise, the park is not really challenging it was just more everything I did with little food. Next up, Sakatah Lake when I biked 55 miles on the Sakatah Singing Hill Trail with little to no intake at all and only a waterbottle with me on the bike. I really wanted to push myself on that ride.
Family Friendly: Itasca seemed like have the most to offer for families. I also saw a ton of family enjoying Sibley as well. Heck any place would be awesome because again they all offer something different and new to experience. But everyone needs to get to the caves and mines to see what MN is all about.
2) Where do you sleep? Most of the time I ended up sleeping in the back of my car at a rest stop, in a parking lot, or wherever I could find. Sometimes I actually camped at a park, but not that often. Rest stops were always my go to.
3) Where/What do you eat? I kind of started a trend where for Friday or Saturday dinner I would find a bar or brewery and get a pint and a burger at whatever was local. Sometimes people would recommend a place, other times I just looked at the area on Google Maps and picked a joint. Otherwise, I made Amy's soups, Mary Jane Farms backcountry freeze dry food, and brought other foods to cook. I also ate a ton of Onnit Oatmaga bars, drank Hemp Force Active, and T+. Again, testing combinations to find the best performance output.
4) Why did you do this project? I wanted to test my body and mind to see where I stood. I battled with some crap in my past from injuries to depression and I was tired of all that. So I wanted to challenge myself and see what I could achieve. Little did I know it was going to drastically change my life and set me on a new path that I am in love with :)
5) How were you able to do this? Do you even work? Ha! Yes, I work full-time Monday thru Friday in a big boy job lol. I also was exploring parks on Friday afternoons and over the weekends. If it was a holiday weekend I would take full advantage of that as well.
6) Why Minnesota? It's my home state and I still live here. I wanted to truly learn and see the amazing areas we have available to explore, train, and have fun in right in our backyards. Plus I wanted to learn and dial in my systems more for the future plans I have, which is easier being so close to home. I could swap stuff out all the time to test new ways out.
7) Are you going to do other states? Nope! I am leaving that to you all. If you want to challenge yourself GO FOR IT! Let me know! I would love to follow you and/or join at a park if I'm in the area.
8) Are you crazy? Ha! Yup, totally am but I like to think in a good way :) You think I'm crazy for challenging myself to something greater, but I think you are crazy for coasting through life with a mind full of "only ifs" or "I always wanted to" and "buuut" (followed by exccuse).
9) Wait.. You did all the parks solo? Yup, every park. Well minus two I guess I did completely solo. Interstate park I had friends with but that was before I officially started and I went there a few times to heavy pack train. Garden Island, I took my parents with to drive me back from the island via boat and they wanted to see what it was like behind the scenes. They let me just do my thing and had a blast themselves.
10) Were you ever scared exploring solo? I'm not going to lie, I am not a fan of being alone at night. My mind plays so many trick on me. Freak myself out easily, probably why I love haunted attractions around Halloween time. Anyways, I felt at home. Like I was out doing what I was meant to do. So I never got scared or worried. But there were some pucker moments for sure lol.
11) What sort of support did you have? Only the love and support from family and friends. I did everything out of my own pocket, on my own time, and my way. I wanted to make it as realistic and obtainable for others as possible. You don't need to be a pro to do something great in this world. Just set your mind to it and go! I did get sponsored by Onnit during all of this but only received one check so far, which paid for a few boxes of Oatmaga bars.
12) What advice would you give to someone who wants to do the same project in MN or another state? First off, AWESOME! Do it and push yourself! If you want to hike 3 miles shoot for 5. Just step up whatever you "think" you can do, don't limit yourself. Truly set a strong goal, stay positive, train when you are not exploring, and get after it! Find new passions, fuel current passions, connect more with your body, mind, and Mother Nature. It is truly amazing out there. Be careful, it is addicting and a ton of fun.
If you have any other questions for me please let me know :)