Tag Archives: shopping

Book Review: The Undying Past of Shenandoah National Park

Why, hello there! Long time, no write. Can you believe it is only five days until Christmas?? Where has this year gone?

I have one more DC/Shenandoah-related post to go. It stems from my inability to travel without purchasing many souvenirs. This makes my work trips to Walt Disney World incredibly dangerous.

On this recent trip, I did some shopping at the National Archives gift shop, and I showed good restraint at the shop in Shenandoah’s Dickey Ridge Visitor Center. Other than the all important Shenandoah National Park sticker for my National Parks Passport, I only made one other purchase: a book.

The Undying Past of Shenandoah National Park by Darwin Lambert provides a very thorough overview of the human history in the Shenandoah area. Before visiting the park, I really didn’t know much about it. Actually, the parks I know the most about were those focused on in the Ken Burns film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea – Yosemite, Yellowstone, Acadia, Crater Lake, Biscayne Bay, and a handful of others. Shenandoah was not highlighted in the series. It’s nearby cousin, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was. It turns out, their histories are rather similar.

The book starts as far back in human history as possible – with the “spear hunters.” Radiocarbon dated materials found in Pennsylvania can be traced to 18,950 B.P. (Before Present). If there were humans in the Shenandoah area at that time, it means they would have experienced…wait for it…the Wisconsin Ice Age. I thought that was a fun little tidbit  🙂

While I enjoyed the book, it was a little too thorough. I absorbed much more from the second half of the book, when the “story” got to the Civil War period and beyond. I took much more interest in learning about the farmers and tenants who lived in the park area in the 1800’s, the “mountain folk,” and their subsequent removal from their land for purposes of the park.

If you are planning a trip to Shenandoah and would like a comprehensive overview of park history, this would be a great book to read. I enjoyed reading it after the trip, but I wish I had read it beforehand. Then when you visit, stop at the Byrd Visitor Center near Big Meadows and walk through their exhibit chronicling the establishment and development of the park. It’s an excellent exhibit, and it nicely compliments the book.

Now that I’m finished with this book, I have started reading the other book I picked up on the trip, The People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present. Just a little light reading for the holidays…

Can’t Leave Door Without It

After our run, Jason and I returned to the house in Egg Harbor to clean up and change. On the docket for the afternoon: mini-golf, shopping, and eating!

We drove north to Sister Bay for Swedish meatballs at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant. And given the beautiful weather, we thought for sure that the goats would be out on the roof. Yes, you read that correctly. Al Johnson’s has a sod roof where goats graze and lounge around – weather permitting (don’t want any goats slipping off in the rain 😯 ).

To our great sadness, they were replacing the sod roof – so no goats  😥 . We’ve actually only seen the goats in action once. We tend to get unlucky with the rain.

While the beautiful weather was great, it was a bit of an unpleasant surprise for us. We had been watching the weather reports for days to see if it would be nice enough to take along our golf clubs and hit the Peninsula State Park Golf Course. The reports kept calling for rain, so we left them at home. So it makes total sense that it would be perfect golf weather the day of the run  😕 .

Since we didn’t have the clubs, we did the next best thing: mini-golf!

It’s Pirate’s Cove – You have to…

After a quick round, we hit up one of my favorite Door County shops, the City Farmer. This is a very dangerous shop for me – I could do some serious damage if I had the ability 😀  . I behaved, and my only “splurge” was the Vera Bradley laptop sleeve I’ve been eyeing up. I’m on a VB kick!

Now I can take it places 😉
Gift for My Mac

Our final, and most important, stop of the day was Wild Tomato in Fish Creek. This pizzeria and grille has become a must-stop for every one of our Door County trips. Their pizza is the best I’ve ever had, hands down.

When in Door County, order a Door County-grown brew.

Cheese curd awesomeness!

Now, that’s my kind of dinner!

After two pieces of pizza, Jason declared that he might not finish his half…but he did. There’s no way to not finish a pizza this amazing!

I would say we made the most of our weekend in Door!


Working with My Strengths

When Jason and I found out we got into the High Sierra Camps, I laid out a plan to help us get ready over the course of the following months:

  • December & January – Conditioning
  • February & March – Learning
  • April & May – Shopping
  • June & July – Practicing

While no step would be completely restricted to this timeframe, I wanted to have some direction as I prepared. Conditioning is an ongoing process and my fitness plan continues to evolve. I haven’t spent a lot of time “Learning,” because, honestly, there’s not really a ton for me to learn. Since Jason and I are engaging in backpacking-lite, I just need to know how to hike and what to pack.

Today, I officially skipped a step and worked from my strengths: Shopping! Jason and I burned through our REI dividend and 20% off coupons very fast  😀

The most essential pieces of gear that Jason and I needed to purchase were our backpacks…and that’s exactly what we picked out today!

I cannot stress the importance of going to a outdoor outfitter, being properly “fitted,” and trying different packs. I went in with a specific pack in mind and left with something very different. We each tried on three different packs, but we went with the men’s/women’s comparable packs from Gregory: the Deva 70 for me (appropriate name, huh 😉 ) and the Palisade 80 for Jason.

Jason is super excited to match with me and loves red…NOT.

I LOVE my new bag! I hung out in the store with it on for quite a bit and found it to be the most comfortable of those I tried on. The pretty blue color and lots of pockets didn’t hurt either  🙂

For reference, here’s our full suggested shopping list for the High Sierra Camps:

  • Backpack
  • Sleep-sack
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking shoes (for backup)
  • Light shoes (for around camp)
  • Water bottles or hydration system
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Small flashlight
  • Chapstick
  • Mini first-aid kit
  • Moleskin
  • Clothing:
    • Brimmed hat
    • Wool cap (for chilly nights)
    • Bandana
    • Sweats (for sleepwear)
    • Wool socks and sock liners
    • Hiking shorts
    • Long pants
    • Zippered turtleneck
    • Flannel or wool shirt
    • Sweater, medium-weight
    • Wool gloves or mittens
    • Light jacket
    • Waterproof poncho or rain jacket with hood
  • Camera *
  • Binoculars *

* Optional

We picked up a couple of the other items on the list today, too. We both got sleep-sacks and headlamps. Jason swore he would never get a headlamp, but both I and the employee helping us at the store recommended them.

I really wanted a pink one, but apparently those are designed for children 🙁

Let’s just say that one of the hooks to getting me into camping/hiking was the opportunity to shop 😀 . But that simple hook has definitely led me to some amazing experiences. So if loving to shop is wrong, I don’t want to be right.


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