2019-The Year Ahead

Just like I enjoy writing a recap of the previous year like I did for 2018 and 2017, I also enjoy looking ahead to what is or could come in the future. I enjoy setting goals and writing up to-do lists and coming up with plans. I am a planner and looking forward to the year ahead helps me to set my plans for the year. I get excited for upcoming trips and it encourages me to make our campground reservations.

The best part of all of this is the time we spend together as a family

Camping Wishlist

Let’s start with where we hope to camp this year and where we have reservations so far (in bold).

  • Eugene T. Mahoney State Park,-Ashland, NE-I discovered this park and there is so much to do here. I have it slated for a winter trip. They offer ice skating, a sledding hill, an indoor playground, arts and crafts area and it is close to Omaha with the Children’s Museum and Henry Doorly Zoo close by. Their campground is open all year, including a showerhouse and dump station-a rarity in the midwest.
  • Starved Rock State Park-Illinois-This was on my list last year and we never made it there. I have heard the waterfalls are something to be seen in the winter when it is frozen. This campground is also open in the winter, although, I am not sure the showerhouse is open.
  • Honey Creek State Park Resort-Another winter trip. The campground is part of a larger resort which has a small waterpark-perfect for my kids. It is also open year round.
  • Couldland Canyon State Park, Georgia
  • Topsail Hill Preserve State Park-Santa Rosa Beach, Florida-I can’t wait for this!
  • Bear Head Lake State Park-Ely, MN
  • Cheyenne Mountain State Park-Colorado Springs, CO
  • Flandrau State Park-New Ulm, MN
  • Whitewater State Park-Altura, MN
  • Des Moines KOA-Adel, IA
  • Ledges State Park-Boone, IA-One of my favorite local places, which was closed last year for renovations. Hoping to sneak in a trip during soccer season when we can stil drive to and from the games.
  • Backbone State Park-Dundee, IA
  • Indiana Dunes State Park-Chesterton, IN-We don’t revisit places too often but we loved it here and are hoping to get a group of friends to all go together.
  • Pike’s Peak State Park-McGregor, IA-we talked about going to Pikes Peak in Colorado when we are there so we should also go to Pikes Peak in Iowa ;).
  • Waubonsie State Park or Stone State Park-I am still dreaming of getting in a trip to the Loess Hills.

Campsite at Pine Lake State Park-June 2018

52 Hike Challenge

This will be our third attempt of the 52 Hike Challenge. We succeeded in our first attempt which is the “Original” challenge. Last year we did a 2nd attempt which was the “Adventure Series”. There is a list of objectives for the hikes such as visit 5 waterfalls, hike in a NPS site, etc. We only completed 30 hikes (as a family, I had a few more as an individual). Looking back, besides the reflection hikes, I think I had it all covered. So this year, I think we will attempt the “Explorer Series”. Something they recommend for the third attempt. The main difference is that the hikes all need to be on different trails. No repeats. You can hike two different trails in the same park but you can’t repeat the same trail. I think this is doable for us. We like to go different places anyways so hopefully we can find success with this one. Unfortunately, we already hiked at three of the closest trails to us. Fortunately, I have discovered quite a few local trails over the last few years while attempting the 52 Hike Challenge.

40 Nights in the Camper/Camp at Least Once Each Month

Last year we fell from 39 nights to under 30 nights in the camper and I could tell with my mood and stress level. Camping and getting away is the way I can relax, unwind, and get away from all the hustle and bustle at home. When we are camping I don’t look around the house and think of everything I need to get done and I get to spend most of the time outdoors-my happy place. I do know there is a certail level of prep and work to take off for the weekend and unpacking to do when we get home and traveling with two young children can be stressful too but in the end, it is always worth it!

Winter camping is something we look forward to doing.

Visit 5 New Iowa State Parks

With doing the Explorer Series of the 52 Hike Challenge, finding new parks and trails are going to be even more important. I love finding new places in our state and upping this goal will motivate me to do that.

Elsie’s Goal-Complete a 5 Mile Hike

After talking with Elsie, she wanted to set her own goal for the year. We do a lot of short hikes and we talked about building endurance and strength. She has done a four mile hike in the past and she wanted to up it to completing a 5 mile hike. Now my job is to find a good one for her to keep it interesting-if you have any recommendations, send them my way 🙂


My final goal of the year is to be more consistant with my posts. I do this as a way to journal our trips and travels. Elsie has asked to be more a part of this and uses her camera to take photos to document her journey as well. I have a huge backlog of campground reviews and travel journals and my goal is to just take it a little at a time and to stay current with our travels this year as well.

I hope 2019 brings you all you hope and wish for and that you add adventures, whether near or far, to your plans for 2019!

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