Our Campfire Stories are an opportunity to get to know our team and join in on the adventures they take outside of the workday.
You’ll read stories about weekend treks in hammocks, week-long expeditions to foreign lands, and the tips and tricks to help you succeed during your own adventures. All with a little bit of wit and comedy thrown in.
The Emerald Coast, as it’s known due to the emerald green waters that crash into its sugar-sand shores, is a stretch of beautiful beaches along the Florida Panhandle. Getting there can be difficult if you don’t live within driving distance due to the lack of a major airport. However, trust me when I say that finding your way there is well worth it.
I’ve seen LifeStraw advertised a number of places over the past few months. This lightweight, compact filtration device seemed amazing to me. I wouldn’t have carry tablets that made your water taste terrible. There was only one problem, it wasn’t convenient to drink with. You would have to either fill up your bottle and sip out the water with the straw or, based on the ad images, you’d have to sip the water out of the stream with the straw. Personally, these both seemed unideal. It wouldn’t do any good for saving water for later. Then I saw an ad for the Sawyer Mini.
It’s October, which means it’s time for my annual trip to the Smoky Mountains to check out the changing leaves and hike in the mountains. No couple’s trip this year for me, it was a guy’s camping trip. We would be staying at Smokemont campgrounds inside the park on the Cherokee, NC side. We threw our supplies in the truck and headed north to the mountains!
Our last full day in Ireland had arrived. After a morning where we just kept saying, “I can’t believe we staying in a castle!” It was finally time for us to leave our castle home and start our day. I admit we were reluctant to leave it. It was just such a neat experience. All good things must come to an end though.
Our days in Ireland were beginning to dwindle and we had reached the furthest north we would go. It was time to start driving south. There are a few ways you can drive from Westport to Galway, I would like to make a recommendation for what route to take. The one we took was one of the prettiest and most picturesque drives we’ve ever had. You can find the directions here. This was the route we took.
After an evening of Irish music, we arose the next day to do something a tad bit more difficult. Today, we would be climbing the Croagh Patrick, a 764-meter tall mountain just outside of Westport. Named for St. Patrick who would make the trek up the mountain every year to spend Lent on top of the mountain. This climb is not for the faint of heart.
After moonwalking in Ireland, our trip took us north to Westport. I began loading up the car with our luggage at our B&B when I heard the host’s small dog, a Shih Tzu I believe, begin barking and running down the porch. A chicken from the neighbor’s pen had gotten out and the dog started chasing it. For about 5 minutes the dog chased that chicken around. Into the coup area, out of the coup area. Into the bushes, out of the bushes. Around in a circle, behind a small wooden building. I had stopped paying too much attention at this point when I heard loud “bagawk” noises from the bushes. The chicken had run back to the bushes and the Shih Tzu had followed. The noises continued and then feathers began flying out of the bushes. I was completely awestruck and didn’t know what to do. A moment later, it didn’t matter. The “bagawk” noises had ceased and the Shih Tzu pranced out from the bushes. The chicken was dead.
Our first stop of the day was to see the Burren. The Burren is the smallest of Ireland’s six National Parks but is definitely the most unique. The entire region is covered in limestone which formed there as sediment over 350 million years ago. The Burren has been compared to walking on the Moon due to the landscape being covered by a large amount of rock. It’s one of the strangest landscapes I’ve ever seen. While sadly, I can’t confirm that it’s similar to walking on the Moon as I’ve yet to leave this planet on an adventure (I know, I’m sorry I’m such a homebody), I can confirm it was unique, to say the least. Our only hike in the Burren was to see the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a large portal tomb that was built sometime between 4200BC and 2900BC, so a really long time ago.
Leaving from Ballyferriter and heading north towards Doolin to see the Cliffs of Moher, we took a mountain road called the Conor Pass. The Conor Pass provides magnificent views from the road. At the top of the pass, there is a vista point you can pull off at. Wanting to hold on to the Dingle Peninsula as long as we could we pulled the car over for a hike without hesitation. Climbing the hills next to the lookout led us to a high hill with a 360° view of the valleys below. Hikers here had created a rock mound, with each hiker adding a rock to the pile. At this point, it was a few feet in diameter and almost as tall as I am. We added our own rocks to the pile and made our way back to the car.
WE’ve Got You Covered
Our Campfire Stories weave tales of Mount McKinney’s adventure and expeditions.
money saving tips
We’ll give you insight into what we buy and where we find the best deals.
We’ll give you advice on how to avoid to make your travel easier.
travel FAVORITES checklist
Are you ready to have an adventure? Download this free checklist to ensure you’re prepared when you leave for your trip!