Scenes from Illinois: The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise

Scenes from Illinois: The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise

Just about every Chicagoan we asked for advice on what to do with our one free day in the city told us to take the Chicago Architecture Foundation's River Cruise on Chicago's First Lady. To be honest, I'm not all that into architecture, so I didn't get much out of the cruise in terms of style or firm name. However, I did enjoy the history of knowing when all these buildings were built and simply being on a boat. It's a 90 minutes tour and we got to take it on a brand new boat which was very lovely. All the facilities are fairly fancy for a tour boat and there's a bar aboard, if you are so inclined. 

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Camp Here: Evans in Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, Washington

Camp Here: Evans in Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, Washington

On our last road trip through the Canadian Rockies, we were haunted by some unfortunate weather and terrible private campgrounds - so we ended up making tracks for home a day or so earlier then planned. This decision presented the challenge of finding a nice campsite in the middle of the night in far northeastern Washington without any cell phone reception. At first we drove straight past the Evans Campground in Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in hopes of finding a spot with hot showers. When we found cell phone reception again and deemed it not practical to drive even further to a different campsite, we made a u-turn and headed back to Evans.

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Walking the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail

Walking the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail

Aside from the epic Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand, the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail ranks as one of my favorite hikes to have completed in less than perfect weather. While sunny days are always lovely, there's just something special about walking the coastline on a windy and rainy day. The Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail runs four miles one way (eight miles round trip) along varying coastline past many points of historical and geological interest. You won't need any special equipment for this hike - there's nothing particularly technical and a number of options for varying the route depending on your preferences.

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Camp Here: Kicking Horse in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

Camp Here: Kicking Horse in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

We'll call this the site that almost got away from us - the one we spent the previous night in the cab of the truck in an overflow parking lot hoping to get. The biggest downside with Kicking Horse Campground is that all the sites are first-come first-serve. So if you're planning to arrive on a weekend during the summer high season, you'll have to cross your fingers and hope for the best! There is a small overflow campground just down the road and the parking lot takes over after that.

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Gluten Free in Downtown Chicago

Gluten Free in Downtown Chicago

I'm going to start by admitting that downtown Chicago was not the easiest spot to find gluten free, dairy free, AND mostly vegetarian eats. Further complicating the situation, I really don't like to eat out for Italian food - I always feel it's never better than anything I can make at home with higher quality ingredients. So with all these needs and preferences of mine, downtown Chicago was just not my cup of tea. However, I did manage to dig up a couple of good eats all within walking distance of my base at the Weston River North Hotel.

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Camp Here: Wapiti in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Camp Here: Wapiti in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

After spending five nights in Jasper National Park's Wapiti Campground, I was ready stay another ten. Maybe even more.

It's the first campground I've stayed at where I could see myself sticking around for an extended stay. It all started with our handpicked campsite, RR22, which sits at the very edge of along the Athabasca River. From this rather perfect campsite to the incredibly clean and updated facilities - Wapiti is where I'll be returning to on my next summer camping trip in the Canadian Rockies. 

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Photo & Video Essay: Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Photo & Video Essay: Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

We almost turned back before finding Joffre Lakes Provincial Park and I couldn't be happier we didn't let our lack of a map or GPS keep us from this beautiful place. At just about an hours drive north of Whistler, through some rather rural country, the hike past the three lakes may be one of my favorite trails yet. 

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