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Bouldering with Whistles (I) and other Tips from Camping Savvy Moms: Courtney Brown, Julie Pearl-Slater and Michelle Silver


Julie Pearl-Slater and family in Sequoia National Park, CA

Courtney Brown, Julie Pearl-Slater and Michelle Silver are our Wonder Guides for Episode 7 and boy do they know how to camp!  And with kids!

When Courtney moved from the ample and beautiful beaches of Orange County, California to Utah she embraced the opportunity to ‘stretch out’ and explore the mountains with her children.  All FIVE of them.

When Julie left Chicago for L.A. she had no idea she’d go camping ‘overnight’ let alone take regular camping trips to Joshua Tree, Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Michelle knows what happens when she gets outdoors regularly either alone or with her son: she feels better instantly.

These three women take us on a rewarding, insightful and inspirational camping trip today by sharing their stories about getting outside. Their advice, stories and insights are many and that’s why my conversation with them will stretch over two episodes.

In this first episode we’ll touch on a number of subjects such as how each of our guides grew to not just love the outdoors but see it as vital to the collective health and happiness of their families. We’ll address the challenges of preparation and electronic devices.

Over and over again, these Wonder Guides reinforce one main truth: getting outside and camping with their kids is liberating, inspiring and worth the effort.

3 x 3 Main Street Challenge

In our 3 x 3 Main Street Challenge we visit the lovely little town of Wheaton, Illinois. Starting at Five and Hoek Coffee at 112 N Main Street we just walk a couple of blocks to the expansive Illinois Prairie Path which goes for over 60 miles. Within 15-20 minutes one can be on another main street in Glen Ellyn and eating a cinnamon roll at the Blackberry Market at 401 N. Main Street. The 30 minute segment is solved quite easily by simply continuing along the wonderfully bucolic Prairie Path.


Main Street, Wheaton, IL


Blackberry Market and my cousin Elli’s favorite meal in Glen Ellyn, IL

What’s within 3 hours of Wheaton? There’s a LOT to choose from but today why don’t we simply drive due west for under three hours to the mighty Mississippi River. Two places of note include the Wildcat Den State Park which has one of the oldest operating grist mills! Back across the river on the Illinois side is the Loud Thunder Forest Preserve which has more outdoor activities that I have time to list.


Wildcat Den State Park, Iowa


Mississippi River, Iowa, Illinois

In our Art Meets Nature segment, DJ Shark leads us into the beautiful, evocative and melancholy masterpiece The Green Green Grass of Home. Written by Claude “Curly” Putman Jr., but of course made world famous by Tom Jones.

In There’s No Planet B we look at the principles of Leave No Trace. There is a wealth of information to explore at the website for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors

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