Get to know our new InRugCo store ambassador Marie Oliva aka Momo the Traveler!
Marie is a Michiana based adventurer who is on a mission to visit all 63 of the USA's National Parks. Her passion for exploring the outdoors resonated directly with us at InRugCo.
Learn her top 3 favorite hiking spots in Michiana along with what inspires her to trek through mountains, deserts, & coastlines all over the country!
Keep up with all of her travels & amazing photography on Instagram @momo_the_traveler
Growing up in Michiana you weren't exactly close to National Parks until Indiana Dunes was designated one in 2019, so what was the 1st National Park you visited?
The class ended with a trip to Utah and Arizona over spring break where we hiked in numerous National and State Parks in the area.
The first park we visited was Zion National Park, and I absolutely fell in love. I was in awe of the beauty and majesty of the mountains, and from then on, I knew I had found my passion.
What inspired you to set your goal of visiting all 63 of the USA's National Parks?
As I said in my previous answer, I was in absolute awe of the beauty of the National Parks in Utah! The fact that the 5 national parks in Utah were so close together, but all so different and unique, fascinated me. (Learn more about the Mighty 5 in Utah).
I started to do research on the geology and history of the other National Parks in the United States, and from there decided that I needed to see all of these amazing places for myself.
I have been to 20 out of the 63, and hope to visit a couple more before the year is over!
Say you've got a free weekend in Michiana and you want to go out for a hike. What's your ideal itinerary?
If I only have half a day, I will go to Potato Creek State Park and walk some of the trails there. If I only have a couple hours, walking or running the Mishawaka Riverwalk, the lakes at Notre Dame, or the East Bank Trail are all great options.
If I have a whole day, I will drive somewhere a little further, like the Indiana Dunes National Park, Warren Dunes State Park, or Pokagon State Park.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of my favorite places in the country!
So, what would be your top 3 day hikes in Michiana?
- The Cowles Bog Trail
Located at Indiana Dunes National Park. this trail is one of the coolest trails I’ve done. Because of the diversity of plant life, it was named a National Natural Landmark. It’s a little under five miles, and has a little bit of everything: a bog, a boardwalk, black oak savannas, a dune climb, and stunning views of Lake Michigan.
- Potato Creek State Park Trail 4 Loop
This is a 2.5 mile loop trail that is super close to South Bend. You start near a cemetery, then follow along the lake for a time and end the loop walking through the woods back to the parking area. This is a great option if you only have a few hours and want to get a quick hike in.
- Indiana Dunes State Park, Trail 8 to Trail 4 Loop
The popular 3 Dune Challenge at the Indiana Dunes State Park is so much fun. This trail takes you up and over 3 different sand dunes, Mt. Holden, Mt. Tom, and Mt. Jackson. I love a challenge when I hike, and this was definitely a challenge. It is only 1.8 miles, but most of the trail is in the loose sand, which makes it quite difficult; but when you’re done, it is so worth it!
What's one piece of gear you have to bring with you on every trip?
Darn Tough and Smartwool brands are my go-tos!
If you feel inspired by Marie's hiking adventures, stop by InRugCo Studio & Gift Shop in Mishawaka, IN today and let us help you navigate outdoor clothing & gear options.
Whether you are a complete beginner to the idea of hiking in Michiana or a seasoned trekker planning your next big expedition, our store has the clothing & gear to help you explore more!
We carry quality brands like Marmot, Mountain Khakis, Cotopaxi, Darn Tough Socks, Smartwool (arriving later Fall 2021), & more.