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Introducing Momo the Traveler

Momo the Traveler InRugCo

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 

Angels Landing Zion National Park

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? 

My hiking adventures started in 2018, when I needed a science credit to graduate from college. My school offered a Geology of the Southwest class, where we learned all about the geology of Utah and Arizona.

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. 
Growing up, I had never really traveled to National Parks or did much hiking, so this was a completely new experience. After my first visit to Zion, I fell completely in love with hiking. I didn’t even know places like this existed. 

 Indiana Dunes National Park Momo the Traveler

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!

 Momo the Traveler InRugCo

Say you've got a free weekend in Michiana and you want to go out for a hike. What's your ideal itinerary?  

That depends on how much time I have!

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.
If I have a whole weekend, I will go somewhere a little bit further. The coast of Lake Michigan has so many great options for hiking, chilling on the beach, and getting a great bite to eat afterwards.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of my favorite places in the country!

Cowles Bog Indiana Dunes National Park

So, what would be your top 3 day hikes in Michiana?

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 

  3. 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!

Momo the Traveler InRugCo Ambassador 

What's one piece of gear you have to bring with you on every trip?  

Good merino wool hiking socks! Socks will make or break a hiking trip. I learned the hard way to never underestimate the need for good socks.

Darn Tough and Smartwool brands are my go-tos! 

Maine Momo the Traveler

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. 

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