February 2016

8 Great Adventures in Iowa City

With a sneak preview of nicer weather happening this weekend, it’s hard to sit still while the temperature rises. To make the most out of the serendipitous timing of the end of the work week and nice weather, be sure to get outside and do something a little active today. The possibilities are endless, and if you are like the staff at Fin & Feather, the adventure options can be overwhelming, and to help guide your adventure radar, here for you are 8 adventures you can find in Iowa City this weekend:



Disc Golf Around Town

Looking for a good reason to go walk around manicured parks? Disc golf might be the solution. With a low cost to entry, and a welcoming playing field for all abilities, there are no restrictions or stifling tee-times to hold you back with disc golf, and Iowa City, much like the rest of the state, is a central hub for the growing sport of disc golf. Not only are two great courses located less than a half-hour away (Turkey Creek & Sugar Bottom), but located within city limits and accesible by bike path, Iowa City’s own Peninsula Disc Golf Course is a challenging course waiting for some frisbee action.

Disc Golf Map

Hike @ Hickory Hill

Hickory Hill Park located on the north side of town is a true city asset waiting to be explored. With over 100 acres to the park, including an extensive trail system, now is a great time to go explore a more natural style of life within city limits. A few of the trails are a little mud-soaked currently, but you can still stay high and dry at Hickory while taking an afternoon stroll or all-day hike.

Marley Dawg



If you haven’t dove into the world of Geocaching in Iowa City, today is the perfect day to get started. Hidden in Iowa City and around the world, small trinkets and caches are secretly hidden into the landscape with GPS coordinates tied to their location. To find these Geocaches, these little buried treasures, all you need is a GPS-enabled device and a spark of interest to get you off the couch. To find out more information on how to get started, check out Iowa City Adventure: Geocaching Around Town

Geo-cache  2

Fishing at Sand Lake

Grab those rods, reels and your favorite bait as the ice descends and open-water fishing is back in action. Sand Lake, as part of the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, is not only a good place to cast your reel, but it’s a picturesque location to spend a sunny afternoon. There are a lot of places to fish in Iowa City, and wherever you go be sure to have the proper permits and gear (including possible Trout Stamps at Sand Lake), both of which are available at Fin & Feather.

Sand Lake

Bike the Trails

Whether it’s your fat bike, road bike, your recumbant or some crazy combination of all three, the bike trails that seemingly wind throughout Iowa City are a great place to let those pedals do their thing. With little elevation and wide turns, as well as a safe distance from most passing traffic, the trails are a very user-friendly bike commute option, just be sure to wear your helmet and watch out for other pedetrians.

Bike Trails Map


Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park

The only person who might enjoy the nice weather more than you is your four-legged friend, but hey, your pooch probably enjoys a lot of things more than you could ever enjoy anything (i.e. sniffing other dogs). Try living vicariously through your best friend this weekend by taking them to the Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park located in Peninsula Park. Check out the Iowa City Parks Website to learn about rules and permits at Thornberry.

Thornberry Dog Park
Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park Facebook

Run the Streets of Iowa City

Celebrate all that Iowa City has to offer by lacing up your sneakers and running the streets of the Old Capital of Iowa. There is little better way to fall in love with Iowa City than running through her side streets, hidden gems and surprisingly big hills. There are about a million different routes you can come up with, and you can almost guarantee finding a street you’ve never been down before if you run long enough, so what are you waiting for, let’s go!

A Tour of Iowa City


Camp at Fox 8
The Fox Campsites, located within the Macbride Nature Recreation Area, might be a little out of the Iowa City jurisdiction, but doesn’t a step back from the community we love make the adventure just that more enticing. With a short drive you can find quality campsites at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area, including the famous Fox 8, located at the end of a peninsula and overlooking the Iowa River. For reservation and additional information, be sure to check out the University of Iowa Recreational Services Website

Fox Campsites


Registration for Iowa City’s River-Run is Now Open

The 38th Annual River Run

The Iowa City River Run has been a community staple since 1979, and registration for 2016’s race in April is officially open to the public. Student rates run for $22 while general public goes for $27, and the majority of the proceeds go towards Uptown Bill’s Small Mall of Iowa City, which is sponsored by the Extend the Dream Foundation. If you haven’t seen it already, check out the poster that the race committee made up:




The Route

The River Run will start at Carver Hawkeye Arena this year on Sunday, April 24th, and send participants on a wheelchair-accessible 5k or 10k that winds through the neighborhoods surrounding Park Road, City Park & Riverside Drive. Race packet pickup can happen two days prior to race day at Uptown Bill’s or the day of the race at Carver, and with your registration you can expect timed results and a t-shirt commemorating the experience.




Beyond the Race Borders

Outside of the scheduled race event, the River Run has all sorts of ways to get involved, have some fun, and perhaps eat way too much pasta. Before the race, any young athletes (ages 2-8) can participate in the 50-yard Hawkeye Hustle dash, and all racers and spectators should take advantage of the Fitness Fair happening for three hours after the race which features food, drink and the latest in fitness sciences. As a way to carb up before the big race, Uptown Bill’s is hosting a pasta dinner the night before for only $5 a plate, which is well worth checking out even if you’re not running the next day.

Pasta Dinner



About Uptown Bill’s Small Mall

Named and created after an esteemed member of the Iowa City community, Bill Sackter, Uptown Bill’s is a collection of business ventures owned and operated by people with disabilities, including Uptown Bill’s Coffee House & Neighborhood Arts Center located at 730 South Dubuque Street. The Extend the Dream Foundation, which strives to provide education about and opportunities for the mentally-challenged members of the community, sponsors many of the series and programs put on by Uptown Bill’s Small Mall.

Uptown Bills

GoPro Iowa City: Sunrise Time-Lapse of the Old Capitol

GoPro cameras pack a lot of technology in a small case, and can turn your everyday moments into memories that will last a lifetime. Fin & Feather has the newest selection of GoPro cameras and mounts available (Your Guide to GoPro at Fin & Feather) and we can help you get set up for just the shot you want to take. For a little preview of what GoPro Cameras can do, check out this recent 10-second video shot over 45 minutes with a GoPro Hero Black in the Time Lapse Video setting (2.7k / .5 second interval):

*Audio by Megan Buick


To make your own GoPro Iowa City time lapse videos, stop into the store today and learn about the amazing features of these little cameras.

Friday’s Featured Product: Winter Clothing Sale Items

We don’t usually do a Featured Product on Fridays, but this one was too good to pass up. Stay warm this season and next with this wide assortment of featured products: Last Season’s Winter Apparel. That’s right, and we’re not just talking about one rack here, thanks to the somewhat seasonable (and nearly snow-less) winter almost in the rear view mirror, we’re gearing up for spring in a big way, and all those warm, comfortable and cozy winter items are looking for a new home at a discounted price.
To commemorate the new season of clothing and gear, Fin & Feather is back again with the 10, 20, 30% sale to save you the most on next season’s clothing. The clearance begins this Thursday (Feb. 25th), and while this sale might be a tongue-twister or brain buster at first glance, by breaking it down it’s easy to see how you might not only gain some valuable warm weather clothing, but save a few dollars while doing it.

10 20 30 sale.jpg

Lace Up Your Running Shoes with the Warmer Weather in Iowa City


While snowbirds may disagree, the weather is getting warmer here in Iowa City, and maybe it’s just the relative contrast to the past few weeks of below-freezing temperatures, but the newly founded sunlight extending each day feels like a welcome introduction to spring. There is little to no better way to celebrate these new days than lacing up the running shoes and hitting the streets and trails of Iowa City. We’re blessed with a runner-friendly community, and you’re set with the selection of running shoes and accessories found at Fin & Feather.Running Picture 2

Whether it’s high-vis clothing, new shoes to tackle the trail or road, or even a new Garmin Forerunner to track your progress (see below), Fin & Feather can not only get you geared up, but if you have any inquiries about the best routes to take, we can lend you some suggestions there as well. To get some inspiration to use those legs, thanks to the online resource Map My, you can check out some trails already blazed and make your own with this free online tool. Check out these routes, build your own, and whatever you do, enjoy the nice weather that is blowing in.


7 National Parks to Check Out for Spring Break from Iowa City

If you are one of the lucky citizens able to celebrate the national phenomenon known as Spring Break this year, then why not spend your time at the most magical places in the U.S., and no, we’re not talking about Disneyland. Our Nation’s National Parks are celebrating their 100th birthday this year, and everyone is invited to the party. Unfortunately for us Iowa denizens, the only National Park Units within our borders are Effigy Mounds National Monument & the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, and while this historic markers are worth a visit, they do not fully encapsulate all that the National Park Service has to offer. Being the adventurous Iowans that we are though, tracks have been blazed leading to some extraordinary National Parks from Iowa City, all of which should be some major considerations for any spring break plans:


Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Distance from Iowa City:556 Miles / 8.25 hours

Check it Out: Hop aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway with your next visit to Ohio and be treated to some of the best views you’d never expect to see outside of Akron. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located halfway between Akron and Cleveland, can give you that rustic getaway that you deserve this Spring Break.

cuyahoga Valley


Mammoth Caves National Park, Kentucky

Distance from Iowa City: 565 Miles / 8.5 hours

Check it Out: Serving as one of the oldest attractions in North America, Mammoth Caves NP has over 400 miles of explored underground passageways winding throughout the underside of the entire park. Caving shines a whole new light on the world of adventure, and with the large array of guided tours offered by the park, including introductory hikes along constructed pathways and all-day intensive crawls through the caves interior, you can take as big a slice of adventure as you want with a spring break spent underground.

Mammoth Cave NP


Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Distance from Iowa City: 574 Miles / 9.25 hours

Check it Out: Hop on the roads less traveled this Spring Break with a visit to Voyageurs National Park located to the west of the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota.Relive the days of french fur-traders that once frequented this remote wilderness, and be sure to strap on the canoes or kayaks for your trip and pack appropriately, because Voyageurs is a road-less wilderness, providing for the rare opportunity to truly get away from it all.


Voyageurs National Park


Badlands National Park

Distance from Iowa City:656 Miles / 9.5 hours

Check it Out: Providing a great entrance into the American west, the landscape of Badlands National Park sticks out of the earth like a sore-thumb, and nowhere else on this continent can you see geological deposits that jut from this area in South Dakota. If the Badlands prove to live up to their name, within a short car ride to the west you can find some landscape variety with the lush forests in the Black Hills, home to Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park and the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Badlands National Park


Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Distance from Iowa City: 758 Miles / 11.5 hours

Check it Out: Once you round the last crest en route to Great Smoky Mountains NP, you immediately come to understand where the park received its namesake. That’s because rolling across the lush forest that comprises America’s Most Visited National Park is a dense fog that appears to be smoke rising from the branches. Underneath that magical condensation is a world waiting for you to explore inhabited by a dense collection of wildlife, plants and memories that will last a lifetime.

Great Smoky Mountains 1


Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Distance from Iowa City: 819 Miles / 12 hours

Check it Out: Chances are you know somebody that can host you for the night in Colorado en route to Rocky Mountain National Park. Why not take advantage of that connection and visit the reason so many people are moving west in the first place. Rocky Mountain NP not only offers some of the most stunning vistas you’ll ever see, but with over 300 miles of trails to witness these amazing scenes of grandeur, it’s going to be hard to manage all your plans in one week. Whatever trail you choose, remember to stay hydrated as you gain elevation in the Colorado backcountry.  

Rocky Mountain


Yellowstone National Park, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho

Distance from Iowa City: 1,211 Miles / 18 hours

Check it Out: Put it into first gear and rotate drivers to visit Yellowstone NP this Spring Break. Officially designated as the Nation’s first National Park, Yellowstone would be the ideal place to celebrate the NPS Centennial. With your trip to Yellowstone, and any part of the 3,450+ square miles it inhibits, through the geysers and mountain peaks you’ll see for yourself why protecting these lands is so important.    

Yellowstone Valley



Wednesday’s Featured Product: The Original BUFF

Keep your options open with this Wednesday’s featured product: BUFF – The Original Multi-Functional Headwear. These supreme weather accessories can be used as a bandanna, balaclava, headband, sweat rag, turtleneck and more. About the only thing more versatile than The Buff is a collection of Buffs in different styles and colors. Check them out at Fin & Feather and find the one that is right for you.

Recipient of the Editor’s Choice Gold Award from Backpacker Magazine for delivering top products five years in a row, Buffs are made to suit many different adventures from fishing to mountaineering and everything in between including taking Fido out for an evening walk. That’s because when you wear a Buff, you customize it to meet your needs, and that versatility can be worth its weight in gold, or in case of a the Merino Buff, worth its weight in wool.

BUff headshot – Buff U.S.A

Three of the staple lines in the Buff Collection carried at Fin & Feather include the Merino Buff, made out of 100% Merino Wool; the UV Buff made from Coolmax fabric; and the Original Buff that started it all, constructed of 100% microfiber polyester. Either one of these, or all three Buff products are going to be a valuable and versatile addition to your everyday wardrobe, and once you take one home yourself you’ll see why the Original Buff is here to stay.  


Your Guide to Garmin at Fin & Feather

Never lose your way again with the helpful products from Garmin at Fin & Feather. Whether you are looking to track your steps during the day or find your way back to your secret fishing hole, Garmin does have a wide-array on the shelf, and Fin & Feather has the ones you need to go on any Iowa adventure and beyond. Stop in the store to see these latest models yourself:



Vivofit 2 + HRVivofit

Arguably one of the best fitness trackers on the market today, the Vivofit 2 from Garmin is a wearable tracker that counts your steps and keeps you motivated to keep you moving. Featuring an accelerometer to accurately track all of your activities, the Vivofit 2 stands out from the competition thanks to its 1+ year battery life (no recharging) and it’s interactive community associated with it (Garmin Connect). For those active members of your family, or those wanting to be active, the Vivofit 2 is an easy, no-nonsense and affordable tracking device that is a must-have for every athlete.



Kick it up a notch with the Vivoactive GPS smartwatch. Step tracking is the just the tip of the iceberg in terms of abilities of the Vivoactive smartwatch, and within this ultra-thin, wearable computer you can track a variety of sports, customize your Garmin experience and stay in touch all while doing it. Easily paired to your smartphone device, receive text, phone calls and email alerts via vibrations to your wrist, and with custom apps to track biking, running, hiking, swimming and even golf, you can find that balance between work and life that you’ve been looking for.


Forerunner Series

For the active runners out there, the Forerunner Series from Garmin (either the Forerunner 25, 230 or 630) is the best running partner you can ask for. With advanced activity monitoring and GPS-enabled tracking, you can know exactly where you stand with your training program, health plan, or general love for running. The higher model you choose from the Forerunner series, the more information you’ll receive about your running including cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time in the 630 series.   


eTrex Series

The eTrex 10 & 20 is the entry-level GPS series from Garmin, but don’t be fooled by the lower price compared to other models, these rugged and dependable GPS units are what the brand was built upon. Featuring few frills, the eTrex 10 is perfect for maintaining your own location, setting waypoints, navigating backcountry, and participating in paperless geocaching (see: Iowa City Adventure; Geocaching). The eTrex 20 takes things to the next level with enhanced memory, an ability to add more maps and a color display for increased readability, and both units enable all sorts of hiking and trekking based adventures. the eTrex series from Garmin can help you locate your hunting stand, navigate you through canyon walls and keep you grounded no matter what foreign location you visit.



GPSMAP 64Gps64

For a full-featured GPS unit that you can rely on, look no further then the GPSMAP 64. Featuring a built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief, you can literally go anywhere with the GPSMAP 64 and never lose your way (unintentionally). With available microSD slots and 4 GB of onboard memory, you can load new maps, explore different terrain, and track all of your adventures with the GPSMAP 64.

Take a Trip with Iowa Voyageurs & the University of Iowa Alumni Association

Operating as one of the oldest alumni travel programs in the Big 10, Iowa Voyagers has been offering Iowa alumni the opportunity to partake on unforgettable adventures since 1961. Traveling cross-country and across oceans, Iowa Voyagers has an extensive list of over 60 world-class destinations offered, spanning from the American West to the Blue Danube, and the best news yet, you don’t necessarily have to be an alumni to participate. The University and Iowa Voyagers encourage friends and family to tag along for these trips of a lifetime, and require only one person in the group to be an eligible and enrolled member of the Alumni Association. For more information on the Iowa Voyager program, be sure to check out their website, and in the meantime check out some of the trips offered within the continental U.S.:


Great Parks of California (June 18th – 26th)

California has many claims to fame, but arguably the most noteworthy attraction you can find in the Golden State is the many significant and awe-inspiring nature sanctuaries that reside in its borders. From the conservation inspiring Yosemite National Park to the shores of Lake Tahoe, this week long trip has a real chance of slipping by all too fast, but thanks to a few final nights of human interaction in the wine country of Sonoma and the streets of San Francisco, the trip is guaranteed to end on a high note.  



Colorado Multi-Sport (June 19th – June 25th)

Join the University’s Touch the Earth program on a multi-sport adventure in one of America’s most adventurous states. This trip, custom-tailored for adventurous clientele, delivers a spectrum of fun ranging from white-water rafting the Arkansas River to horseback riding in the Rocky Mountains. Few other places in the United States can offer such a range of activity that Colorado provides, and few other alumni-sponsored trips can pull off all this high-adrenaline excitement, so be sure to book your spot today.

Touch the Earth Pic - DELETE
Photo: University of Iowa Touch the Earth 


National Parks and Historic Lodges of the U.S. West

In celebration of the National Park System’s centennial happening in 2016, hop aboard the National Parks and Historic Lodges adventure offered by Iowa Voyagers. Featuring a perfect introduction to the American West via the Black Hills of South Dakota, this adventure continues on into the first designed National Park in our country, Yellowstone. Experience the sights, sounds and bisons of these rugged places where frontiers were built, and see for yourself why we’re lucky to be alive during the historic National Park Centennial.

Yellowstone Entrance


Great Pacific Northwest: Portland to Clarkston (September 17th – September 25th)

Experience the beauty that is the Pacific Northwest in a unique way as you gently chug along the American Empress, one of the largest riverboats west of the Mississippi, and travel your way from Portland, Oregon to Clarkston, Washington. Feel the mighty Columbia river push you along as you stop and take the time to enjoy a little culture on the shores and witness perhaps the greatest scenery found in the United States.




Check out these other International Adventures with Iowa Voyagers:

Around the World Odyssey (January 1st – July 1st)

Patagonia and the Antarctic (January 26th – February 14th)

Cuban Discovery (February 27th – March 6th)

Waterways of Holland and Belgium (April 7th – April 15th)

Wonders of the Galapagos (February 28th – March 8th)

Sultans and Palaces: Turkey & Greece (May 4th – May 12th)

Africa’s Wildlife (October 2nd – October 15th)

Canary Islands Celebration (October 5th – October 18th)

The Art of Living in Tuscany (October 7th – October 29th)

Revisiting Egypt and the Eternal Nile (October 3rd – 17th)

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