Deer Path Trail In Hartman Creek State Park, Waupaca, WI

Everyone who visits Waupaca,WI will have been told to check out Hartman Creek State Park and the Chain O Lakes. Without a doubt these two places are two of the fine treasures of this area. If you do anything that involves a paddle you must make a trip to paddle the Chain O Lakes.

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However, since our first visit here a few years back I have been wanting to hike this area and never seem to find the time…that is until now. I made the trip this past weekend for a solo hike on Deer Path Trail in Hartman Creek State Park.

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Deer path trail was about a mile long and I would easily rate this as easy. One of the shortest hikes in the park but one I found to be very nice and peaceful.

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This trail loops around Allen Lake and the trail head and parking lot are easily located by good signage upon entering the main entrance of the park.

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I did print off a trail map before leaving home, however, for this trail it was well marked and easy to follow without needing the map. You basically follow the lake around.

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Kids could have so much fun hiking this trail. There were so many places to easily access the lake to search for critters and such and many benches for mom and dad to sit and let them explore while hiking.

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Terrain on this trail changed a few times. It starts out with a small trail which was not pleasant for me since I prefer wide trails for the simple reason it’s easier to see snakes. However, it widens and narrows throughout the entire mile and brings you through a pine forest, up a few hills, and one big trail hazard I had to climb over but I am sure the park employees will take care of this in the near future.

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If your looking for a nice, quick hike in this area and don’t want to spend a lot of time researching a trail, this would be an easy one for anyone to do. Or if your camping in the park and need your children occupied while you relax, this is perfect. Bring some little nets, a bucket, and maybe a magnifying glass and let them explore while you relax.

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Recent Favorite Finds

I am pretty excited and happy to share some of my favorite finds with you all today. I am not a big internet buff so I typically find my favorites in grocery stores and on trails…that of which I have not been able to enjoy much of yet this year. So if your into food and fun read on.

A few weeks ago I bought a jar of these and had to go back for three more jars to last me awhile. They are so fantastic and I love them as an afternoon snack.

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As I plan for our upcoming camping trip I happily came across a new to us dehydrated meal that I am excited to try. We have learned the hard way never to buy a different brand than what we like when that will be the only food source we have available while hiking. This however, will be an addition to a regular campsite meal so no one will be going hungry if it turns out to be horrible.

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We watch a lot of cooking shows on television and many use creole seasoning in their dishes. I have been dying to try this and finally found one in our local grocery store. I LOVE it. It is now my go to seasoning for anything that needs a bit of a kick.

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Have you  ever tried scrambling eggs in a Blender Bottle? We did and it was genius. So easy, fast, and simple. This would be awesome at a campsite….less mess:-)

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Applesauce is one of the dullest fruits in my opinion. Recently, when I was at a bed and breakfast we were served applesauce with a bit of fruit on top and now I add some fruit at home and my kids eat this up without any hesitation. They enjoy it more and so do I.

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One pot meals call to me in my sleep sometimes. OK, maybe not exactly, but when I dream of doing dishes it’s time to concentrate on making more one pot meals. And that is exactly what I have been concentrating on for family meals. This one was outstanding with pasta, shrimp, and veggies all cooked in one pot. Add the cheese at the end, stir, and serve. Now is that easy or is that easy?

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Remember those pancakes we tried to see if my stomach could handle keeping these down unlike all the other pancakes we have tried in the past? Well, I have good and bad news to share. First, the good news….they are probably the best pancakes I have ever tasted. Bad news, they still made me ill. (Do you want to know why…read here)

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That should do it for me today…..do you have anything to add?

Did You Know….

Did you know….that in WI you can purchase your yearly state park entry sticker for full price ($28) and they offer a second sticker for a second vehicle for a reduced rate? We never did until a few years ago and for us this is a bonus since we need three for our household.

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Did you know…. that my dream someday is to section hike the Appalachian Trail? As of today I have 6 miles completed which is hardly a start but it’s still a start. I have read numerous books about it and just started one that was recommended to me called AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller. So far I am really enjoying it.

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Did you know….I cannot mix meatloaf or meatballs without wearing rubber gloves? My husband thinks this is hilarious. Although, he has learned not to laugh at me since he loves both meatloaf and meatballs and if he laughs at me then I don’t make them.

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Did you know….I love to grab takeout menus from various restaurants and recreate some of the dishes at home? I think this is such an easy way to come up with variety for home menus. Plus, typically there are many different things that sound so wonderful and who can order more than one entree while out for a meal. My friend recently chuckled at me when I grabbed menus at every restaurant we stopped at and I told her this is what I do with them. Doesn’t anyone else do this???

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Did you know….pancakes are one of our favorite camp breakfasts when we are headed out for a day of hiking? However, since surgery (January2016) I have a hard time eating pancakes….and I mean a real hard time. Well, as you all know, we have made our first camp reservations of the year and I am also convinced that I can find a pancake I can eat without losing the contents of my stomach within minutes, by this trip. I recently was told to try Kodiak brand so I picked up a box and we are going to give it a test run here at home. Let’s hope for the best since these are full of protein and would be perfect for a prehike breakfast.

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Did you know….that even though our son takes family, graduation, wedding, and professional pictures for everyone else, I have never had him take a professional picture of our family? Why you ask…..well honestly, a nicely dressed, matching outfits, sitting on a stone man made fence is not my idea of what my family is and/or looks like. So why would I want a picture that does not describe who we are as a family? I have some of the best pictures of all of us, us as a couple, and just myself on trails in some of the most beautiful places ever and I cherish these and the fact that he was there to capture the moment with his camera.

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Did you know….that I am so ready for winter to be over with already? We had a burst of spring like temperatures and now we are back to full blown winter. Add in the few snowfalls we have also had since these nice days and ugggg, I am ready to be done. We have some big plans for this upcoming weekend and hopefully it will be all good. I am in the market for some new hiking boots, a stop at Trader Joe’s, and a nice dinner somewhere other than in good ole Green Bay. Hopefully this brightens my mood and if it doesn’t I think we may plan a hike on a WI state trail that we have not visited in a while. Rarely, do we hike south of Green Bay but I recall it being a nice trail. If we make this happen I will be sure to keep you all updated on the trail conditions in this area.

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Weekend Recap- Thai Cuisine, Happy Birthday, and Camping Trip Plans

As usual the weather forecast changed from warm and beautiful Saturday to cold and blustery so geocaching was once again put off a bit further. However, that does not mean we did not have fun along with a bit of work.

Let’s recap everything from the last few days….I found out I LOVE Thai cuisine. We tried it for the first time with my brother and it was fabulous. We all got different meals and we all tried each others and I think I picked the winner of the night. I went with what they called volcano chicken and OMG was it good. I, of course, forgot to take a picture but I do have a pic of the appetizer we all tried.

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Our first camping plans of the year have been made. We are finally headed to a new WI state park that I have been wanting to visit for a few years now. It kept getting put off with all our health issues (herniate discs, abdominal surgery etc.) the past few years, but we finally are making the trip to Interstate State Park in a few weeks and hopefully all this darn snow is gone by then.

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I also celebrated my birthday this weekend with a new treat my husband found while grocery shopping. My favorite candy bar of all time is Mounds and he stumbled across Mounds pudding in the store and I had to give it a try. Plus, he said birthday calories don’t count. Let’s hope so because it was wonderful.

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I also bought myself a birthday gift while out and about this weekend. Two pair of workout leggings for those chilly but active days outside. I am not a big fan of full length leggins at the gym but outside in the spring and fall they are a welcome addition to the trail. Plus, they were an awesome price so I just had to get them.

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Saturday I finally made a return to the gym. It had been two weeks since I had been there and it felt so great. I am finally over whatever virus I had and I felt I could handle a good sweaty workout with no big breathing issues.

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That sums up my weekend. Nothing too exciting but it was a nice quiet weekend which is sometimes a welcomed thing.

 

Rocky Mountains N.P., Grand Tetons N.P. or Shenandoah N.P.

I need some help from all my fellow hikers out there in cyber land. We are trying to plan our next big adventure and we all have different thoughts on what direction to go. And this time our plan is to drive and not fly. So this is really going to be an adventure. Although, our last vacation was also an adventure in itself flying…that is after we finally got off the ground, found our luggage twice, and rented a car to drive the remainder of the way home since the airlines could not seem to get us home for two more days. So driving it is because I am not ready to board another airplane any time soon.

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So I need some advice, thoughts, suggestions, and any information you can share in regards to these three national parks or their surrounding areas. Best hikes, best places to stay, things to do, and any things not to do.

Comment or email me at rednatural1973@gmail.com.

Thank You!!!!

 

 

A Taste Of Southern Living

Hello, hello!! It feels great to be home…although life has been crazy since we walked back in the door here, it’s still great to be home.

My family has spent the last week in the state of Tennessee and we had a great time living life southern style. I tried turnip green for the first time ever and loved them.

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We all enjoyed sweet tea at almost every meal.

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Southern hospitality is much better than midwest hospitality…let me tell you!

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And as a recommendation from a fellow blogger, one of the first things we made sure to try was pimento cheese spread. My son was very reluctant but ultimately, we ended up going through two packages of this fabulous cheese spread in the 6 days we were in the area. It is so yummy, I can’t wait to remake this recipe at home.

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And for me….well the temperature in this area in January is something to be so thankful for. I was thrilled to walk off the plane, pick up our rental vehicle, and see the temperature was 70 degrees at 6 p.m.. I told myself over and over all through the week, Karen it is January….and it is still COLD at home.

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In all honesty, this trip was quickly planned and we ended up replanning once before leaving home and once while sitting in airports delayed by ice storms all along the way. Originally, we were not planning on doing any hiking over three miles if at all, we knew we needed to do some business while in the area, and it was basically going to be a bonus if the area was snow free, warm and we could find time to have some fun. Well, we had much more fun than business and I am pretty proud of what we did with no training what so ever for this trip.

This is one amazing state to see and it was a great escape of the midwest winter I suffer through every year. I can’t wait to share more with you about what we all did in the area but for now here is s sneak peek.

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Recent Thoughts, Recent Eats, Recent Randomness

Where should I begin…..

Thoughts, ideas, inspirations, dreams….do you all have them rolling around in your brain like I do? Sometimes they drive me a bit crazy but I often wonder if they aren’t meant to do that. Some of the things rolling around in my head range from where to camp this coming summer,

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to what trails I want to hike this year,

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to what state do I want to toss at my family and see if they are on board to go visit.

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I would love to plan a girls weekend where all my girl friends escape the role of wife and mother and just be us for a few hours. No worries where this child is or that child is, what we will be preparing for dinner, how high the dirty dishes are stacking up or how much laundry I need to eventually make time to get done.

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I am not a big shopper but I want to plan a Trader Joe’s trip(2 hours from us is the nearest) and also want to make a trip to the next REI garage sale day for members(again, another 2 hours from us).

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I have a million recipes I want to try in my new dutch oven. However, I have been using it quite a bit with old recipes and so far I am thrilled…it is fabulous. Big huge thank you to one of my daycare families for this wonderful gift.

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I also have a list of places to research for possible destinations to visit and I am really feeling the need for elevation…..a long trail that’s leads up where no one else is typically found when you finally reach the top. In other words, a little peace and quiet to gather all these thoughts and put them in order of importance.

So let’s move onto an easier topic….recent eats. This last week it’s been all about cleaning up the frig and open food in the pantry. I hate leaving home and having to throw out food. So it’s been a bit of random meals but still good meals per say.I have been really enjoying spicy black bean salads for my lunches. I am not a big side salad person but give me a meal salad and I am all in.

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With winter chill in my bones I have been really enjoying oatmeal for lunch also. Oatmeal is not a family favorite so when I get the chance to make it for just me I do.

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We had one bottle of Trader Joe’s curry sauce left and it was time to enjoy it since I had a few chicken breast we needed to eat up. My son and I were in heaven…..hubby…not so much. He had italian chicken breast instead. He is not a fan of curry in anything…party pooper.

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Let’s see, workouts have been going great. I have been concentrating on weekends at the gym and maybe one day during the week since right now it is so crowded it’s more stressful to go that not to go. Weekends are busy but not nearly what Monday thru Friday are at the moment. I have not been outside to exercise in quite sometime….and even though I miss fresh air, I have no urge what so ever to go outside to “play”! Too much snow for this desert loving girl!

I know my husband is waiting patiently to go ice fishing for the first time this winter which really causes me anxiety. Although, this year it seems he is going with someone new and it could prove to be very interesting to hear about when they get home. We shall see….

I am trying to figure out when and how I plan to surprise my boys with something they purchased me for Christmas and of course, I want them to share in the fun of it also. They thought it would be a great gag gift to buy me a brick of ration bars. Why…..who knows??? All I can tell you is, when they least expect good ole mom to have snacks in the snack bag while 10 miles back in the middle of nowhere….this is all I am going to produce and they are going to share in the fun of trying it if they are hungry enough. Fun will be had by all of us;-)

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For now I will leave you with all this. You may not feel better but I feel a bit lighter.

If you feel the need to get something off your mind…feel free in the comment section….I will listen.