Paddling The Chain O Lakes in Waupaca, WI-Summer 2017

We finally made it to my favorite place to paddle…. Waupaca, WI and the Chain O Lakes. Upon waking up Saturday morning we had originally planned to head to Door County.  Although, after watching the weather forecast, I quickly changed my mind and suggested we head to Waupaca. You see, when its hot here in Green Bay then Door County is typically 20 degrees cooler and that would put their temps right about 70-75…..too cold for me to enter the water. And I had my heart set on paddling and doing some lake swimming. I suggested this quick change of plans to my husband and he said….let’s do it! So we did!

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Upon arrival, we were not surprised to see some very large trees down between the chain of lakes since we saw some big trees along the highway while driving. However, everything down and in the path of the lakes is easy to get around in both kayaks, canoes, and standup paddle boards.

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As usual, I go to paddle/swim and my husband never forgets his fishing pole. Three casts in and he caught his first northern pike of the day. It was going to be a good day;-)

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Since we arrived by 9:30 Saturday morning the parking lot was still easily doable and I made my way immediately to the public dock on Marl Lake to get in my swim I was hoping for. Marl is probably my favorite lake here…..it’s crystal clear and has the most turtles which I love. However, the public dock where we beach our kayaks to swim fills up quickly on nice days so I wanted to get this in before it was too busy.

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Next, it was time to make our way back through the water path to another one of the lakes.

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At this point we passed by where we were parked and noticed that the number of people starting to show up had nearly tripled. Wow, they just kept coming and the lot was nearly full with cars, trucks, and trailers.

Making our way through Beasley Creek was once again a pain in the butt as always. We were hoping with the amount of rain we have had in the area lately that there would be enough water to paddle the entire creek but no luck. Although, this time we planned ahead just in case and my husband grabbed a piece of kayak strapping and threw it in his kayak. This way I held his boat, stayed in mine, and he pulled me and his kayak through with little effort.

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I enjoyed the ride and captured a beautiful hawk hiding out in the trees right next to the creek edge.

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Arriving at the next lake in the chain he again caught a fish after a few casts and this time it was a nice bass.

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Our entire day was a success. No rain, abundant sunshine, warm water, and great fishing. And I even had my first swim of 2017 in a lake…..it was a great way to spend a Saturday.

 

 

It’s Cooler By The Lake

As life would have it high heat and humidity in WI bring the risk of sever thunderstorms which brings a quick change of plans. So what do we do to escape the heat but still be outside, we head to the lake….Lake Michigan that is.

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Originally, we had plans to paddle the chain of Lakes in Waupaca but quickly made a change since the sustained winds were 30mph or higher and thunderstorms were a possibility. We have been there, done that before, and we were not willing to relive this possibility again. However, it was a weekend, the sun was shining, and it was HOT! Which meant I wanted to be outside where I am happiest, so my husband suggested we head lakeside and tour lighthouses and walk the piers since the waves would be fun to see. I was all in!!!

We started in Kewaunee, WI but were quickly disappointed to find the lighthouse was under construction and the pier was closed.

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We did see a wedding just finishing up lakeside. What a gorgeous place to say I love You!

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Being we have been here many times before, we also brought the watermelon rind from the watermelon I cut up before leaving home and grabbed a few carrots to feed to the deer at a local wildlife park in this area. They seemed to enjoy the cool treats.

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Next we headed to Algoma, WI and had lunch at a place my husband has eaten at numerous times for business lunches but I have only visited once with a friend for coffee. Wow, what a fabulous lunch we had. They have an enormous menu, indoor and outdoor seating(with blankets provided since it’s always cooler by the lake), and some wonderful desserts which we did not indulge in sadly.

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After lunch we visited the Algoma pier which waves were crashing over so hard that we were also not able to walk to the end. Although, the view was quite spectacular and it was much colder…..87 at home….64 in Algoma! BRRRRR!!!!

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Even the pelicans seemed to be struggling in the high winds.

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Our last pier of the day was Sturgeon Bay. This is always my favorite. It’s so beautiful.

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While here we even got to witness a “not so wise” family attempt to take on the waves with their boat and quickly decided it was too much to handle when the turned back around shortly after.

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Thankfully, the coast guard boat never had to leave the dock and rescue them. However, whether they know it or not, on shore they had quite the audience watching them attempt this crazy stunt.

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And that was our Saturday…..still spent outside but at times I did have to wear my jacket.So if your looking for a break from the heat and humidity you can never go wrong heading to the lake shore and exploring the area. It has so much to offer… just don’t forget a light jacket.

As for Sunday, much of the same weather was expected so I stayed home and did some things of my own and my husband and son headed out for a quick fishing trip. Successful fishing trip it was…..here is what they brought home. WOW!!!!

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Summer Fun At The Milwaukee County Zoo

Are you looking for something to do in WI this summer? For a full day of fun you could visit the Milwaukee County Zoo. My husband and I used to take our son here years ago and recently we decided to go as a couple.

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It has been at least 6 years since I last visited this zoo and I was quite amazed at the difference now compared to back then. First, let me say gooood jobbbb to all the employees today….the zoo is much cleaner than it ever used to be. Very noticeable and nicely kept.

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It took us about 4 hours to see the entire zoo and we did none of the specialty rides or attractions except for the special exhibit that was happening during the time we were there. So I would bet a family with kids could literally spend an entire day here if they wanted to explore the entire zoo.

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Upon our arrival it was raining so we choose to do all the inside exhibits first where you walk between building viewing animals.

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Which worked out perfectly since the rain stopped right before lunch time which meant we could then do all the large outdoor exhibits without getting wet.

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I was really happy to see that they still offer the opportunity to carry in picnic food. They offer many eatery places along the way or a place to grab a quick snack but in my opinion, all the prices are very expensive.Take a look at some menu choices inside the zoo.

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Although, with a little planning you can easily pack a nice picnic and enjoy this just the same for a lot less cost. We even saw families tail gating in the parking lot and if you know anything about WI, you know that we are professional tailgaters here.

As for the special exhibit going on while we were visiting….this was also an extra cost of $10 per adult above and beyond the admission price. And when I saw what the special exhibit was I was all in since I LOVED going to see the Body Works( a few years back) I just had to see the Animals Inside Out also.

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If your looking for a great place to spend some family time and learn about nature and wildlife, give a thought to visiting the Milwaukee County Zoo. Your children will love it and so will adults.

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*** All opinions are my own regarding this establishment. All admission fees, parking, and special events were also paid by myself.

 

 

Photos Speak Louder Than Words-Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Since photos often speak louder than words…..let me recap Memorial Day weekend for you simply using photos and very few words.

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Wow, what a weekend!!! We finally dusted off our paddles from the long winter, had a little fog one morning, rain another morning, and relived a place that we use to take our son every year when he was smaller. We enjoyed dinner outside at our favorite place….the front porch and we all are feeling rejuvenated and ready for a great summer ahead.

Did you do anything fun you care to share….if so feel free to comment?

 

 

 

Time For A Good Ole’ Brain Dump

Where did May go? I seriously feel as if it just began and we are almost to the end, ready to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, and begin summer. I would never say I am not ready for summer but this year I have an assortment of things I want to get on the calendar but have not quite pinned any certain dates down quite yet.

A lot has been happening around here which could be adding to my craziness…..new jobs mean new schedules, new eating restrictions mean careful menu planning, a new grocery store mean a girls date night needs to be set to check this out, camping plans, kayaking/SUP plans, gym visits have been pushed aside for exercise outdoors, new summer recipes being run through in my head but rarely make it to the dinner table, and so on. Yeh, I am a bit overwhelmed….add work, sleep, and yard work to the mix and well, you could say I am a bit stressed. However, I know summer only last a few short months and when winter comes along I have all the time in the world to catch up so I have to say…..bring it on….I am so ready!

First, lets talk new job. Our son started his new job and is really enjoying it so far. You all know he is working on becoming a professional photographer and this new job is right up his alley. Yes, I am sure there will be some hiccups along the way but all in good time things will work out. And, as a bonus, we may be able to get back to river kayaking easier since he should have one day off every weekend. Without three people and two vehicles it is next to impossible to kayak a river and have a chase vehicle for the end.

New diet restrictions have come into play here when after so long and no results you start to become your own medical advocate. Two years ago after receiving a diagnosis of IBS regarding stomach issues that my husband was having and seeing no results as far as improvement, I finally did some researching myself. (Especially since you all know how I feel about the medical profession in regards to taking 3 years to find my issue when I saw numerous specialists….I no longer have a whole lot of trust in doctors.) I read numerous articles, research documents, and testimonies from patients regarding the issues artificial sweeteners added to our foods can cause a body. After some thought and label reading of some of the food my husband loves to eat…..I was mortified to say the least. I then approached him, we discussed it, and he said he would try anything, so we kicked this plan into action immediately. And now I am here to tell you that in some cases IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome) may be a definite diagnosis but in other cases it is simply a case of BS(Bull Shit)!!!! He has been on this no artificial sweetener diet for three weeks and is a completely different person!!!!! He has lost so much belly bloat it is amazing…..I wish we would have measured his stomach before this all took place since it’s simply unbelievable. We are trying to figure out how his work travel will allow this type of diet since eating out is sometimes a challenge but I am confident we nailed this one and he is on his way to feeling better once again. If you have been diagnoses with IBS and are not seeing your symptoms improve with diet and/or medication….give this a try….you may be happily surprised. He sure was and he has even started enjoying some of the foods that use to almost kill him like sprouts again.

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Now, this has me so completely excited it is really quite funny when you think about it…..we are getting a new grocery store here in my hometown. Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market is a natural and organic grocery store and apparently it is coming here and is almost ready to open. I know….how did I not know this??? Well, for #1. I do not travel on Oneida St. unless I have to which is where this is opening and #2. I do not follow events that happen here in Green Bay since I rarely stay in Green Bay to do anything I consider fun. Which will then make you ask…then how did I hear about it? I actually had to travel Oneida Street one evening and my goodness, there are like three new restaurants, this new grocery store, and a few new clothing/shoe venues I had no idea where even being built much less already opened. It’s very touristy(which I tend to avoid) in this area but I will be one of the first to brave the crowds in July to check this grocery store out. We have even already tossed out a girls night suggestion to check it out all together….I will let you all know what I think when it opens. Until then….have you ever been to one yourself…..tell me what you think?

Outdoor exercise has completely taken over our lives and I have not been to the gym on a regular basis in weeks. Here and there is the best I can do since it’s time to start making paddling weekend plans, SUP plans, and I am hiking every chance I get. I am always ok with this since the membership is super cheap and I spend all of winter in the gym. Which means, come summer I have no guilt what so ever about missing gym workouts. Besides the outdoors has so much more to offer.

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I have so many summer time recipes floating around in my head its ridiculous. However, getting them to the dinner table is somewhat of a challenge since I spend most of my days outside with my daycare children and most of my weekends away from home having some fun of my own. Although, once in a while it rains and this gives me time to actually prepare some of these recipes floating up there in my head. Recently, I made an orzo pasta salad with wild picked asparagus(thank you honey), kalamata olives, feta cheese, garlic, and smoked salmon. Then I whipped up a quick lemon-dill vinaigrette to drizzle over this. Oh yum, it was a keeper for sure.

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That should do it for now. Anything you are excited about you wish to share? Leave a comment as I would love to hear it.

 

Some Of The Best Places Are The Places You Never Planned To Visit

While on road trips we have stumbled upon some of the greatest areas in our state. On our way home from camping recently, we visited Big Falls county park that really made me want to dust off my kayak paddle and relive 5 years ago in the whitewater rapids.

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Instead, I settled for dipping my feet in for awhile since it was freezing cold. It’s also been awhile since I have tackled any sort of rapids with my kayak. Although, we may give it a try this summer since our son may have the time to join us and be the chase vehicle.

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At this county park we visited it was lined with huge rocks along the river and offered hiking, fishing, and even pothole excavation for treasures.

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I can only imagine this place in mid summer being packed with people with all the sand, swimming, and fishing that could happen here. We can definitely add this to the list of one more amazing place we have stumbled upon while we escape the big city where we live.

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***There is a $3 fee to park and enter this park.

Primitive Camping Actually Means Four Wheel Drive Camping

When I booked our campsite for our weekend near Interstate State Park I knew I wanted a site away from all the action, the entrance, and the shower house. Plus, I needed a site that could accommodate three tents since their were five people in our party. Typically, campgrounds do not let three tents on one site plus two vehicles but this campground had a sight away from all the action and big enough for us all. Perfect…..right? The lady said it was a quiet site and primitive…..she forgot to mention that we would need a vehicle capable of making it to the site. Thankfully, we did not have our Honda Civic for this trip since that would have been even funnier than it already was.

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We arrived mid afternoon and began setting up immediately. Three tents up, gathering wood for campfires, and organizing camp.

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I then left to find the nearest bathroom since the middle of the night was not that far off. Needless to say, it was quite a distance to walk at 2a.m. in bear country, so I knew if need be it would be a quick trip to the nearest tree. Life goes on…I did ask for primitive.

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After camp was set the guys were all itching to get in some fishing. So after a quick lesson for one of our friends on how to tie fishing lure knots, we headed to the river.

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I wandered around the park we found while the guys tried fishing. However, it did not take long to see that the fish were not biting here so we headed back to camp for dinner and a campfire. Our son taught our friend how to light a campfire with flint and steel which is always fun. Some succeed and some do not….he did very well.

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Saturday morning I climbed out of my tent to see this beautiful sunrise before we visited Interstate State Park both in WI and MN to hike. You can read more about that adventure here.

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After a day of hiking and fishing at the parks we headed back to camp once again to clean and prepare their catch.

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For those of us that were not into the “cave man” type of eating…..roasted fish on a stick (that would be me) they also made some fillets. All while I threw together a quick cheesy taco casserole.

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And just as I watched the sun rise on the day I also watched it set feeling like we had a pretty fun day.

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