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.

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Interstate State Park -St. Croix Falls, WI/Taylor Falls, MN

Hi, we are back from our extended weekend adventure to Interstate State Park located on the border of WI and MN.I had been looking forward to this park for quite some time and in all honesty, I was quite disappointed. Not so much in the park itself but in the hiking trails.

The park itself was gorgeous….but if you are looking for a good hike, distance is not to be had here at all. Most hikes seem to be over before we even started. Even the hard rated hike of Summit Rock was quite easy. A beautiful hike but not difficult by any means.

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We also combined the Echo Canyon trail since they basically intersect. This brought us low and right next to the St Croix.

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After this we then added the River Bluff trail and the Lake O the Dalles trail to make our total hike a whopping 2.65 miles of hiking. However, we did find a few geocaches along this trail which added to the adventure.

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Like I said, someone could easily do this entire park in a few hours since nothing is very long. All these trails were accessed from the Summit Trail parking lot.

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After these we headed to another parking lot to do the most popular trail in the park according to the park ranger I spoke to before leaving home regarding hikes and fishing regulations. By this time, I was pretty much hoping for a spectacular hike since so far I was not thrilled. We arrived knowing it was a short hike(less than a half mile round trip) but apparently there are some amazing pot holes to see. Which there were when we got to them but nothing I would call amazing. At least not on the WI side of this park. Here is one picture I took of our friend standing inside one of the potholes.

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We then packed up and headed across HWY. 8 to the Minnesota side of the park and took the small hike of 8 city blocks to see their Pothole trail. This was much more impressive even if it was only 8 blocks long.

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The guys even resorted to making there own fun by doing pull ups on a pine tree branch.

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All in all both sides were very short, nice views but short. And by far if you are looking to see potholes in the rocks make your way to the Minnesota side since it is much more impressive.

The rest of the day we spent fishing on the WI side of the park and then headed back to camp which I will share this part of our trip next….when I have time to type it. Let me just say, camp was much more fun and we had some great laughs that’s for sure!!!!

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*****Yes, to answer the first question I will surely receive by many people looking to visit this park….you do need to pay on both sides if you do not have a WI state park pass and also a MN state park pass.

***** Yes, fishing rules are different on WI vs. MN sides so do your research and make sure you know what you can fish for and how to transport them over the state line if you plan to keep your catch.

Geocaching, Disc Golf, Fishing, Hiking….Just Not Enough Time In One Weekend

Do you ever feel like you never have enough time in one weekend to do everything you wish to do? We do quite often…this past weekend was one of them. However, we did fit in quite a bit of fun along with some chores that needed to be done also.

First off, Saturday morning we wanted to cross off a few things on the to do list so we made a trip to a local retailer to buy 8 bags of mulch.

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While I spread mulch around our house my husband prepared the boat for the 2017 season and also pressure washed outside toys, tables, chairs, and high chairs from the long winter. This always brightens up everything and is so easy to do.

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Add in a few loads of laundry and some bedding that was cleaned and hung outside to dry and it was now time to have some fun.

We finally went geocaching. In case you missed our new goal announcement, we have decided to section hike the entire Mountain Bay Trail and while doing this we also plan to search and find all the placed geocaches along the way.

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We searched and found all but two in a 4.5 mile section.One was not even attempted do to the width of the ditch of water that would have had to be jumped across and one was simply not located. The trail was quite quiet in this section and offered us some well deserved peace and quiet time.

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Oh, and without leaving out the best worst part of the whole hike, I can now add four more snakes to the list….these things literally make my heart skip a beat. I have a feeling it’s going to be a bad year for these little critters….or maybe I should say, a bad year for me since I seem to be the one to always find them.

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That sums up Saturday…. a productive, yet fun day.

Sunday I woke up later than my husband to breakfast prepared for me. How wonderful was that….I have the best husband ever, in my opinion.

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After breakfast we went fishing for a few hours on a local river. I am not the biggest fan of fishing but sometimes its fun to give it a try. Today was not my lucky day….I caught nothing!! My husband was the lucky one and caught two, both of which he threw back, but its the catch that is the exciting part not cleaning and eating of the catch.

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After this it was a quick trip home for lunch and to pick up our son after he was done working. We had made family plans to hit the disc golf course for the first time this year. This is always fun since we normally are pretty rusty at first. Although, to my surprise I did much better at this than fishing. My first basket I achieved in two throws….with disgust from both my husband and my son. Ahhh, it sure felt good to throw a disc again.

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18 baskets later and it was home for dinner and relaxation time before the week once again.

 

Hello March….Your The Month I Wait For All Winter

Although I was feeling a bit unhealthy this week suffering from this nasty virus, it still was a great week for me since it was the beginning to another month…..March. Which means another month closer to summer.

March is a busy month for us here. Birthdays are spread all throughout the month, we have a day trip planned to attend an REI garage sale event for members, I have my first overnighter with a friend planned that I am so looking forward to, and don’t forget….this is the month where daylight gets longer in the evenings since we all change our clocks in a few days……hurraaaayyyy!!!!!

Since I have no workouts to share from this week of rest due to this nasty bug, I thought I would catch up on some of my favorite things lately. However, in all honesty, I did not rest completely…..I got in small workouts here and there because the guilt was worse than the virus plaguing me. Crazy I know, but it is what it is. Anyhow…
Remember those mirrors my son snagged before his employer threw them out….well they are up and I LOVE THEM!!! These will benefit my workouts so much being able to watch my form during yoga and weight lifting.

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Speaking of time changing and girl’s weekends….I have one coming up and we are so excited about it. A friend and I, that I have known for over 20 years, have planned our first over night girls weekend away from life here at home. We both do the same thing for employment….childcare. And if anyone knows anything about childcare you would all agree, winters are LONG! So we decided to take a weekend and go away over night to a near by town, stay at a bed and breakfast type lodge, shop, wander, and eat our way through 48 hours of not caring for anyone but ourselves and celebrate another winter passed. How cool is that? Does anyone else celebrate surviving winter????? Probably not, but that don’t mean we can’t.

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Speaking of surviving winter, it feels so good to be back outside with my kiddos. Fresh air does wonders for nap time, gives us all a new perspective on life, and makes them eat so much more food. I am so ready to pack away the puzzles, coloring books, and the finger paints and change over to sidewalk chalk, critter hunting, and bike riding. What about you?

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A few weeks ago I made a plan to try at least one new recipe a week since I was completely burned out on our dinner rotation. This has been going wonderful. We have tried many new things, some being keepers and some being not so great. However, I have not had to throw any out completely and we have not found ourselves ordering takeout due to any disasters. What have I learned these past few weeks during all this trial and error of meal planning? We LOVE sun dried tomatoes!!!!

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I have also been starting to stock up on our active seasons snack box that we keep stocked for those grab and go trips to who knows where. Typically, I will pick up trail mix, Clif bars, turkey jerky, nuts, chocolate, etc. and have that ready to go all spring, summer, and fall. Although, this year I am trying some new(to us) bars, and ideas for this box since I am not able to eat some of these prior things since surgery for some reason. Recently, I picked up numerous flavors of Larabars and this Nourish snack mix and found we love both and both agree with my new way of eating.

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That’s it for me today. My weekend looks a bit sketchy at the moment with many options, not enough time, and only one of me to be everywhere with everyone. However, I have narrowed it down to spending time with my husband since next weekend I will be gone and plus, we think we may start geocaching this weekend which is one of my favorite things to do together. So exciting….

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Devil’s Bridge Trail- Sedona, Arizona

This trail was my husbands pick while on vacation in Sedona, Arizona and well worth the 4.0 miles it took to reach this stone bridge.

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On this hike, we decided to begin at the Mescal trailhead(Route #2) since we did not want to venture down the road to the actual Devil’s Bridge trailhead.

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We were warned that a high clearance vehicle would be needed to make it to this trail head and we did not want to risk anything breaking on our rented SUV so we choose to hike a bit further and start where we started.

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This hike took us through some gorgeous desert terrain .

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You will eventually reach the actual Devil’s Bridge parking area and cross through this to head down the trail. This is the trailhead you can park at if you have the proper type of vehicle. Both there and back there were never more than two vehicles at this particular parking area. And by looking at the road, you can clearly see why.

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I would estimate about the last mile or so the trail gets a bit rocky and then the last 1/4 mile you will find yourself once again rock scrambling some good sized rocks to reach the bridge itself.

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This was a busy trail. We did this mid afternoon and it had a good amount of people at the bridge when we arrived. However, everyone seemed respectful of each other and formed a nice line to walk out to the center of the bridge so everyone could capture a picture without others in the shot. Here is my husband in line for his picture.

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There is plenty of room to rest at the bridge area. And again, you are desert hiking, so bring plenty of water. After taking a moment to have a snack and rest, we had our son capture our picture together and then headed back the same way we came.

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This is also the trail we located the one and only geocache while on this vacation. It’s always a goal to search and find one in every state we visit. This area however, has some pretty fierce cactus plants that offer a bit of a challenge finding geocaches. So some extra caution is needed.

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I am not sure how long this hike took us in total. My guess would be about 3-3.5 hours with 45 minutes or so spent at the bridge itself. It was a very nice hike. Mostly flat terrain until the end to reach the top of the bridge. Many resources rated this hike as moderate and I would agree.

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*** To see more hikes we did in the Sedona area, click here and scroll down to the Arizona section and take your pick of which adventure you wish to read.

 

Geocaching By Kayak….It’s Harder Than What You Would Think

While geocaching one day last Spring we noticed that the area we were geocaching in had a few water geocaches. Which we decided to try and find this past weekend in our kayaks.

We arrived at our destination and prepared to paddle our way around the area.

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Our first cache was easily located. We knew the name of the cache was related to the eagle nest located in this area, so we headed that direction first.

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It took very little searching to locate this one. However, the next one we searched for quite sometime. And eventually gave up this search since maneuvering a kayak under trees is not our favorite place to be. There are a lot of spider webs under fallen tree branches. EWWWWW!

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Our next few were apparently located somewhere under the bridge. Which we thought would be an easy find also….however, there are even more spider webs and spiders for that matter, under bridges.

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So after very little discussion on whether or not we should continue searching, we gave up and just enjoyed the area we were in for what it was. We paddled the shoreline,

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took a break and had a picnic lunch,

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and enjoyed the time we spent together.

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We added one found cache to our list of successful finds and called it a day after about three hours of paddling.

 

Cold, Cold, Cold And More Cold

With the weather still so cold and chilly I am finding myself struggling to enjoy taking my daycare children outside to play. Within minutes I have runny noses to wipe, cold fingers and rosy cheeks on my little ones. And let’s face it, being cold is not fun for anyone. We are all so tired of winter jackets, hats, mittens and cold temperatures. At the same time, however, we are also so tired of being cooped up in the house to play. Oh….. the difficulties I face on a daily basis.

Let’s take a look at what I did for exercise this week.

Saturday: 5 mile trail hike while geocaching

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Sunday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, abs and legs routine, stretching

Monday: home: 15 minute recumbent bike, free weights, abs

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Tuesday: home: abs and legs routine

gym: 30 minute elliptical, total body weights, stretching

Wednesday: rest

****Technically this was to be a day of complete rest but I did end up taking a 1.5 mile evening walk to rid myself of some stress. Rest days are very hard for me and typically still include a little exercise since this is what relaxes me many days. At the end of a long stressful day its either wine or exercise and I much prefer exercise to wine.

Thursday: morning weight routine and an evening 3 mile walk

Friday: rest

A small medical issue this week has confirmed I am not quite as healed as I thought I was. For the next week or so, you will see me take a small step back and not workout quite as hard as I have been until this issue resolves itself.

You all have a good weekend………I’ll be back on Monday with some weekend happenings to share.