Some Of The Best Places Are Ones We Stumble Upon

While we were in Wallace, Michigan visiting the De Young Family Zoo(read about it here if you missed it) we were hoping to stumble upon a park nearby that we could enjoy a quiet picnic lunch together at. So we drove down a nearby highway thinking we were headed toward lake Michigan and were surprised when we realized we had turned the wrong direction. Which we then turned around and passed a sign that said public boat landing on a flowage.

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Now, if you know anything about my husband, he knows just about every boat launch in our area. However, in Michigan, he knows very little but said that the ones in WI sponsored by WPS are usually pretty nice so why not check this one out in Michigan. I had no reason to complain since I know very little about any of them and plus, I was hungry and wanted to eat lunch. So we ventured down this gravel road and came upon this.

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Wow, gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!! A big lake, with a nice gravel lot, and a porta potty. And the best part….not another vehicle in the entire lot except for us. We both used the bathroom facilities and then ate our picnic lunch of chicken salad on pitas, fresh apricots, prickly pears, and Larabar caramel seal salt bites.

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Oh, I must mention, if you have not tried this flavor if Larabar bites yet, you must….they are fabulous. Good luck eating only one serving…..the two of us finished the whole bag!

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After lunch he knew I spotted the grassy trail we passed off the gravel road that seemed to lead around the lake and suggested we go check it out.

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Now, keep in mind, we were not in any way prepared to hike today since I was suppose to be taking it easy and letting my abdominal muscle heal. However, I saw the trail, he saw that I saw the trail, and my hiking boots are always in my SUV just in case….you never know when I will come across a trail I must explore. So after lunch we both sprayed down with more sunscreen and bug spray which also never leaves my SUV and we headed out for a look where this trail led to.

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It quickly got much more wooded and the trail turned from grass to dirt. And soon we found ourselves surrounded by big tall trees as far as we could see.

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I asked my husband if he felt we could possibly see a bear here…and he said it was very possible which made me stop and look around. One of my bucket list things to do is to see a bear in the wild while hiking someday. Although, today was not the day since we soon found ourselves swatting at numerous bugs. Plus, not having any hiking supplies, backpack, bug nets, water or bear spray we decided it was probably best if we turned around and head back to the parking lot where we left our vehicle.

We walked probably about 1.5 miles on this trail with no end in sight. You all know what that means…..we will return and come better prepared next time for sure. I never start a trail I can’t finish. And next time maybe we will stumble upon a bear…who knows.

All in all it was a very beautiful place to share a lunch and explore. Never be afraid to stop and take that turn if you not sure what’s down that road. You never know what you may miss by passing it by.

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A Crazy, Busy Weekend Of Fun

I had quite a crazy, busy weekend here. Summer is often loaded with busy weekends but sometimes there is just so much to choose from that its hard to decided who does what and with whom it all includes.

My weekend started Saturday morning with plans to attend Green Bay’s Fit Fest with a friend of mine. This was our first ever Fit Fest and I can honestly say it will probably be our last. We did not know exactly what we would be walking into but quickly became disappointed in the lack of…..well, lack of everything offered. Green Bay is really trying to get people outside and active but I think they have a ways to go yet.

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After walking through the Fit Fest booths, which maybe took us a half hour at best, we made our way over to a new brewery/coffee bar in downtown Green Bay called Copper Rock Coffee Company/Brewery. Since we had never been here we walked inside to place our order and were immediately impressed with the atmosphere and surroundings. The service was friendly and the outdoor seating was exceptional. We can’t wait to return and try the luncheon menu and maybe something a little more potent than coffee.

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After having some time to chat and catch up we drove to our lunch destination which has been a restaurant on our “girls list” for quite some time. Melts With You in DePere is where we had lunch…again on their outside patio area.

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The menu offered a nice variety of sandwiches, soups, and sides. Prices were reasonable and the service was good. It’s a small place and offers a fast meal. Would I return? Maybe. Typically, when I go out for a meal I want it to be unique and something I cannot make at home. I could have easily made the sandwich at home that I ordered along with what my friend also ordered. So ultimately the restaurant was not good, not bad, just your average sandwich shop.

After this is was time to return home for chores, laundry, prepare braised cauliflower/kale stew for the week, and a hike with my husband.

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Originally, he was going to go fishing but since he did a bit of that in the morning while I was gone he decided a hike would be nice. We once again made our way to our favorite hiking destination as of right now…UWGB (info on the trails page). And as usual we saw so much wildlife and a completely new mixture of wildflowers since the last time we were here two weeks ago.

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We really enjoyed the 3.3 mile hike along with the trail snacks we found along the way.

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However, the visitor waiting for us at our vehicle when we returned was not in the least bit happy we chased him away from what he was eating. Sorry fella!

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Sunday brought a nice surprise when our son announced he had the day off. I immediately suggested a hike/bike ride for all of us. I have been wanting to take him to Terrell’s Island (info on the trails page) trail for quite sometime but its a hour from us and time is often limited. We left him sleep until 9a.m. since he worked until 1:30a.m. and we headed out on our adventure.

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He rode his bike around the trail twice while we walked the 3.7 miles once and met back at the vehicle. We all got in some exercise and had a great time doing so.

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The rest of the evening was time to relax….and indulge in some ice cream. How perfect is that for a weekend of go, go, go.

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How We Made Curtains For Our SUV For Camping Privacy

Recently, I was left home alone…with plenty of time on my hands…..and so much to think about. This is never good since I can come up with some crazy ideas sometimes. Although, I don’t think this one was all that crazy.

I decided I wanted to make curtains for my SUV since we loved sleeping in it for camping this past spring. So as always I did some research, went in the garage and sat inside my vehicle and thought….and thought hard. Then I made a few notes leaving them out where I knew my husband would see them when he returned home from his fishing trip and I would be sound asleep. I do this so my crazy ideas don’t come as a complete shock to him when I approach the subject….haha! And sure enough it worked….come morning he immediately asked what all the measurements were and why was the roll of twine out. I simply told him I was experimenting with the twine and have decided that we are going to make curtains for the SUV today. He, as usual, looked at me and said ok…tell me more. And as you can imagine….I did tell him more and an hour later we headed to the hardware store.

First, I had thought about buying fabric for the actual curtains but I do not sew. Never have and I have no interest in learning. Plus, I wanted to do this as cheap as possible with no drilled holes or any damage done to my vehicle. Then I remembered I had a dark colored single sized sheet downstairs that was a spare. It would be perfect. I measured it, laid it out, and simply cut it in half the long way.

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We got really lucky with the sheet having overlapping sewn edges. This way we could thread some paracord through here to be our so called curtain rod.

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However, I did have to cut the corners to allow for the cord to come through. So what I did was cut the ends and then quickly hand sew through the original seems so they would not unravel. Not pretty, I know, but it will work.

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With the cord through both sides we then moved out to the SUV and started making the anchor points where the curtains would hang from. My SUV has these round hooks in the back of both sides that we believe are for a cargo net that I do not have. So these two hooks are going to be used for one end of the curtain anchor on each side.

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The front anchor will be the visor on each side. We simply tied a loop that will stay attached and made a loop in one end of the cord and attached a carabiner for easy hookup and removal.

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Then when both ends are secured we simply loop the middle over the garment hook on each side.

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Add a solar shield to the front window and it was time to install and see how it all comes together.

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The curtain easily slides on the paracord to leave in more light or less. And with a metal paper clip it can be attached easily to the edge of the solar shield for extra darkness and privacy.

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It’s lightweight and easy to remove.Simply unclip the front carabiners and unhook the back two cords clipping the metal paper clips to these so they cannot pull back through the curtain then fold and store. Simple, cheap, and super easy…just the way I like it.

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I do believe I will leave the tiny side windows near the back uncovered for some daylight and just to be able to see if any creatures of the wild wander into our campsites at night. Someday I really hope to see a bear! Even though we don’t plan to cover these small windows they are still tinted glass so we will still have plenty of privacy. The back hatch window we are thinking of using poster board to just cover this area if anything. Again, it’s tinted darker and we always back into a sight so privacy in the back of the SUV is usually never an issue.

Now all I have to do is wait until I can go camping and try them out. That probably will not happen until September. Until then I will live with memories of the first time we slept in the back of our SUV.

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I Am Not One To Back Down From A Challenge

I am not one to ever back down from a challenge but let me tell you….sometimes this bites me in the butt and it bites hard!!!!

Friday mid day I received an email from my husband saying….”Let’s try doing three laps of the trail we chose to do our training on for vacation. What do you think?” I then answered back….”why now, I thought we would work our way up to three laps the month before we leave for vacation.” He then emailed back,” come on, do you think we can’t do it?” Enough said…that sounded like a challenge and he knew darn well I would not let that go.

(*NOTE: the longest trail we plan to hike on vacation is listed at between 7.7 to 8.3 miles long with mountain elevations)

Saturday morning we woke, had a hearty breakfast, packed our picnic lunch, packed our backpacks as if we would be hiking a long trail just like on vacation, and hit the trail by 8:30 a.m..

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Lap one was fairly easy as I expected it would be. Here is us at the end of lap one…3.25 miles done.

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Lap two was good, not too hard, legs still felt good, and the heat of the day was just starting. We definitely needed another coating of bug spray and some lunch though. Us at the end of lap two, 6.45 miles complete.

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So as we would and plan to on the trail, we stopped and had a picnic lunch on the nearby lawn next to the trail head.

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Recoated with bug spray, we then started the last lap. This one was a bit different since we knew in our head it would be the final lap. And no doubt it was harder, the hills seemed to multiply, and every corner we rounded that we thought was our last was actually not the last. This was the only lap we saw wildlife larger than a chipmunk on.

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And we even came across a berry bush that next time may be ripe enough to offer us a snack mid hike.

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We were a hot, sweaty mess when we were done….here we are at the end of three laps. In approximately four hours with a half hour of that being a break for lunch, we completed three laps for a total of 9.68 miles and ironically my body felt pretty darn good at that moment.

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That is until I arrived home and removed my boots….OH MY GOODNESS DID MY ANKLES HURT!!!!The remainder of my day was spent getting my legs and ankles iced, rubbed, or elevated with compression socks on.

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Needless to say, I tossed and turned all night between fireworks going off in our neighborhood and with my very sore legs throughout the night. Which meant I was very tired on Sunday. I can’t say I regret accepting this challenge he proposed but next time I will think a bit harder about what else I wish to do before excepting this type of challenge again. Since all I really got accomplished on Sunday was throwing together a quick dinner and one fast trip to the store for a few items.

After all this I will say I am proud of us since clearly we still got it. We may be slower and ache a bit more than before but we can still pull almost 10 miles off with little effort and this makes me very happy.

 

 

 

Disc Golf, Training Trail Chosen, and Being Published

Well, the weekend is over and regardless of the on and off weather and the cooler temps here, we had a good one. Very productive and yet we still found time to have a bit of fun.

My husband worked on his honey do list and accomplished a lot. Me….not so much. Just the usual like meal prep for the week, laundry, and errands.

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I did however visit the gym and had a great Saturday morning workout. And then came home and waited patiently for him to finish all his projects so we could take a trail hike at a nearby campus. I have not been able to make it to this trail since last fall so it felt great to be surrounded by trees again when we finally got here late in the day Saturday.

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Sunday we decided to try and beat the rain and get in a game of disc golf. This was not a great plan since it began to rain on us by hole 11. Thankfully, we had enough tree coverage on this course to keep us almost completely dry and we just waited it out.

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Clearly, the course had seen some big storms just as we all did since there were obvious signs of storm damage.

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We had a great game, with a quick shower right in the middle and were able to continue on until…..the last hole where my husband threw his disc and it never returned to the ground. AGGGG….his favorite disc was stuck in the tree!!!!

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This was not good and I knew he would not leave it here and just go buy another…so after many, many broken branches were collected from the surrounding trees, they were tossed up to his disc and it finally fell to the ground and we headed home.

We ate a fast lunch and then headed out for another hike to the same trail as Saturday since it was so beautiful. There really is nothing better then trees, dirt trail, and good company…..right?

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While walking this trail we finally remembered to grab the GPS and track the mileage since we have been discussing starting to train for our upcoming hiking vacation. This time we need more mileage training than elevation training so we thought this would be perfect. After tracking the mileage we found that its just a bit over 3.5 miles. Which would mean we would need to do this three complete times to match the mileage of our longest trail we plan to hike while in Virginia. Uggg, that sounds like a lot right now but as usual, training is work but it is so rewarding when we reach our destination with energy to spare. So inĀ  about a month we will begin training and hopefully four weeks after that we can reach a total mileage of 10 miles.

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And lastly, we had some big news this weekend from our son. He has had his first photographs published in a local magazine on WI state parks. This is exciting since he is working on becoming a professional photographer. We picked up four of the magazines since parents can never be too proud of their own children.

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National Trails Day Hike-2017

Did you hike a trail for National Trails Day this past weekend? I sure did and it was exactly what I needed to recoup from the week and recharge for the week ahead.

I solo hiked a trail about an hour from our home that weaves through a water way which I thought would end up being a bit cooler. Ha, was I wrong…although for me, this was just what I needed, a good sweaty hike. It’s no secret I LOVE SUMMER HEAT!!!! Thankfully, I grabbed a cooler for cold water, sunscreen, and my summer boots before leaving home.

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I arrived mid morning since I knew this was a hike just short of 4 miles and storms were predicted by dinner time so I wanted to be off the trail early and not later. Plus, I had a crap ton of other things I needed to get done at home. However, in the summer, my pleasure always comes before chores since summer is short and chores can be accomplished all winter long.

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I love this hike since you are literally following a path right through Lake Butte des Morts and there is so much to see and explore on this winding path.

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I love the peacefulness of hiking solo. You can go at your own speed, stop when you want to explore, sit and rest if you wish or just simply walk and let all the thoughts in your head roll right off your shoulders the farther you walk.

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By the time I finished the trail it was 85 degrees, breezy, and gorgeous. I, just having breakfast so far, found myself hungry and very thirsty so I changed shoes and grabbed a snack for the ride back home.

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Where did you hike for National Trails Day?

 

 

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.