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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Trading The Gym For The Outdoors

Lately, I find myself choosing the outdoors over the gym to get my daily workouts. As the seasons change I typically find this to be what happens, although this year it seems earlier than most for this to be happening.

I am not, by any means, a gym die hard. I do, however, like to keep a routine and try and make it there at least twice during week and twice on the weekends in the winter months. The remainder of the time I just find it more convenient to workout at home. When winter comes to an end, I still try and make it there twice during the week but weekends often are spent outside instead.

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That being said, I can’t help but struggle during the week with going to the gym when the sun is shining and there is so much to be offered outside to get in a great workout. Which means some weeks I don’t make it to the gym at all.

For one, I love to do yoga, weights, and stretching in nearby parks. Find a back corner where there is peace and quiet and you can really clear your mind and get in a good sweat.

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As a family we have come to love disc golf. It’s challenging, it’s often a nice walk through a wooded park, and offers fun while your exercising and you often don’t even realize it.

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You all know if I had to choose a great hike over a visit to the gym….the hike would win every time. Here in the midwest, hiking season is short so I take advantage of every chance I get to log trail miles. Granted, I don’t get to work every muscle group I could be working at the gym….however, hiking is one activity that’s truly brings me peace and let’s me know that I can literally walk away from life for a short amount of time. On the trail I can just let everything go.

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Once summer arrives in full force, our paddles come out, get dusted off, and the water calls my name every weekend and even some week nights. From kayaking to paddle boarding, I often struggle with which one to do on which weekend. I know right….what a hard decision to have to make. Believe me…..it really is sometimes.

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During the months of June,July, and August I will be very lucky to touch foot in the gym even once. Weekends are jam packed with summer fun and week days are also jammed packed with other types of summer fun while I work. Caring for children during the days in the summer months is twice as exhausting as in the winter months for me. Winter offers the same activities in rotation. Summer, however, leads to all sorts of summer fun….especially when my husband and son are also home to join in the action. Things such as water balloon fights and critter hunting always add to the fun of summer.

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Do you prefer to spend time exercising outdoors or inside?

What’s you favorite outdoor exercise?

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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Hiking Terrell’s Island

After a great suggestion from a fellow reader I finally found time to get out and hike Terrell’s Island near Omro, WI.

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This trailhead was fairly easy to find and offers ample parking and of course the most important part….a port a potty.

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Upon arrival you will notice many signs of what is allowed and what is not allowed at this area. There are trail maps and information boxes with a lot of information nearby.

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As you can see this trail is mark handicap accessible which is so wonderful. Not many long trails are so accommodating to persons with disabilities.

We decided to actually begin this trail backwards since the wind was strong and in the direction of blowing us backwards if we would have began at the #1 trail marker. Here is where we began our hike.

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This trail is actually a breakwater path that leads in and around a large area of Lake Butte Des Morts, which means we were almost always surrounded by water.

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There are ample opportunities to sit on provided benches and rest if needed.

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Eventually, I would say about a mile or so, from the end of this trail you will leave the waters edge and enter into a marshy area.

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At trail marker #4(remember we are going backwards) you will see in the distance another port a potty.

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You will finish the trail at the parking lot you began at, almost 4 miles later.

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We really enjoyed this hike. It’s long enough to offer a good walk, it’s on the water which is a plus for us, it’s well cared for by the club that owns it, and offers many different sights along the way. My advise to you would be, if it’s windy or cooler make sure you have a jacket. On the day we did this hike it was about 50 degrees and 15-20 mph winds which made it quite chilly.

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I would highly recommend this hike to anyone.

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Let’s Chat Over Some Tea….

Let’s chat a bit over a nice cup of hot tea.

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Hunting season is in full swing and this is a big stress topic for me. I am not fond of hunting…well not really hunting per say….just the part that includes the gun! So for me, when my husband says he is going hunting for the day…the busier I can keep myself the better I will be until I see him arrive home safe and sound. And hiking during hunting season offers a bit more stress since I often think the gun shots are closer than they actually are. Soon we will be adding blaze orange to our hiking attire to hopefully not be mistaken for an animal and shot at.

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Then you have the colors that are changing in the trees surrounding our state. Which is a photographers paradise….and our son is a photographer. Well, this also brings stress for this here mom since the same place my husband stumbled across a bear while hunting, just so happens is the same place my son says he is going to try and capture some fall photos. And let’s face it, a camera is far from carrying a gun for protection….so at least he asked dad to join him(with the gun) and he armed himself with the bear spray. I was a bit more at ease then.

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You all won’t believe what I received in the mail this past week. A “save the date” invitation for an upcoming wedding of one of the first children I ever cared for in my home. OMG, did this make me feel old. Even though I knew she had gotten engaged, had introduced me to her fiancee, and I even got to see the ring…..the invitation is what really made me think back and just say WOW….I have cared for children for a long time!!!!

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I am learning more and more every day how to live with my new limitations since going through major surgery 8 months ago. I am not going to say I like it by any means, but I am learning to live with it. I am still not up to what I weight lifted prior to surgery, which in all honesty, I don’t think I ever will be back to where I was. Although, I am ok with this since weight lifting was never my favorite anyhow. Yoga is a challenge….especially on my right side. However, I am not willing to give up yet on yoga since it brings me such calmness and peace. I do what I can and accept it for what it is. I am happy to say my cardio is back where I left it and even more on some days. This is awesome, since cardio is my favorite, stress relief.

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Even though fall officially just started….I really miss summer already. Like, REALLY miss summer!!!!!

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That being said, we are in full swing of some big home repairs and this makes me very happy. I hate summer home repairs, so we put them off until the fall and go crazy during the weekends.

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Have you all seen them….these mini 100 calorie bars of yumminess? I am by no means a chocoholic but when I am craving chocolate I will eat it no matter what the calorie count is and later feel guilty. I came across these in the store the other day and grabbed 4 bars just for me. Now, when that moment hits and I NEED chocolate, I can eat one of these with very little guilt.

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I have to say, since the weather has gotten cooler I have found myself rotating some of our favorite stove top and casserole type meals into our weekly meals plans. Summer is when we grill often and I rarely make casseroles.

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That’s it for me today. Got anything you want to share? Go ahead, I love hearing from you.

Moments That Have Made Me Smile

It no secret that once autumn rolls around my mood is affected drastically by the thought of winter on its way. Having seasonal depression is rough but as of lately I have been enjoying the moments that bring me a smile.

Recently, I visited a festival with some friends and we saw some of the strangest art work I have ever seen. Imagine this on your back patio….

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Oh, how I wish I could have these bright, beautiful flowers around my home all winter long.

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I took a leap of faith a few weeks ago on our last visit to REI and bought a new pair of trail shoes. I have always been a KEEN lover but these Oboz were on sale and they had my size but they were out of my size in the KEEN style I liked. I tried them on and thought, why not. REI has the best return policy ever, so I knew if I ended up hating them I could always return them for a full refund. After wearing them for a few weeks, I am happy to report I am walking around with a smile on my face and my feet feel great. I am still sticking with my KEEN boots for the trail but for my everyday shoes, these will be just fine.

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In all honesty, this is not something that brought a smile to my face but it did give me a good laugh. While out with a few friends recently we came across a vendor selling chocolate dipped bacon. I like chocolate and I like bacon but mixed together….ahhhh, I was hesitant!!! Well, one friend bought a piece and we all tried a bite. For a whopppping $5 a slice (this is what made me laugh….are you kidding me….$5 A SLICE) I can honestly say it was not my thing. Way to sweet,way to much chocolate, and no way should bacon ever be combined with chocolate.

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However, as for these yummy little balls of chocolate….I would highly recommend them to anyone craving a chocolate treat that is actually healthy for you. These are sure to bring a smile to anyone that likes chocolate.

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And one last thing…..I often have moments throughout my day that bring me happiness caring for children on a daily basis. Yes, we have stressful moments, some meltdowns, and times of complete chaos….but….the genuine moments are the ones that I wish I could freeze in time. That innocence of ahhh and wonder in every child’s eye when they stand back and just take in what nature has to offer makes me smile. How precious life can be if everyone could experience it through a child’s eye.

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On the exercise side of life, steps have gotten quite a bit easier than when we first started training on these dreaded things. My hips, knees, and legs don’t ache for hours afterwards anymore like they used to. And I can say with a smile on my face, I actually think I may included these in our exercise routine even after our Sedona vacation is over with.

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What is something that has brought a smile to your face lately?

Do you suffer from seasonal depression?

How do you cope?

Kayaking Waupaca’s Chain Of Lakes

During the holiday weekend we had the opportunity to spend a day paddling Waupaca’s Chain Of Lakes as a family. Our son had both jobs off and this meant we were going to do some serious paddling for the entire day.

(If you recall, my husband and I made this trip once before and it was a disaster from start to finish, so we were very happy to see sunny skies for this trip.)

I can’t even begin to tell you all how beautiful this area is. We will be returning without a doubt in the near future. We ended up paddling, swimming, relaxing, fishing and exploring with the camera gear seven lakes in this chain. All of which are highly used for SUP and kayakers…..with Long Lake being the only one we explored that allowed big boats and a wake.

Here are some pictures from Manomin Lake, Knight Lake, Marl Lake, Lake Orlando, Beasley Creek, Long Lake, and Pope Lake. All of which are completely connected.

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We put in at the pubic boat launch at Knight Lake bridge. Here you will find a large parking area and a porta potty. You can go either direction to reach all of these lakes. By far, my favorite of them all is Marl Lake which is the only lake that offers this gorgeous aqua color. It also has a public dock which offers a nice break for the kids to swim, parents to rest and if need be, at the top of the stone step hill there is another bathroom. The other direction from Knight Lake bridge, was Orlando Lake, Beasley Creek and Long Lake. Beasley Creek we needed to walk our kayaks through since the water level was so low. Although, it was a nice walk, not long at all and offered us time to chill in the water.

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When you enter Long Lake from Beasley Creek, you will be able to get back in and paddle more, but this is not a slow wake lake, so watch for many go fast boats!!!!

*****If you have any questions about this area or the lakes we paddled, feel free to send me a message or leave a comment. I will do what I can to help you experience this beautiful area as we did.

*****As an added bonus I would like to share with you all some of our son’s moments captured during this gorgeous day. These last two pictures are courtesy of Quade Byrnes Photography.

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