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 in  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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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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Alum Cave Hike In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We did two hikes while in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in January. One being the Alum Cave hike to the bluffs.

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According to the day hikes guide we picked up at the Sugarlands visitor center upon arrival,

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it was a fairly short hike, 4.6 miles round trip and rated as strenuous.

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This trail was amazing…..there were so many different things to look at, experience, and explore. First, I must remind you, we were here in January and this particular day was a Saturday. The trail was no doubt wet. Some spots were wetter than others but easily doable.

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A bit down the trail we came to our first of three one sided bridges that were over water.

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This trail does follow a stream/river almost the entire way which makes for some very nice photo opportunities along the way.

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(photo courtesy of our son, Quade Byrnes Photography)

Eventually you will come to a cave opening that has steps built into it that will bring you up and over away from the stream. This is Alum Cave. There is cable built into the wall of the bluff for guidance but it is not difficult in any way, in my opinion.

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After going through the cave we came across our first water crossing without a bridge. In January we found it easy to find big enough rocks to make it across with dry feet.

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Upon reaching the bluffs, it was still very foggy and made for a good rest spot while our son took all the photographs he came to get. This also made a nice spot to stop and have a snack and cool down. It was a warm hike, being about 60 degrees outside on this day, but it is straight up the mountain the entire way.

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After this we headed back down the same trail we came up and back to the parking area where we began. Of course, there were more photographs to be taken along the way.

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For us this trail was great. Our GPS read 5.6 miles round trip when we returned to the vehicle. Now, we did make a few extra steps for necessary reasons but an extra mile I would have to wonder about. However, after many years of hiking I have found no one measurement of mileage on a trail is ever the same so for us it ended up being 5.6 miles proudly!

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A few things I must mention…..in January you will not find the restrooms at the trailhead open. So take care of “business” before hand. The parking area for this trail is well mark, easy to find and has ample parking. However, in January when we returned from our hike, vehicles were lined up on the road due to full lots everywhere. I can only imagine summer/spring and fall to be even worse. So I would say, arrive early during all seasons.

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And, as near other trailheads we have visited, this one was also well marked to take all valuables with you.

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I would highly recommend this hike if you are in good shape and like mountain hiking. Children will also be able to easily do this trail with parent supervision. Cliff edges are easily manageable and the views are breathtaking.

 

Cathedral Rock Trail- Sedona, Arizona

This was the first hike on our agenda during our first visit to the Sedona, Arizona area. I had been in contact with someone from this area a few times by email and she simply stated, “it’s a right of passage” to the area and you must give this trail a try. Say no more, I told my husband and son this would be our first hike of the visit and they were all in.

We researched this trail in detail before leaving and found that it was short, 1.5 miles round trip to be exact. It was also rated as HARD in many resources that we read. And after watching two videos taken while climbing this rock from fellow hikers, I knew it would be a challenge but I had my heart set on making it to the top of this rock.

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We arrived in the early morning just as the sun was rising over the mountains. We were told parking was an issue at this particular trailhead and when we returned to the vehicle, the lot was full.

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Note: you will need a red rock pass to park at this trailhead.

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As we prepared to conquer this hike, my boys both stood in awe at this magnificent sight.

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So with camera in hand, bladders emptied, and our packs loaded and ready we headed up this rock.

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We knew exactly where the technical part of this hike would be when we reached it. There is a crevice that needs to be scrambled up and eventually down during this short hike that had my stomach in knots.

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When we reached this crevice, we stopped, packed up our cameras to have both hands free, and I secretly said a prayer. It’s one thing to do these types of hikes on my own, it’s a whole other thing to know my husband and son are right behind me and can fall at any moment. However, it’s the life we live and we love it so we continued after a quick family picture.

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Eventually we reached the top and it was worth every grey hair I gained making it through this crevice. It was amazing. I was so relieved, we made it, worked together as a family, and succeeded.

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We spent about a half hour on the top, taking pictures, resting and just enjoying the view. I can see why I was told it was a right of passage to accomplish this hike. The feeling we felt when reaching the top was indescribable.

However, the thought of going back down is what really had me stressed. Although, I am happy to say, it was much easier than I had imagined to make our way back down the same way we came up. The only difference was we were on our rears instead of our knees. Here is a bit of what down looked like.

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It took us a total of about 2.5 hrs. to complete this hike with about a half hour of this on the top. People we ran into were respectful of sharing the crevice and not rushing anyone on the way up or down. This may seem like a short hike in distance but you will still need plenty of water and when the sun rises above the mountain the temperature rises quickly.

In my opinion hard was an accurate rating but completely worth it!

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I Can Cross One More Thing Off My Bucket List

Hello Hello, we are back from our trip to Sedona, Arizona and let me just say, it was a dream come true.

I have tons of photos to scan through, tons of laundry covered in red rock dust to do, three little ones begging for my attention, a stack of mail to read, a yard covered in more leaves and…….well, you get the point. So for right now, know that I am working on blog posts to share with all of you. Everything from pointers we learned while in this area to some of the most spectacular hikes I have ever been on in my entire life.

As for that bucket list summit, it’s done….here is the proof.

 (photo taken by our son, Quade Byrnes)Mom Cathedral End low logo-1

What I Am Loving Lately

Another version of what I am loving lately here for you all…

Chobani Meze Dip…Chili Lime Flavor

Goodbye plain old sour cream….this is my new favorite taco topping, wrap addition or even just a quick pretzel dip to throw in the cooler for a picnic. Its got a bit of a kick but the lime flavor evens the kick out perfectly.

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My Go To Lunch Bowl Creation

I am not a big meat eater when I don’t have to be, so during the day when everyone else is at work I get somewhat creative with how to get my protein requirements. I found that this mixture is by far one of my favorites and keeps me satisfied for a long time. And, if you prep your preferred veggies ahead of time it literally takes seconds to throw together.

***I use, 1/2 cup of the rice mixture, two egg whites, one whole egg, one cup of cooked broccoli, and a bit of cheese melted on top. Drizzle with a bit of hot sauce and whaaaalaaaa you have a meat free lunch.

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Our Kayak Trailer

We officially finished and utilized our newly constructed kayak rack on our utility trailer recently. And everyone agreed…..it is so much easier to load, unload and carry the different shape and sized kayaks we all have. IMG_4417

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Summer Pasta Salads

There is nothing I dread more when it’s hot and humid than cooking a hot meal and then having to clean it up afterwards. In the summer we eat many different pasta salads which are much more refreshing that a hot dinner. Plus, being on the go as much as we are, they pack up very nicely for lunches.

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Seeing Our Son Do What He Loves….Photography

It’s great to have a passion in life and when you find that passion, I am a firm believer to chase after it until it becomes reality. Our son seems to have that same belief, since he seems perfectly comfortable carrying thousands of dollars of camera gear on a kayak to capture that unexpected moment. (As a mom….it made me very nervous and it wasn’t even my money that paid for that camera gear)

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Mom Time/Wife Time/Me Time….

Call it whatever you wish, but I often think us mom’s/wive’s etc. forget that if we are not happy, no one else around us will be either. So I have no problem making time for just me when I need to. Recently, mine just happened to be floating in a tube for a few hours alone while soaking up the sunshine.

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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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