52 Hike Challenge Officially Completed

If you all remember last year, near the end of September, I registered to do the 52 Hike Challenge along with my husband.

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Originally this was something I choose to do to keep me motivated through the long months of winter here in WI. Which was working out wonderfully at first. Then the holidays rolled around and it got to be a little harder to go outside when the temperatures dropped. Although, it did not stop us all together. If you recall, we even went for a family hike on Christmas Day.

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And shortly after that my hiking all came to a screaming halt for a while because of an unplanned abdominal surgery at the end of January. Obviously, my health came before any goals I had set prior to all this drama but I still had the knowledge in my mind that it is only 52 hikes in a total year and I REALLY wanted to finish. If only my body would have agreed with my mind after surgery all would have been good but clearly it did not. (And neither did my surgeon)

Although, about 9 weeks after surgery I did feel well enough to go on our preplanned trip to Arkansas and this was the first time I had put on my trail boots since being laid up. I remember it being a very emotional time…..for awhile there, while I was laying on my couch trying so hard to feel better, I did not think I would ever feel good enough to hike again. Granted, it was hard hiking in Arkansas and I ended up resting way more than normal on rocks and benches along the trail side, but I was there and doing it and that was all that mattered at that moment.

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Which now brings me to today. About three weeks ago, we complete the 52 Hike Challenge and honestly, even with 10 weeks off completely…..it was not that big of a challenge. It was fun, rewarding, and yes, it even gave me a reason to want to heal and feel better so I could attempt to finish before the year was up. Although, I have to give a big shout out to both my husband and son who helped me get through these rough few weeks after surgery. And also to two great friends who walked the local mall with me every morning during those long winter months so I did not have to walk alone when I was ready to begin rehabilitation.

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Without all these people I can’t say for sure I would have recovered as fast as I did and made it back to my beloved dirt trails as quickly as I did either.

So thanks everyone for helping me complete this goal!!!! I could not have done it without all of you.

 

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A Taste Testing Disaster….Among Other Things

A week ago we purchased some highly recommended products that apparently are great on the trail for backpacking (according to fellow backpackers). We got a nice assortment of cheese, meats and snacks.

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This past weekend we decided to have a taste testing lunch to make sure we liked everything before buying more for our upcoming Superior Hiking Trail trip. And let me just say, thank goodness we did. The only items we bought that were edible, in my opinion, were the hummus, coffee beans, and I am sure the salted caramels. Although, we did not try these yet and technically, did not buy these for the trail…..because in all honesty they wont last that long anyhow:)

I made sure not to refrigerate these items since we will not be able to do so on the trail either. I plated the meats, different cheese flavors, and added some olives and peppers to the mix. While cutting the cheese I was a bit leary already since it really felt like Velveeta(which I despise). Although, I had to keep an open mind and try it.

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Well, needless to say, I made something else for lunch and my husband was able to eat a bit more of this test plate but also gave into to making something different for lunch. The ending result was our son tried nothing and the entire plate went in the trash can.

So much for trying what others suggest. I think we have done just fine with our choices of trail food in the past while hiking some very long and difficult trails. This makes me believe we will be sticking to our normal trail menu. I am a true believer that you don’t change what works. For more on what our normal trail menu consists of click here.

Moving on…..did you hike any trails for National Trails Day? We did. Originally, we thought we would be picking up our son’s new kayak for him but since the delivery has been delayed we were home. The weather was not the greatest but not as bad as predicted either, so we headed to a local trail for a few miles. Add this to our 52 Hike trail log and we have almost accomplished our goal. Here is a few pics from our hike.

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There is just something about the serenity of a trail lined with wildflowers or even colorful weeds that can put your mind at peace. Add in some sights of wildlife and a rainbow and the world just looks a bit brighter.

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As for the rest of my weekend, it was a revamping of sorts. I said goodbye to two of my daycare kiddos on Friday after a 4.5 year relationship with them. They are relocating and moving on to another state. Saying goodbye is never an easy thing to do in this profession but it eventually always has to be done. Which means today I start a new child and this is always exciting and a bit overwhelming for all involved. This little guy is only a few months old, so I needed to dig out some baby supplies that have been packed away for awhile and have my husband take down a toddler bed, to then put up an infant pack and play. And since I know this week will ultimately be an adjusting period for everyone, I did some meal preparations so meal time after a long day goes a bit smoother. I am a firm believer in healthy meals for the week and meal prep on the weekends makes this so much easier to accomplish during the week.

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With my veggies and fruit cleaned and cut, hard boiled eggs made, and menu posted on the frig, I feel ready to face the week head on.

 

Do you meal prep on the weekends?

What is your favorite backpacking trail food?

 

 

Geocaching, Picnics, and Trail Hiking

This past weekend we were once again blessed with sunshine and beautiful blue skies one of the two days. So, of course, I knew we needed to plan something outside for fun and exercise. We thought it would be a perfect day to log some miles on two different trails to add to the 52 Hike Challenge I signed up for and also find some geocaches.

We decided to head south to two “new to us” trails. The first was short and offered geocaches only reachable by kayak, which we will be finding when the water warms up a bit. In the meantime we did head out across the bridge and check out the surroundings.

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We saw a lot of wildlife in this small area enjoying the sunshine as much as we were. IMG_3872

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After exploring for awhile, we stopped to have a picnic before heading to our main trail of the day.

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Upon arriving at the Wiouwash Trail we were happy to see a small parking area with restrooms provided. This area will fit three-four cars maximum. IMG_3887

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We headed out on a mission to find some geocaches and had no issues what so ever doing so. We are now at #615 found!!!!

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I was so happy to see green leaves on the trees starting to make their appearance. Summer is coming…….. IMG_3889

We even had our own cheering crowd for a distance. Apparently, they must have recently had a race of some sort on this same trail and someone took paper cores and painted/decorated them and placed them along the trail for a short distance giving a high five with a fork arm attached. They were quite comical .

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It ended up being a great day. Almost 6 miles covered and two new trails discovered. One which we will return to with kayaks and one to finish hiking and searching out more geocaches in the near future.

52 Hike Challenge Update/Returning To Work Finally

I finally returned to work full time this week. I was not sure how everyone would return and was prepared for the worst but surprisingly they all returned with smiles. I had the happiest group of kids and that made me feel pretty great. Physically, I had my moments for sure. By evening I was sore but not in what I would call PAIN and no doubt exhausted. One night I was sleeping in the recliner 45 minutes after they all left….wow was I tired.

Tired was the name of the game this week and clearly you can see this in my workouts. However, in my defense, we did play outside many times this week which is also a workout with three kids. So ultimately, I think for the first week back I did ok. Here take a look:

Saturday: 2.5 mile trail hike,

gym: 20 minute elliptical

Sunday: 3 mile trail hike

Monday: 30 minute recumbent bike, arms/legs workout

Tuesday: 1.5 mile walk outside (morning), 2 mile mall walk (evening)

Wednesday: arms and legs workout

Thursday: 30 minute recumbent bike, arms/legs workout, 3 mile morning walk, 1.5 mile evening hike

Friday: rest

With three more hikes added to my list this week I am even closer to accomplishing the 52 hike challenge.

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We are still making progress on our to do list for Spring but I am hoping to add at least one more hike to the log this weekend to get me a little closer to this goal.

Have a great weekend everyone:-)

 

Farewell Gertrude…..Here’s What’s Next

As you all know I saw my doctor yesterday. I had a long list I needed her to give me permission to do which included exercise, go back to work, hike, fly to our vacation destination, and resume life as I knew it before Gertrude ( apparently, this is what my surgeon and my husband named my tumor after surgery) was found and removed. Well, I am happy to share with you all that I checked out good and she is allowing me to get back to life. However, she stated clearly this would be an uphill battle between wanting to do it all and fighting exhaustion for the first few weeks. Uggg, I guess you can’t have it all but something is better than nothing.

Which means I plan to go back to work in about two weeks, I will start exercising again with many limitations, and our vacation we had preplanned before all this medical stuff came about will be happening with a few changes.

First, let’s touch on work. I fully expect going back to work to be difficult. Any mother of three will know exactly where I am coming from. Caring for three kids solo of any age is not easy. I do however feel I threw their little lives, as they knew it, into a roller coaster ride and regardless of where they all found different care for the past few weeks, I feel I owe it to them to make it all good again. We had such a great routine and I will do anything I can to make the transition back easy and smooth. Thankfully they have all been here during my recovery to visit, so it won’t be a complete shock to return and see us all again.

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As for exercise, this is what helps keeps me happy and sane. I would love to jump right back into where I left off…..which will not happen for quite sometime. Being passionate and motivated by exercise is something I have learned to accept as a wonderful thing. I can be having the worst day ever and know that if I can just get myself to the gym or downstairs for a workout, I will feel so much better. Now, I do have the go ahead from my doctor to return to the gym and daily workouts. I cannot, however, do any abdominal workouts for another four weeks. At this time I can try something easy and if I experience pain, I need to wait another four weeks. This means that by summer time paddling my standup paddle board could be quite the challenge at best. Typically, our bodies of water here in WI are not quite warm enough to actually use until at least July, so that gives me about 8 weeks to condition and strengthen my core to be able to paddle my SUP again. Despite being limited to what I can do and cannot do, I will be documenting my workouts again to #1 be able to look back at for myself and #2 share with anyone else that has gone through a similar surgery and give them something to refer to in this situation.

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Briefly, I will touch on our hiking and vacation plans. We had planned to do daily hiking on this next vacation in a region that we have never visited before. Unlike our Utah vacations which are intense elevation, heat and mountainous terrain, this one should be much easier. Although, I still don’t believe I could have done a few of the hikes we had on the list, so we did ultimately plan alternate activities in place of these hikes. We do plan do do some geocaching, small hikes, and a lot of sight seeing. I have no doubt regardless of what we end up doing that it will be a well deserved break from life and a much needed vacation for my husband. He has had everything on his shoulders for the past few weeks, while I spent every day just trying to recover enough to go on this trip. So whether we hike, have a picnic on green grass, or just enjoy the break doing a whole lot of nothing, I know it will be wonderful.

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As the weather gets a bit nicer everyday and Spring inches closer and closer, I cannot wait to start hitting our local trails again. I need to start working on logging hikes for the 52 HIKE challenge I joined.

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I also can’t wait to dig out our front porch chairs and go back to having fresh sushi while enjoying the sunshine on my face.

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Eventually, we may will dust off those kayaks that did not get any use last summer after my husband sustained his back injury and do some paddling.

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To say I am looking forward to Spring with enthusiasm and excitement would be putting it mildly……the anticipation it almost killing me.

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Mountain Bay State Trail

Let’s take a a look at a small portion of a 83 mile trail that starts or ends here in our area.

The Mountain Bay State Trail is one of the longest rail trails we have here.The 3 mile section of the trail I am very familiar with travels from Cty.Rd. J (also known as Lakeview Dr.) and goes just beyond Rockwell Rd.. Starting at Cty. Rd.J you will find a small parking lot that can easily park 10-12 vehicles. In this area they also have one canopy covered picnic table and in the summer months a porta potty.

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At this starting point you will find doggy bags/pet rules and an information board.

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This part of the trail starts out next to a stream on your left and continues through residential, wooded and also industrial areas along the way. Which does not sound very appealing until you find out that you are well above all these looking down into these area. The trail is wide, crushed gravel and is very well maintained.

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There are very few benches for rest along this stretch but plenty of area to just sit along the side the trail and take a break if needed. IMG_2954 At the end of this stretch you will come to a gated street crossing which is Rockwell Rd. IMG_2959 Crossing this road and walking to the next canopy covering over the trail will bring you just under 3 miles one way. This trail is mostly used by runners and walkers but I have seen individuals with bikes occasionally also. For the most part pet owners seem to pick up after there animals and in my eyes that makes this a wonderful trail to be on.

If you are in the Green Bay area for business or pleasure and want somewhere other than the street to walk/hike/jog or bike this would be a nice option.

National Take A Hike Day Is Today

Today is National Take A Hike Day.

If you are an avid hiker like myself, you already know the feeling of being in the woods, back on a trail or high above on a bluff or mountain top and the rush it brings to just be at peace with life.

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If you are not a hiker and have always wanted to experience this feeling, use today as the day to start this journey. It’s amazing to be able to just unplug and leave everything behind for a few hours and become one with the trail.

Go alone, introduce your children to hiking or use this time as couple time. You will find any of these options rewarding and a perfect way to reset.

And remember, if you decided to join the 52 Hike Challenge along with my husband and I, make sure you log whatever trail you decide to hike today.

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