Recent Random Thoughts

Hi, how is your week going? Mine is good….and almost over, yeh!!! Just a few more hours to go.

With no great workouts to share with you all since I am mostly just walking area trails and riding my bike giving my body time to heal, I thought I would share some random things today. My brain is often like a never ending trail to nowhere and sharing it sometimes helps relieve some of the “pressure” shall we say.

IMG_8917

I’ve been up to a lot but at the same time not so much….is that possible? Makes no sense I know but that is how I feel lately. Summer has not been what I thought it would be and now we are into August and we all know what that means….it’s almost over! It’s weird to think my mind still runs on the school calendar when my son has not been in grade school for years already. How do us moms break out of this and just take every day as it is….I haven’t figured that out quite yet but I am working on it? Which is why, as of the end of August, I consider summer over. However, I know in my mind we have plenty of nice days left in September and even some in October but ultimately it comes to an end so quickly.

IMG_4575

Speaking of September and October, I do believe I have over booked all our weekends once again for these two months. Fall is the best time in my opinion to hike, camp, explore the area and enjoy harvest time. Bugs are dying down some, colors start to appear, veggies are plenty, and it’s cooler so camping and hiking are much more pleasurable. Now I just have to find a way to tell my husband I only left him two weekends for hunting in the fall months….he may not like this very much!

Anyhow, let me tell about some treasures I have found lately. First, I must give a big shout out to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market here in our area. We have fell in love with their meat department and if you know me, that is saying A LOT! I am not a meat lover but my husband is. I have a hard time buying it, preparing it and eating it but my attitude has changed a bit since this store has opened. We are loving their meats.

IMG_8766

IMG_8919

I have also found an essential oil room freshener that I love and does not cost an arm and a leg. (I paid $7) I hate chemical fresheners and don’t want the overwhelming smell of a plug in oil freshener since I don’t want the aroma all the time. Which makes this spray perfect and I can use it when I wish and not gag when I spray it in my home like the chemical fresheners cause me to do. I know it says it can be used as a body mist also but I have not gone this route…I strictly use it for our home and vehicles.

IMG_8928

Once again I am attempting to grow my green thumb and I am going to try and grow a prickly pear plant or two. We fell in love with this fruit in Arizona and I recently kept the seeds from one we purchased here in WI. I would bet it’s not going to grow and if it does it may not survive but I have to give it a try. Here’s hoping for a touch of the southwest in good old Green Bay. On the flip side, if I do not succeed at growing one myself I can always plan another trip for fresh fruit. I know none of my family would object to returning to this area.

IMG_6047

Speaking of vacations, we are inching our way closer to our next one and I cannot wait to step foot on the A.T.( Appalachian Trail) once again. Back in January 2017 I made this dream come true and finally got to log some miles on the A.T. with my husband and son. Our next trip will bring us back to the A.T. only in a different state and I plan to log even more miles and hopefully make more wonderful memories. However, this time it will be just the two of us since our son recently started his new job and is not bale to join us for this adventure.

IMG_6888

That shall be it for today. Enjoy your weekend…..that’s my plan.

 

 

 

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.

IMG_7163

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.

IMG_6879

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.

IMG_6570

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???

IMG_7161

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.

IMG_7162

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.

Mom Cathedral End low logo-1

Barkhausen 4-3-16low-1

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.

IMG_5385

 

Appalachian Trail to the Boulevard in the Smoky Mountains National Park

The second hike we did in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park would be the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) to the Boulevard.

IMG_6837

This was a bucket list dream come true for me. I have always wanted to hike on the A.T. and this was my moment to do it.

IMG_6879

We started this trail at the Newfound Gap parking area where there is once again, ample parking with great photo opportunities right from the parking area.

IMG_6836

IMG_6825

Here we did find that the restrooms were open in January unlike the other trailheads in this national park.

IMG_6872

A few things to note about this trail. Unlike the Alum Cave trail, which was at a lower elevation, this trailhead was much colder. We found snow in the parking area,

IMG_6726

and it did not take long for my husbands fingers to freeze.

IMG_6882

So if it’s warmer down below, be prepared to have layers on up above. We were not prepared for this at all, especially since we did not even think we would be hiking in the national park while visiting Tennessee. Although, we did have enough supplies to safely do what we did and not put ourselves into danger.

As for the trail itself…..it’s strenuous with a capital S!!!  You will be boulder climbing at times on the edge of cliffs, stumbling on tree roots and everything in between. If your anything like me, you will love every second of it.

IMG_6915

When we arrived at the signs that said we had made it to our goal,

IMG_6893

we had the pleasure of being greeted by some friends of nature. I am amazed being so far back in the wilderness, these two deer were very friendly and not afraid of us at all.

IMG_6910

IMG_6906

After taking a short beak and photographing these fury friends we headed back to the trailhead……standing around made me very chilly and we needed to get moving again.

My family hiked a total of 6.3 miles on the A.T.

IMG_6919

and I have the memories and the photos to look back on and remember forever.

IMG_6888

This trail is not for children, it’s is strenuous and is hard on the ankles with many spots that accidents could happen. The first mile or so you will see people, after this you will be alone and come across few if any individuals.That being said, if you get the chance and are in good shape, go for it, I am sure you will not regret it.

 

Labor Day ….What Does It Mean To You?

For many Labor Day simply means an extra day off, end of summer merchandise sales are taking place at retailers, summer cabins are being closed up for the upcoming winter, or campers are getting in one last camping trip before the bathroom houses are closed down for the season. In truth, however, it was set aside for everyone to pay tribute to all working men and women out there. For me, it brings many different meanings some wonderful and some not so wonderful.

First, it means that summer is unofficially over. School is back in session, schedules need to be followed, and traffic picks up in our area due to school drop off and pick ups. UGGGG!

Second, it means that laundry gets a little more abundant. Jeans and sweatshirts mean a few more loads a week….UGGGG!

And lastly, it means that some of my favorite foods start making a comeback to our weekly menu. Beef stew, chili, and soups are among my favorite meals to have in cooler weather. Not to mention, pumpkin and pumpkin spice items can be found sprinkled around grocery stores everywhere…mmmmm….what to try first is anyones guess.

So, as we approach Labor Day weekend, which yes, for me means an extra day off like many of you, let’s not forget to reflect on this past summer and all the fun and exciting things we all did.

IMG_2461

You all have a great Labor Day weekend and I will be back next week with a great new hike to share with you all.

 

Some Things Weighing On My Mind Lately

I have had some issues that have been weighing on my mind lately and I think I am getting a grip on them one by one. Here are a few and the solution I have taken to solve them.

*My afternoon workout routine is not happening with two infants! This for me is tragic to say the least. I live to exercise. It’s not an obsession by any means but more of a release and a way to relax. Recently I started caring for two infants and sleep schedules are all over the place.(As they should be with infants) Yes, I could workout while they are awake but then I don’t feel as if I am doing my job which is caring for them and entertaining their little minds. So I have decided to get in my normal afternoon routine of a half hour cardio and some weight lifting in the early morning before anyone arrives and right after my husband leaves for work. We are talking by 4:50 a.m. I am working out. Surprisingly it has not been too bad. It’s been quiet, relaxing, and honestly somewhat serene. I do hope eventually I can get everyone back on our normal afternoon schedule but for now I really think this is going to work best for all of us.

*Spending money on bear spray that could ultimately never be used. Recently I made a few calls about a back country hiking trip my husband and I have been planning. I received some really good tips and information from a park ranger that made us rethink what we needed to carry while hiking in this area. Typically we do carry a small hand held pepper spray for protection on the trails we hike. Ironically, not so much for animals but to be used on anything.(There are weirdos everywhere). After speaking with the park ranger he advised us to invest in a can of bear spray for this area we plan to hike. I told my husband and recently while shopping we located this type of protection. I (being the frugal person I am) almost sh*t when I saw the price tag. For $50 you can buy a can of bear spray with a holster to easily attach it to yourself or your backpack in the event you would come across a bear in the wilderness. I really had trouble spending this kind of cash for something that could literally never get used or could expire before it’s ever needed. Then my husband mentioned that he would rather carry this than a firearm (which I totally agree), and that $50 is cheap when it could save our lives. I had to agree with that too. After thinking about it for a while, it did make sense.

*Ankle pain is still bothering me. If you are a follower you know I have been dealing with a sore ankle for a very long time now. After kicking a rock in the river mid summer last year while portaging I have had this pain. It has gotten a lot better and the ankle swelling has actually subsided unless I spend hours on my feet, walk many miles or hike without my boots. Now the only real time I have pain is when it is bent in a certain direction. When this happens, the pain is horrendous……like tears in my eyes painful. After trying ice, heat, ankle wraps, water therapy, compression socks, and rest I have finally decided to see an orthopedic specialist this week. Enough is enough, I am done with this pain. I am not a doctor fan what so ever, but I feel in my mind it has been long enough and I have done all I can do. So hopefully by the end of the week I will have an answer and a plan to be pain free soon.

*My husbands birthday gift. It’s almost that time of year again, my husbands birthday. We are at the age now that when we want something we just go out and get it so I never know what to buy him for a gift. This year I searched hard and was coming up with nothing. Until I was actually given an idea from a friend and did some research and found the perfect gift. I would love to tell you all but sometimes he reads this so I can’t just yet. I can say, I think he’s really going to like it and I am happy I have another year before I need to search again:)

*Where to go for Easter? Every year we try and share Easter together somewhere special. This year we have not come up with a plan quite yet and we don’t even have any ideas.

*Section Hiking. I have been toying with the idea of trying to section hike the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail. I have been researching for weeks and really think this is going to be a goal in the near future. I mentioned it to my husband and to my surprise he is all for the idea. Does anyone have any advice for us? Do you like one trail more than the other? Let me know what you think.

 Is there anything weighing on your mind? Do you want to talk about it?