Planning Equals Perfection: Making That First Hike A Success

You all know I am from Wisconsin and if you don’t love brats, cheese, the Green Bay Packers, and beer you are definitely labeled an outsider. So ultimately, I am one of the biggest outsiders living in my zip code. Which is why I write this blog…..to show everyone  that there is more to life than brats, cheese, the Green Bay Packers, and beer.

Wisconsin has so much to offer if you love water, trees, trails and snow. Now, you all know I will not be focusing on snow today since I have a love/hate relationship with that cold, white stuff that falls from the skies for months every year. I love when it melts and hate to see it return a few months later…..so like I said…..a love/hate relationship! Today I would rather focus on the other three months of the year….summer, spring and fall in Wisconsin. Fall is the best time, in my opinion, to hike Wisconsin trails. It’s cool, crisp, and beautiful. Spring and summer are not bad either if you like it a bit muddy in the spring and can ignore the numerous bugs Wisconsin has to offer in the summer months. Which most of us that live here learn to tolerate at some point.

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Since hiking is something I truly love to do, I have been urging a friend of mine to give it a try and take that first step onto a dirt trail. Although, she has always been hesitant since #1 she has never really hiked before, #2 she is afraid of the unknown, and #3 she has no idea where to go do this. Well, say no more, I can fix all these….well almost all these. Let’s face it, aren’t we all afraid of the unknown???

As soon as she said she was willing, I said I was able and I began planning a day I knew she would enjoy. I began by finding a location somewhere close to home since we only had a day. I also wanted to make sure I included a variety of activities so she would enjoy herself but at the same time not stress about the actual hike itself. It also made it very helpful to me to know what her activity level is. This is what I based the trail distance on….I knew anything over 4 miles would be a stretch.

The hike part of our day ended up being at a popular county park I am very familiar with and we hiked the gorgeous wooded trail along the bluffs of Lake Michigan.

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We had the perfect day for this adventure. The park was busy but not too busy, temps were perfect for hiking, and the bugs were tolerable for this time of year. We even had the pleasure of witnessing one couple exchange vows on the bluff of Lake Michigan….so beautiful.

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I concentrated on finding a trail that offered a bit of difficulty since I know she is one to challenge herself.

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Distance was about 2 miles roundtrip with many places to sit and rest if needed.

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It was cool along the waters edge since I knew she is not fond of heat. And I was familiar with this trail since hiking it many, many times in the past gave her the confidence that I knew where we were going on how we were going to return.

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Planning a hike for someone who has never hiked before only takes a bit of thought. Even if you are strangers, asking a few general questions from them before choosing a trail will almost always guarantee a successful hike. Have some water and a few snacks ready to offer at the end of the hike and you will be set to enjoy a day on the trail.

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Here are a few more photos from our day .

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Let’s Go Paddling

Saturday my husband and I decided to paddle somewhere we have never paddled before….Cave Point County Park in Door County. We have hiked and explored here many, many times before but have never ventured out into the big open water with our kayaks. Seeing this beautiful place from another perspective was so nice.

We packed up our gear,

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grabbed an iced coffee for the road and

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checked the weather and wind direction one last time before heading out.

We arrived to see the water was calm and calling our names. Not quite calm enough for me to open the dry bag and risk taking out my camera at the gorgeous rock caves, but calm enough to grab a few pics here and there of the other areas.

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I was amazed by how many other groups had decided to do this same thing. There were kayakers everywhere. From guided classes going on to private parties just out enjoying the day.

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Thankfully our son was not along since we witnessed one of his biggest pet peeves ever. Two newbies who clearly had no idea how to hold their paddle. Although, if it works for them, then it’s all good.IMG_4363

Eventually we hope to get back to river kayaking before summers end here in WI. However, truth be told, this is the one thing that still gives me some pain when I do it. I am not sure if its the position I am in or the act of paddling but there is no denying its there. Which means Sunday then brought a day on the couch with my heating pad and some rest. Which is not great for someone who loves summer and just wants to be outside enjoying every last second. So whether or not I attempt a river with rapids and current battling against me has yet to be determined.

 

 

Weekend Snapshots

We had a weekend I dream of all winter long, it was 85-90 degrees, sunny, and absolutely gorgeous. We originally had plans to attempt a 6 mile hike on Saturday but when I saw the forecast I knew my husband would not be a happy hiker. So we changed plans and headed to a friends cabin to take full advantage of the beautiful lake they are on. Which then left Sunday (the cooler of the two days) for a small hike along the Bay of Green Bay where there was a nice breeze.

Here are some snapshots of our weekend.

Cave Point County Park

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Lake Fun With the SUP

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Pizza Delivery After A Day of Water Fun

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TENS Therapy  For My Hubby To Finish The Day

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Sunday Afternoon Hike Bay Side

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Ending The Weekend Purchasing Our Annual Date Night Tickets To Feast With The Beast 2015

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I really do have to admit, even with all the struggles that have been thrown our way this summer, we are still able to have fun and enjoy what we can. We have really learned not to take life for granted and enjoy the moments we have because you just never really know when those moments will no longer be possible. We had a great weekend, spent it with some great friends, we were active, we were able to escape the dramas of life, and most importantly relax and let all our worries be gone for a few hours. For this I am so thankful for.

Did you have a great weekend?

Did you do anything active?

Weekend Highlights: July 4th. Weekend

Technically, our July 4th weekend started out at 4:30 Thursday night when my last daycare child was picked up from our home. My husband was with our son at the orthopedic surgeons office and I was left home alone with my thoughts of the last few days. And what a few days it was.

First of all, being out of routine with little ones running around does not make life easy! Typically, our son is at work most week days and we do our thing throughout the day. This is not at all what happened this past week. Instead, our son slept most of the day time hours or needed assistance of some kind. I honestly don’t know what injury was worse for me to deal with. His broken clavicle was the one that gave him the worse pain but the head injury gave us the biggest worry. Even the doctors were amazed all the CT scans came back ok because the bump and gash they stapled back together was amazing. So we obviously did not leave him alone for the first few days, which meant after Monday when my husband went back to work it was all me. Thankfully my husband took the overnight hours of checking on him and making sure he did not roll on the head injury and kept his medication on time. I got to sleep through most of the first few nights.

Then our weekend arrived and all original plans of kayaking were cancelled:( I was bummed! We struggled to decide if we should do anything at all with or without him and in the end decided that it would be best to stay together and just take it easy. He was still sleeping a lot of the time and his arm still hurt him quite a bit. So Friday was a relaxing day of getting some things done. I did a little shopping and then we planned a relaxing beach day for Saturday hoping that he would feel up to at least getting out of the house.

Saturday morning was gorgeous. We loaded up the stand up paddle board, one kayak, beach towels,chairs, and headed to the beach. If there is a better place to recover from an accident other than relaxing on a beach I would love to hear it because I believe sunshine can cure almost anything. We had the pleasure of having our neighbors join us for the day and it was quite a pleasant day for everyone. Both our neighbors had the opportunity to try stand up paddle boarding for the first time and did wonderful.

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Even our son was in the water for some of the time. The only part of him that he was not able to get wet was his head so he even attempted to play frisbee with us. Although, it was quite frustrating to throw with the wrong hand and watch it go everywhere other than where he was hoping it would go.

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At the end of our day our neighbor decided it was her time to learn how to wet exit and roll in a whitewater kayak. We had taken her down a river once before in the past but it was too cold to teach this on that day, so this was the perfect place to learn. The beach was a controlled area with no current and lots of assistance.

First, the wet exit was attempted. She got all the advice she needed and we were all close by for help if she needed it. Over she went.

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And out and up she came.

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Success!!!! It’s funny how this is really the biggest fear most people have when in a kayak for the first time. The questions of WILL I BE ABLE TO GET OUT is always scary and the best way to know if you can is to just do it. She did terrific and even said she has a better feeling now knowing she will be able to exit in the event of a rollover on a river.

Then she surprised my husband and son with the request to try and roll. Females are the bravest people we have had on the river by far and she was no different. Request granted and the lesson began.

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Here she is learning the hip action while leaning against my husband as our son watches and gives pointers. (he really felt so useless because normally he teaches the roll very well)

Now, it was her turn to try it and hope for the best. Over she went…

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And no success, she had to wet exit. Although she tried twice, both times were unsuccessful:(  We all have faith that in time she will get it.

After this we were all chilly and agreed it was time to pack up and head to a county park very nearby before heading home. Upon arrival the temperature change was amazing. I grabbed a jacket before heading down to the shoreline.

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We did not spend a whole lot of time here because of high, rough water and it was time to get our son home to rest. He was already sleeping in the car by the time we returned.

Even though it was not the weekend of kayaking we had planned, it was still a great day on the water. We all had a wonderful day at the beach with some fun friends and beautiful weather. I love summer:)

Then Sunday came and the first thing on the agenda was a quick trip to the clinic so our son could get his staples removed. I can’t believe a week has past since the accident. The rest of the day we just sort of did our own things. My husband went fishing, I hung out did some reading and went for a walk and made a pan of no boil lasagna for dinner. And our son had more friends stop in for a visit. I must admit, it was a nice way to end a long weekend.

Did you do anything fun? I’d love to hear about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Breath of Fresh (Cold) Air

This past weekend we decided to brave the cold and venture out for some ice pictures. With layers of long underwear on we headed to Door County and were rewarded with some very beautiful sights.

Our first stop was the coast guard station in Sturgeon Bay. We exited the car and were hit by a brisk wind that made me start to shiver immediately. We proceeded to walk out to the pier and I was amazed at the depth of the ice along the shoreline.

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We were not able to go far because of ice covering the entire pier but I was not disappointed. It was so windy that I was not sure how long we would be able to tolerate the conditions. After my son finished with his pics we headed back to the car and drove further to our destination, Cave Point County Park.

This is one of our favorite places to visit in the summer months. You can walk along the beach, enjoy the nice cool breeze and take in the gorgeous rock formations. In the winter it’s a whole different terrain. Ice, ice and more ice.

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Even with the ice making walking very difficult the views were breathtaking.

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There was even a spot along the shoreline where my husband and I found a rock not covered with ice in which we took advantage of and just sat down and enjoyed the bright sunlight for awhile.

Thankfully the wind was from a different direction here and we were pretty comfortable compared to the Sturgeon Bay pier.

I cannot even explain how good it felt to be outdoors, breathing fresh air and away from my home for the first time in months. If I did not already have spring fever before, I really have a bad case of it now.

NOTE: All the pictures in this post are courtesy of our son.

You can see more of his photography at

http://500px.com/QuadeMByrnes

or at

http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/Quade+Byrnes/all