It’s Cooler By The Lake

As life would have it high heat and humidity in WI bring the risk of sever thunderstorms which brings a quick change of plans. So what do we do to escape the heat but still be outside, we head to the lake….Lake Michigan that is.

IMG_8184

Originally, we had plans to paddle the chain of Lakes in Waupaca but quickly made a change since the sustained winds were 30mph or higher and thunderstorms were a possibility. We have been there, done that before, and we were not willing to relive this possibility again. However, it was a weekend, the sun was shining, and it was HOT! Which meant I wanted to be outside where I am happiest, so my husband suggested we head lakeside and tour lighthouses and walk the piers since the waves would be fun to see. I was all in!!!

We started in Kewaunee, WI but were quickly disappointed to find the lighthouse was under construction and the pier was closed.

IMG_8155

We did see a wedding just finishing up lakeside. What a gorgeous place to say I love You!

IMG_8156

Being we have been here many times before, we also brought the watermelon rind from the watermelon I cut up before leaving home and grabbed a few carrots to feed to the deer at a local wildlife park in this area. They seemed to enjoy the cool treats.

IMG_8165

IMG_8170

IMG_8178

Next we headed to Algoma, WI and had lunch at a place my husband has eaten at numerous times for business lunches but I have only visited once with a friend for coffee. Wow, what a fabulous lunch we had. They have an enormous menu, indoor and outdoor seating(with blankets provided since it’s always cooler by the lake), and some wonderful desserts which we did not indulge in sadly.

IMG_8179

IMG_8180

After lunch we visited the Algoma pier which waves were crashing over so hard that we were also not able to walk to the end. Although, the view was quite spectacular and it was much colder…..87 at home….64 in Algoma! BRRRRR!!!!

IMG_8213

IMG_8214

IMG_8217

Even the pelicans seemed to be struggling in the high winds.

IMG_8221

IMG_8219

Our last pier of the day was Sturgeon Bay. This is always my favorite. It’s so beautiful.

IMG_8189

IMG_8204

IMG_8188

IMG_8192

While here we even got to witness a “not so wise” family attempt to take on the waves with their boat and quickly decided it was too much to handle when the turned back around shortly after.

IMG_8207

Thankfully, the coast guard boat never had to leave the dock and rescue them. However, whether they know it or not, on shore they had quite the audience watching them attempt this crazy stunt.

IMG_8190

And that was our Saturday…..still spent outside but at times I did have to wear my jacket.So if your looking for a break from the heat and humidity you can never go wrong heading to the lake shore and exploring the area. It has so much to offer… just don’t forget a light jacket.

As for Sunday, much of the same weather was expected so I stayed home and did some things of my own and my husband and son headed out for a quick fishing trip. Successful fishing trip it was…..here is what they brought home. WOW!!!!

IMG_8231

IMG_8228

 

Advertisements

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.

 

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary Trails

I have been a life long resident of Green Bay for 40+ years now and I am ashamed to admit, it took me this long to hike the trails that are practically in my own backyard. Maybe that is exaggerating a bit….they may not be in my backyard but they are located about 15 minutes from my home and at a place I have visited numerous times throughout my life.

I am sure if you have ever visited Green Bay there are two places you have heard about….Lambeau Field and Bay Beach Amusement park/Wildlife Sanctuary. And rightfully so….they are two of the best places to explore when in the area. We are going to concentrate on the Wildlife Sanctuary today. Across the grassy lot from Bay Beach Amusement park you will find this treasure that offers so many things for families. From places to explore nature, places to feed the ducks and geese corn kernels, to places to hike. However, if your looking for somewhere a bit more secluded and peaceful to hike you may want to venture down past the main entrance about a half mile to the trail entrance. You will see a gated lot with ample parking and the entrance to the trails. NOTE: there is no bathroom at this entrance!

IMG_6246

Make notice of the hours posted on the fence as they seem to be strictly enforced at every gated entrance. So unless you can climb a fence really well, I would suggest you watch the time while hiking.

Another thing to note is that there are no dogs allowed on the trails along with no snow shoes either. And according to staff, once the trails are groomed for skiers no hikers are allowed again until spring.

IMG_6325

Within this gated wooded area there are quite a few trails and they are very well marked.It is very easy to add a few together to make a few hour hike or just do a quick little hike since most single trails are not long at all.

IMG_6303

IMG_6254

IMG_6247

IMG_6302

There is one hill overlook that will offer a bit of a challenge if your looking to break a sweat but other than that, most of the trail is flat or has very little incline. The hill lookout is optional and does not need to be climbed to continue down the trail.

IMG_6257

IMG_6266

IMG_6290

Terrain can be anything from grass, wood chips, dirt or wooden boards in some areas that cover water.

IMG_6255

IMG_6314

You may think being in a fenced in area that the trails would not have much to offer but even I was amazed at this area. You would never know you weren’t hiking in the forest somewhere. We came across deer scrapes,

IMG_6313

bald eagles,

IMG_6311

and deer all in a few miles.

IMG_6320

IMG_6306

I am sure soon enough there will be snow covering this area if you wish to ski this trail in the winter months, but for right now, we will be making this a repeat hike as much as possible. There is a lot to see here and right now the ponds are still not frozen and neither is the trail.

IMG_6317

IMG_6296