Celebrating Our 22nd Wedding Anniversary

I still can’t believe my husband and I have been married 22 years. That’s almost half my life. By this time we know exactly what each other really enjoys, needs and wants which made this anniversary quite easy to plan. I took the reins this year and planned an overnight getaway for us that was more about just escaping life and all the drama rather than celebrating anything special. Although, we did make time for a bit of celebration also.

The past two months for my husband have been a roller coaster ride with all the health issues his father has been dealing with. So I knew a night away would be so beneficial for him. However, because of the seriousness of this matter, I knew it needed to be close to home for a quick return if need be. The first place I thought of was Door County which has everything we love from water, hiking, great food, and so on.

Saturday morning we left around 9:30 a.m and headed that direction. He had no idea what was on the agenda except that we would be spending the night somewhere in Door County.  I handled all the packing and details, all he had to do was drive.IMG_2801 Our first stop was Sturgeon Bay and we did something that I would have NEVER done when I was younger. We went antiquing…..not my favorite thing in the world but I knew he would LOVE this. We stopped at two antique shops here and headed to two more a ways up the road near Egg Harbor.  IMG_2804

After some shopping we headed a little more north to our next destination to have some dinner. I knew he would be very happy with a visit to his favorite pizza place but upon our arrival we ran into a race event happening throughout the area which meant there we tons of people waiting at all area restaurants. So instead of waiting forever, we headed north a bit more and came to a restaurant we had never been to and decided to try for dinner.

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We were very pleased with our meal choices at Summer Kitchen. Service was very fast, friendly and the food was really tasty. And the best part, they offer a soup bar with every meal which is always a plus for me.

With full bellies we headed to our overnight destination…..Birchwood Lodge in Sister Bay, WI. IMG_2824

I made sure our room would have everything he enjoyed to fully relax for the evening. A fireplace, hot tub, and television meant he was in heaven. And this lodge had it all. Plus, I even packed a few celebration treats to enjoy together.

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When morning rolled around we had hoped it was going to be a much nicer day since it rained all day Saturday. We woke and opened the blinds to find sunny skies on the horizon. IMG_2821

We quickly gathered our things and went to grab a quick, hardy breakfast before getting to the last part of our getaway, the trail we had planned to finish this weekend. We arrived at a little diner in Sister Bay called Carroll House Restaurant and had a fantastic meal on their last day of business before closing up for the winter months.

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Unlike most restaurants in the Door County area, this place offered a wide variety menu at wonderfully affordable prices. After breakfast it was time to hit the trail. Along the way we enjoyed the views of the area.  IMG_2839  IMG_2834

We ended the day by finishing the Ahnapee State Trail, finding our #600 geocache and enjoying the fall colors together. IMG_2847

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Weekend Snapshots: We Are Almost Done….

This weekend we completed another big chunk of the Ahnapee State Trail. We have been working on hiking this entire trail for two years now. It is 48 miles from Kewaunee, WI to downtown Sturgeon Bay, WI and since we always have to turn back to reach our vehicle we technically will have completed this trail twice. Our goal is to finish the last stretch before the snow flies….which if all goes well should be no problem.

Here is a look at our weekend

Saturday morning homemade sconesIMG_2676

Ahnapee State Trail bench

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Trail snackIMG_2693

A trail map I will never utilize….brrrr!   IMG_2688

Logging a few more geocachesIMG_2687

Fun on the trail

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Almost 6 miles today and not a single snake….yehhhh!

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It was a great weekend here in Green Bay. Weather was sunny and cool, great for hiking. Sunday our son went hiking with a friend, my husband lent a hand to his parents with fall cleanup, and I accomplished many things around the house that have been neglected over the summer months. I can’t believe the chores I can accomplish when I am home alone.

After all these things were completed, I ended my Sunday with a workout at the gym and some relaxing time on my porch. I know these moments are quickly coming to an end, so I have to savor every second of warmth I can to enjoy sitting outside.

 

 

 

Backpacking/Hiking Preparations Have Begun

I have finally started preparing for our backpacking/hiking trip to Zion, Bryce and surrounding areas. Besides physically training for this sort of adventure there is a lot more that can make a trip like this much more enjoyable. Precisely, planning your meals ahead of time, taking what you can with you, and preparing for the heat that this area experiences. Two years ago I could have never written a post like this because on our first trip here I really had no clue what we were in for. I had an idea but we were taught so much from our guides that this time I am confident we can do this on our own and be very successful.

Let’s take a look at what we are bringing for backpacking food we plan to eat on the trails.

  • Nuts/almonds
  • electrolyte powder
  • Clif bars/Luna bars
  • turkey jerky
  • turkey snack sticks
  • dried friut
  • cookies
  • crackers (not pictured)
  • Clif Shot Bloks(for emergency blood sugar issues anyone may have)
  • candy (not pictured)
  • water,water and more water

Some of the more important supplies we will be bringing are.

  • sunscreen
  • ziplocks
  • blister supplies
  • bandanas
  • friction stick
  • Tide pods
  • Granite Gear Zipp Sack
  • spray water bottle (#1 tip from our guides last time for cooling off on the trail)
  • sock liners
  • trekking poles

IMG_1818Obviously, there are many more things we will be packing but this is the list of things we feel would really make our trip successful. Our first visit to the area I found out there are very few places to purchase most of this food and the prices are outrageous. My thought is since we all need to check a bag anyhow I plan to take whatever we can fit with us from home.

We have researched our chosen trails, confirmed our lodge accommodations, and are working on our distance walking as much as possible. This last one has proven to be quite a battle but at least we are in the right frame of mind. Before the back injury that has left my husband with nerve issues in one leg and foot we could walk for miles. Now we find ourselves needing to sit and rest when he starts to feel heat and numbness in his foot. This typically happens around mile 3 or so.  IMG_1798

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At first I think it was discouraging for him, since we have walked for many, many years without taking breaks. That being said, we have come to enjoy these breaks along the trail. We watch birds, have a snack, he does some stretching or we just sit and chat for a bit until the feelings subsides and he feels ready to continue.  IMG_1840

IMG_1843His doctor said in time this will get better and thankfully he has already seen improvement but waiting is sometimes the hardest part of healing.  IMG_1823

Either way, we know that whether hiking takes us all day or just a few hours, our destination is so amazingly beautiful that we will enjoy ourselves without a doubt.

Have you ever been to the Zion and Bryce area?

Do you have any suggestions of trails, places, restaurants, activities we should check out?

 

 

How My Family Is Training For Distance and Elevation Hiking

We have started our training plan for our upcoming hiking vacation which will include carrying day packs, photo equipment, high heat, and elevation.

First, let me remind you that my husband and I did part of this same hike a few years back for our 20th anniversary. That was the first trip ever we took of that type and thankfully we opted for a guided trip on that occasion. We learned so much in three days with the guides we had that I could never thank them enough. We also had about 6 weeks to train for that trip and I believe it made all the difference in the world when we arrived. We had no issues keeping up, dealing with the elevation, or making the mileage asked of us. I returned from that trip with so much knowledge and a HUGE desire to return as soon as possible.

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Which brings us to today. We are going back, adding a few more destinations, and staying a lot longer this time around. However, this time we have two big changes among many little differences. This time we are doing it on our own (no guides) and bringing our 20 year old son with us. As you can imagine I am over the moon excited. It will be a dream come true for me to go back since mountains are my favorite adult playground. Plus, our son, being an up and coming photographer, will be completely in his element.

My first priority was to come up with a training plan so this trip can be enjoyable and not leave us in pain every single night after a big day on the trails. I knew what we did last time was very beneficial although, because of the last minute booking it also only gave us 6 weeks to train which was super difficult. This time I wanted to make sure we had a few more weeks so we would not be pressured to hit the goals we knew we needed to hit. Plus, we are all at different fitness levels and some of us need a more work than others in certain areas. And don’t forget, I am still trying to recover from 6 long weeks in a boot for my torn ankle tendon.

This is what I came up with to start our training:

Monday: 5 mile walk and stretching (gradually increasing and eventually reaching 10 miles total)

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Tuesday: 3 mile walk and stretching

Wednesday: 60 minutes yoga, hill climb=10 times up and down , steps= 10 times up and down

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Thursday: 5 mile walk and stretching (gradually increasing and eventually reaching 10 miles total)

Friday: weights/squats/ankle bands/stool step ups

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Saturday: off (it’s summer time so we’ll either be kayaking or standup paddling anyhow)

Sunday: 60 minutes yoga, hill climb=10 times up and down , steps= 10 times up and down

Of course we may need to change this up a bit here and there but this is the plan. When we get closer to leaving we will be adding our loaded packs for our walks. This time we are adding steps and hill climbs to our training plan since elevation is a major part of every trail we plan to hike. Last time we did not do this and I think it would have been very helpful. We concentrated more on mileage last time and I don’t think we needed to as much as we did. We will top out at 10 miles total by the end of our training.

I also found that yoga was extremely helpful for keeping me stretched out well. I even did it in them mornings while we were there before meeting up with the rest of the group. So I added that into our plan here at home too.

Since our training is taking place during the summer months, the heat should help prepare us for what’s ahead. Our destination tops out at about 85-105 degrees at this time of year. And if it would rain, our walks can be taken to the gym on another aerobic machine or even in our home gym.

All in all, my hope is to leave home feeling ready to conquer what lies ahead.

Would you ever train to go on a vacation?