Spring Is Here….But We Are Still So Limited

According to the calendar Spring arrived a few days ago and I clearly am not feeling the excitement yet. Yes, we have been able to get outside for short bursts of time here and there but come on already…I am so over winter!

One weekend we got out and walked in just sweatshirts on a local trail.

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The next weekend my husband wanted to try out his new fishing reel and I wanted to wander the wooded area near the rivers edge while he did this. We both needed winter jackets once again unlike the weekend before we only needed sweatshirts.

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We arrived and he balanced on ice along the shore hoping it did not break

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while I only made it a little ways down the trail before hitting snow and ice.

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And that’s when I noticed this fella fishing in the river with neoprene waiters on. BRRRRR!!!! I don’t care how thick and warm those waiters are….there is no way he was not freezing his %$##@ off. In my eyes this was crazy….in a fishermans eyes this is dedication. All I can say is I sure hope he caught something for all his effort.

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On a brighter note…and much warmer topic…our gym got an overhaul and I could not be more thrilled. I walked in a week after missing out for illness and wow I was excited. Almost 15 years ago now I began my health journey and my first piece of exercise equipment was a stepper at a very small gym. Then I left that gym and never found another with this piece of equipment until now….our gym has two brand new seated step machines. WHOOHOOO!!!!

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Plus, they added 3 of my next favorite machines…rowers!

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So now when I go to my early morning workout session I mix things up a bit. I am all about cardio and do weights simply because I have to. And you all know if you’ve been following for awhile that when we train for our vacations we utilize real concrete steps at a local high school. Concrete steps=torture!

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We have been seen here a lot with boots on doing flights of stairs in the heat and humidity many times. Well…..never again! I can just go to the gym now and step until I cannot step anymore. And I can even wear my hiking boots if I wish to get strange looks from other gym members which I may just do. After all, you cannot climb mountains with out strong legs now can you.

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Cabin Fever…..This Is Real People!!!

They say a broken heart is a true condition some people suffer from. I also believe that cabin fever should also be on the list of real diagnostic conditions. For me, and I know many others feel this way also, cabin fever is real. And the past two weeks it has been pretty severe. My moods are all over, my energy level I need to dig deep for, and my sleep is some nights great and some nights not so great. And when I listen to the weather…..well, it’s normally best not to listen to the weather.

Even though temps lately have been tolerable, I know living in WI the weather can turn back to full blown winter in a matter of hours so I try not to get to excited too early.  However, that didn’t stop me from taking my whole gang outside to play for the first time in months. Oh, it was glorious!!!! And it also gave me a big case of cabin fever!!!!IMG_0513

Like I said, I have been struggling and I needed to make a snap decision to turn life back around and get some air. All this took was a bit of thought, a quick email to my husband that I needed a break from life, and a few things thrown into an overnight bag…..and I was off on an overnight adventure to find myself again. Saturday morning I quickly threw together a penne pasta casserole for Sunday when I returned home to toss into the oven for dinner. This way I would not need to hurry home for any reason….and walla we were off to find sunshine, fresh air, and hopefully open water and not ice bergs. IMG_0520

Like usual, I chose the destination and I wanted somewhere I had never been before. I also knew I needed to be around water(two places that bring me peace are one around water and  two atop mountains…..WI has a ton of water and no mountains so my options were limited) and I needed everything in walking distance since I hate driving in strange cities. I made some strict rules for my husband to follow since he asked to join me in my 24 hrs. of solitude…..no job talk, I get to choose all the restaurants, I get to walk as far I my body will let me, and I get control of the remote control when we finally do decide to rest. He happily agreed and then was allowed to join me in my adventure.

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My destination ended up being Port Washington,WI. I had never been here and neither had my husband. IMG_0558

Upon arrival, it was sunny, gorgeous, and the ice had all melted and left open water and miles and miles of harbor walk for us to enjoy.

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We walked mostly paved walkways but we also did climb some pretty big boulders to make our way out to some of the lake markers that I don’t know know if we should have but we did anyhow. There were no Do Not Enter signs but clearly no one else was taking this route except us. It felt so good to be alive and breathing fresh air again that I really did not care if we would have found the game warden/or the dock master waiting for us when we returned.

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We explored for miles…..we saw so much beauty and I even got to sit on one of the piers for a bit and just let my mind clear itself.

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We paid tribute to a fellow kayaker by climbing to the top of his memorial gazebo which personally, could not have been placed on a better part of land. It overlooks where he lost his life and this is somewhere that can honor him and his love for paddling forever. Being a kayaker myself, I can truly see why he was paddling the waters of Lake Michigan….so gorgeous.

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After all this walking, more sunshine that I have gotten on my face in over 6 months, and even a bit shopping on the historic street next to our hotel….we were tired. We checked into our hotel located right on the harbor walk and walked to dinner before turning in for the evening. And believe it or not….I could not find a single thing on television to keep my interest so I handed over the remote control to my husband with a kiss goodnight….and that was that.

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I will soon fill you all in on where we all ate and the absolutely fabulous meals we had in this area of the city. We also already have plans to return as a family. Only next time, fishing poles, tackle, cameras, tripods, picnic blankets, and coolers will all be added to the packing list. Maybe even a few kayaks, paddles, and PFD’s.

 

 

July 4, 2017….A Day On The Chain O Lakes -Waupaca, WI

We all had the day off this July 4 holiday so just like old times we loaded up the kayaks and headed out as a family to one of our favorite places to paddle…the Chain O Lakes in Waupaca,WI.

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Very seldom do we all have the chance to paddle together anymore….oh, how life has changed since our son has graduated, starting working, and has become an adult. So as you can imagine, these days are cherished.

As usual, my husband and son had fishing on their to do list, I had swimming and I really wanted some time to relax in my beloved blow up inner tube. We arrived shortly after 9a.m and was happy to see the parking lot had plenty of spots left in it.

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We unloaded our kayaks and I strapped my tube to the back of mine. We then made our way to Marl Lake first. Marl is the best swimming lake here in my opinion.

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It has a public dock, the bluest water probably in WI..or at least that I have ever seen in WI, and no weeds. However, if you are not here early…good luck finding room near this dock. By 1p.m. this same afternoon the dock was packed with people.

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I wasted no time at all beaching my kayak and taking a seat in my tube to relax while my boys fished the same lake near by.

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I had a great time, sucked up plenty of Vitamin D, was completely relaxed, and even managed a good swim while here. Our son, on the other hand, received his first ever fish foot massage….I believe this is something probably in New York or somewhere where the fish pick at your feet/toes while you are in a massage chair. Well, here in WI…it’s free and we don’t need an appointment for it either.

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We again paddled 6 of the lakes total for a total of five hours, swam in one, fished in all of them, saw numerous turtles, our son captured many gorgeous photos with his gear, and most of all we all enjoyed a great day together.

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Summer has arrived and hopefully is around to stay for a few weeks here in Wisconsin. Make sure you all get out and enjoy it before it’s too late!

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****If you would like to read more here is a link to the visit we made here a few weeks ago also.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!!!!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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!!!!

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Some Of The Best Places Are The Places You Never Planned To Visit

While on road trips we have stumbled upon some of the greatest areas in our state. On our way home from camping recently, we visited Big Falls county park that really made me want to dust off my kayak paddle and relive 5 years ago in the whitewater rapids.

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Instead, I settled for dipping my feet in for awhile since it was freezing cold. It’s also been awhile since I have tackled any sort of rapids with my kayak. Although, we may give it a try this summer since our son may have the time to join us and be the chase vehicle.

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At this county park we visited it was lined with huge rocks along the river and offered hiking, fishing, and even pothole excavation for treasures.

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I can only imagine this place in mid summer being packed with people with all the sand, swimming, and fishing that could happen here. We can definitely add this to the list of one more amazing place we have stumbled upon while we escape the big city where we live.

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***There is a $3 fee to park and enter this park.

Interstate State Park -St. Croix Falls, WI/Taylor Falls, MN

Hi, we are back from our extended weekend adventure to Interstate State Park located on the border of WI and MN.I had been looking forward to this park for quite some time and in all honesty, I was quite disappointed. Not so much in the park itself but in the hiking trails.

The park itself was gorgeous….but if you are looking for a good hike, distance is not to be had here at all. Most hikes seem to be over before we even started. Even the hard rated hike of Summit Rock was quite easy. A beautiful hike but not difficult by any means.

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We also combined the Echo Canyon trail since they basically intersect. This brought us low and right next to the St Croix.

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After this we then added the River Bluff trail and the Lake O the Dalles trail to make our total hike a whopping 2.65 miles of hiking. However, we did find a few geocaches along this trail which added to the adventure.

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Like I said, someone could easily do this entire park in a few hours since nothing is very long. All these trails were accessed from the Summit Trail parking lot.

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After these we headed to another parking lot to do the most popular trail in the park according to the park ranger I spoke to before leaving home regarding hikes and fishing regulations. By this time, I was pretty much hoping for a spectacular hike since so far I was not thrilled. We arrived knowing it was a short hike(less than a half mile round trip) but apparently there are some amazing pot holes to see. Which there were when we got to them but nothing I would call amazing. At least not on the WI side of this park. Here is one picture I took of our friend standing inside one of the potholes.

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We then packed up and headed across HWY. 8 to the Minnesota side of the park and took the small hike of 8 city blocks to see their Pothole trail. This was much more impressive even if it was only 8 blocks long.

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The guys even resorted to making there own fun by doing pull ups on a pine tree branch.

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All in all both sides were very short, nice views but short. And by far if you are looking to see potholes in the rocks make your way to the Minnesota side since it is much more impressive.

The rest of the day we spent fishing on the WI side of the park and then headed back to camp which I will share this part of our trip next….when I have time to type it. Let me just say, camp was much more fun and we had some great laughs that’s for sure!!!!

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*****Yes, to answer the first question I will surely receive by many people looking to visit this park….you do need to pay on both sides if you do not have a WI state park pass and also a MN state park pass.

***** Yes, fishing rules are different on WI vs. MN sides so do your research and make sure you know what you can fish for and how to transport them over the state line if you plan to keep your catch.

Geocaching, Disc Golf, Fishing, Hiking….Just Not Enough Time In One Weekend

Do you ever feel like you never have enough time in one weekend to do everything you wish to do? We do quite often…this past weekend was one of them. However, we did fit in quite a bit of fun along with some chores that needed to be done also.

First off, Saturday morning we wanted to cross off a few things on the to do list so we made a trip to a local retailer to buy 8 bags of mulch.

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While I spread mulch around our house my husband prepared the boat for the 2017 season and also pressure washed outside toys, tables, chairs, and high chairs from the long winter. This always brightens up everything and is so easy to do.

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Add in a few loads of laundry and some bedding that was cleaned and hung outside to dry and it was now time to have some fun.

We finally went geocaching. In case you missed our new goal announcement, we have decided to section hike the entire Mountain Bay Trail and while doing this we also plan to search and find all the placed geocaches along the way.

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We searched and found all but two in a 4.5 mile section.One was not even attempted do to the width of the ditch of water that would have had to be jumped across and one was simply not located. The trail was quite quiet in this section and offered us some well deserved peace and quiet time.

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Oh, and without leaving out the best worst part of the whole hike, I can now add four more snakes to the list….these things literally make my heart skip a beat. I have a feeling it’s going to be a bad year for these little critters….or maybe I should say, a bad year for me since I seem to be the one to always find them.

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That sums up Saturday…. a productive, yet fun day.

Sunday I woke up later than my husband to breakfast prepared for me. How wonderful was that….I have the best husband ever, in my opinion.

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After breakfast we went fishing for a few hours on a local river. I am not the biggest fan of fishing but sometimes its fun to give it a try. Today was not my lucky day….I caught nothing!! My husband was the lucky one and caught two, both of which he threw back, but its the catch that is the exciting part not cleaning and eating of the catch.

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After this it was a quick trip home for lunch and to pick up our son after he was done working. We had made family plans to hit the disc golf course for the first time this year. This is always fun since we normally are pretty rusty at first. Although, to my surprise I did much better at this than fishing. My first basket I achieved in two throws….with disgust from both my husband and my son. Ahhh, it sure felt good to throw a disc again.

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18 baskets later and it was home for dinner and relaxation time before the week once again.