The Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan-Part 2

It’s amazing to me how much we can pack into one day when it’s all we had in cooper country. We saw so much and explored everything from waterfalls to old abandoned buildings.

IMG_1569

One of the unique places we stopped was an old abandoned mill of some sort. This is typically not something I would explore but our son and my husband had this one their to do list of places to see.

IMG_1572

IMG_1573

IMG_1574

IMG_1584

Directly across the street from this building was a piece of old machinery also left behind for people to explore. I was not game for this adventure…but both my boys went and checked it out up close.

IMG_1570

Then my son, being he has been here many times before, wanted to show mom what this area calls a mountain. Since we have explored and climbed a few real mountains, I always find it amusing what other areas consider to be a mountain. However, elevation is elevation and I love it no matter where I can find it.

IMG_1481

IMG_1482

IMG_1484

IMG_1489

After a full day of beach exploring, hiking, and just seeing what this area had to offer we headed back to the hotel to clean up before heading out to dinner.

IMG_1527

IMG_1552

IMG_1541

IMG_1567

After dinner our son said he was planning on heading out for a picture of sundown, which normally I would have joined him but I simply was just too tired from the day. So I tossed him the keys and dad and I went to bed. I remember vaguely him coming back, hearing him in the hotel room, and the next thing I knew we were all awake and wondering what the heck that earsplitting noise was????? Well, we soon figured it out, I glanced at the clock next to me……3:00a.m…….as our son raced to the door to glance out into the hallway to figure out was this really happening?? Sure enough it was……the fire alarm was blaring and strobe lights in the hallways were flashing like the northern lights!!!! We quickly grabbed our valuables, threw on shoes, and headed outside with the rest of the people.

IMG_1597

Being the town and area we were staying in were not large, it took a bit for the volunteer fire department to show up and thankfully within 30 minutes we were all cleared to enter our hotel once again and go back to sleep. Which is much easier said than done…..take my word for it!

IMG_1596

All in all, it was a great weekend. Some adventures were better than others and I am sure you can pick out which one we could have done without. However, we also learned from some of them…the emergency evacuation to be exact. I would highly recommend visiting this area of Michigans Upper Peninsula if you have the chance.

****To read part 1 of this trip click here.

Most Memorable Moments Of Our Minnesota North Shore Vacation

It’s not often we get to spend time as a family anymore with our son being an adult, working two jobs and usually going separate ways. However, when we do, we waste no time making memories that will surely last a lifetime.

dad is never far behind when capturing that picture from the cliff’s edge

IMG_4927

IMG_4801

experimenting with new campfire treats IMG_4976

IMG_4978

very sketchy bridge to cross

IMG_4875

IMG_4876

IMG_4885

family pictures just as I prefer them….dirty, hot and sweaty

IMG_4766

IMG_4915

IMG_4899

family picnics

IMG_4814

breath taking pictures of my husband who works so hard to make my dreams come true

IMG_4790

 feeding our meal time visitor out of our handsIMG_4761

organic fly swatter made while sitting by the campfire (the flies were SOOOOO BADDD)

 IMG_4749

beach time

IMG_4618

IMG_4626

many, many waterfalls

IMG_4893

IMG_4825

IMG_4806

IMG_4769

IMG_4657

Minnesota’s North Shore Family Vacation- Summer 2016

Hello, hello….we are finally back from our family vacation to Minnesota’s North Shore. And what a vacation it was.

IMG_4603

I stressed for days if we would be able to fit all our camping/hiking supplies in my SUV to make this adventure happen. My goal was to bring everything including all our food for the week so no stops at any grocery stores would be needed and I happily accomplished this goal. We had just enough room to sit and breathe but we made it.

IMG_4600

IMG_4601

The morning we left Green Bay it was humid and very hot. We knew we would be traveling through some storms to our final destination but I could have never imagined how terrible these storms would be. Here is a link if you would like to view the damage we traveled through. Thankfully, we were headed two more hours north and arrived to find all was well at our campground. IMG_4623

Our plan was to hike and explore the many Minnesota State Parks in the this area. I had high hopes of hiking some of the Superior Hiking Trail, our son wanted photographs of waterfalls, and my husband just wanted a break from work where there are no walls surrounding him. All of this was accomplished but not quite how I had planned it to happen.

Let me just say that we are not big crowd lovers. And taking nature and outdoor photographs is not easy when there are tons of people at easy to reach viewing platforms at given waterfalls. We made it through two parks on the planned lists and then I had had enough of the paved walkways they called trails in the research I did on these parks. My boys clearly could see mom was not having fun and we needed to change things up a bit and venture our own way. I wanted to HIKE, do some boulder climbing, and get my feet dirty and that was exactly what we did. Here is a bit of what we found.

IMG_4910

IMG_4893

IMG_4816

IMG_4786

IMG_4769

IMG_4722

IMG_4738

IMG_4810

We did visit all the parks on our list which were from Duluth to the Canadian border briefly, however, if you are looking for more of a backcountry adventure my advise to you would be to stop along the scenic highway and take advantage of the Superior Hiking Trail parking lots and venture the trail leading from these areas. You will find so much more than the parks have to offer in my opinion.

We did climb one mountain/bluff peak during this trip and made many family memories during this week which I will share in the upcoming days. However, right now I need to tend to my numerous laundry piles and my very dirty vehicle that needs a good washing.

More to come……

 

 

Most Memorable Moments of 2014

Hi everyone!

Can you believe we are just days away from 2015? I think the older I get the faster the years fly by. I was looking back through some pictures of this last year and thought it would be fun to pick my top three most memorable moments of 2014.

This was not as easy as I thought it would be after looking back at everything we did. We really did so much fun stuff this past year.  Although, I do have to say, while looking back there were three moments that I can recall very clearly in my mind. Sadly, they are not all happy moments, but all of them touched me forever in my mind, heart, and soul.

First, would have to be the dreaded phone call we received from our son’s friend back in May. Calmly, he told me that our son had been in an accident and which hospital to meet them at. I can honestly say, I will forever remember the feeling I had at that moment. To explain how I felt is impossible so I will not even try. Thankfully, today he is fully recovered, and back to himself.

My second most memorable moment of 2014 would be floating in Lake Superior on blow up inner tubes while on vacation in the Apostle Islands.

IMG_0709

The water was calm, the sunsets were spectacular, and the temperature was perfect.

IMG_0831

And as much as I wish I could forget this last memorable moment I know I will never be able to. Our last big hike of the year in October to Devil’s Lake State Park was bitter sweet. The trees were brightly colored with oranges, yellows and red leaves everywhere around us.

IMG_0070

We were having a wonderful hike and had less than 2 miles to go before finishing what was the perfect day. We came upon a group of rock climbers and stopped to watch them do their thing along with many other hikers passing through this same area. That is when I looked to my side at a gentleman walking toward me on a trail next to the edge of the bluff. Apparently, he thought the trail was wider than it actually was and I watched him take his next step and fall down the bluff. That moment, that sound, the scream from his friends, the disbelief I felt when I thought maybe I was imagining things will be with me forever. I will never hike this park again without recalling that moment. My hope is that he is fully recovered or at least on his way to being able to enjoy life as he once knew it.

Those are what I would consider my most memorable moments of 2014. Even though they are not all good memories, I do believe that each one has changed me in a way that is for the better. I am a firm believer that everyone should live life everyday like it could be your last. You just never know when that day will come. I was so relaxed and at peace floating on the water that day. I thank God for my son and his health(and his friend). And every hike I take will be with more caution than before.

Apostle Islands Sea Caves and a Great Family Friendly Hotel

The last day of our vacation was spent taking the grand tour of the Apostle Islands sea caves. We boarded the boat at 10 a.m. and returned to the dock at 1:15 p.m.. We traveled with Apostle Islands Cruises.

We were two of the lucky 37 people allowed on the top deck for prefect viewing of everything around us. (If you want to be on the top deck, be in line early, it is first come first serve.)

IMG_0615

They took us around many of the islands, pointing out facts about each one along the way. I saw a commercial fishing boat in action for the first time and could not believe the amount of sea gulls waiting for a hand out.

IMG_0769

We eventually came upon the caves. Simply amazing!!!! I really have no words to explain how magnificent they were.

IMG_0709

IMG_0695

The cruise company made sure to make enough passes so that each side of the boat could get close up pictures They were patient and a wonderful company to have traveled with.

****A word of advice, if I may. Bring a lot of sunscreen and water. Top deck is VERY hot and you are up there for many hours.

After our tour we tried to find somewhere to have lunch, but being it was a Saturday, everything was so busy with tourist we decided to head back to Ashland and have lunch there.

****Another word of advice, plan ahead, buy your tickets ahead for any tours, and make reservations ahead if you plan to be there on the weekends.

After lunch we headed back to our hotel, which I cannot say enough good things about. We have stayed at many AmericInn’s all over the state of WI and this is by far the most unique one yet.

This place could easily be a vacation destination all by itself and for not a lot of money. Besides the typical hotel rooms, they offer an indoor splash park (sorry no pics, we stayed far away from the kiddos,after all, it was my vacation too), free breakfast, and everything was clean and the staff was friendly.

Then you go to the back yard of the property and prepare to be amazed. Remember I said that they offered inner tubes for play time on Lake Superior, well that is not all they offer for FREE!!! Take a look….

A patio with chairs, tubes, life jackets, fishing poles and free bait in the lobby to fish with. A gas grill and charcoal grill for guest to use. Free smores ingredients to roast over a nightly bonfire.

IMG_0492

Yard game with a fun director on staff in the evening so parents can relax and kids can have fun:)

IMG_0496

A dock to fish off of or to sit and watch the sunset, which is what we did.

IMG_0488

A beach with chairs and two paddle boats are also parked behind the bush that you cannot see.

IMG_0486

And they even supply bug spray and sunscreen.

This was our picnic dinner our last night. We ate, played cards, and watched the sunset.

IMG_0802

IMG_0831

They also have free bikes to use on the local trail near the hotel. And believe it or not, they even offer bug window cleaner for these nasty bay flies that these poor people found all over their vehicle one morning. (We made sure never to park next to any light posts)

IMG_0564

I really would seriously recommend this hotel to anyone, with or without kids. It had everything you could think of and then some.

And I do want to give a BIG SHOUT OUT to  the Honda Dealer in Ashland,WI. We ran into a little issue with one of our tires and showed up on the doorstep of their dealership 20 minutes before they closed for the weekend. They helped us, made our repair, and had us on our way again in a matter of minutes. What started as a little issue could have made our trip home a disaster but thanks to them, we made it home with no problems at all. Thank you so much!!!!

That was our summer vacation. Busy, active, fun and relaxing. Just like we like it. It’s just too bad we have to wait another year to plan another one…or maybe not.

If you have any specific questions regarding the Bayfield/Ashland area, Copperfalls State Park or any trails we hiked let me know. I will do my best to make your trip to this area as memorable as our is:)

 

 

 

 

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore-Bayfield, WI

On the third day of our vacation we woke up, packed up all our camping gear and were on the road by 8 a.m. to our next destination, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Bayfield, WI.

As much as we love the outdoors and hiking, it was time for a little sight seeing and relaxation. We actually spent two days in this area. The first day we did lots of walking, some shopping, took tons of pictures and picked up our tickets we had ordered for a tour of the Apostle Islands sea caves the next day.

IMG_0575

We ate lunch at The Pickled Herring overlooking Lake Superior and had a delicious meal.IMG_0478

IMG_0482

By mid afternoon we headed back to Ashland, WI which was where we had a hotel booked for the next two nights. We checked in, looked over the grounds, and stopped at a local grocery store for some picnic items we needed for the next day.

After all that, we took advantage of blow up inner tubes offered by the hotel and my husband and I floated out into Lake Superior and drifted around for about two hours. It was so relaxing and refreshing.

We eventually figured it was time to head back to our room and change to venture out for some dinner. We found ourselves back in Bayfield, WI at a restaurant that was recommended to us while shopping that morning. Maggie’s is just a little building with flamigos everywhere. Even the building itself is painted bright pink.

IMG_0499

It was a fun place, packed from wall to wall, with great service. They have a very unique menu with many different items you typically would not find anywhere else. I enjoyed one of their specialty pizzas.

IMG_0504

After another big day, it was back to our hotel for a good nights sleep.

Tomorrow I will share the grand tour of the sea caves with you and tell you about the terrific family friendly hotel we stayed in.

More to come…

 

 

 

 

 

Our 2014 Summer Vacation

Hello,

We are back from vacation, everything is unpacked and almost put away. I have so much to share with you all that it’s hard to even begin to document everything. For now I will share a few pictures and return later in the week with more in depth details. Enjoy….

We camped at  Copper Falls State Park,

IMG_0097

hiked some easy trails with beautiful views,

IMG_0223

IMG_0202

enjoyed some great freeze dried meals,

IMG_0297 and found a few geocaches.

IMG_0287

After a few days of camping we moved on to another town and traded the tent for a soft bed and a shower in a hotel. Along with many comforts of home it also offered a perfect view of some spectacular sunsets.

IMG_0831

During the last two days of our vacation we took in the beauty of some sea caves in the Apostle Islands.

IMG_0709

We ate at some wonderful restaurants.

IMG_0566

IMG_0478

Then ended our vacation with a small picnic watching over Lake Superior playing a game of cards together.

IMG_0802

I have so much more to share, from our great family oriented hotel, to trail descriptions, food planning, great restaurants and some great tips on visiting the Bayfield, WI area. However, until I have a free moment, this will have to do.