Getting Back In The Groove

After last week I needed to find my groove again in the workout scene. I was able to reset during the weekend by taking a nice hike with my husband and then felt ready to face the week head on.

I started the week happy to have my shopping completely done, wrapped and ready for Christmas. I felt good that everything that fell apart last week was once again put all back together and ready to go. And I won’t lie, another week of winter with no snow made me one happy camper. Many people complain it’s not Christmas without snow…I disagree. Look around, it’s everywhere. Music, lights, gifts, crazy crowds everywhere….tis the season whether there is snow or not. However, since there is no snow it could be the perfect opportunity to make some new traditions…..maybe go for a family hike/walk on Christmas Eve and after have hot chocolate together. We did this last Christmas Eve and it was the best Christmas Eve I have ever had. Christmas is what you make of it, not what makes Christmas.

photo courtesy of our son,Quade Byrnes

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Regardless of snow or no snow, we all still should exercise. So now, let’s take a look at the workouts I did this week:

Saturday: gym: 30 minute elliptical, weights and stretching

Sunday: 4.5 mile trail hike

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Monday: rest

Tuesday: home: 15 minute recumbent bike, total body weights

gym: 30 minute elliptical, lower body weights and stretching

Wednesday: home: 30 minute recumbent bike and a 3 mile walk outside

Thursday: home: upper body weights, 3 mile walk outside with my toddlers in the morning….it was so gorgeous for December:)

Our original plan for this evening was a visit to the gym…although with a record high of 54 degrees we opted for another 3 mile walk outside and we adored all the Christmas lights together.

Friday: rest

 

 

Mountain Bay State Trail

Let’s take a a look at a small portion of a 83 mile trail that starts or ends here in our area.

The Mountain Bay State Trail is one of the longest rail trails we have here.The 3 mile section of the trail I am very familiar with travels from Cty.Rd. J (also known as Lakeview Dr.) and goes just beyond Rockwell Rd.. Starting at Cty. Rd.J you will find a small parking lot that can easily park 10-12 vehicles. In this area they also have one canopy covered picnic table and in the summer months a porta potty.

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At this starting point you will find doggy bags/pet rules and an information board.

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This part of the trail starts out next to a stream on your left and continues through residential, wooded and also industrial areas along the way. Which does not sound very appealing until you find out that you are well above all these looking down into these area. The trail is wide, crushed gravel and is very well maintained.

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There are very few benches for rest along this stretch but plenty of area to just sit along the side the trail and take a break if needed. IMG_2954 At the end of this stretch you will come to a gated street crossing which is Rockwell Rd. IMG_2959 Crossing this road and walking to the next canopy covering over the trail will bring you just under 3 miles one way. This trail is mostly used by runners and walkers but I have seen individuals with bikes occasionally also. For the most part pet owners seem to pick up after there animals and in my eyes that makes this a wonderful trail to be on.

If you are in the Green Bay area for business or pleasure and want somewhere other than the street to walk/hike/jog or bike this would be a nice option.

Art Is Everywhere….Even Geocaching

This weekend my hubby and I logged a few miles of geocaching. And this happened to be the most artistic day on the trail I have ever experienced.

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Whoever constructed this section of geocaches added a fun flair to this activity. From caches made to look like snakes slithering up trees(which yes, I spotted first),

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to caches with goggly eyes that were hid behind small capes hung by wire bent art,

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to log animal caches strategically hid.

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I mentioned while hiking down the trail that maybe the deer hunter who put so much time and effort into this deer stand also had a hand in these geocaches. He did not think so, although, I still wonder if maybe it’s possible. Most deer stands are not nearly as nice and colorful as this one here in WI. Most look to be falling down and a hazard to climb up into. This was quite the sight to see deep in the wilderness. IMG_3001

While geocaching today we were lucky enough to come across a Geo Bug that we plan to move real soon to another location. We have the perfect spot and hope it travels far and wide. IMG_2988

We eventually came to a river crossing today and I was happy to see water still flowing and not much ice to be seen quite yet.

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We have been experiencing gorgeous weather here in WI so far this winter. Of course, that is if you are not a snow lover, cause there is none on the ground and none in the near future. That, right there, is a reason to celebrate the season in my eyes!!!

As you can see, with sun in my eyes and mud on my boots, I absolutely loved hiking today with my best friend.

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****In case your wondering why the blaze orange attire today…..here in WI it is deer hunting season. Better safe than sorry:)

 

A Solo Hike Was Exactly What I Needed

Sunday when I saw the sun start to send it’s rays through our bedroom curtains I knew I needed to change my plans for the day. Originally I had arranged to meet a friend at the gym at noon for another workout during the long holiday weekend. All that was changed with one quick email and I am sure she was not surprised. I LOVE sunshine and crave it like a kid craves candy. I knew my son had to work and my husband wanted to work on some stained glass projects which left me solo for the day. And I knew precisely what I wanted to do…..make some tracks on a nearby trail.

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We had had a wonderful four day weekend, super busy, sometimes hectic, very active, and at times overwhelming. I finished Christmas shopping completely (on-line), made Thanksgiving dinner, worked out every single day, even managed a family hike one day. We now have our home decorated for Christmas, our tree is up, and gifts are half wrapped. As for sleep these past few days, well, it could have been better. All our son’s friends were home for the holiday weekend which meant every night I was awaken by his arrival home in the weeee hours of the morning and if that did not have me awake, my arms did. I have been having trouble with my arms falling asleep while I am sleeping which then awakens me in pain. So I knew a solo hike would do me a world of good.

I headed out on a nearby trail which is one of my favorites in the area. It’s close by and not crowded by bikes, runners, dogs or skateboards.

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I began my hike with the sun shining high over head and no wind….in other words….. gorgeous winter conditions.

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I did meet a few others on the trail but mostly in the first mile. After that it was just me:) IMG_2954

There is truly something about being on the trail alone with any and everything going through your head. My mind just wandered around from one thought to another, none being anything too serious.

Around me I noticed signs that winter is not far away. There may be no snow quite yet, but the geese are on the move, IMG_2961

there is ice forming along the stream, IMG_2964

and I have one too many layers on than I usually prefer. IMG_2953

I hiked for 4 miles before returning back to my vehicle.

IMG_2975I was so happy and felt lighter than I had in days. My head was clear, my body felt great, and I was ready to face the week ahead.

 

What do you do when you just need to decompress from life?

 

 

Tagging Along For The Day

Recently, our son and a friend casually mentioned that they were considering a hiking trip to my favorite WI park which quickly made me think fast. I knew they were both college students and, let’s face it, always tight on money, so if we offered to drive and supply lunch they may let us tag along for the day. So, the offer was made and by the next morning excepted…..which made this mom very happy.

I wish we lived closer to this area because this would be where I would spend a great majority of my time, hiking in Devil’s Lake State Park. This park literally has everything we love, well almost, it does not have whitewater rapids. It does have a lake for standup paddling, fishing, and swimming. It has bluffs to climb and hiking trails that are well marked and fun to hike. And the view is as good as it gets in Wisconsin.

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Since both our son and his friend are photography students, they each had their backpacks loaded with camera equipment, which meant I had the pleasure of trying out my new Gregory backpack. (Which I LOVE) My husband had his backpack which started out empty since we began hiking when it was pretty chilly. As the temperature quickly rose, we started peeling layers off half way up the bluff and loading it into his backpack.

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Our new hiking companion had never been here before, much less hiking anywhere for that matter. They have been doing little bits and pieces around home but this was by far the biggest hike he had been on. If only he could have seen his facial expression upon walking up to the trail head, it was photo worthy in my opinion. I hopefully put his mind at ease by reminding him that slow and steady is the key to success when hiking up cliffs/bluffs and that when he needed to stop and “smell the roses,” or catch his breath, to  do just that. We have done this hike a hundred times, so we knew exactly what was ahead. For him, this was truly a new adventure which we were hoping to make a big success.

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By the time we reached the top everyone was warmed up and ready to explore. IMG_2775  IMG_2790

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Then it was time for a little break. We found a sunny area and all shared a snack.

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After numerous pictures were taken it was time to head back down. It was not a long distance hike by any means, but it was successful. Anytime we can share our love of the trail with someone new is a success in my eyes.

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Then it was picnic time and we decided since we were not sure until last minute if we would actually be able to join them, that freeze dried meals would be easiest and fun for this newbie hiker to experience.

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It ended up being a wonderful day of hiking and getting to know a new friend a little more. We returned to 80 degree weather at home and even managed to get a little yard work done before the sun set.

 

 

Let’s Talk P’s: Preschool,(Green Bay) Packers, Planning and Photography

As we slowly adjust to our new daily schedule of walking the four year old I care for to and from school everyday, we have really surprisingly been enjoying the few hours we are a threesome instead of four. The two boys I care for are 6 weeks apart and play very well together (at the moment) which is so fun to watch. At first they seemed to miss her presence, although now they seem to know that eventually we go back and get her.

IMG_1378Another fun thing I have been taking full advantage of lately is the Green Bay Packer season has officially begun. You all know I am not a football fan which means when the GB Packer season begins and everyone (and I mean everyone) in Green Bay lives, sleeps, breathes, dreams, schedules vacations, plans births, and even shits according to the GB Packer schedule, I take full advantage of the moment and I go shopping!!!! You can get in and out of Costco with a full cart in under 20 minutes with no lines to stand in, literally. I know because I did this on a Monday night game recently and it was incredible. So even though I don’t care to watch the GB Packers, I sure take advantage of the their schedule and get lots done in a very little amount of time in the city.

We have started looking at our next vacation destination. Both my son and husband requested Alaska….like this would ever truly happen. SERIOUSLY!!!! I can hardly get through winter in WI, why would I choose to go to Alaska. I am all for traveling the road less traveled but no snow covered roads for me during vacation….sorry boys. I offered for them to go their direction and I would head to my happy place (south) but they both agreed to join me in my next adventure….how thoughtful they are. For now I am working out all the logistics, which is extremely time consuming. We don’t typically go on your normal beach vacation where we sip umbrella decorated drinks on the ocean side. Our vacations take hours of planning, permits, and it looks like this time we will be needing a high clearance rental vehicle. Ohhhh, what fun we will have….

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You all know our son is working on becoming a professional photographer. This has been his passion for many years and he is enjoying every second of it so far. One of his recent classes gave a final project of creating a 3-5 minute video using the techniques they all were taught in class. Of course he wasted no time getting this together and roping in a friend to help create this project. One Sunday morning they woke up bright and early(4 a.m.), loaded up the car with all their photography equipment, and headed to Sturgeon Bay, WI to capture the sunrise on the pier near one of our favorite lighthouses.  IMG_0745

His friend is the musician and our son did the camera work…..enjoy.

Here for Me – Ian Sutherland from Dockside Productions on Vimeo.

Our upcoming few weeks look a bit sketchy to be honest. We have our anniversary coming up in about a month and no real plans quite yet. We are hoping to join our son and a friend in a Devil’s Lake hike before winter. I have one more bus trip scheduled and I am hoping to make a day trip to Trader Joe’s and REI before November. And to top all this off, we are still awaiting my father-in-laws heart surgery date to be set. If we pull all this off we will be doing good. I am feeling the pressure to get in every second I can outside before our lawn, streets, and trails are covered with snow and ice. I’d say it’s a bit like controlled chaos and honestly, I love every second of it. Busy is good.

Weekend Snapshots: Exploring A New Route

How fitting it was that my husband grabbed this Clif Bar from our food pack and it was exactly what we were doing at the time. Exploring a new route (trail)…..

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I will share many more in depth details of our hike later this week. For now here is a sneak peek at where we enjoyed ourselves this past weekend.

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Anyone care to take a guess at what trail we hiked and in what state?