Weekend Snapshots: Autumn Adventures

What a fabulous weekend we had. The sun was shining and the temps were comfortable enough to have fun outside with little more than a light jacket on. Thankfully, we had a weekend full of outdoor plans to fill the daylight hours.

Saturday morning workout

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Fishing outing

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Packing for a day of hiking and a picnic

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Sushi for dinner

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  Hiking as a family with one newbie along for the adventure

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Ending the day with a picnic

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It really felt like August in October…..now how awesome is that?

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Winter Hike On The Ahnapee Trail

Today my husband and I decided to head outside and take a hike, find some winter geocaches and enjoy the fresh air. Aren’t you shocked? I will admit, I was not all that excited about this adventure but I really needed the break from routine. You all know I am not a winter weather lover but thankfully I do own some cold weather clothing for when the urge hits and I just need to get outside.

Today we hiked about 3 miles on the snow covered Ahnapee Trail starting in Forestville, WI. We started and completed many miles last winter and hope to finish this trail this winter. We have from Forestville to Sturgeon Bay remaining and today was as good as any to venture out.

Here is a unique hiding place for a geocache.

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I personally love this trail. Any trial that follows a river or stream is just so relaxing for me that I often feel I could walk forever and never get tired of the scenery.

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It ended up to be a great few hours together away from the big city and all the craziness of this time of year. Even though I had more layers of clothes on than I prefer it was great to be outside.

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I also need to add that the best part of this whole day had to be when we arrived back at the parking lot. We noticed that the park where we started our hike had a bathroom building on the premisses but at this time there was no need for a visit. By the time we returned to the car, I asked my husband what his thoughts were on that bathroom possibly being open. He laughed and said it was very unlikely, which I knew. So we changed out of our boots, drove up to the bathroom and I noticed there were no footprints in the snow leading up to the bathroom door but I still had hope. He got out and tried the door and I couldn’t believe my eyes when it actually opened.

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It is December in Wisconsin. No public park bathrooms are ever open at this time of year. He even took a quick look inside and announced that they even had it stocked with toilet paper…..OMG I was a happppppy hiker!!!! (Even though I do carry toilet paper in my backpack for emergencies) This really made my day.

So ladies, if ever you find yourself hiking the Ahnapee Trail in the little town of Forestville there is no need to worry about sqauting in the wilderness. They have very nice park attendants that unlock, clean, and stock the bathrooms, even in December:)

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson Learned/A Guides Perspective

We hit the river for the first time this weekend without our son. To say it was a little strange to not pack up all his gear would be an understatement. The entire trip, from start to finish, I felt like someone was missing. Although, we ought to get used to this, he will not be paddling for quite some time. That being said, we still had a great time with a new couple and our newbie neighbor that has now officially graduated from a newbie to a full blown kayaker.

As I have said in the past, we rarely find friends to join us in our river adventures. However, this weekend with three kayaks empty instead of just two, we left it up to our neighbor to search out some friends she would like to have experience the adventure with us. Surprising, this was quite easy for her and the first couple she asked said yes. (We seriously need some friends like this) So, our neighbor, who has been down the river once with us in the past and once at a beach with some lessons on wet exits and rolling accompanied us along with her sister and brother in law. Our neighbor took our son’s kayak and the new couple used our recreational kayaks.

The day was hot, partly sunny and beautiful. A great day to see if the lessons on wet exiting at the beach were worth teaching. In our opinion, after you teach the basics like how to hold a paddle and paddle strokes the next lesson should be wet exiting your kayak. Even though they may not like the fact that this should be taught, they will be happy they know the skill eventually. Our neighbor was very happy to have learned this lesson after trying to surf one of the nicest rapids on the river this weekend. I will apologize because I have no pics of this part of our day but I had a little more important things to do. (Like retrieve gear after she flipped) If someone is going to flip surfing, we know from experience, this is the rapid it is going to happen on. She wanted to try and my husband was never very far from her in his kayak the entire time. I, however, exited my kayak, beached it on a rock and stood nearby in the water to assist because I knew how this would end. The newbies sat nearby in their kayaks watching. She was doing great until the wave caught her, turned her sideways and over she went….and exited just like she was taught. Success, she was up, my husband was out and ready to assist and I gathered the gear. Afterwards she admitted that she was so thankful to have been taught the lesson and even happier to have had the chance to get a true wet exit experience. We officially have graduated her from newbie to just an every day kayaker….Congrats!

As for our newbie couple, they did terrific. One flip in the last rapid of the river but everyone stayed calm. She also surprised us all by trying it again and the second time it went much more smoothly. Success was achieved by all this weekend and it was a great ending to our day on the river.

After that it was picnic time. I don’t think anyone was really ready to leave the river on this day because it was so beautiful but a nice spread of good food always helps.

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We really enjoy taking new people and showing them that even though what we do can be dangerous, it can also be fun and relaxing. With the proper safety precautions it is no more dangerous than riding a bike on a city street. It’s really what you make of the experience that makes it what it is. You can float along and portage everything if you wish or you can try new things and even get a little crazy like my husband and slide down a rock with a dramatic splash.

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It’s all up to you. All we ask is that you have fun and enjoy the moment.

This weekend I think we would all agree, we all enjoyed the moment:)

 

 

 

July Goal #2- Attempted But Not Accomplished

Remember my July goals list where I was going to try and get rid of my kayaking shoe tan lines around my ankles for an upcoming wedding we have to attend? Well, what can I say…..I did try and accomplish this goal but when you spend countless hours on the water sometimes things are not possible.

I truly did try, see: shoes off, feet up and basking in the sunlight.

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Until it was my turn to hit the water again and back into my water shoes I went. It is what it is, I suppose.

Ultimately, the couple getting married tomorrow will probably not notice the tan line around my ankles. And I will not know more than a few people at this wedding anyhow (they are all my husbands work buddies) and even more so, they all know we are a family that spends many hours in kayaking gear. So really, they should consider themselves quite lucky we don’t show up in our PFD’s, helmets and water shoes after a long day on the river.

Here’s to forever happiness, summer weddings and tan lines:)

Have a great weekend everyone…….

 

 

Let’s Reminisce / Get Up and Move Update Week 3

I have made it very clear that the months of winter are very long for me. So I thought we would reminisce together. If you miss the sunny skies of summer, sunscreen, wet beach towels, tailgate meals, dirt covered hiking trails and just about anything else that pertains to summer, please enjoy these pics with me.

A winter hike today

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A summer hike in the future to look forward to.

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Our VERY icy beach today

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The same gorgeous sunny beach we will wait patiently to see again in the summer.

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A friend we came across while winter hiking

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A warm weather friend I wouldn’t mind seeing again.

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My husband climbing the ice mountain alone

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A much more enjoyable mountain we could climb again together.

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Our very dry kayaks hanging in the garage.

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The way we would rather see our kayaks. WET!!!

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Oh, if only I could make our rivers flow and warm up sooner…..

And last but not least, the lighthouse we aim for when fishing on the big lake in the summer months. This lighthouse is my savior because that means we are almost to the bathrooms after HOURS of fishing.

Today it looks a little frosty with splattered lake water frozen to the side of it.

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And here is a look at it in the summer months with no ice crystals nearby.

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Gosh, do I miss summer. I just keep thinking, everyday brings me a little closer to the time of year I love.

Enough reminiscing, time to move on…

Now for the GET UP AND MOVE UPDATE for week three.

Monday 1/13: 30 minutes on the arc trainer, 15 minutes of cycling and weight training (all at the gym)

Tuesday 1/14: 30 minutes cycling, and 30 minutes of floor exercises at home, 45 minute yoga dvd

Wednesday 1/15: 30 minutes of cycling(at home), 30 minutes on the arc trainer, weight lifting, 15 minutes of cycling (at the gym)

Thursday 1/16: 3 mile walk with my hubby

Friday 1/17: 30 minutes cycling and 30 minute stability ball workout with hand weights (at home)

Saturday 1/18: 30 minutes on the arc trainer, 15 minutes cycling and weight lifting (all at the gym)

Sunday 1/19: 30 minutes on the arc trainer, 20 minutes cycling and weight lifting (all at the gym)

This week has been amazing. Great workouts even though we arrived at the gym a few times this week and cars were parked on the street due to the lot being full. The joys of New Year’s resolutions….it will slowly clear out in the upcoming weeks, I am sure. At least the gym has plenty of equipment, which means we did not have any trouble getting in what we needed to in a reasonable amount of time.

So how are you all doing on the challenge? Are you getting in 30 minutes? Are you feeling more energized? Are you sleeping better? I can attest from what my husband has seen since he has started his new routine, that he is feeling much better all the way around. He has so much more energy. His first two arc trainer sessions were killers but he is now up to 30 minutes at one time at a very good level and his heart rate is perfect;) Which makes his wife (me) very happy. I hope you are all seeing the same successful outcome that he has seen.

For me, well, the 30 minutes is really not much of a challenge. I normally workout a lot and I know this. My workouts are more for happiness than exercise. Which may sound odd, but exercise just really makes me happy. With my birthday coming up here in a few months I am just so grateful I am as active as I am at this age. It’s sort of odd to think what I was like when I was 25 because I did not do much at all when I was younger. Now, there are days where I just have to say enough is enough and just stop moving for the day.

A Visit To Wausau White Water Park

Saturday morning we awoke bright and early to make the short travel to Wausau, WI for a day of adventure. Our first stop was at  Wausau Whitewater.  

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This is a a great place to try out your whitewater skills, or to learn new skills from some very knowledgeable paddlers. Both my son and husband have participated in this coarse in the past and have learned a great deal of skills here. I also over heard today that we will be returning soon to give this another try.

The portion of the river is very popular when the organization posts that there is going to be a dam release for whitewater purposes. These releases last from 10am-4pm, and in this time you can register for lessons, participate in the recreational release, or you can sit on the edge of the river and just enjoy the show. There is a small fee to participate, although spectating is free. Today,that is what we did.

The nicest thing here for me, as a mom and a wife, is there is medical personnel waiting on the edge, on the rocks mid river, and throw ropes laying all along the edge of the river for spectators to pitch in if needed. Along with the medical personnel, fellow kayakers will also assist mid river when they can.

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Here is the river, calm and relaxing before the dam release.

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And during the release

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If you would need to exit your kayak anywhere along here and cannot make it to the edge of the river, there is a nice little lake waiting for you at the end of the whitewater. Feet in front of you is the rule, and enjoy the ride on your backside.

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Here are some pictures I captured of some experienced whitewater paddlers doing what they do best.

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Here is a little trick they all use to get more volume in their kayaks which makes it easier to flip the boat over themselves while in the rapid.

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Yes, that is a beach ball. They stuff it between their legs under their skirt that covers the kayak cockpit. Genius!

We also saw a class of mostly women taking their first whitewater lesson today. All looked quite nervous as they made their way down river to learn the basics.

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This is an awesome place for paddlers to try their skills, hang out with fellow whitewater paddlers and just have a great time. If you come from far, there is a wonderful little area that kayakers are allowed to camp for the weekend and it is literally right next to the rivers edge.

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It’s the one place that you can see a rainbow of colors and you don’t even have to look up to the sky.

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Happy Paddling Everyone:)

Our Annual Summer Paddling Trip

Yesterday we had the best turn out we have ever had for our annual paddling trip. Eleven kayaks, now that’s amazing. It’s hard to believe, in the past, we would have to beg people to come. Despite the chilly temp, with a high yesterday of 73 and cloud cover the entire time we were on the river, it did turn out to be a great day paddling.

My son had a few of his closest friends join us, and they had fun paddling, learning to roll their kayaks, and just plain playing around.

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One even tried his new paddling skills at surfing the rapids.

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Pretty good for the type of kayak he was in and the little experience he has.

The water temperature was wonderful, which made trying things a lot more appealing. We even had our nephew get brave and give the whitewater kayaks a try. As you can see, he had many people in the water to help along the way.

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My brother is a little concerned. He watched his little boy get in and paddle away, and all he saw was dollar signs. Maybe in a couple years, my husband will hand his down. He is already debating buying a Jackson Villain like I have. Time will tell.

We even had a few take the plunge and do the end of the big waterfall that typically we portage. Here they all are debating.

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In the end, five out of the eleven of us did it, and all did very well.

The most exciting part of the day I would have to say was the rock slide. We had the pleasure of having my son’s friend and her father join us. They have been with us in the past on this annual trip, and have experienced the rock slide before. Although, this time apparently his daughter thought last minute that her dad was headed to close to the tree when he started his decent down the rock, and she grabbed the back of his kayak and gave it a little turn. Once he was turned there was no straightening it back out. He went down the rock sideways entering the water while we all watched and were ready to rescue. To everyone’s surprise, including his, he saved it, landed perfectly “sideways” with a spectacular slash, and came up laughing. Awesome job!!!

(I love the panicked stance his daughter has looking on from the top.)

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Our day ended with about 5 hours on the river, great laughs with many friends, and while we had our picnic,even the sun decided to peek out for a bit.

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(Thanks to my hubby for grabbing the camera to capture this picture)

Happy Paddling Everyone