Some Of The Best Places Are Ones We Stumble Upon

While we were in Wallace, Michigan visiting the De Young Family Zoo(read about it here if you missed it) we were hoping to stumble upon a park nearby that we could enjoy a quiet picnic lunch together at. So we drove down a nearby highway thinking we were headed toward lake Michigan and were surprised when we realized we had turned the wrong direction. Which we then turned around and passed a sign that said public boat landing on a flowage.

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Now, if you know anything about my husband, he knows just about every boat launch in our area. However, in Michigan, he knows very little but said that the ones in WI sponsored by WPS are usually pretty nice so why not check this one out in Michigan. I had no reason to complain since I know very little about any of them and plus, I was hungry and wanted to eat lunch. So we ventured down this gravel road and came upon this.

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Wow, gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!! A big lake, with a nice gravel lot, and a porta potty. And the best part….not another vehicle in the entire lot except for us. We both used the bathroom facilities and then ate our picnic lunch of chicken salad on pitas, fresh apricots, prickly pears, and Larabar caramel seal salt bites.

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Oh, I must mention, if you have not tried this flavor if Larabar bites yet, you must….they are fabulous. Good luck eating only one serving…..the two of us finished the whole bag!

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After lunch he knew I spotted the grassy trail we passed off the gravel road that seemed to lead around the lake and suggested we go check it out.

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Now, keep in mind, we were not in any way prepared to hike today since I was suppose to be taking it easy and letting my abdominal muscle heal. However, I saw the trail, he saw that I saw the trail, and my hiking boots are always in my SUV just in case….you never know when I will come across a trail I must explore. So after lunch we both sprayed down with more sunscreen and bug spray which also never leaves my SUV and we headed out for a look where this trail led to.

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It quickly got much more wooded and the trail turned from grass to dirt. And soon we found ourselves surrounded by big tall trees as far as we could see.

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I asked my husband if he felt we could possibly see a bear here…and he said it was very possible which made me stop and look around. One of my bucket list things to do is to see a bear in the wild while hiking someday. Although, today was not the day since we soon found ourselves swatting at numerous bugs. Plus, not having any hiking supplies, backpack, bug nets, water or bear spray we decided it was probably best if we turned around and head back to the parking lot where we left our vehicle.

We walked probably about 1.5 miles on this trail with no end in sight. You all know what that means…..we will return and come better prepared next time for sure. I never start a trail I can’t finish. And next time maybe we will stumble upon a bear…who knows.

All in all it was a very beautiful place to share a lunch and explore. Never be afraid to stop and take that turn if you not sure what’s down that road. You never know what you may miss by passing it by.

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A Walk On My Favorite Trail

It’s been almost two months since we have been able to walk my favorite local trail due to some maintenance the county was doing to it. Sunday we finally went to check things out and saw others walking around the remnants of what was left and we decided to do the same. It felt wonderful to be walking this trail again. And we saw so many things…

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A few more weeks from now we will be able to walk out here and view the beautiful fall colors…..they are just starting to change now.

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What a wonderful end to the weekend this walk was.

 

Celebrating The Half Way Point To Recovery

This week marks the half way point of when all the medical professionals feel my husband will be recovered from his back injury. It’s been three months this week since this all started and after meeting with his neurologist recently, he has gotten the go ahead to start doing some things that he has not done in months.

We have returned to the gym…..yehhhhh! I have gone here and there throughout this ordeal but mostly I have been doing my exercise at home in one way or another. He has been told he can start back on light cardio and VERY LIGHT weights.

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He still has not been released to grab that kayak paddle and will not be told to do so until at least spring at the earliest. As depressing as this may be, we are looking at the bright side…..at least he will eventually be able to paddle again. When this first all happened we were not even sure if he would be able to continue driving much less paddle anything.

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Regardless of all his progress, he is still to continue his physical therapy and slowly continue to ween himself off his nerve medication that he is taking. He has tried this in the past without much luck, but as of today he is four days and counting on half the full dose and hoping for the best.

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It’s odd to think what we have all done these past three months with such a debilitating injury. At one of his first appointments his physician told him that if walking and hiking is something that he loves to do, go ahead and do it since it’s also one of the best exercises for him to continue doing. Which was great to hear since we had our vacation planned before this all came about and it included hiking. He worked really hard to continue this activity since his foot and leg were what was impacted the most by his back injury. At first we would only walk a mile and he would start to feel pain.

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We would then stop, rest, and do some stretches until the pain subsided. Slowly, he worked his way up to more distance but it was not easy. We found all sorts of ways to relieve the pain when it would start, like rolling his foot on a cold water bottle we would carry along with us.

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Some of our trails would cross county highways and you could find us, at times, stretching on these highway crossings. We would also carry ice packs and leave them in our vehicle so when we returned from a hike/walk, he could apply the ice to his back and this would help the swelling go down faster which was pressing on the nerve causing the pain in his leg/foot.

Two of the biggest changes we made were, he started using trekking poles and we purchased a Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sleeping mat.

The trekking poles he used mainly when we went to Utah for help and balance with elevation hiking. He loved them going up into the mountains, stating that they gave him the extra boost he needed with every step. Going back down was a challenge, as normally they absorb some of the impact from your joints and pass that onto the poles. He, however, did not feel they helped him as much going down as they did going up.

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As for purchasing the Therm-a-Rest- Z Lite mat, this was one of the best buys we have made. We found this while we were vacationing in Utah at an outdoor store and I knew immediately we had to have it. There have been many times since this all happened that he gets to a point that he just needs to stop and rest. Not because he is tired….because the pain in his foot/leg is getting to be too much to handle, so we end up sitting right on the trail we happen to be on at the time…..which for us in WI can be almost anywhere. When we were in Utah at least we had rock to rest on and a great view, here we are typically in the woods, knee deep in bugs and critters and such. So having this mat is awesome! We simply strap it to my pack and when we reach the point of needing to rest his foot/leg, I lay it out and we sit and rest. We have also used it to have a snack on and also some stretching…it sure beats the highway concrete. It also beats sitting in the dirt, bugs, and dampness of morning dew to rest. When we are finished, we pick it up, give it a shake and its clean and ready to strap back on my pack for a few more miles. The best part is it’s so light weight that I don’t even feel like I am carrying a mat at all.

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So as we celebrate the half way point of my husband being recovered, I hope by sharing this experience with all of you has only proved my point that moving is always better than sitting. We realize that he could have somewhat of a disability for life, which so far we have learned to live with quite well by making a few changes to our activities. Have we stopped being active……absolutely not!!!! Do we fully expect to be back in our kayaks next Spring…you bet we do…..but things will be different then also. There will be no more single person carrying kayaks, no more single person draining water from overturned kayaks and so on. We plan to do everything in pairs and treat our bodies kindly to some extent. Until that time when we feel the water drip from our paddles and hear the rumble of a rapid around the next corner, I will just be thankful he is still able to enjoy life like we choose to enjoy life and live in the moment….. together.

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A Quote From My Husband….

After this past weekend my husband stated this to me in these exact words,”I need to go back to work just to rest and recover.” Ahhhhh, a little tiny part of me felt bad for him but a really big part of me was thinking, what in the world is he going to do this coming weekend when we have three days to play outside?

It all started when I decided about 10 a.m. on Saturday morning that I was done with that boot! The sun was shining, it was hot, and I was determined to have some fun. However, I had another type of anchor(my husband) that stuck pretty close by the entire weekend to make sure I did not over do anything and reinjure that ankle.Quickly we did our chores around the house. He cut the lawn and I washed our car and my boot to be able to pack it away for next time.(Did I really just say there would be a next time? Gosh, I hope not!)

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With all our chores done, it was time to have some fun. We started with a two mile walk on a trail.

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It felt so good to have a shoe on again:)

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We saw so much wildlife and so many wild flowers. All the trees we walked past were in full bloom and the scent was amazing.

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After our walk, we headed home for some dinner and then I told him I was not quite done. It was still so beautiful outside that I wanted to savor every second. So he agreed to play a quick game of disc golf with me.

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We then returned home once again and he was done. Nothing I suggested he was willing to do or let me do alone for the matter. So the day was over. However, my mind was already working on Sunday plans.

Sunday brought a little sun and some clouds with the possibility of storms in the afternoon. So we put it in high gear, we needed to get in some fun and exercise before the rain. We wasted no time. He loaded up our boat and I packed the cooler and we headed to the water.

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We returned from fishing/boating to originally take a hike along the Bay of Green Bay. However, after checking the forecast we decided it would be better just to walk in the neighborhood. We left with the mind set that I would try and make the three mile route we normally walk. I amazed myself by actually completing it without any pain in my ankle at all. This was a great sign for me. This is the same walk that use to put me in pain for hours afterwards due to my ankle injury. I was pretty happy to be pain free.

Upon our return home the rain started and continued for awhile. Which also meant our day was cut a little shorter than planned but we still had fun. I missed my jammed packed weekends of adventure and I am so happy to have them back.

This week will be a week full of walking with my kiddos during the day and working on making my ankle stronger with my therapy exercises and workouts. My hope is that I can possibly attempt my standup paddle board this up coming long weekend. Although, regardless of whether this happens or not, we have enough other events planned that I will not be disappointed either way. Let’s just hope that my husbands employer does not have a lot on his to do list come Tuesday……he will be ready to rest and recover for sure after I am done with him for three days!

Do you prefer relaxing weekends or busy fun weekends?

 

 

Fox Hill RV Park and Campground- Baraboo, WI

Are you looking for a great family friendly place to camp in Wisconsin? If so, I would highly recommend you make your way to Baraboo, WI and camp at Fox Hill RV Park and Campground.

We have camped here three times now and have been very impressed each and every time. You have tent sites, RV sites, and cabins to choose from. All very reasonably priced and the grounds are very clean. We have always stayed in what they consider their rustic cabins.

Outside

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Inside

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They have a very nice, large play area for children located right in the middle of all the sites. So whether you have an RV, tent or a cabin, your children don’t have far to go to have a good time.

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For the bigger kids they can rent and ride around on these fine looking scooters.

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The bathroom house is also located in the middle of the park.

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Take it from a clean freak, these bathrooms have been so clean every time we have visited that even I am amazed.

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And the best part is if it’s too hot or the inside showers are full you can always opt for an outdoor shower.

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This place has so much to offer besides being very close to so many area attractions. You have Devil’s Lake State Park a few miles away, the WI Dells area and all their attractions, a casino close by and so much more. Even if you never left the campground you would still find so much to do as a family.

More outdoor activities right on the premises

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And don’t forget they have a nice pool for the summer season, a great little gift shop/general store, and the nicest staff I have ever met. They even deliver wood bundles right to your campsite.

If your thinking about visiting the area of Baraboo,WI give them a call. I am sure you will have a very nice time staying with them.

 

****I was not compensated in any way to write this review. These are all my personal opinions and experiences regarding this establishment.

Ahnapee State Trail: Another Few Miles Closer To The End

We spent our first full day of Spring geocaching on the Ahnapee State Trail. As you know if you’ve been following us on this journey, our goal is to do the entire 48 mile distance in bits and pieces. Saturday we did a round trip total of 5.2 miles, found 17 geocaches, caught up with each other on life matters since I have not seen much of my husband for the past two weeks due to his work schedule, and just really enjoyed the solitude this trail has to offer.

It always amazes me how different yet how similar some trials can be. Last weekend I hiked a few miles alone on the Mountain Bay Trail which I found to be nice, peaceful(after the first mile or so), and also very flat. The Ahnapee is also very flat and peaceful (we saw no one the entire day). Although, the sounds, critters, animal prints, and the surrounding is so different on the Ahnapee. We saw so many deer and coyote prints that it was amazing. Hunting must be no challenge what so ever for those that hunt out that direction. We came across carcasses, some unique old buildings, and tons of old tractor/farm equipment that was discarded over the past years.

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However, the most amazing thing I saw on this day hike had to be a farmers field and the destruction he apparently choose to do to the tree line around his crop field since the tractor that did such damage was still sitting on the side of the field. (keep in mind, I am not a farm girl so this was quite amazing for me to see)

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This tractor recently rode around the outskirts of this field and literally mutilated any tree that was within the reach of that blade on the front. It was amazing how this appeared and how far the pieces flew being we even had to cross that path of some of these pieces while on the trail. Here is a chunk my husband is holding just to give a visual of how destructive this piece of machinery was.

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Now, I am sure in world of farming there is a reason for such damage but I can’t help but think if there would not have been a better way.

Anyhow, it was a fantastic hike.

For those looking for the logistics, here you are:

We started and parked on the side of the road at Center Road in Forestville, WI. We ended our hike at the crossing of Cty. Hwy. H and Hwy. 42 in Maplewood, WI. We hiked 5.2 miles round trip. Terrain is completely flat with a crushed gravel path.

 

Amazing Trail Discoveries

The trail is normally a great escape for me. It’s a time to reset, enjoy nature, savor the peace and quiet of falling leaves, and just be in the moment. Unfortunately, even when I am on a trail I sometimes may run into something/someone that just takes me by surprise (besides a snake)!

Recently, a friend joined us on a hike and we came across a few of these “surprises” and I was quite happy to hear not only do they surprise me but others also.

  • Lack of people. We recently hiked two separate days a total of 7 miles on a very popular trail in a state park. The sun was high in the sky, temps were perfect and bugs were tolerable. It was also a weekend when you would expect most people out doing something fun. Don’t let me forget to mention, the campground at this state park was almost full. During these two days and 7 miles we came across a total of 13 people! I was shocked, I could not believe we ONLY saw 13 people in two days.
  • Flip flop hikers. Clearly they had the urge to hike but it was not in the game plan initially or they would have had better options for footwear. I could never pull this off but they did and I was impressed.
  • Trail maps. “YOU ARE HERE” may not always mean “YOU ARE HERE.” I have only hiked in a few states and WI is by far one that needs some work with their trail maps. Whether it be updating, repair or even placing the red star in the correct spot stating “YOU ARE HERE”, they just need some attention. I would highly recommend a GPS if you plan any elaborate hikes in the area.
  • Food taste better on the trail. Truth be told, I never thought I would ever consume a freeze dried meal. However, after a long hike, they are quite appetizing to say the least. I may even go as far and say that I even look forward to them.
  • Hikers texting. OMG, put your darn phone in your pocket and look up!!! You are missing the best part.
  • Smokers on the trail. This took me by surprise. This person was just ahead of us on the trail and instead of taking in fresh air we had to breathe second hand smoke. Happy…. I was not! Irritated…. extremely! The trail was not that long but apparently they just could not wait and had to light up before the hike was over.
  • Age groups we come across. This is my biggest shocker I think. Most hikers we come across are middle aged to older adults and I am just so happy about this fact. I think it is fantastic!!! We have so many people we know that we have tried to get to join us on fun hikes and everyone says the same exact thing…..they’re too old! I just wish they could see they really are not too old, because we see it on the trail all the time.
  • Kids exhausted. As scary as this is for me to see it is also very frustrating for me also. Kids should be able to do anything I can do and much more. However, we come across kids 10-16 years old that have to sit, rest, and simply force their bodies to hike further down a trail. What is happening to our youth?
  • Pack it in/Pack it out. Dispose of waste properly! This is what that means. Let me be more specific. If you carried it in with you, you also carry it out with you. If you did not find it on the trail, it does not belong left on the trail.
  • Strenuous/Moderate/Easy. This can mean different things to different people. Do your research and make sure it’s what you can handle.

Do you have anything you can add?

I would love to hear what you have come across while hiking.

Can you relate to any of mine?