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?

 

 

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Celebrating Our 22nd Wedding Anniversary

I still can’t believe my husband and I have been married 22 years. That’s almost half my life. By this time we know exactly what each other really enjoys, needs and wants which made this anniversary quite easy to plan. I took the reins this year and planned an overnight getaway for us that was more about just escaping life and all the drama rather than celebrating anything special. Although, we did make time for a bit of celebration also.

The past two months for my husband have been a roller coaster ride with all the health issues his father has been dealing with. So I knew a night away would be so beneficial for him. However, because of the seriousness of this matter, I knew it needed to be close to home for a quick return if need be. The first place I thought of was Door County which has everything we love from water, hiking, great food, and so on.

Saturday morning we left around 9:30 a.m and headed that direction. He had no idea what was on the agenda except that we would be spending the night somewhere in Door County.  I handled all the packing and details, all he had to do was drive.IMG_2801 Our first stop was Sturgeon Bay and we did something that I would have NEVER done when I was younger. We went antiquing…..not my favorite thing in the world but I knew he would LOVE this. We stopped at two antique shops here and headed to two more a ways up the road near Egg Harbor.  IMG_2804

After some shopping we headed a little more north to our next destination to have some dinner. I knew he would be very happy with a visit to his favorite pizza place but upon our arrival we ran into a race event happening throughout the area which meant there we tons of people waiting at all area restaurants. So instead of waiting forever, we headed north a bit more and came to a restaurant we had never been to and decided to try for dinner.

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We were very pleased with our meal choices at Summer Kitchen. Service was very fast, friendly and the food was really tasty. And the best part, they offer a soup bar with every meal which is always a plus for me.

With full bellies we headed to our overnight destination…..Birchwood Lodge in Sister Bay, WI. IMG_2824

I made sure our room would have everything he enjoyed to fully relax for the evening. A fireplace, hot tub, and television meant he was in heaven. And this lodge had it all. Plus, I even packed a few celebration treats to enjoy together.

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When morning rolled around we had hoped it was going to be a much nicer day since it rained all day Saturday. We woke and opened the blinds to find sunny skies on the horizon. IMG_2821

We quickly gathered our things and went to grab a quick, hardy breakfast before getting to the last part of our getaway, the trail we had planned to finish this weekend. We arrived at a little diner in Sister Bay called Carroll House Restaurant and had a fantastic meal on their last day of business before closing up for the winter months.

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Unlike most restaurants in the Door County area, this place offered a wide variety menu at wonderfully affordable prices. After breakfast it was time to hit the trail. Along the way we enjoyed the views of the area.  IMG_2839  IMG_2834

We ended the day by finishing the Ahnapee State Trail, finding our #600 geocache and enjoying the fall colors together. IMG_2847

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Workouts Of The Week and a Celebration For Us

It was a crazy schedule week for me which meant I really had no game plan as to what and when I would fit in any workouts. However, I did the best I could and I am happy to say I feel pretty good about this weeks workouts.

Take a look:

Saturday: gym workout: 40 minute elliptical and stretching

Sunday: gym workout: 30 minute elliptical, weights and stretching

Monday: 2 1/2 mile walk, 30 min recumbent bike, and stability ball exercises

Tuesday: gym workout: 30 minute elliptical and lower body weights, 1 1/2 mile walk in the morning

Wednesday: 3 mile trail hike on a local recreational trail

Thursday: home:30 minute recumbent bike and stability ball exercises

gym: 40 minute elliptical, abs and stretching

Friday: rest

I am feeling great about being back at the gym again on a regular basis. The endorphin high is absolutely awesome. Although, I won’t lie, getting there after a long day of chasing two one year olds and occupying a four year old is sometimes a challenge. With a little help and gentle push at times from my husband, we are getting back to our gym routine and I couldn’t be more happier.

As for the upcoming weekend, we hopefully will finish the Ahnapee Trail this weekend. 48 miles x2 (since we always have to return to our vehicle) and its taken us two spring and fall seasons to do it. The weather does not look too promising but we are hoping for the best. We don’t have much to finish so if its a little rain we can hike in that, snow on the other hand, it’s not going to happen.

After that I have a little surprise in store for my husband since we are celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary also this weekend. It’s going to be a busy, busy weekend but hopefully a fun one.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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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Loving Lately….

Another week has come and gone and we’re off to enjoy the weekend. With that in mind here are a few things I have been loving lately whether it be a weekday or a weekend…

Flowers are in full bloom everywhere: Nothing says summer more than flowers in full bloom everywhere you look.IMG_1763

Triscuit Thin Crisps Wasabi Soy Crackers: YUMMMMY. I am not a big chip eater but lately when we do splurge on a bag of chips we have not been able to find our favorite flavored wasabi soy chips anywhere. I think because the new line of this years flavors are coming out, they have stopped selling them…anyhow I was bummed until now. I recently saw these crackers and bought a box. Surprisingly, they are exactly like the chips just not quite as bad for us. Give them a try.

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Clean Public Park/Trail Bathrooms: Being female has it’s ups and downs. One of the biggest downs is that we are not as lucky as males who can basically relieve themselves anywhere on a trail. Yes, I know, females could too but it’s a lot more work. So when you are lucky enough to come across a clean park/trailhead bathroom it is quite nice to say the least. Some make you gag and just hold it until the next opportunity comes, some are so disgusting that I would rather pee in a parking lot(which I have before). And occasionally you have ones that when you open the door oh so very slowly bracing for the stench and aroma that most have, you are pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness. This was my experience recently when we went hiking at a nearby trail. I opened the door and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was clean, did not smell at all, and I think I could have even considered sitting on this throne if needed (although, I have never sat on a public throne in all of my adult life, why would I start now). Hurray for whom ever cleans this trailhead bathroom in the town of Maplewood, WI…..GOOD JOB!

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Whole Fruit Sorbet and Greek Frozen Yogurt: I recently found these in the frozen foods section or our local grocery store. I was pleasantly surprised to find them very tasty and refreshing. At a 100 calories each, not a bad treat.

IMG_1849Tazo Chai Latte: I don’t usually try samples when I walk around Costco, first I normally don’t have time to wait in line much less the patience. Although, recently this was being sampled and there was no line so why not. It took me about two seconds to try, taste, and purchase this chai tea. They had it mixed with milk at the store which was great. However, when I made it I mixed it with almond milk which was just as yummy. Add some ice and you have a wonderful, summertime, pick me up drink:)

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Still Finding Time With Mom: I love that my son don’t mind walking with his mom. We don’t get a whole lot of time together anymore with work, school, and more work but when there is time he don’t mind spending a little bit of it with his old mom. They say your kids love you, then hate you, then eventually come to be thankful for all you did for them later in life. I am not sure what stage we are in at this point in time, maybe a little of all of them, although when we are together its fun. Which means my plan is to take it for what it is at the moment and run with it…

(picture courtesy of our son)momhikinglow-1

Anything you want to share that you are loving lately?

Weekend Snapshots: Farmers Market/ Ice Age Trail Hike/Pier Walk

With temps in the high 80’s Saturday and humidity levels up there I decided it was time to get some things done around the house this weekend. I was feeling very Martha Stewart like for some reason. My husband tried really hard to get me to go fishing and wade through the river with him but I refused. I know from past experience that this river has snakes along the edge and I am NOT getting stuck in a river with no way of running for my life to escape these slithery reptiles. He was on his own and so was I, which sometimes is pretty nice. First, I made a trip to my favorite farmers market for some veggies. IMG_1764

After that I came home threw in the laundry and started cooking and preparing things for the week ahead. IMG_1772 I then rearrange my workout area to make room for my husbands new inversion table. He was taking up space in my yoga area so we needed to fix this asap.  IMG_1749 Then I cleaned the entire house before it was time to make a nice dinner to be eaten alone. I decided lemon, dill, shrimp fettuccine sounded fabulous with sauteed zukes and onion from the market. Yummmmmm!

After that it was a 3 mile walk in the heat of summer. I love summer, the hotter the better.

Sunday brought another hot, humid day. Although, that did not stop us from hiking 5 miles down the Ahnapee State Trail also know as the Ice Age Trail.  IMG_1780

We began todays hike at HWY 42 and Cty Rd H. There is a very nice parking area with the cleanest public bathrooms I have ever seen in WI.

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We found a few geocaches along this stretch and only one snake. One too many that is:)

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The trail in this area is completely flat, crushed rock. We saw no other hikers but we did come across a few bikers. It was pretty warm and buggy but still felt great to be on a trail again.

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After our hike we made our way down the road a ways to Kewaunee, WI for ice cream and a cool walk down the pier.

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Then it was time to head home for the day.

It turned out to be a great weekend. The sun was shining, my husband did his fishing, I did my cooking/relaxing/cleaning, and we hiked a good hike in the heat preparing for our upcoming trip.

Weekend Snapshots

We had a weekend I dream of all winter long, it was 85-90 degrees, sunny, and absolutely gorgeous. We originally had plans to attempt a 6 mile hike on Saturday but when I saw the forecast I knew my husband would not be a happy hiker. So we changed plans and headed to a friends cabin to take full advantage of the beautiful lake they are on. Which then left Sunday (the cooler of the two days) for a small hike along the Bay of Green Bay where there was a nice breeze.

Here are some snapshots of our weekend.

Cave Point County Park

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Lake Fun With the SUP

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Pizza Delivery After A Day of Water Fun

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TENS Therapy  For My Hubby To Finish The Day

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Sunday Afternoon Hike Bay Side

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Ending The Weekend Purchasing Our Annual Date Night Tickets To Feast With The Beast 2015

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I really do have to admit, even with all the struggles that have been thrown our way this summer, we are still able to have fun and enjoy what we can. We have really learned not to take life for granted and enjoy the moments we have because you just never really know when those moments will no longer be possible. We had a great weekend, spent it with some great friends, we were active, we were able to escape the dramas of life, and most importantly relax and let all our worries be gone for a few hours. For this I am so thankful for.

Did you have a great weekend?

Did you do anything active?