Stopping Along the Way/// North Country Trail

Sean and I had a great adventure planned some weekends ago. We packed our hiking bags and meals late Friday night, then woke up early Saturday morning, bound for the Manistee National Park for a weekend away. But further North we drove, the darker the skies became. Then miles from our destination, the clouds let loose! I mean it was really raining. And I hate being wet. And I don’t like carrying heavy things and being wet. And I mostly don’t like having to sleep in the rain after carrying heavy things in the rain and being wet all day. So we decided to make a plan B

We kept on 131, driving North to Traverse City. I had a a carload of things for my mom and sister’s, so we decided to just meet up with them for lunch and a drop off. After a good meal at a great fish joint, we got back in our car and started driving home.  Driving South we we encountered the sun again. So we took a short detour to the North Country Trail, deciding to stretch our legs and at least get a small adventure out of the day while we still could.

This forest was unlike I’ve hiked in Michigan. It was the kind of forest where children see fairies and adults feel small again. I can see why Sean loves it here so much. The mist between the trees, the moss along the path, branches reaching into the clouds, crooked trees and croaking frogs… all of it together creating magic.

forrestnorth country trail signsquiggly treessean by signfallen treeI might be a little partial, but probably Sean’s the cutest guy to have hiked that trail all year!

Have you hiked the North Country Trail before? Isn’t it incredible!  I just cannot wait to go back!

Happy Monday, folks. Stay safe, wherever you are reading out there. And remember: positive thoughts have the power to spread thick, so send ’em if you got ’em!

 

Advertisements

More Travel Stories…Niagara Falls

If you are driving from Michigan to New Hampshire, halfway there is Niagara Falls. Very convenient for Michigan travelers. What better place to stretch your legs and spend the night than here? falls close up of falls sean and i at falls rainbow at niagraWe had wanted to take the boat ride at the Falls. Okay, I had really wanted to take the boat. It was kind on the top of my most-do list. But unfortunately I feel ill and wasn’t able to muster the strength for it. We made the best of it, though. Took some pictures, got sprayed by the mists and smiled about how kind Mother Nature was to bring the sunshine and rainbows for our visit. Then we got back in the car and I slept until I was rudely awoken by a pothole– a clear indication we were back in Michigan.

Next time I’ll ride the boat! For now, I’ll enjoy the memories of what we were able to do.

Happy Monday, friends.

Jamaica State Park, Vermont

Last week, Sean and I spent the night in Jamaica. Jamaica, Vermont that is. And it was perfect! We drove into our campsite a little later than we anticipated. But as the sun was setting and Sean set up the tent, I raced over to the nearest town for some pizza. After replenishing our bodies with grease and a beer, we walked down the steep hill to the river, dodging trees and holding hands. As we stood in the cold, rushing water, watching the river flow, it came upon me: this idea of how quickly everything passes; of how like water, our lives roll over rocks and into valleys, moving out of the way for new water, unknowingly caught in the current of river’s center, where it moves quickly and with intent, molecules into molecules, the unseen becoming the whole, simply because of the power they have as a united grouping.

I was thinking about how my relationship with Sean is so like this river. Standing together in that river, I couldn’t help but feel this metaphor run over my skin. I couldn’t help but feel how intimately I was connected to everything in that moment. And mostly, as I watched Sean jump from rock to rock like a mad wilderness man, I couldn’t help but feel how hyper-sensitive I was to this connection simply because he is in my life. Sean has shown me how to feel alive, everyday. Everyday we spend together, whether we are home or far away, we are growing into our life together.  That evening by the river, I began to understand the path our life is taking as a couple, as a family. My and Sean’s roots, I realized, have become entangled with one another, deep beneath the dark soil of a riverbank with water, running wild above us. You see, we are all connected: him and me, and this great world around us. But for now, in this instance we are safe, steadfast, and most of all together. Jaimaca State Park Rivertent shoes by the riverwoodpileriver through the treesThis was such a great campground. Very quiet and secluded! I highly recommend it to anyone traveling the East Coast!

Visiting Leelanau County

This past week, the family I work for, asked me to travel with them to Leelanau County. I said, “yes!” of course! Leelanau County ,in addition to being one of the most amazing places on Earth, also happens to be where I grew up.  So, we packed up their car and headed up North for the week! We would be staying at the Homestead, in Glen Arbor, Michigan and I couldn’t wait to spend the week with the kids, running around, jumping in the pool and exploring the beaches for rocks.

homestead signski lift at homesteadAs the week slipped by, I couldn’t believe how easy it was traveling with this family. I’ve traveled with many families before, but traveling with this family took me back to my own childhood. Part of this nostalgia may have been linked to the fact that we were in my hometown, but a larger part of it was watching the playful and loving relationships between the siblings develop. Being around, or rather, being a part of a large family lets me enter my comfort zone. How fortunate I was to spend the week with this family.Feet on dock at homesteadRiver at homestead

Wednesday morning, I had a few hours to myself. Around the woods and down the beach I walked, feeling so at home being back in Leelanau, feeling so happy to have moments of silence, feeling so thankful to have had this beautiful nature surround me. Bridge at homesteadbeach peebles on the beachbeach at the homestead

Now I’m itching to get back up North! Soon, very soon.

homebound.

Traveling home for an entire week is many adjectives; some negative, lots positive, but all together too many to list. I love having the uninterrupted time to spend with my family. I love seeing the bay when I drive into town. I love that doing anything requires driving “into town”. I love sitting on the couch with my very pregnant sister and watching TV at two in the afternoon. I love being here, with everyone, instead of having conversations on the phone and through group text messages.

But “coming home” also means that I am leaving my home. And it isn’t always easy to leave your normal routine behind. This week, I even had to leave Sean behind, which makes it much harder. But having done this all before and fully knowing I will do it all again I have developed a few tricks to help myself remain calm in the chaos. It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary and more importantly, it’s possible!

1. Baggage. luggage ready to goIf you hate the bags you take, you will hate them even more each time you have to get into them. Since my bags are essentially my dresser, closet, bathroom counter and laundry hamper for the week, I am certain that I like how everything fits and shifts around before I leave my home. Personally, I like bags with pockets, so when I travel I must have a pocket bag! It’s weird, but necessary. I just like knowing where all my things are, you know?

2.Maintain your normal workout (kind of). running shoes at britsIf I don’t take time during the week to do what me me, to do what makes me calm, to do what makes me healthy, then I am doing something wrong. One of the most important lessons I have learned is: if you don’t take time to care for yourself, you won’t be able to care for others. Since I started training for my 10k, running has become a very essential part of my routine. When I went home, I knew that I couldn’t stop running just because my environment was changing. I also knew, however, that I couldn’t reasonably expect myself to get the same workout there that I do when I’m home. So I altered my expectations, but stayed devoted to getting a strong workout when I was able to sneak one in. And you know what? It worked. And I felt really good about it.

3. Don’t forget your favorite Mug. coffee mug on suitcaseReally though, home is where your favorite coffee mug is. Don’t leave home without it.

4. Pack a Hobby.holding yarn and needleEven though it didn’t exactly feel like it at times, I was on vacation. Other than bouncing between sisters and brothers and their growing families, I didn’t have anything to do. So, I was sure to pack my crocheting supplies. Also, because I didn’t know what my twin sister was having yet, I had to pack my supplies to whip up a hat or two before I left. No niece or nephew of mine was going to go hatless while I was in town.

Most importantly: forget about everything else that you to do at home. You are on  vacation after all!

In This Place//Milwaukee Edition

This past weekend, Sean & I went to some good friend’s anniversary celebration in Milwaukee. They have always been powerful pillars in Sean’s life and it was exciting to finally meet them!  Side note: I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Milwaukee, and was beyond thrilled to spend a weekend in this fun Midwestern city just across the lake. But more than anything, it was so refreshing to spend time with Sean after the madness that our lives have been recently. Most importantly we have found that no matter what place we are in, there is always love in this place.

Now, a short week around here before packing up again to head Up North for Thanksgiving.

Have a great week. XOXO