Saturday, October 2, 2021

Last Post 2021


The time has come to make our way home. Over the next week we will pass through Illinois and Kentucky, eventually settling back into our life in Tennessee. By the time we make it home, we will have traveled over 10,000 miles and visited 19 states. But before closing the book on this adventure, I’d like to document some of the “bests” we encountered along the way that for one reason or another I’ve failed to highlight. 

Best campsite of the trip was our roomy, shady site at the state park in Camden, ME. 

Best meal was at the lodge in Allegheny State Park, in NY, where we had Beef on Weck; a specialty sandwich, consisting of mounds of rare roast beef on a K├╝mmelweck Kaiser roll. 

Best bar for shooting darts; Shute’s Saloon in Calumet, MI. 

Best tacky tourist attraction; World’s Largest Indian in Ironwood, MI. 

The list could go on and on, but I’ll sign off for now, continually reminding myself to be thankful and grateful for so many amazing memories and experiences.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Chain of Lakes

 The Chain of Lakes, in Waupaca, WI, are an impressive natural feature, created by a receding glacier 12,500 years ago. The “Chain” consists of 22 spring fed lakes. The water of the lakes is translucent with deep emerald tints. The unique color is one of the trademark characteristics of the Chain, oftentimes referred to as the Killarneys of the Americas. 

Hartman Creek State Park, where we are camping, has a wonderful trail system for hiking, biking, horseback riding and skiing that wind in and around 8 of these lakes. A small  section of the 1,000 mile Ice Age Trail meanders through the park, too. The park also happens to be home to a large number of sandhill cranes. We have enjoyed watching and listening to these vocal birds, which are much bigger than I realized, with a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet!

We are throughly enjoying ourselves here with only a handful of other campers. I LOVE camping this time of the year!

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Badger State


After spending over a month exploring the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it was time to say goodbye to Lake Superior sunrises, agate hunting in the sunshine and hiking in the rain. We have made the turn for home and find ourselves in America’s dairyland. 

Wisconsin is a beautiful state and we are pleased to see that the fall colors at Hartman Creek State Park are just as vibrant as the colors we left behind in the north country. My goal of extending autumn for as long as possible is working out, so far!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Porkies

 Autumn has arrived in the UP. The leaves are changing and the high temps are supposed to remain in the 60’s this week. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is the perfect place to welcome fall and enjoy the last phase of our 2021 adventure. This area has everything Mark and I love and appreciate doing; biking, hiking and disc golf.

Even though we are embracing the peacefulness of this place, we haven’t lost sight of the loss and damage so many are dealing with as natural disasters have wrecked havoc in so many different parts of the country this year. Our hearts are heavy as we try to find a balance between grieving over the devastation, in so many places, while making every effort to be thankful and in awe that places like the Porkies still exist.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Isle Royale


Isle Royale National Park is a remote wilderness island, in Lake Superior, accessible only by boat or seaplane. It’s a place far from the sights and sounds of civilization where wildlife abounds. It also happens to be home to a population of wolves and moose that have been part of a historic predator-prey study for over 50 years.

Part of the reason for revisiting the Upper Peninsula was so I could hike from one end of the island to the other. I can’t really describe how perfect the three nights I spent there were. It’s a magical place where I hiked and camped, saw six moose and met so many remarkable people. Of course the most remarkable person in this story is Mark, who unselfishly held down the fort, at our campsite, with Starbaby, so that I could have this remarkable experience!

Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Big Spring


We crossed the Mackinac Bridge, a few days ago, and have made our way into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We are staying at Indian Lake State Park, through the weekend, before heading to the northern part of the UP. This area is popular but not too overly crowded.

An attraction we discovered near our campground, called the Big Spring (or its Native American name, Kitch-iti-kipi) has ended up being one of my favorite touristy outings of this trip.

The pristine water is 40 feet deep and is Michigan’s largest freshwater spring. I borrowed an aerial photo, I found on Reddit, to show how clear the water is and the self-operated raft, the park has put in place, that allows visitors to pull the raft, by cable, across the spring and back again. From the glass bottom raft you can see large trout and more than 10,000 gallons of water, a minute, gushing from fissures, in the underlying limestone, into the spring. The water keeps the spring at a constant 45° F so it never freezes.

Not only was the attraction really cool to see and experience but it was also dog friendly!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Tip of the Mitt


After camping for a week in the largest, most urban, campground of our trip, we have made our way to the north eastern tip of the mitten to perhaps one of our quietest state parks of the summer. Onaway State Park doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar, but what an incredible place to regroup after the hectic pace of Traverse City.

We traveled in this direction in order to camp near Lake Huron. One of our goals on this trip has been to visit and take a dip in all five of the Great Lakes. Even though Lake Huron isn’t the largest of the lakes, it does have the longest shoreline. We have taken advantage of numerous trails along the limestone cobble shoreline admiring lighthouses and looking for petosky stones. (Petosky stones are fossilized coral pebbles that happen to be Michigan’s state stone). 

We also took a side trip to see Ocqueoc Falls. It’s the Lower Peninsulas largest waterfall. It’s rare these days to find an area, especially in the summer, that has this kind of natural beauty with absolutely no crowds.