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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Year in Review - Part Two and Winter in America

I'm always amazed when I look back at how much I actually do, see and learn now that I've made travel my "hobby".  On to the review of the second half of 2014!

July -  Here in Wisconsin last year we went right from a winter that was too long and cold to a summer that was pretty hot.  You know, the usual.  But at least we got enough precipitation to keep the wildflowers looking good though all that damp contributed to an overly healthy skeeter and tick population this year.

restored wildflower prairie minutes from my house

I was all over Wisconsin, from camping in Crivitz by myself over the Fourth of July to camping in Two Rivers with Wayne. And let's not forget to mention meeting Barbara and Ron for some hiking at Bald Bluff!

tick infested trails at Governor Thompson State Park
marinas and lighthouses in the Manitowoc area
Barbara and Ron at Bald Bluff - fun day showing off my "backyard"

Barbara and Ron weren't the only bloggers I had the good fortune to meet in July, I met Kim from Snug Harbor down in Deerfield for some lunch and a short hike with her daughter Chablis, too.  They are practically neighbors of mine, living just over the border into the north suburbs of Chicago.

Kim and Chablis

August - In August Wayne and I had a great time kayaking out to the sea caves in Bayfield as well as visiting Amnicon Falls near Superior and stopping at Council Grounds on the way home.  Normally I don't like to camp in August due to the heat, but it was comfortable up by Lake Superior.

Not just sea caves in Bayfield, good hiking too!
kayakers heaven
short hike at Amnicon Falls

You know what all that driving around Wisconsin in the summer leads to?  More driving around Wisconsin trying to discover its secrets.  At the end of August I drove back up to Algoma to meet Katrina and we had a little outing in Door County with the flimsy excuse that I could buy some jam.  Guess what?  I'm on my last jar but I'm not heading up there this time of least I don't think so, but you never know.

sunflowers in Algoma
wet wildflowers at Cave Point, Door County
Cave Point cairns
sunset from the Ice Age trail at Potawatomi State Park

September - I started the month out in the Lions Den with Wayne and ended it at Indiana Dunes with Sharon.  Two great traveling companions, what more could I ask for?  At the end of this month I will hit the road for South Carolina with my mother and my daughter, my other traveling companions, so maybe I can get some jam there instead of Door County, right?

Hiking the Lions Den trail near Port Washington, Wisconsin
Mostly well behaved women
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

While we had a good variety of things to do during our stay at the Dunes, my favorites were volunteering on National Public Lands Day...

and our last hike at Cowles Bog.  The cupcakes in Valparaiso make the list too!

Mini mushrooms at Cowles Bog

October -  Our "big" trip of the year this year ended up being a series of mishaps, but sometimes that's just the way life works out.  Being able to keep your cool and roll with the changes is a good lesson that needs occasional reinforcement.  Another lesson that is always good to revisit is that your family's health and safety is more important and precious than anything else.

Forney Ridge trail in the fog

We didn't make it as far as South Carolina due to mechanical difficulties but we made it as far as the Smokies and who would ever complain about having to stay in the Smokies?

near Middle Prong trailhead

We had to leave early and go home because Cory got in a car accident but I did get time for one hike with Sharon before we had to leave.
creek crossing by Little Greenbrier School
When we got back home I discovered sometimes you don't have to go anywhere to discover new treasures to explore.

Lake Geneva's Snake Road in October
Ice Age trail near Bald Bluff
And because I had some spare time I started knocking out sections of the Ice Age trail which made me feel really good because it had been my intention to start doing that in 2014 but I had worked too much earlier in the year to do it.

logging sled by the Oleson Cabin, Blackhawk segment of the Ice Age trail

November - The first day of November I started the month with more exploration of the Ice Age trail including the North Unit of Kettle Moraine during some frosty weather.

Milwaukee River segment

Wayne and I celebrated our 25th anniversary and ended up spending a couple of days in Milwaukee on our way to help Katrina get her stuff moved back home.

City Hall

Kilbourn Street bridge 

December - Of course at the beginning of December I joined Sharon for a bit of early winter hiking in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky.  My favorite hike we did together was probably Auxier Ridge where I got to do cool things like Kiss the Monkey and brave the ridge itself.  Otherwise December was filled with family and the rush of the holiday season.

When I was pulling into the parking lot to find Moonshiner's Arch for my solo hike in Kentucky I heard a song on my XM radio that I'd never heard before by Gil Scott-Heron called "Winter in America".  I wrote it down to look up when I got home and now I get to share it with you!

Speaking of winter in America, take a look at what we've got going on here in Wisconsn.

COLD all week, but on the bright side this weekend it's the Big Chill in Racine and the annual snow and ice sculpting display has become a yearly favorite of mine.  The holidays are behind us for another year and the wrath of January is upon us so stay warm wherever you are this week!


  1. A nice collection of photos from a busy year! Nice to see the snow! Wish our mountains would get some more. We had rain up there yesterday......Oh well, I can't ski yet anyway. Hopefully in a couple weeks I'll get the green light.

  2. Sounds like a good year to me, even with the mishaps!

  3. Impressive. I think it's safe to say that you get out and about more than most people who AREN'T working. Good for you.