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Thursday, January 7, 2016

2015 Year in Review- the Second Half


In July I thought I'd try to escape the heat and head north, but it turned out that the U.P. is loaded with mosquitoes and stable flies at that time of year. 

hiding from the bugs on Twelvemile Beach

But I did spy some lovely Coralroot on a section of the North Country Trail at Au Sable Light!

A quick trip to nearby Apple River Canyon State Park turned out better, though not much hiking was available the park was quiet and I got to rinse off the summer sweat in the river with the crayfish which was better than the freezing water at Lake Superior for a quick dip!

And it was located near Galena with its historical architecture and gorgeous views in Jo Daviess County along the way.  I'm definitely keeping the area in mind for return visits.


August started off with talk of an unexpected opportunity to get the bathroom remodeled.  I mentioned on the blog when it was finished that I wasn't happy with the price nor with the quality of the work, and further investigation has proved my instincts correct.  When I brought pictures in to the tile shop where some of our supplies were purchased they were stunned at the sloppy craftsmanship and even more so at the price charged.  We were advised to get an inspector to come out and document the mess and to make an attempt to get back the $4500.00 we had already paid, going to small claims court if necessary.  The inspector has come and gone and now I have to confront the contractor. As you might imagine I've been avoiding this...

Happier things occurred in August though, with Wayne and Cory driving the RV to Newfoundland while I journeyed up by plane.  I loved exploring Argentia, where my grandfather was born and where I was born also when it was a U.S. Naval base.  I still have a few more posts to come related to this topic, just have some research to do first.

Grandad's "Backyard"

Visiting with family and being there to see Wayne's mother bring in her 94th birthday was even better.

We also drove across the island, picking berries and seeing Puffins and lighthouses along our way.

Puffins at Elliston

Rose Blanche Lighthouse

picking blueberries on Gros Morne Trail

The bad news was the black flies that attacked me were a total nightmare.  The good news is that the hike on the little used trail where I found them was worth it anyway.


By September we had made it as far as New Brunswick where the Bay of Fundy Tides fascinated us as much as the sights in Fundy National Park.

High tide

 Then it was on to Maine where we visited a few museums, looked up a distant relative, Wayne ate pounds of lobster and we even made it out for a few short walks for views of the ocean.  I left Maine wanting much more, and Wayne even considered a tempting job opportunity.  I know someday we'll spend weeks or months discovering its secrets, but we decided to hang in there and tough it out in Wisconsin for 5 more years first.

Owls Head Light

walking around Islesboro

The state park wasn't to our liking in Vermont, but the little town of Benington was charming, especially its moose population.


October was much quieter, with local leaf peeping and jack o' lanterns spicing up those IAT hikes.

Fall color at Hartman Creek State Park

meeting Katrina in Delafied after a walk on the Waterville segment 

My favorite month of the year always speeds by too quickly, those bold colors fading fast.


When a month starts out with stealth camping and conquering kames at Holy Hill, how could it not be a good one?

Holy Hill kames
Toss in a solo trip down to Tennessee and it was almost easy to forget winter was soon going to arrive and spoil my fun.

hiking with Sharon in the sun on the Old Sugarlands Trail

tub mill at Bud Ogle Place


December is my quiet month, when travel isn't on the agenda and I can distract myself from the fact that I'm trapped inside due to the weather by preparing for the holidays.

And this year it's when I finally broke down and added some kittens to our family!  More distractions from Wisconsin's inhospitable weather. I think I only hiked outside twice the whole month.

Not a happy hiker

That was my year, looking back on the second half I'm reminded how little time I spent enjoying my husband's company this year because the overtime demands were outrageous.  I hope next year we see more of each other.  We briefly discussed making that trip to Europe that I keep talking about, but decided that since we might only get Wayne on a plane once it would be better to wait those 5 years until retirement to go.  I pointed out that we could haul the RV up to Newfoundland, stay awhile, fly to Europe for 2 months and then come back and stay in Newfoundland until fall starts to arrive.  That just might be our plan...for 2021.

For 2016 plans are still in flux, but one plan is finalized and that is to finally make it to Isle Royale National Park in September!  No long hauls across the country this year, the strain of all that driving and trying to cram a lot in to a little bit of time just takes some of the fun out of it all.  And in a few weeks I'm pretty sure I'm driving down to Red River Gorge in Kentucky to hike with Sharon and meet some bloggers who are currently camp hosting there.  Stay tuned!


  1. Quite a year you have had packed a lot into it. You could go by boat you know. Not sure what we will be doing this year still have to make some plans

  2. I so enjoy the northern areas of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota but I just can't do the bugs and I refuse to hike in a mosquito net hat so we can really do justice to this area. So glad you have braved these areas and taken us along:)

  3. I admire your determination, that in the face of foulness—black flies, cold, snow, rain, wind, heat, humidity—you endure and hike on.
    Box Canyon Mark

  4. I think it's good to take stock at the passing of each year, and it's fun too.

  5. You have had a good year! I remembered that Bay of Fundy picture!

  6. Lots of good trips in the second half too!