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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Year in Review - the First Half

I started 2016 by battling my aversion to Midwest winter with a train excursion to downtown Chicago to check out some of its fantastic architecture.

Chicago River

That boosted my spirits a bit until Cory and I could take a spur of the minute trip to Natural Bridge State Park in the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky.

A few minutes of sun at Natural Bridge

Hiking was a bit difficult with the roads not all plowed after a big snowfall, but I made do and even got a chance to meet the elusive Darlene and Nicole which was worth the trip alone!

Nicole at Silvermine Arch

In February I took a windy mid-week tent camping getaway to Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois.  My goal was to jump start my will to exercise after a month on the couch, a place I find myself in yet again as we speak.  Last February I was up pounds, which I never did lose this year.  Ahh, menopause!

Garden of the Gods

In March I zipped down to Kentucky twice, once to Cumberland Falls State Park to catch sight of the moonbow and get in a quick hike to Dog Slaughter Falls with Sharon, and another quick trip to check out Mammoth Cave's campground in Kentucky.  I didn't tour the caves, but the hiking was nice.  The campground was overpriced and the showers were coin operated nightmares so I won't return without our own shower in tow.  But I couldn't complain for long with flowering trees and horses in grassy fields everywhere I went in Kentucky!

Sharon and I at Dog Slaughter Falls

I made a stop at a Memorial at Lincoln's birthplace in Kentucky where I learned all about his humble frontier beginnings.  With little in the way of formal education as a young child and a background working on farms he rose to become one of the greatest Presidents of these United States. On my way home I also stopped at Benjamin Harrison's home in Indianapolis and learned some interesting facts about his presidency.

In April things picked up and I was busy with a weekend getaway with my mom to Door County...

Algoma lighthouse on a cold and windy day

And then the winter doldrums were finally banished when Cory and I flew out to Idaho to meet a friend of his who lives in Boise.

From public art to architecture to hiking Boise had it all. I'd definitely visit again, if for no other reason than to get some goodies from the Boise Co-Op!

Daytrip to Celebration Park on the Snake River

May meant that spring finally came to Wisconsin, but I quickly turned my car south again where I heard dulcimers and saw a newt while hiking in Cumberland Gap.  I was struggling with undiagnosed carpal tunnel pain that was making driving extremely painful but determined to keep going.

From there it was on to the Smokies where I camped at Elkmont for the first time and explored the trail along the Little River.

Little River Trail

Little River 

I also hiked Mouse Creek Falls and then it was on to Maggie Valley where I stayed with Sharon at a friend's home.  We did some hiking in the Deep Creek section of the park in Bryson City but it was the painted Trillium on the Cataloochee Divide trail that stole my heart.

My car continued south where I met up with my husband Wayne and Cory at Cedar Point campground in the Croatan National Forest.  The campground was a good bargain at $30 night for a prime destination and we enjoyed watching the fiddler crabs every day a short walk from our campsite.

Our young cats accompanied us on the trip and while they weren't crazy about the drive down in the truck, they loved hanging out at the campsite and going for walks on their leashes to chase all kinds of new critters.

This area of North Carolina is all about the beach and while we were struggling with a severe bout of depression with Cory we tried to get out there and see what all the fuss was about.  It was pretty, but for the most part we just confirmed that none of us are beach folk for some reason.  Give me the trees or the mountains any day!

That was my winter and spring, summer and fall to come in the next installment before I hit the road tomorrow for my first trip of 2017!


  1. Well, that sounds like a pretty good six months!

  2. I always enjoy these year-end recaps. You've done quite a bit of traveling, and this is just the first six months!