horseless trips

A not so short catch up post, on our much needed Fall trips...

Instead of driving all over in search of beauty, we opted to stay close to where we were staying on both trips. Sooo much beauty to be found nearby, if you look with open eyes. We did bring house building related "homework" but didn't let it get in the way of our purpose. To relax & take in nature, and on the second trip also learn.

On our first trip we reconnected with our northern establishment friends, and laughed. A lot. It had been 365 days since we had a chance to escape from our overflowing to-do list, and yet they all remember us. Not all know us by name, but they do know us by face and what brings us north. Horses & snowmobiles. We normally travel up there 4-5X a year. However between the weird winter, horse & human injuries, and now the building fiasco, we just haven't managed to get away. 

Some people have a hard time figuring out why we often return to the same vacation places year after year. I do love new experiences & exploring sights, but I love reconnecting more. It's familiar. When one of our northern friends came running over in the middle of customer craziness & to give us each a heartfelt goodbye hug - well, that makes getting away more meaningful. This couple does know us by name, and we consider them friends. Read about the last time we saw them, well one of them. We didn't know if we would ever see them together again. The end of that story is happy, she made it :) 

There are things we can do when we are horse-less, like exploring the rapids. I have a short video with beautiful sights & sounds of mother natures crazy power, but for some strange reason it won't upload. I know you've all seen and heard rapids, but they never get old to me.

I could watch water move & listen to the sound,
for hours and hours 

our best twosie
The others are too damn funny 
We also did some things that we do when the horses are with us, but it becomes an entirely different experience with out them. Hiking trails we typically ride, gave me a whole new respect for Koda and trail riding in general. Let's just say I was sucking wind on the inclines.

You may recall WI had waaay too much rain over summer, and all the state & county trails were closed for a couple weeks. We were stunned to find several sections of trail rutted out so bad, that had we been on horseback we would have turned around and not ridden up to the lookout. It's my favorite trail ride. The sad part with remote public trails, is there is no funding or manpower to repair them. Maybe someday?

heading up to the lookout
it appears like you could ride up along the side,
but it was pretty steep with no where to go

It's always a welcome sight, when the climb levels off and opens up. You can catch your breath, while in turn it takes your breath away...

the beginning of the rocky lookout
is on the path to the right
I've always wondered what was beyond
and below the top flat area of the lookout

I heard a lot of "where are you going" and "be careful"
(see Brad?) eventually, there is a drop off
view to the north, from a lower portion of the lookout
colorful trees are as far as the eye can see
the reward is always worth the hike up
I wasn't going to share the above photo, because apparently my spare tire didn't deflate! But what the hell, it's us.
Note to self: press the timer, run, AND suck gut in!!
Late Fall we took a second trip to a weekend photography gathering. It brings like minded people together to learn more about shooting the Northern Lights, and other night shooting. I've been obsessed with Northern Lights since I first saw them when I was 15. Story for another time. Brad doesn't have much interest in learning about the night sky, but he really enjoys the area. Lake Superior is a phenomenon in it's own right. Powerful and beautiful, all at the same time. 

It's become an annual vacation for us. See, we do expand our horizons! This was our second year. Conditions were not right for viewing the Aurora Borealis. Last year we saw the lights as a group on the shore. The Duluth area got hit with an early storm, so we hunkered down and stayed put. SO thankful we arrived a day early. We enjoyed other amazing sights during our stay this year, it's not all about the Northern Lights.

View from our room, the day after the storm:

We snuck out for a short drive during a break between the learning sessions, also taken during the calm after the storm:

Since the Aurora Borealis didn't want to come out & dance, we took it upon ourselves to see some different kind of lights at night at the nearby waterfalls. Brad assisted the wool spinner.

I soooo LOVE the North Shore area, and can't wait to go back!! It's as close to an ocean as I'm going to get, at least for a while. 

If you've read this far, I am totally impressed! Next up, a barn update.


Shirley said...

Some amazing photos- love the one of the half circle of surf pounding the shore.
I love the sound of water, be it ocean waves or just a trickle creek, it always connects with my soul.

aurora said...

Me too Shirley! There is something larger then life about water, of any kind. Glad you enjoyed the photos :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Beautiful photos! Love the rushing water and the lighthouse perched on the rock. I’ve always loved lighthouses. I have no idea why. Wherever we go I will always make time to visit one. I grew up on the East Coast (LongIsland,N.Y.) and have always gone to the ocean as much as I could, even in the winter. I hope you get to visit the coasts and see the oceans some day.

aurora said...

Thanks Arliene. I have been fortunate to enjoy the Atlantic ocean many times in various locations, in my younger days. It's been a looong time since I've felt the feeling only an ocean offers. Too long. Brad is more of a mountain guy, but I love water the most. I've actually never been to the US east or west coast. I'll get there one of these days...

C-ingspots said...

And when you make it out west, I so hope that you'll come stay with us!! I'd love to show you around our area. Wow, Lake Superior is unimaginably big! And waves like our coastline. Impressive! I've never seen muddy waves though, must have been a heckuva storm. Lighthouses are intriguing, and I've always loved visiting and photographing them. And who couldn't love water sounds!? Amazing and vibrant, while being soothing and relaxing at the same time. Although river or creek sounds are so different from the rhythmic sounds of the ocean, they are comforting just the same. I LOVE seeing photos of you and Brad! Beautiful people, inside and out...truly. We are always our own worst critics. So glad you got the chance to get away for a respite. You both deserve it. (someday I want to see those Northern lights) Merry Christmas Aurora!!!

Linda said...

I like to return to the same place, too. If it’s beautiful and you love it, and the people, why not? That’s sad about the trail damage. It looks pretty severe. That’s the great thing about hiking, you see changes to the trail before taking the horses. Love the pictures—especially the ones of you and your hubby. What a beautiful couple. ♥️

aurora said...

Awww, you guys are too kind!

It would be so fun to experience Oregon with you Lorie! You probably already know this, but Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes & largest body of fresh water on earth. It's massive & demands respect. Tons of history. Have you ever heard Gordon Lightfoot "Edmond Fitzgerald" song? "Gitche Gumee" is Lake Superior, were it sunk.

Linda, that was just one stretch of trail. The whole incline is all pretty much like that, an injury waiting to happen. I saw someone had tried to bushwhack around, but it's thick. The lookout butts up to a Native American reserve. We don't know the area well enough to come up from the other side, nothing is marked. There is one park ranger, for a huge section of the Nicolet Forrest. I think they'll do something eventually, patch it or re-route?