Hiking is Not a Real Big Fan of Me

“Hiking – I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre, To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.” – John Muir

Oh hiking…..   we have a pretty volatile relationship don’t we?

Not too long ago, I set off on day where I thought I would get two great hikes in, in two different parts of the County I was visiting. I had gotten some recommendations ahead of time, and then received another recommendation from the bartender at a funky restaurant I had dinner at the night before. I reckoned she must know what she was talking about, so I took her up on her lead.

Let me start by saying I am a very nervous solo hiker; I get out there in the woods, and my mind starts to imagine the crazy hermit person who is going to abduct me  and lock me up in their cabin and keep me their victim for months on end. And if the kidnapper doesn’t get me, certainly the cougars will. I mean really  – we now have mountain lions in Wisconsin, where we don’t even have mountains. I really wish those mountain lions would head back West where they belong. Continue reading

Time For a Hermitage

I’ve made it a tradition to travel for my birthday, either trips to beautiful locales I have not had the good fortune to visit yet, or to go find snow, my favorite thing in the world. My mother always made a point of celebrating our birthdays, and I learned to carry on that tradition. So many people dread the thought of getting another year older, but I relish the thought of celebrating life… my life…another trip around the sun, and God willing, many more to come.

About six years ago, I stayed home for my birthday, which does not happen too often. I had turned 40 the year before and took a big trip south of the border and learned to surf for that celebration. But at 41, I stayed home. I ventured out on my bike on the morning of my birthday, and while biking I did a little exploring and poking around the seminary and convent near my home. While walking through a beautiful arbor I discovered (that also happens to be the main photo of my blog), I stumbled upon a little cabin. There was a sign out front, and I immediately became intrigued with whatever a “hermitage” was.

So of course I went home and immediately looked it up.  Continue reading

The Year of Doing All The Things…a Recap

Happy New Year (Volume 2016)!

I love holidays. I love to have an excuse to dress up in ridiculous outfits. I love to dress up and go to themed parties. And NYE used to be one of my all time favorites. I would spend hours looking for the perfect silver, white, and gold (or all three of the above) outfit and deciding which party would be the perfect one to attend, or making certain I hit all four parties I was invited to because I didn’t want to miss a damn thing. From white parties, to bar parties, to house parties, to hotel parties, to live bands, living room dance parties, NYE day drinking, fireworks, you name it, I’d tried it all.

This year, well this year was a little different. Partially because I’m still reeling from being newly single. But also because I was living in crisis mode due  to being a caretaker over the holidays for a family member. I still went out, and I still drank too much, despite my best intentions. I had plans for a productive and healthy NYE and NY Day that included knocking something off my bucket list, and possibly taking the Polar Bear Plunge again (whereby one goes to the beach on a 20 degree or less Fahrenheit day and takes a nice swim, which supposedly cleanses you free of all of your old habits and bullshit. Or gives you cardiac arrest, whichever comes first). Continue reading

Resting in the Arms of Wisconsin

I don’t know exactly when in our lifetimes we develop a sense of place. Maybe some people are born with it; others live their lives battling a wanderlust that can never be satisfied, always looking for the next “new” place, never finding “their place”.

I grew up in three very unique parts of Wisconsin.  My childhood was spent in a small town just north of the state capitol, Madison. We grew up surrounded by the lush rolling farmlands of south central Wisconsin; our house was on a dead end street surrounded by tobacco and corn fields, with large islands of oak forest rising up among the crops.  We spent a lot of time near Lake Wisconsin, Baraboo, Sauk City, Devil’s Lake.  We were outside more than we were inside. I grew up with the sound of crickets, the sight of ever changing seasons, and the sensory variety of crisp winter air that made your snot freeze, and warm summer days that made you relish naps. We were only a fifteen minute drive from a metropolitan city center, and a funky and fun one at that, with Madison being a very liberal college town.  The city of Madison was surrounded by the waters of Lakes Monona and Mendota; born a water baby, this would become a constant in my life, the need to be near water. Continue reading