An Ohio Whirlwind

Tony and I returned from a whirlwind of a trip to Ohio just a couple days ago. We left Michigan on Thursday afternoon, and arrived in eastern Ohio some twelve hours later – more than 90 minutes longer than expected. Not an easy journey thanks to never-ending construction on I-75.

I was the photographer for my cousin’s wedding – something I had committed to last year, and then immediately began second-guessing myself. Tony stepped in as my second shooter and assistant, and while I have barely peeked at his shots, I cannot thank him enough for his help. He claims to be antisocial, but he was so gracious and thoughtful the whole evening. It really helped with my stress and made things go more smoothly for me :)

We left the Wheeling area Saturday around lunch, and headed to visit our more immediate family in southwestern Ohio. Though they are 500 miles south of us, their fall is further along than ours, I suspect thanks to a dry season and some serious wind.

Berries and Quarry

I had looked forward to kind of an extended fall, but instead I got a preview of what November will soon bring us. Regardless of the bare trees, the leaves on the ground provided ample beauty – enough to make it so that Mom and I didn’t regret our now-traditional hike back to the “falls” at Fallsville.
Dry Falls at Fallsville

Fallsville Basin-2

We didn’t get to see much of Tony’s siblings, but I managed a fun dinner with my sister’s family, and lunch at school with one of my nephews. And since my brother lives in between our parents’ houses, we squeezed in a visit to catch up with him.

My roots, where my dad and brother go to work each day
Farm Country Heartland

The whole trip, I looked and looked for farm country photo opportunities – something to memorialize the area in which I was raised. I took and trashed a few photos, but got lucky our last night in Ohio with a surprise storm. This isn’t my parents’ farm, but it’s one I see every time I’m in the area, so it still says “home” to me.

Farm Country Storm Front

Fall Storm Front Over Farmland-2

It’s been fun catching back up with all of you! I’ll be checking in on your blogs and such over the coming days…in between the hundreds of photos from Monica and Chad’s wedding :)

Oh! And there’s a chance that we’ll be getting a contingency offer on our house – I’ll keep you posted!

Rainy Day Beauty

The weather in the UP (and ostensibly the rest of the state) took a nose dive the day we headed home. Since it was a week ago, and I wasn’t there, I don’t remember how bad it was – just that it wasn’t – and isn’t – summery anymore.

raindrops on fall leaves

The story this week has been rain, rain, and more rain. And it’s been pretty cold. A tough transition to go from shorts to coats, hats, and gloves virtually overnight.

raindrops on fall leaves-2

But the fall color is gorgeous, even under the rain. And since cold rainy weather calls for comfort food, we took a short road trip to Petoskey to track down some Polish Kitchen.

fall fence

We stopped at the Deadman’s Hill Overlook, which looks out on the Jordan River Valley.
Deadman's Hill Overlook - panorama

Petey drew a large crowd, and we met some nice folks before moving on for lunch. It was an odd gathering – well over half of the adults had carried beer or wine on the short hike. Hoping they weren’t driving. They seemed like a big family bunch arriving together, so we’ll assume the best.
Deadman's Hill Overlook

A surprising number of trees still hold all their green leaves.
Deadman's Hill - fall fence

Such an odd fall. Our leaves began changing in the summer, and have kind of stalled out in all this rain.
roadside falls

We have temps in the 30′s coming up though, so perhaps the overnight chill will spur the leaves to get back to their beautification project.
wet barbed wire - fall trees

Regardless, we’ll enjoy whatever Mother Nature brings. You get what you get, and you don’t get upset, right? On that note, have a great week!
red maple in pasture

Trolling the U.P.

Hold onto your lederhosen; it’s about to get photo-happy in here! (All of which you can click to embiggen :) )

Last week, Tony and I took Friday off of work and went gallivanting in the Upper Peninsula. We got a bit of a late start, on account of having double-booked ourselves Thursday evening. We arrived at our hotel around 2am, but were happily eating pasties (pass-tees) for breakfast the next morning. (As long as it’s before noon, it counts as morning, right?)


On previous trips to the Yoop ( = U.P. … Upper Peninsula), we’ve both hiked and driven like banshees. This time, we determined we’d have a more sensible trip. We picked out a few waterfalls scattered throughout Alger County to visit. We stopped at Alger Falls (not pictured), Wagner Falls (above on right), Au Train Falls (below on left), Laughing Whitefish Falls (the big set that follows), Scott Falls (no water…not pictured), and Tannery Falls (last one before the star shot).

The super-bright skies made for harsh lighting, but that’s the last you’ll hear me complain. Fall color was very pretty, though not quite peak, and the weather was to-die-for. Okay, I exaggerate. But seriously, it was in the 70′s and 80′s all last week. It was 45, windy, and rainy today.

We stopped at various places along our waterfall route, basking in the summer-in-fall, and simply enjoyed the trip. One of us gets a bit goal-oriented, especially when it comes to tracking down the perfect photo. Ahem.

Just for fun, before calling it a night, we dropped by the famous Miners Castle overlook. It’s stunningly beautiful, but almost a mundane sight as it is the Pictured Rocks shot. Still, it’s always worth a visit. Two in our case, as the aurora came out to dance after the sun went to bed.

Content with our gallery of waterfalls, we opted for a longer hike on Saturday along the Pictured Rocks escarpment. Going in a touch better informed than the first time (when we hiked around 12 miles instead of what we thought was less than half that), we headed to Grand Portal Point. I had a spot in my head that I wanted to revisit, which was somewhere near there.


Some other hikers shared the trails, but we still enjoyed mostly empty wilderness.

We walked along the cliffs perched above Lake Superior for about 5.5 miles, occasionally stopping for photos, before we arrived at my remembered destination. We chowed down on the pasties we packed for lunch, and then began the journey back.
Pictured Rocks escarpment pano

Even though we were closing in on 11 miles, we were still feeling great, and the sun was still high in the sky. We spoke to a ranger at Chapel Rock, who told us Spray Falls was about a mile-and-a-half away (but to tack on another half mile for the best view). We decided to go for it.
Pictured Rocks Chapel Beach

The falls – 2.2 miles away – fall thunderously over a 40-ft drop directly into the lake. Next time we’ll aim for a morning arrival for better viewing, but how impressive is that? And did I stand in the river/creek near where it dropped off the edge? I’ll never tell.

Somehow, even though we knew we’d get back before dark, we ended up hiking the trail out with a swiftly sinking sun. No worries – we had dinner in hand shortly after dusk :)

Sunday morning, we awoke before the birds in hopes of some awesome sunrise shots over nearby inland lakes. Again, clear skies didn’t bring much interest, but the absolute stillness of the lakes was awe-inspiring.
Mocassin Lake pano
After our last excursion, we popped one last time into Muldoon’s for pumpkin pie pasties. Well, I got pumpkin pie. Tony probably got veggie or something reasonable. And then we were off to cross back under the bridge to rejoin our “troll” compatriots in the Lower Peninsula.

Trail Time

The arrival of fall brings a touch of melancholy – we hardly had summer, I’m not ready for the cold, and I’m going to miss the long days – but it also brings the blessing of fewer biting bugs, which means more trail time.

dog watching

Last weekend we had Tony’s entire family stay with us. Okay, not his entire family, but his grandparents, mom, niece, aunt, and cousin. Before that – last time we chatted – we had visited the Sand Lakes. Last time we were there was in May; the place looks remarkably different now.

Click to embiggen:

Sand Lakes marl pano

Sand Lakes - clear water and marl

Note the swimming pine trees and soggy trails. If you click for a larger view, you can see minnows schooling on the formerly dry path.

Even with all the rain (I tried to track down the numbers…to no avail. If you know of a reliable resource, please share :) ), the high ground stays pretty dry. This means places like Hickory Meadows in Traverse City are open for a visit after dinner. Or before. Cooler temps make it pleasant just about any time with the right layers.

And tonight we even ventured back into the Skegemog Swamp. Last time – in June? – we high-tailed it outta there because of marauding mosquitoes. Tonight only a couple chased and chewed.

We made it most of the way to the viewing platform before abandoning the trek. Excess water builds up in the wetlands, too, overtaking the boardwalk. :-/

Petey looks for whatever’s making the squishing sound each time we step

Happy to have made it as far as we did, we turned around with no complaints. Except maybe one: Where’s my apple cider? ;)

{Unrelated} – Petey at “camp,” because I’ve been promising Graham I’d share the love. :)

Mushroom Monday

It’s Monday here for about another hour, and I have a lot of mushroom photos to share – so you get Mushroom Monday. ;)

In between yet more storms and dressed for fall (all the layers: jacket, hat, light gloves…), we did lots of hiking this weekend. Seems like the weather hasn’t been very cooperative for much else – too windy for kayaking, and far too cold for diving. But, at least we have lots of beautiful places to explore on foot. I’ll check back in soon with some hiking images/stories. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite mushrooms from along the trails.

Have a great week! (I’ll be checking into all the blogs I’ve missed just as soon as I get my feed-reader working again!)