Otter Creek Sunset – A B&W Photo Challenge

Eliza, who shares a similar love for the outdoors as me, and who lives in a similar place but different country invited me to join a black and white photo challenge. Since It’s all in good fun, and since it’s so windy out, I’ve decided to play along. At least once. There are rules, as with any contest/challenge, but I’m not playing by them ;) So, new rules: if my post inspires you to try your hand at a black and white photo when you might otherwise opt to see the world strictly in colors, link it up to this post. If there are multiple participants, I’ll post a future blog shouting out my favorites. Or something.

Without further ado, here’s the photo – perhaps the only one, perhaps just the first – that I chose to convert to black and white. I originally shared it on FB and Flickr in all its peachy sunset-y glory, but decided it had nice enough lines to lend itself to B&W too.  I posted larger versions of each below, which can be further embiggened via a click if you like.

What do you think?

Otter Creek - B&W Otter Creek Sunset

The Great Skegemog Melt

Despite hovering right around the freezing mark, the sun was shining this afternoon giving the appearance of a much warmer day. And since we’ve endured far colder days, I decided it would be a perfect day for a hike – because really, when isn’t it? Since sunset happens later than 7:30 now, I waited until after dinner (which Tony cooked because he’s awesome!) to load Petey in the car.

Skegemog adventure

The parking lot, such as it was, did not look promising. I switched out my running shoes in favor of the waterproof winter boots that I’m tired of wearing. Most of the trail back to the swamp was fine, being along an old railroad bed.
Skegemog adventure-2

A good portion of the swamp trail was fine, too. It was either frozen or boardwalk.

As we neared the viewing platform, though, our luck ran out and the trail ran underwater. Petey, who had happily been trotting ahead and then coming back to check in, stopped at the edge suddenly unsure of where to go. Grateful for my olde faithful boots, I plunged ahead and then called him after me. He looked at me like I was a crazy lady (I’m not arguing that he’s wrong), and then decided that maybe it wasn’t so scary after all. He wasn’t nearly so trepidatious about climbing up the viewing platform, again bounding ahead of me.

Left photo shows our underwater trail. Right photo shows a dog in my face ;)

We stayed atop the platform overlooking the lake and swamp for several minutes, enjoying the warmth of the evening sun and the trill of the many redwing blackbirds. Much of the lake is frozen, but the swamp is open, so that’s a nice change.

On the way back out, Mr. Petey Puppy expanded his horizons a bit, exploring just off the side of the trail. I stayed up where I was sure it was dry, but he assures me he had a better time. Based on his snores down at my feet now, I think he might be right.

I called Tony to check in with my plans, which he guessed were “…staying out taking way too many photos of the sunset and having to hike back in the dark.” He knows me well, but we were already driving over to Torch Lake to check out its melt progress, so there Tony. Signs point to slow. (In case you missed that, we did not have to hike back in the dark ;) )
Skegemog adventure-12

Traverse City Recess

Now that things are looking pretty official, it’s time to break the news: Tony and I will be moving in the next few weeks! I’ll be conducting my “recess” in Traverse City instead of Rapid City for the foreseeable future (but I won’t be bothering to update this blog address, so no worries about chasing me down).

We found a place in our favorite downtown neighborhood that we couldn’t pass up, so even though our house is still on the market, we’re relocating. The new place is actually quite a bit older, clocking in at 120 years old. But she’s looking good for her age: the current owner is finishing up a thorough renovation, as you can see from the few photo’s I’m including here. If you want to see more, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add a post with house pictures a little later on.

Kitchen, living room/stairs, dining area. The dishwasher is not actually blue – that’s protective plastic.

As you can imagine, we have been pretty stressed out, and remain so. Tony has a huge project hanging over him at work with a deadline timed almost perfectly with the house purchase closing. And we’re supposed to take a work trip sometime in the near future. My sister is also coming for a visit (If you’re reading: this is not a guilt trip! Totally want you to come!) at the end of the month. Around all this, we will figure out the logistics of moving and setting up a new home. We are old hands at these things, so it’s mostly just annoying at this point. Okay, I’m simplifying; it’s stressful too, but at least this is a local move and not another 1,000+ mile move.

Sunset over Torch Lake last night. I will miss this, but I will find other lovely sunset views to frequent. And this will still be here, and I will still see it.
sunset

Some Words on Wednesday

Spring might be in the air, but winter is still on the ground. I pretended it wasn’t yesterday morning, and took Petey on his walk in running shoes. I even ran for a couple minutes at my new cadence. It wasn’t fun – it feels like I’m Velma Dinkley with a tiny stride. But it fits my short legs better, so I’ll incur less joint damage and therefore less pain this way.

We had some errands to run yesterday, and we knew we’d want to walk around town, so we let Pete be a wild man at Hickory Meadows.
meadow

Actually, we let him roam off leash until other dogs and their owners approached, and then we on-leashed him until we got the go-ahead. Petey can come on a little strong, and not everyone responds well to that. I just wished they realized that having their dogs unleashed and uncontrolled kind of drives our dog nuts (which is not the same as doughnuts). Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

spotlit-Petey

Petey had a big time with several new canine pals, and ended up panting despite the 50-degrees with a breeze and mushy snow pack. In fact, he got so toasty that he tunneled through the snow, and wallowed around like a pig in that stuff pigs like to roll in. I’ll post a video later on Instagram (you don’t have to be on Instagram to view photos or videos in my stream) or on Facebook if you want to see his shenanigans.

burning-Boardman

The upshot of all this was that we enjoyed one of the most laid back walks through downtown Traverse City that we’ve ever had. Petey was mellower even than our sunset, and we felt absolutely at peace. Except for the chill creeping in, because as I said – it’s still winter on the ground even if it is melting away.
melting-bay