A Perhaps Extended Stay

You might have conjectured about my absence of late. Or you might not have noticed I was gone. I was. I’m back now, but I won’t even pretend to suggest that it’ll be a long stay. Perhaps I’ll make more frequent visits to the blog, but don’t count on it just yet.

You see, spring has happened Up North. The weather has finally taken a sharp turn for the better, and I am having trouble staying inside.

Also, we finally closed on our new house in Traverse City. We’ll be moving sometime, but we are still not sure when. Part of the deal included the installation of hardwood floors upstairs, and to redo the staircase as well.

And that might have already been done, except the house was built in 1895 and is heated with cast iron radiators that require a specialist (team? I dunno, but they’re exceptionally heavy) to move and replace them. Tony thinks we’ll probably move next weekend, but I’m ever the optimist and am hoping for this weekend.

Petey Hikes-2

Petey doesn’t care as long as he gets to play outside. With a friend or 20 would be best.

Petey Hikes-3

Meanwhile, I’m packing some things and am just grateful that it’s warm enough for the ice to have melted! (All these photos are from our hike this evening over at the south end of Lake Skegemog. I did actually wade through slush up to my knees last night for a photo. Youch! It was painfully cold.)

(Before I go, I should also say sorry for not checking in on your blogs. Work has also been crazy, and part of it required an operating system update on my laptop that I’ve been avoiding. Now the reader that I use to check all your blogs says I have almost 600 things to read, and I haven’t gotten it fixed yet. I’ll be around to your blogs soon though!)

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