A Skegemog (Mis)Adventure

Because we had gallivanted on Saturday, Tony and I decided to stay closer to home on Sunday. Plus we had a house showing (they’re not interested) right in the middle of the afternoon, which would’ve spoiled any potential plans. We’re still thrilled with the warmer weather, so we decided to take Petey for an evening hike on one of the nearby Skegemog trails.

I was last over there by myself with Petey, and while the trailhead parking wasn’t clear, it was passable. Things looks similar as we pulled up, and I advised Tony – who was driving – as such. Too bad I was wrong. As soon as we cleared the initial hump of snow into the parking area, we slid down and sideways into deep mushy snow fit only for snowmobiles. Thankfully, we were only a few feet off the road, and some careful back and forth work with a bit of pushing freed us. Much better than a couple years ago.

This was on our way back, so it’s dark, but I thought this post needed a photo break ;)
trail-Petey

The sky was fully covered in clouds when we set off, so I left my camera in the car. Petey was an absolute wild man – a veritable friskopotamus. He was pretty responsive, but you’d never have guessed he’d had a big day of adventures on Saturday.

Still running hog-wild after over 1.5 miles on lightly packed snow
Petey-on-Skegemog

Of course, the sky opened up a bit as we approached the frozen lake. I lamented not bringing my “real” camera. My phone died a couple of times in the cold, so I had to borrow Tony’s for a few of these. It was probably a good thing I didn’t have the Nikon – we’d never have left ;)
Skegemog-sunset

Eventually we did go, though. Partly because the wind across the open lake was freezing us, and partly because night was swiftly approaching. By the time we returned to the car, twilight was upon us, and Petey had calmed somewhat. Again, I am so grateful for the many places we can escape to the great outdoors!

You can embiggen this one if you want :) It’s a 180-degree pano of Lake Skegemog.
Skegemog-Pano

Last Call and a PT Update

Heeding Petey’s I’m getting cold signals, we trekked back to the car and got him snuggled down in his blankets with a bowl of kibble and some water. Pup sated and stowed, we hit the road meandering through the Leelanau countryside as we made our way to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

By the time we arrived, the world had gone all blue and gold – kind of like that dress only far prettier.
warm and cool palette

Despite its warm color, the sun no longer held much heat, and at the very tip of the peninsula, we were utterly unprotected from the blustery breezes.
out standing in its field hahahaha

Though captivated by the glistening shards of ice and the duo-tone palette, we were cold.
rose ice

We couldn’t quite bring ourselves to leave though. I’d take my last photo, and then Tony would ask where I was going. “Just over to this piece of ice.” You know. That really cool one that’s obviously different from all these other really cool ones.
me as Vanna

I’d finish with my cool ice only to find Tony wasn’t by my side, nor was he walking back to the lighthouse grounds.
ice shards in last light

So it went, until the sun made its last call, and then dipped below the horizon. Still I wanted to stay, but my nearly frost-bitten fingers – like the wind – cried Mary Mercy.
last light


 
I meant to talk to you all last post about my knee and PT (not to be confused with Petey, ahem, Siri). Great news: I’ve been going for one-hour sessions twice a week, and I’ve incorporated as many moves as I can into my at-home workouts. My knee pain isn’t entirely gone, but it’s mostly gone, and when I do feel it, it’s much less intense. Notably, there are times when I move in a way that I fully expect to feel pain, but don’t. That’s my real benchmark for improvement. I have one more appointment on Wednesday, and then a running analysis so that I can start bringing that back into my life. Henceforward (which is a word; I checked), you may call me a PT Evangelist :D

A Day in the Sun

I think everyone in the mid-to-northeastern portion of this country was looking forward to the “warm” temperatures expected on Saturday. Tony and I certainly were, so we planned a day of outdoor activities. We started out with a pre-lunch walk around Traverse City, and then headed over to the coast.

Petey was thrilled with that ball of ice

When we first arrived in Empire, a light snow was falling, and the skies were dull. But, it was in the 20’s (I think we got all the way up to 23F!), so I wasn’t complaining. I left Petey with Tony for a bit and struck off to areas best not to take him.

That tiny speck in the left photo is me. The right image features a pretty melt puddle

After about twenty minutes, we regrouped. And then the sun unexpectedly popped out. It was magical. I hopped back to a couple of my favorite views, and remade the images to stitch into panoramas.

Some pancake ice in front of Empire Bluffs
Empire Ice-2

A super cool iceberg, more pancake ice, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes
Empire Ice

The afternoon was wearing on, but the clouds continued to allow interludes of sunshine, so we decided to drive south of Empire for a bluff hike.

Empire Bluffs Trail-2

The trail is a local favorite, so despite having snow up to our hips, the path is well-worn and quite walkable without snowshoes. We passed several folks along the way – all smiling their appreciation for the gift of the moment. I looked up at one point at a couple of young kids trekking in our direction. I considered taking their photo, but didn’t. I immediately regretted the decision, when I heard one of the boys say our names to his friend. Completely by chance, we had run into our good friends out in the middle of nowhere, and their five-year-old recognized us before we did him!

Jim, Lisa, Jess. Little ones not pictured; they had better things to do ;)
chance friend meeting

After catching up for a few moments, Tony, Petey and I continued to the overlook. I have dozens of photos of this view, and I make more images with each visit. It’s a familiar view, yet it’s always surprising in its beauty and always different, if only subtly.

Empire Bluffs Overview

As we rounded the last curve, laughing at the guard fence buried in snow, the clouds again broke. Dramatic rays of sun spilled onto Lake Michigan, and I stood agape.

Eventually, I managed to contain my enthusiasm, and we began the journey back to the car. Like the view at the overlook, though we had just passed through, the woods was different – and so was I. After a confining bout of brutally cold weather, it’s impressive just how rejuvenating a few hours outside in the sun can be.
Empire Bluffs Trail

A Valentine’s Day Blizzard

Happy Valentine’s Day!
vday

Old Man Winter thought he’d hang out with the northeastern part of the US (and parts of the rest of the North American continent…), and frankly we could use a break from his company. We did our grocery shopping early, and planned to watch movies this weekend. I didn’t even check the aisles for bread and milk. I grabbed stuff for curry and soup, which are both perishable (haha! In these temps??), but at least I’m not pretending to be practical.

Our road after the plow had passed
Valentines Blizzard

I am predictably a little annoyed at feeling housebound. We could leave, but the roads are so bad, where would we go? Not to Traverse City; word has it that one of the mainest roads on the way in is impassable. And if it’s not an emergency, why make it one?

Also, it’s too cold to do anything. I’m not sure I have enough layers to keep me warm outdoors today. Not for long, anyway. I know the saying goes “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes,” so I must just need better clothes. Maybe I’ll get those tomorrow when Old Man Winter has spent his rage.

Valentines Blizzard-4

Taking Advantage

Temperatures were in the 20’s yesterday and today, so we took the chance to get out and explore. Since we have day jobs, we’re a bit limited on our mid-week options, but we are fortunate to have some hiking trails nearby. It snowed heavily on us today, so I left the camera at home, but yesterday the sun joined us (and so did the camera).

Tony and I have been working on Petey’s recall and calming down after major excitement. Happily, he hiked nearly five miles off leash yesterday with just a few minor incidents – both involving birds that he had no hope of catching. (Thankfully, he did not approach the coyote we saw at the end of our first hike. Instead, he walked contentedly behind me back on his leash.) We’re confident he’ll get his prey instinct under some kind of control – he just needs some training and patience. Which is to say we need patience.

Skegemog Petey-3

We’ve worked on behavioral modification in the past with great success. It wasn’t very long ago that we’d have to drag him out onto boardwalks and decking of any kind. It’s been worth the effort. I’m happy that his fears haven’t shrunk his world, and it’s wonderful seeing him not tremble as he steps foot onto these surfaces.

In addition to generally enjoying our outing, you can see that Petey practiced posing.
Skegemog Petey-6

He even practiced when I was simply trying to take pictures of the scenery sans-Petey. Clearly I missed the memo about the need for a Pete in every picture. “A Pete in Every Picture” sounds like a fundraising initiative, don’t you think? ;)
Skegemog Petey-7

Before the sun had entirely set, we trekked out onto the frozen expanses of Lake Skegemog. As always, Petey followed the path of a previous hiker. I made my own tracks. Not that I’m a trailblazer – it’s just easier to walk in fresh snow than the uneven footing of an obviously taller first hiker.
Skegemog Petey-8

That’ll be all from me for a few days. Friday is supposed to be in the teens, but otherwise we are expecting several days with single-digit highs. Brrrr!