Posts Tagged ‘driving

13
Feb
19

April Adventure Part One – Pigeon River Country

April 12-13, 2018

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Four days off in mid-April during a winter that refused to end, what did I do? Well, for the first portion of the long weekend, I headed up to my parents’ house to drop off my injured Yukon (at the time we thought he had a torn CCL, more about that later). Then, I loaded Mira back up for an overnight backpacking trip to the Pigeon River Country State Forest.

We arrived at the trailhead parking lot at around noon and while wrangling an overexcited Mira, I crammed everything we’d need for our little adventure into my pack. We started our hike in a light drizzle with intensified as we made our way to the forest headquarters. The trail, already covered in 6 inches of sloppy snow and ice was made more treacherous, each step an effort. Thank goodness for hiking poles! Headquarters was closed so we took shelter on the covered porch, reading some pamphlets before continuing on the trail toward our destination for the night.

Getting started – Mira and me at the trailhead

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Made it to headquarters, slightly damp

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PRC is inherently quiet, but winter intensifies that silence, the only sounds being our footsteps slogging through the slush and the sounds of drizzle dripping onto my pack. Signs of the state’s only elk herd were all around us, huge rubs on trees along the trail, their large tracks icy along the slushy trail and large piles of scat (which Mira eyed longingly more than once).

Plenty of elk sign along the trail!

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By the time we reached the 10 mile loop cutoff, we were both exhausted, so I opted to leave the uppermost portion of the trail off and head west toward Section 4 Lake and ultimately the south end of Grass Lake where I was planning on camping for the night. Just past Section 4 Lake, I noticed some larger tracks iced into the snow that at a glance didn’t look like elk. I moved in for a closer look and saw they were made by a recently awakened, rarely seen, forest dweller, Ursus americanus – the American black bear. As I always do when I find slightly out of the ordinary (somewhat scary) tracks, I sent a photo to my mom so she and Dad could worry even more. I suppose it’s not as bad as my first solo fly fishing trip where, when I arrived at my campsite along Rock Creek in Montana, I found a mountain lion track in the mud and sent a photo to Mom captioned “Here kitty kitty!”

It seemed like forever, probably because both Mira and I had slowed to a crawl, but we finally reached the south end of Grass Lake and set up the small Kelty backpacking tent on the wet snow. Mira’s needs took priority, she was shivering and could hardly stay awake (she is 13 years old I guess, 6+ miles in slushy snow is a workout for an old lady). Wrapped in a down throw, she struggled to stay awake nodding off, but unwilling to give in a fall asleep. I made her some warm Honest Kitchen before heating water for my Mountain House meal. We snuggled in for the night, both of us still shivering so I filled a Nalgene with hot water and crammed Mira into my bag with me. Sleep didn’t come easy despite the added warmth, visions of rampaging bears filling my head.

Pigeon River

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Made it to the cutoff, time to head to camp!

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Bear!!!

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Tired old dog after a strenuous hike!

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Camp for the night

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Thankfully, we survived the night without slipping into a hypothermic coma or being eaten by a starving bear. After breaking camp, I was soaked and exhausted and so was Mira, time to head cross country and forego the top end of the loop. I broke trail threw the deep wet snow and Mira followed close behind. Powered by trail mix, granola bars (Tucker’s Carnibars in Mira’s case), we were back to the car in no time and heading back south to my parents’ to don dry clothes and rejoin our Yukon.

 

 

13
Feb
19

Back in Time 2018

Well, 2018 was a bit of a rough year. A year of loved ones lost, both two-legged and four-legged. But also a year of new adventures and new experiences. I didn’t keep up with documenting these adventures so I’ll be stepping back in time, via this blog, to recap the excitement (and the pain) of this past year.

08
Feb
18

The Road

 

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” 

-John Steinbeck, “Travels with Charley: In Search of America”

The road trip, it has been immortalized by many an author, from Kerouac’s stream of consciousness, to Steinbeck’s descriptive narrative, to the frenetic, drug-fueled musings of Hunter S. Thompson. It’s an American tradition.

Tires humming beneath me, chewing up endless miles as they roll west.  The loneliness of the small hours of the morning, the only company my four-legged companions snoring contentedly in the back, and the music – Tom Petty, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, all whose lyrics I belt out at the top of my lungs, windows down to let the cool air wash over me and keep me alert.

Gas stops pared down to minutes – fill the tank, let the dogs stretch their legs, grab a drink to make sure caffeine levels remain high enough that if I had to push the vehicle to my destination, I could.  The sun peeking over the eastern horizon, lighting everything ahead of me. The terrain changing from Midwestern corn fields to the rolling short grass prairies of eastern Wyoming, Montana or Colorado.  That first glimpse of the Front Range in the distance.  Approaching my first night’s stop, delirious exhaustion bordering on hallucination, overridden by the excitement of the new surroundings and the possibilities.  This is my happy place, the place I feel at home, the place I feel alive.

11
Apr
13

Pups Go West 2013 – Begin Again

After weeks of anticipation, the morning was finally here, time to leave for vacation with the dogs to Utah. Since I worked a late shift yesterday evening, I packed the remainder of my gear and clothing this morning…that, extreme weather in the area and two overexcited dogs underfoot delayed departure a bit. It was cold, wet and gloomy, which would continue throughout the day and across five states (with a little snow an sleet thrown in).

I made my traditional stop in Davenport, Iowa to grab the amazing sub that is Capriotti’s Bobbie (shredded turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo). During the time I was in the sub shop, Mira, the crafty little Aussie that she is, figured out how to open the cooler and had dragged a 2-pack of vacuum sealed New York Strips out. Thankfully she didn’t have time to get the package open. I think my future dogs will need to be stupid, that speckled little nut is always a step ahead of me 🙂

The Bobbie
Rain and cold were a constant throughout the day
Wet weather = muddy paws 🙂
Mira was enjoying the windy day (so much that she forgot she was out to potty)

My original destination for the evening was North Platte, Nebraska but between battling the Jeep in the heavy crosswind and dealing with the rain and snow I was very sleepy and stopped short. One thing that always appeals to me about driving rather than flying, are the amazing things you see while on the road. In the last hour before stopping for the night, I saw hundreds of Sandhill Cranes – I must have lucked out and hit Nebraska during the crane migration. What an absolutely amazing thing to see!

Tomorrow…Utah or bust!

20
Apr
12

Pups Go West 2012 – Day One

Finally the day is here, no work and Utah bound!! My intent was to be up, loaded and ready to roll at 6 am. That didn’t quite pan out, between working way too late the night before and trying to load up the Jeep with two overexcited dogs underfoot, we ended up heading out of town around 730am.

First stop, the Circle K gas station about a mile from my house. I had stopped for gas on the way home from work the night before but needed ice for the cooler. During my incredibly brief stop, my crafty little Aussie had thwarted my efforts to keep her out of the dog food bin by chewing one of the gear ties I used to secure the lid (bloody toothmarksas evidence). Thankfully she didn’t get it open far enough to eat much and we were on our way again!

Ready to Roll Out

I planned my first non-gas stop for Davenport, Iowa – weird place to stop but my stomach won out!  At the north end of Davenport sits a chain sandwich shop, Capriotti’s, that my sister introduced me to in Vegas.  We don’t have them in Michigan and I had been dreaming about one of their signature sandwiches, “The Bobbie” for weeks!  This delight of the sandwich world consists of sub bun, shredded turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo…Thanksgiving to go 🙂

After enjoying half of the delicious, long anticipated sub, I filled up the Jeep and hit I-80 once again.  During planning, I thought “Hey, I’ll just drive straight through to Utah…what’s 24 hours of driving?!?!”  I had done it more than once in my younger years, a quick nap at a truck stop and I’d be all set.  Well, apparently my 30’s are catching up with me (that and two antsy – I don’t wanna be in the car anymore dogs) because by the time I hit Nebraska, I realized my visions of a marathon push west was NOT in the cards!!  I took a  peek at the map (and consulted the mighty iPhone) and decided that the Motel 6 in Kearney, Nebraska would be our home for the night.  Bonus…dogs stay free at most Motel 6 locations!!

After unloading a few necessary items and feeding the beasts it was time for bed.  Now, Yuk and Mira have stayed in motels in the past, but the first night out is always a challenge.  They were both on super-high alert, I guess they felt is was their duty to protect the room because every noise in the hall triggered a low growl or quick bark from Yukon with Mira quickly following his lead (she has no clue why she’s barking – she barks first and asks questions later).  I’m a terrible dog mom because after about a half an hour of that nonsense I decided it was time to break out a Benadryl for each of them, for the sake of my sanity as well as the sanity of those in the surrounding rooms.  Thankfully, they settled in after a bit, the next day would be up and at em early – we were going to get to Utah come hell or highwater!

How can this be comfortable?  Mira as seen at a rest stop just east of the Nebraska border.




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Found some blue bruising boletes while out mushroom hunting today. These are the coolest! #mushroom #mushroomhunting #forager #foraging #bluebruisingbolete #bolete #michigan #fungus
Rock climber 🧗‍♀️ . . . . #bluemerleaussie #instadog #aussielove #australianshepherd #australianshepherdsofinstagram #bluemerle #aussiesdoingthings #dog #aussielovers #doglover #dogsofinstagram #aussiesofinstagram #australianshepherdworld #aussie #hikingwithdogs #olddogsrule #seniordog #seniordogsofinstagram #upperpeninsula #michigan #adventuredog
Got home from UP at 1:30 Saturday, had my first wood splitting lesson at 2:00, lumberjack by 3:00. We’ve split three more piles this size between Saturday and Sunday and stacked in the woodshed. I’m gonna be ripped by winter!! #woodstove #firewood #woodsplitting #lumberjack #winter #countrygym #workout
With my past few dogs, I’ve taken a road trip with them shortly after bringing them home. With Mira it was moving my sister out to Las Vegas, her and Yukon got to visit the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, drove over Hoover Dam, hung out in Las Vegas, drove across the northern Arizona desert and through Monument Valley at sunset and hiked multiple trails in Moab. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A week after I brought Cache home, we went on a multi-state road trip following the Great River Road to the source of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park in Minnesota followed by backpacking onto the escarpment in the Porcupine Mountains. Now with Mesa, we spent 6 days camping, hiking and fishing our way across the UP from east to west and back again. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As with the other trips with new pups, our bond was solidified on the trail, on the road and by the campfire. I look forward to so many more of these adventures with this dorky dog. As always when I’m in the UP, my favorite memories from this trip were made on this beach at sunrise and sunset. I loved Copper Harbor, I love the Porkies but if I could only visit one spot, it’d be this beach with my dogs, waves crashing, the golden light touching their happy faces. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Some of Yukon’s ashes were scattered here, some of Cache’s will be scattered here and someday (hopefully not any time soon) when Mira goes, some of her ashes will be scattered here. . . #aussielovers #aussiepuppy #aussie #dogs #dogstagram #australianshepherdworld #australianshepherdsofinstagram #dogsofinsta #instadog #dog #aussies #puppylove #australianshepherd #puppy #puppiesofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #aussiesofinstagram #aussielove #cute #doglover #reddog #redmerle #redmerleaussie #adventuredog #adventurepuppy #bluemerle #olddogsrule #seniordog
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