Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Manistee River Trail Backpacking Trip

Not going to make excuses, it's been quite a while since we posted last on the blog.  Hoping summer will be better, as we will be doing lots of fun things and I won't be as busy with school.
Most recently Jennie and I spent our Memorial Day weekend off the grid.  So glad that Jennie was up for going backpacking with me out in beautiful northern Michigan.
We left for our trip on Saturday morning and arrived around noon.  We had trouble finding a trailhead where we could park our car overnight.  After a delayed start we were on the trail, or so we thought.  After going a half mile down the trail I noticed that I left the self registered parking envelop with payment in my pocket.  I dropped my pack, jogged back a half mile to the parking lot to drop off the payment when I noticed that we were actually taking the wrong trail.  It was one of those blessings in disguise.  I jogged back down the wrong trail to get Jennie and my pack and then we head back to the actual Marilla trail head.  After two miles under my boots, it was time to start the actual hike.
Marilla trailhead took us to the North Country Trail.  After two miles on the North Country Trail we made it to "Little Mackinac," a suspension bridge that took us across the Manistee River to hike the Manistee River Trail.  We hiked about a total of 7 miles that day before we needed to find a place to set up camp.
Day two was about 10 miles of hiking.  We worked our way down the river to see some of the trail we hadn't seen yet.  Then, we turned and headed back up stream to get to some nice sites we had seen the other day.  Our second night was spent next to a small waterfall and couldn't have been more relaxing if we had wanted it to be.
After a good nights rest, we decided we would wake up a bit earlier to pack up and hit the trail early and get back to our car.  Day two was about 4 more miles.  It might have been the hardest four.  Our bodies were getting sore and tired.  In all, we covered just over 20 miles.  We felt pretty accomplished and hope to do some more trips like it in the future.
Enjoy some of the shots!

 View from high ridge of Marilla Trail

 North Country Trail
 Getting ready to cross Manistee River on "Little Mackinac"
 First evening campfire on the banks of the river.  Fire pit was a car wheel I found on the banks of the river.
 One of many great views from up above the Manistee
 Enjoying a trail side rest
 First night's camp (hangin in the trees hammock style)
 This was my favorite section of the river
 Day one, taking a quick break
 Day one campsite on the hillside
 First view of the river after getting off the North Country Trail
 Waterfall that we camped near on our 2nd night
 Blue skies all weekend!
 2nd night's camp site by the falls
 Happy hikers
My best memory... trailside break on our long Sunday hike.
Getting ready to cross the suspension bridge on our trek back to the car

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy Holidays!

December seemed to fly by for us, but not so much for Micah. He couldn't wait to open his presents. We let him open his stocking and a gift from us on Christmas Eve morning.
One Happy Boy
 Opening stockings
 His one gift-Jake and the Neverland Pirates
 And Adelie opened Ariel and her castle
 He loves her 
 Christmas Eve with the Zielkes-Micah had many more gifts to open. Pictured is Mickey
 Christmas Day was spent at the Calhouns, and it was crazy with all the cousins! Good times. Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures. I'm not sure why since I know the camera was sitting right by us...

Thursday we celebrated Adelie's first birthday (a week early for family that was in town).
She had a cupcake theme party

 Giving kisses to her plush doggy, from Great Gramps
 Cupcake time! She ate the whole thing plus some ice cream. 

 Pictures on display-Adelie every month from 1-11 months

 Maier family Christmas on Friday-more food, more presents, more games, more good times! We are so spoiled. And here is Adelie getting spoiled by Papa, rocking before nap time.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving and getting a tree

We had a good long weekend off of work. It was sad to have Matt go back to school this morning...only 3 weeks until Christmas break!
 Thanksgiving 2013 (but Friday with theCalhoun/Laber side)
Festive Turkey dress, compliments of Grammy Tami!
 Saturday, Nov 30-Traditional day to go pick out our tree! Micah taking a horse drawn ride to pick out his tree.
 We let Micah pick out the tree this year. This is what he picked. Matt wasn't thrilled-not his first choice. It is short, but full and it made Micah happy!
 Micah in front of his tree
 Getting decorations out-I think we bought these last year for a youth event...
 Funny face reindeer
 Adelie also liked them
 Discovering lights for the first time
 Adelie decorating for her first Christmas!!
 The finished tree!

 December 2-Adelie is 11 months old today!  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

End of Fall 2013

Is winter here?  Getting the coveted "Snow Day Phone Call" this morning has me leaning toward yes.  Oh, how a snow day makes me so happy!  So our fall season was great, but it's hard to believe that enjoying fall colors and my favorite season has come to an early end.

We are finding that two kids makes us much busier than just the one did, but I don't think that comes as a surprise.  Sorry for the month long delays in blog posts.  All that means is that our tardiness gives you more news and pics to catch up on.

Jennie is busy with nursing clinicals, I am coaching a 7th grade basketball team for the next 2 months, Adelie is getting her legs under her, and Micah is making his dentist earn her money (you can ask about that later) and is taking his Water Runners class at the YMCA.  Yes, the Water Runners Class is our feeble attempt at managing his energy overload.  I don't think it's working.  Love that kid... wish I had the kind of battery he does.  I would be so much more productive.

Now, we are all looking forward to the coming holidays.  Thanksgiving and Christmas always end up being celebrated in epic proportions, being that Jennie and I get to double up on these celebrations, for the fact that both of our families are so near.  It's going to be great!

Here are some of the highlights of the last month:

 hiking at Van Buren State Park after our last camping trip
 Micah and Mommy
 The patient, his nurse, and his doctor... Happy Halloween!
 Jack-O-Lanter #1
 Jack-O-Lantern #2
 Adelie's 10 month picture
 November 12, 2013 = Snow Day fun!
 Cleaning off dad's ride
 Cleaning off Micah's ride
 Jumping in leaf piles, Michigan style.
Even the beast escaped for some first snow fun!

On another note...
Okay, so these are not from the last month.  In fact, they are long overdue.  Jennie told me when I was blogging that she had said a while back that I would report on my wilderness trip to Craig Lake State Park in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  We made this  6 day trip in the last part of July.  The excursion was miles away from civilization (the way I like it).  It really was an adventure.  The first night we had to race across the lake in our canoes to set up camp on the ridge before the storm hit us.  We got set up just in time to get under our tarps and keep most of the rain off.  Needless to say, the strong winds drove some of the rain into our shelters.  We had an ax injury, resulting in having to get my cousin out of the park and to a hospital.  He got stitched up, came back to camp, and then went back to the hospital in Marquette later in the week for hand surgery.  I swear I crossed a crazed beaver that had it in for me fishing solo one night.  He surfaced a few feet from my kayak two times and pounded the water.  Guess I got a little too close to his home.  We even had two nights in which we had to brave temperatures that dipped into the 30s.  When you put it that way, it sounds like a miserable trip, but when you are there in the heart of God's creation you can't help but be amazed.  Blessed to have been able to have been there.  I can't wait to do another trip like it!
 Craig Lake Transportation
 Found this little waterfall when we paddled over to Claire Lake and hiked the portage trail.
 Claire Lake
My quiet night time paddle