waterfall

My Hiatus from Texas

On June 14 I started my drive to Michigan after work and a nap. I had the opportunity to work remotely, from my family’s house, way up north. The whole experience was set up so I could visit my grandmother and other family as much as possible for two weeks during a pleasant time of year in Michigan.

As the two week window came to a close, I learned that working remotely is quite possibly the best thing ever. I managed to stay busy and spend so much time with my family all in the same day, what a dream. I was able to exercise before and after work daily, kayak often, have lunch with best friends, and take long walks on the weekends. It is safe to say that I am not enjoying my home atmosphere nearly as much as the Michigan one. I am back to the grind - commuting, avoiding the outdoors due to heat and concrete, and wishing I was somewhere cooler.

Currently, it is a “real feel” temperature near 100 and too hot to ethically walk my dog on the expansive concrete around us. I’m looking through the photos from my time up north and thought I’d share some highlights to keep the spirit alive. I’ll be back for a visit, Michigan, sometime this year again.


Some sunrises…

And, some sunsets…

But, also, these…

#ForestFriday - Sable Falls (Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore)

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Sable Falls is located in the wonderful Upper Peninsula of Michigan within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore site. You take a short hike to a bunch of stairs and then there's a gorgeous waterfall. Along the trail, you can see Lake Superior just above the trees. I first saw this place on a 2001 road trip around Lake Superior with my grandparents and it's been one of my favorites ever since.

Here are some shots from both fall and winter, my favorite seasons, so you can get the full experience.

I hope you find yourself in a forest this weekend!

 
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#MondayMotivation - Long Drive Ahead

Tahquamenon Falls - Upper Falls - December 2015

The trip to Michigan for my brother's wedding is finally here!  We leave tomorrow, Tuesday June 12, in the evening and will hopefully be to my hometown by Wednesday evening.  In the past, driving across the country or back to Michigan seemed a lot easier.  Nowadays, I'm exhausted by hour nine and ready to pull over.  Most of the time when we go to Michigan, we have such a limited time frame, we can't really plan for multiple day drives up or down.  Powering through is the only option ahead, and I'm going to use my upcoming hike at Tahquamenon Falls as motivation.  Oh, I suppose seeing the family is motivation too, but those falls...dang.

This will be the first big adventure for Oliver the Outback, and I couldn't be happier about our destination.  It will be good to get some adventure miles instead of just the obscene amount of commuter miles I've put on since last July.

This is my first step in getting back on track with my outdoor plans and personal goals.  I'm using this trip, this drive, and this upcoming hike as motivation to get back to my normal existence.  I've had plenty of great days and fun destinations locally, but there is just something about a trip out of state to shake things up and make you appreciate life all over again.  Once I accomplish this hike, I know I'll want to keep going even once back here in the hot, humid, sun drenched land that is known as Texas.

These routes take anywhere between 19-24 hours, depending on traffic and weather.

#ForestFriday - Quinault Rain Forest Adventure

I had been to the Hoh Rain Forest before, but had never even heard of Quinault until my most recent visit to the Olympic Peninsula.  I was making my travel plans and took the suggestion of an awesome guidebook, and several people, to explore the Quinault area.  I didn't quite know what to expect, but I left from breakfast at the Kalaloch Lodge with an open mind and nearly an empty tank of gas - so I had to stop anyway.  I gassed up, turned on to the South Shore Road and was instantly in love with the area.

Highlights: Gorgeous lake views, rivers and creeks, waterfalls, moss-covered trees, mountain views, and more.

I drove South Shore Road, with a few stops to walk around, deep into the valley and back on the North Shore Road.  Do it however you want, but make sure you drive the North Shore Road.  Enjoy the forest, wherever you can!

You technically enter the National Park along the dirt road deep into the valley, I'm assume after leaving it for Olympic National Forest.  The borders and boundaries flow together.

Bunch Falls - just behind the sign in the first photo.

The road narrows further into the woods and as it comes around and becomes the North Shore Road.

The North Shore Road is more scenic with less houses and resort stuff overall.  Here's a narrow spot with a steep drop-off!

Along the Maple Glade trail, you'll follow a creek with vibrant green plants, moss covered trees, and plenty to see.

As you walk or drive through, you'll notice how these plants all live together - dependant on one another for survival.

A panorama along the Maple Glade trail.  You must see it in person to fully appreciate, but this is a good preview.  Stunning natural beauty.