Prayers for Delphi- Double Homicide Of Two Teen Girls In A Small Town

On February 13, 2017, fourteen year old Liberty German and her friend, thirteen year old  Abigail Williams were dropped off near the Delphi Historic Trail System near the town of Delphi, Indiana.  Delphi s approximately 60 miles north and west of Indianapolis.

The girls had planned to hike in the area and were to be picked up later in the afternoon. They failed to arrive at the predesignated area. They were missing.  Twenty four hours later, their bodies were discovered in the woods, along the shore of Deer Creek. They had been murdered.

Liberty had posted some photographs to her Snapchat. One of the photo’s was of a strange man that they had seen in the area. It is unclear to me how many snaps were taken or if there was any further explanation from Liberty as to who this man was.  Liberty also managed to get audio of this man’s voice.

You can find more information, including the audio clip of the strange man’s voice on the media release from the Indiana State Police. The Indiana State Police have posted the man’s image and his voice for everyone to see and hear in hopes that someone might recognize this monster..

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I wish Liberty would have dialed 911. Just call and scream at a dispatcher.  Scream where you are, if you can, and for help. A good dispatcher will wear themselves out tracking you down. Literally, will  wear themselves out until they exhaust all of their efforts in doing so.

I wish we could have found them sooner. I  wish a lot of wishes.

Liberty was a brilliant girl. I can speculate that perhaps she knew that they were in serious trouble and that they weren’t going to be able to get out of it.  I can speculate that she sensed this and she did what she could to help us find the monster that took them from us.

To quote Sgt. Slocum of the Indiana State Police, “Libby is a hero,”

I am so angry that this has happened.  These girls should have been free to explore and to go on an adventure without the fear of a monster lurking in the brush. Just like I did when I was a girl. I would roam the countryside from sun up to sundown, without a care in the world.

All they wanted to do was go hiking.

I am confident that the person who is responsible for this will be found.I have total faith in all of the law enforcement agencies who are investigating their homicide.  I have no doubt, this monster will be found.

God will not give our girls back to us but he will deliver the person who is responsible for taking them from us. We will find this person. We will have our justice for Libby and Abby.

This morning, Dingo Lu and I went on our morning hike. It was the first morning hike we’ve been able to go on in a few weeks. Work, responsibilities and lack of ambition have been my excuses. It would have been a shame to waste the final day of unseasonably warm weather we’ve had.

As I made my way down our familiar path, I couldn’t help but think about Liberty and Abigail. It was hard not to. With the exception of the warm temperature, it was a typical gray sky, winter morning.

Lu and I sat on a small footbridge that covers a small creek and enjoyed the view and the sound of the water passing below us. I grieved for these girls and their families.  I prayed for them. I prayed for the capture of the man responsible for harming them.

I am an advocate for the outdoors.  I encourage women to get active and to get outside. No fear. Just do it. Get outside. I write blog posts and reviews for trail systems and parks for other organizations. Being an introvert, a lot of my favorite places are fairly remote.  It angers and frustrates me to think about how women and girls have to be so careful as we go about our day to day lives.

Guilty of just trying to enjoy life.

I stop and think, maybe I shouldn’t do that anymore?

Maybe I should issue more warnings about being safe.

I don’t know that I would change any of my practices moving forward. I still encourage women and girls to get outside and enjoy our Earth. I think that females are hardwired to be hyper aware and vigilant for their own safety, even if it’s subconsciously. It’s not paranoia, it’s survival.

I just exhaled a huge sigh.

I am angry. I am tired.I am hurt. I am terrified. I am horrified.

Most of all, I am angry…

Please say a prayer for the people of Delphi, Indiana. Say a prayer for the dispatchers, the police officers, the firemen, the paramedics, the countless volunteers and the families.

Pray that they can find peace..

When In Doubt Take A Walk

Along with a lot of other people, I felt the stress and tension of this past week. I am sure that it probably won’t be any better this week either. I am a mix bag of emotions. I’m mostly disheartened at the loss of friends and family. I don’t get it, but at this point I’m just shrugging my shoulders. I’ll give it all some time and maybe if I feel brave, I’ll pick up the phone and call them.

I opted to skip the gym this past week and took some long walks instead. I find that fresh air and exercise can do a lot for your troubled mind. At least it is for mine. I was sick for most of October so it has been really therapeutic to be getting out again. 

Dingo Lu was also happy to be able to go hiking and join me on some of my walks near our home. We haven’t been able to venture too far for what feels like a long time. 

I love Autumn and thankfully we still have a lot of color to enjoy. The weather has actually been perfect. We are having a real Autumn and are making that smooth transition into winter. 

I’ve mentioned in past entries that we are  blessed with two really nice river walks that follow the St. Joseph River and of course I visited the Spicer Lake Nature Preserve.

 Between the air, the colors and the exercise I feel less tense and upset than I had. I snapped some photo’s along the way. Below are a few of my favorites. 

I hope that everyone had a wonderful week!! 

Squirrel! This guy was disappointed that I didn’t have any granola.

Roses still in bloom at Kate’s Garden

Fisherman on the St. Joseph River

View along the riverwalk on the St. Joseph River

Dingo Lu looking for frogs on the pier at Lancaster Lake

I love it when the forest glows.. Spicer Lake Nature Preserve

Jennie Takes A Vacation!

I was able to take a real live vacation this year. I haven’t been able to venture too far from home since July of 2014. After the consolidation of agencies in 2015, we all lost our vacation time for the year but gained it back this year along with our seniority.

I made my way to Virginia and stayed in the area of Front Royal, which is not far from the north entrance to Shenandoah National Park.  I rented a tiny cottage on Carson Mountain appropriately called “The Carson Mountain Cottage” for an entire week.

I stayed near the north district of the park but ended up making the drive every day to the central district. It was around 40 miles one way to the trail heads that I chose. It was a long drive at 35mph, but the Sky Line Drive and my numerous black bear sightings helped to make up for it.

I had a great trip. I feel a lot better mentally, than I have in a really long time.

I am going to write more as  I am getting back into the blogging groove.  I attached a gallery of photographs from the trip to Shenandoah National Park.

Proof Of Life

I’m still alive..

I haven’t really been in the mood to talk lately. When the voice in my head that’s responsible for telling stories or over sharing things about my life goes dark, I’m left with nothing.

The “happenings” in our country have caused me to become quiet and withdrawal. I’m hurt and angry at the ignorance of not only our nation but that of people who know me personally. I’ve had enough of the mud slinging, the blame, the lies and politicians.

At this point, I’m too burned out to even talk about it here or otherwise. I just feel overwhelmingly sad that this is what we have come to as people. Sad that people can’t tell when they’re being deceived. Just sad..

I set out on the road and traveled to Virginia for a week. I stayed in a tiny cottage near Shenandoah National Park. It was amazing.  I really enjoyed my time in the park. I saw five black bears in one day. The views were breathtaking.

I’ve been home for  less than three days. I was laying in bed for less than ten minutes before the anxiety came creeping back in. Overwhelming and sometimes crippling anxiety over everything. It’s hard to explain.

I stood on the summit of a mountain and looked down over the Shenandoah Valley. For a few moments, I had forgotten about everything that was happening and I thought about how great the view was and how the air smelled and how wonderful it was to be standing on top of the world. What a feeling.

And then it was gone.

So here I am. Still alive. I just have nothing to say..

Dominic’s First Camping Trip- Adventure And Down Syndrome

Dominic just had a birthday on June 10 where he received some new gear for camping and hiking.  I wrote about that at “Happy Birthday! Dominic Adam Turns Eleven!”  The temperature had cooled off and I was finally able to take him camping for two days.

Dom and I headed to Pokagon State Park to enjoy some time camping and hiking. Dom had never been on an overnight camping trip before. He was really excited about spending the night in our tent and getting to use his brand new sleeping bag.

I have been taking Dom hiking since before he could walk. I had a papoose style carrier that I was able to carry him around with. When he got a little bigger, we also had a all terrain Radio Flyer wagon,  with chunky tires,  that I could pull him around in. It wasn’t nearly as great as being able to carry him in a papoose, but as he got heavier it was harder for me to lug him around.

Dom started walking efficiently a little later than his peers. People with Down Syndrome can have some musculoskeletal issues that need to be managed. For about three years he also wore small braces in his shoes that were supposed to correct the way that his feet pronated when he walked and provide support for his ankles. The ligaments in his ankles are very loose, a common trait in people with Down Syndrome, and he pronates inward and practically walked on his ankles.   We eventually decided that they were never going to do what they were supposed to do and switched him to inserts for his shoes instead.

Eventually, Dom was off and running just like any other child. He was able to hike short distances just like any other child. He would go until he got tired and then I would have to carry him or allow him to ride in the wagon.

People with Down Syndrome also deal with other issues such as  hypotonia (low muscle tone). There are things that “normal people” do with ease that take twice the effort with someone with Down Syndrome.  While I don’t allow him to be a lazy child, I try not to push him too hard.

Dom can usually go about five miles before he starts to get tired. Or bored. Or both. I try to keep him interested in what we are doing by getting him involved and pointing out the various things that we see around us. Generally, he gets very engaged.

We have been known to get pretty lucky with wildlife. On our first hike, we came across a female Painted Turtle that was laying eggs. We observed her briefly and then moved along. We also saw a white tail deer, a juvenile rabbit and later in the evening, we dealt with a nuisance raccoon that we decided to name “Bandit”. Bandit stole some of our stuff, hence the name.

Dominic was expected to assist me in setting up the tent. Then he helped me unload all of our gear from the car and supervised me as I organized our camp. He was eager to help and learn what to do. He takes a lot of pride in the fact that he is capable of doing these things.

I truly believe that the fact I have not allowed myself or others to treat him as though he has a disability has actually worked in his favor. That’s probably an obvious assumption but he has come a long way and has done a lot of work to get to where he’s at. I believe that over-assisting him will be a disservice.

He’s a kid so we treat him like a kid.

After we set up our camp and got everything squared away, we decided to go and complete a quick hike before dinner. My favorite trail in the park is trail #7 aka “Bluebird Hills”. You have to walk about a half mile to the trail head.  It’s a beautiful 1.8 mile loop that leads you along a wooded path to an open and rolling meadow and past the  wetland restoration. It’s so pretty.  When I visited this trail this past May, it was like stepping into a painting with the Dogwoods in bloom.

We had a great time.

We made hot dogs and fried cinnamon apples for dinner. Of course we gorged on Doritos and Root beer too. Then we just sat around and enjoyed our time. Later in the evening, the same raccoon that I dealt with during my last camping trip, arrived to scope out our goodies.

I named that raccoon “Bandit”.  Bandit has no fear of humans. At all. As I was yelling at him/her to go away, he/she calmly continued to walk up to me like a dog. I believe in keeping the wildlife wild. I attempted to redirect Bandit back into the woods by being a loud, belligerent, throwing things etc.

Bandit looked at me like “Jesus lady, what’s your problem?”

Later, after I went to bed, Bandit returned. I put our food in the car so there was no danger of it being eaten or dragged off. I left my cookware out though.  Bandit decided to steal my coffee cup and the lid to the little kettle I use to boil the water for my coffee. I found them both about 15-20 feet in the woods at the base of a tree.

I thought that was hilarious. I think it blew Dominic’s mind. He didn’t know what to think when I told him that the raccoon had taken our dishes and left them in the woods. I explained to him that was why I put our food away so the animals couldn’t get to it.

In the morning we made bacon, eggs and toast over the camp fire. Dom asked if we could visit the playground for a little while before we went hiking, so we did. We played on the playground for a little while and then played catch for a little while.

Unfortunately, bad weather was moving into our area and it forced me to cut the trip short. The weather reports out of Chicago and the surrounding area were indicating that the storms that were passing through were serious and I didn’t want to risk anything.  We had to head home.

Even though our trip was cut short, we still had a really great time. I was concerned at first at how he would do but I was reassured through experience that he would be just fine. I’ve found through the years that sometimes I have to really be careful in how I judge Dominic’s abilities. I am guilty of not giving him enough credit and I think that can rob him of some opportunities.

I have to at least give him a chance to do things. A lesson I remind myself of over and over. Part of that is just me being the protective mama bear. With that said, I am very realistic about what I should or can expect.

I at least have to let him try.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday! Dominic Adam Turns 11

I now have an 11 year old.

I remember thinking last year, “Wow, I have a 10 year old,”  Somehow, this is equally as mind blowing. My little kiddo is not so little anymore. He’s growing up.

My son, Dominic Adam, turned 11 years old on June 10th. We celebrated the previous Sunday with a small gathering of family and friends at our house.  We had a really good time.

In addition to toys and clothes and other gifts, Dom received a brand new sleeping bag and his very own dome tent to use when we go camping. It’s currently still set up in the back yard.  He’s having a lot of fun with it.

The next day, Dom and I went on a day-hike at the Spicer Lake Nature Preserve. This is our favorite local hang out.   The highlight of the trip was the Painted Turtle that we met in the parking lot. Later, we came across a nesting site where several of the hatched eggs were still there.

We had a really good time wandering around the park.  It’s the perfect size for Dom as it only has approximately 4 miles of trails. We can hike the whole park and it doesn’t usually wear him out.

I am planning an over night camping trip for him on my next days off from work. He says he wants to go and is excited. Hopefully the weather isn’t too hot or stormy. I have a ton of ideas to keep him interested and from getting bored.

So excited.

Decorate Your Own Soul-Living Your Life

Lake Michigan J.Koczan photo 2016

Lake Michigan
J.Koczan photo 2016

 

I’ve been somewhat selfishly enjoying life a bit lately. It’s interesting how I can consider doing things for myself to be selfish, but I can be my own monster. I feel guilty for it sometimes.   The truth is, I’m at that point where I need to take care of myself or I can’t effectively take care of anyone else.

I realized that I’ve spent too much time waiting for other people and that came to a stop. Seriously, if I waited for someone else to go out and do things, I would never leave the house.  What a boring life that is. I’ve sat on the sidelines of life long enough.

Is it strange for a woman to go off on her own? It shouldn’t be. I’ve gotten some strange feedback from people who seem amazed that a woman can wander off and go camping, hiking, kayaking or just travel all on her own.

Since the beginning of May, I’ve gone hiking so many times I can’t even remember. I’ve gone on actual camping trips twice. I kayaked, camped and hiked on Memorial Day Weekend. I drove far enough away from home that I wouldn’t run into anyone who knew me.

I posted numerous photographs from the places I’ve been on my Facebook.  I even created separate album for the various parks and nature preserves I visited.  I wanted to give organized  examples of these places to my friends so that they can get an idea of what it is like in order to plan their own trips. I consider myself a test subject in a lot of ways.

The question that I keep hearing over and over is “You went by yourself?”

Yes.  The reaction I usually  get are disbelief and amazement. Almost like I did a really cool magic trick and they can’t believe it. I honestly don’t know if I should be insulted or not. I’m not exactly a wilting flower.  Or dainty.

When I disappeared over Memorial Day Weekend, I even left my dogs at home. I didn’t want to take care of them with the heat that was expected or while I was out on the river. I hiked and kayaked and didn’t worry about anyone but myself.  It was amazing.

I obtained my own firewood. I can build a fire like nobody’s business. I can also set up my own tent and make my own meals. I know how to read a map. I can pump my own gas and pay for it.  I’m so damned capable of these things.  I don’t need anyone else’s help for the things that I want to go and do.

I was shuttled to the spot on the river where I wanted to start  my trip. I set off on my own and even rescued a drunk who rolled their kayak. You shouldn’t fear drowning in two feet of water. Stand up. I glided along and enjoyed the fresh air and the sunshine. For a moment, I forgot all about the problems that waited for me at home.

One of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned in life over the past few years is that you need to get out and do things even if it means that you travel alone. Otherwise, you will miss out on a lot of life.  Don’t wait for anyone or anything. Just go.

“Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.”   There’s much debate on who actually made that statement, but I repeat it to myself a lot.

I am capable and so are you.

There should be no stigma attached to a woman doing for herself, no matter what it is. You certainly shouldn’t limit yourself based on that attitude.  Sure it can feel weird, different or even scary at first, but I assure you that you will have no regrets.

 

Camping On Friday the Thirteenth- Pokagon State Park

How did this girl celebrate Friday the 13th? I went camping in a fairly isolated section of the campground at Pokagon State Park. Pokagon State Park is located in north eastern Indiana and is approximately one hour from where I live.

The park was originally called Lake James State Park, but was changed to Pokagon State Park  to  honor the state and regions Native American heritage. Leopold and Simon Pokagon were father and son and the last two notable leaders of the Potawatomi.   Please click here to learn more about the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi.

Also noteworthy, is that Pokagon State Park was home to the Civilian Conservation Corps , Troop #556,  from 1934-1942. The CCC was created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to provide employment for unmarried boys and men 18-23 (later 17-28) as a relief effort during the Great Depression.

While the CCC camp is long gone, you can still see evidence of their work in the park through the stone and log structures and also in the pines and lilac trees that still thrive here.  While on one of my hike’s, I came across one of the old stone dams. You will see a photograph of the stone dam in my photo gallery.

I wanted to mention that the staff I talked to were so nice and really helpful. Since I hadn’t visited this park before, I had a lot of questions and everyone was happy to assist me.  They also have a really nice camp store with pretty much everything that you would ever need, including bundles of fire wood. Too bad I brought my own, there’s was cheaper.

I arrived in early afternoon on Friday the 13th. I reserved my campsite in campground #2 site 247. This site is in a small cul-de-sac and is fairly isolated from the rest of the campground. On this day, it was myself and one other camper who was a few sites over. Otherwise, there weren’t a lot of people around.  I was avoiding other people at all costs as I was having an “introverted episode”.

In all seriousness, I wanted to mention that there are no bad campsites in this campground. They are all great. They are incredibly spacious and there is enough room between you and your neighbor to allow you to have some privacy.  I was overjoyed.

The first adventure that I had was when I was setting up my tent, I set it up on a nest of what I am pretty sure were fleas. Tiny and jumpy. So, I shook off and moved a few feet. I set my tent up and sprayed it with Permethrin to keep the jumpies and the crawlies away.  I didn’t have an issue after that. I am pretty sure I was standing on a nest.

This was the first time I had set up my brand new tent. In another blog entry, I wrote about ordering a Kelty Trail Ridge 3 tent and that it was a replacement for another tent that I no longer owned. That entry was called Planning and Deep thoughts-Replacing What Was Lost.  This camping trip was its maiden voyage.  This tent is great. Kelty products are quality and I honestly can’t say enough that’s positive about this tent.

After I was fairly settled in, I decided to take a drive around and get to know the park. My goal was to spend all day Saturday hiking. Lu and I hopped back in the car and drove through all of the campgrounds, we found the Nature Center, the saddle barn and the giant Toboggan Slide that the park is known to have. We walked around and explored the beach and visited with the horses for a few minutes.

I was so over the moon happy.

As it got darker I returned to my campsite and started a fire. I spent the next few hours sitting in front of the fire. I roasted some hot dogs for Lu and I to enjoy for dinner. I had my iPad with me so I could do some fireside reading. I also enjoyed some music.  Most of all, I just took a breath and relaxed.

As I was sitting enjoying the campsite, I was visited by a raccoon who was watching me through the trees. Later I learned my lesson of not having Lu tethered or leashed. After several warnings because I noticed her watching the woods where the raccoon had been, Lu saw her opportunity to go after the raccoon.

There was a short fight before I got her to come back and somehow, Lu didn’t have a scratch on her. A review of the area where the tussle occurred didn’t show any evidence of the raccoon being hurt either.  Huge miracle because based on the all the noise, I was expecting to take Lu to the emergency vet. 

Follow the rules and keep your dogs on a leash!

I decided to turn in around 11pm. It was starting to sprinkle a bit. I knew that there was rain in the forecast and pretty much didn’t care. I drifted off to sleep while listening to the rain fall outside of my tent. It was amazing.

The temperature dropped about 30 degrees over night. I experienced heavy rain and high winds for awhile. My tent held up like a champ. No leaks.  Bone dry and between Lu and my own body heat and my sleeping bag, we were warm and comfortable. Even though it was cold, it was still wonderful.

We got up, I started another fire and made some breakfast. I enjoyed scrambled eggs and some sausage. I boiled water for coffee and even made some fried apples. It was just wonderful.  Of course I shared some sausage with Lu.  We sat around for awhile and then headed out to hike for the day.

I drove to the parking lot of the Potawatomi Inn, which is located inside of the park, and left my car there for the day. Armed with water and snacks, we headed out to find trail 3. Our destination was Hell’s Point, which is the highest point in Steuben County.

It didn’t take long to reach Hell’s Point.  I have never understood why people give such horrible names to beautiful places. The only thing hellish about Hell’s Point was the climb up the stairs to get there. Or down the stairs, depending on how you come in on trail 3 to get there. It’s just an overlook.

We met two other women at Hell’s Point and had a really nice conversation about my hydration pack. One of the women explained that they both were going to “backpacking boot camp” in Vermont in June. They were looking to buy some gear. I did my civic duty and directed them to REI to look at gear and explained the benefits of being a member.

I also educated them about Lyme Disease and asked them to be vigilant about checking for ticks and suggested that they treat their clothes with Permethrin. They both took notes and one of them was Googling REI and Permethrin. I thought that was great.

Lu and I hiked along trail 3, 9 and then 7. Trail 9 was a lot of fun and loops around the Potawatomi Nature Preserve. The springtime wildflowers were in bloom and the Dogwood’s were all blooming. It was really beautiful.

I got pelted with frozen rain quite a few times. I dressed for the weather, thankfully I had brought a hat, gloves and my wool head scarf that I always just wear around my neck. I love that thing. I decided that it was better to be pelted with frozen rain than unfrozen rain. Ha!

On my way back, I inadvertently took the wrong trail and ended up doing parts of trail 3 twice. After reviewing my map, I finally found my way and started heading out of the woods. I stopped and took a break on a bench that was along the trail. I was taunted by a sign that pointed to trail #7 that was right in front of me.

After a minute or two of debating with myself, I looked at the map to see how long the trail was. It was an easy mile and a half, so I decided to go ahead and go. I was glad that I did.  Trail #7 is also known as Bluebird Hills. Between the Dogwoods in full bloom, the open meadow and the wetland, it was a breath taking sight from on top of the hill. It was like stepping into a painting.

Beautiful.

I completed the trail and headed back to my car. Lu looked wiped out. I was mostly hungry and cold. Yet, really okay with that. We drove back to our campsite to relax for a little while. It was almost 6pm.

I consulted my weather app and saw that the temps were going to continue to drop that night and it was going to rain again. I had to be up very early in the morning so I made the decision to just go ahead and pack up and go home.

Ugh. I didn’t want to leave.

I packed up and pointed my car to the west and went home. Relaxed and pretty happy.  The only thing worse than having to go home after camping out is having to put everything away when you get home.

It was the perfect weekend. I can’t wait to do it again.

Below are some photo’s I took over the weekend. I hope that you will check them out!

 

 

 

Operation Hilli Dig: A Funeral For A Friend

Hilli has been laid to rest.

This past February, I wrote two stories about my red Australian Cattle Dog, Hilli. I wanted to share the stories about my girls, where they came from etc. The first story I wrote about Hilli was about her adoption and adopting a senior dog.  You can read about that story here at Sweet Souls Of An Old Dog: Hilli.

Sadly, the second one that I wrote was only a week later and it was about her death. You can read about that here at Death and Friends; Hilli Has Flown Away.  Hilli had lived with me since October of the previous year. She was a sweet old girl.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I live in the midwest and it gets really cold here in the winter. Even though our winter was fairly mild this year., the ground was frozen in February. This posed a problem with her burial as I do not own large equipment that could dig a hole for me.

With the assistance of my friend, Diana, I was able to place Hilli’s body in a freezer until the ground thawed enough where we could use shovels to dig her grave site. I already knew where I wanted to bury her as far as location, but I still needed to find a spot for her grave.

Diana and I discussed the location and options in addition to how exactly we were planning to smuggle two shovels and a frozen dog into the undisclosed location to bury her.  It ended up not being as hard or awkward as I thought. Illegal? Maybe. I decided to just do it and not ask for permission. If I got caught I would apologize and ask for forgiveness.

After a lot of thought and even mentioning it to a couple of people, I determined the risk of being discovered by the police etc really wasn’t that scary and after I explained the story of Hilli, I would probably be met with understanding or at least a blind eye.

Move along, nothing to see here.

I also have the benefit of being known. It’s good to have connections, right? Amiright?  I don’t suggest smuggling your pets onto government owned property to perform a burial of your beloved canine. However, I would totally root for you.

As fate would have it, Diana had a large backpack that Hilli’s body easily fit into.  We decided to drop off our shovels and the backpack containing Hilli’s body near one of the back entrances to the undisclosed location. There’s a gate here but the fence has also fallen down and you could easily step over it. We hid the backpack and the shovels and then drove around the property to the entrance of the undisclosed location.

We hiked about a mile and a half until we selected the perfect spot. The location is up on a hill, just adjacent to the trail. It is between a ring of tall Oak trees and overlooks a wet land area that has a small creek flowing away from it.

We buried Hilli in the center of the ring of trees. In the spring, she will be covered in trillium’s. It was so peaceful.  It wasn’t weird or gross. She was perfectly preserved and looked like she had simply curled up and fell asleep. She was wrapped in her blanket and placed into the grave. We used the rocks that we dug up as a headstone.

13012797_10208509138193685_1162750747796460330_n

In our usual fashion,  we laughed at the situation. I think Hilli would have wanted that. Hilli tagged along on our winter hikes and she loved the property where we roamed. She would most definitely found the humor in the situation that presented itelself. I also believe that she appreciates what was done for her in the end.  At one point while we were still digging her grave, there was a cow in the distance that had the most eerie and demonic sounding moo, I’ve ever heard.  It was obvious that no one could see us from the road, but we couldn’t help but call out CAR!

We look so normal.

It’s stuff like this that makes me think about friends, life and things that are important. I’m lucky to have been able to have Hilli, even though she was only with me for a short time, but also that I have Diana and that she was more than willing to help me.

Below in the gallery are some shots of the undisclosed location.

 

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Planning and Deep Thoughts-Replacing What Was Lost

The warmer weather is starting to make me itchy to make plans for the upcoming summer.  There are so many things that I want to do. Last year, I didn’t get to travel anyplace spectacular.  Due to the merger that happened at work, we weren’t permitted to use our vacation time until this year. Also, I was dealing with Lyme Disease and probably wouldn’t have been able to do much if I had gone someplace.

I have two weeks of vacation time to burn before the end of the year! Also, I have been feeling a lot better physically over the past few weeks. I am hoping that this means things are looking up. Lyme sucks, I’ll post about that later.

I’ve had to replace some things over the past few years. One of these things being my camping tent. My ex took my tent. I don’t know why. He wasn’t outdoorsy and didn’t care about it when we were together. However, he felt that it was his.  Sadly, he probably ended up giving it to Goodwill.

While I was married, I didn’t get to do a lot of camping anyway. I went on day hikes and when I did travel to go hiking, I went alone and chose to get lodging vs backpacking and staying out on the trail someplace.

It has been a few years since my divorce and my son, Dom, is about to turn eleven. He likes to be outside and even enjoys hiking. He thinks he’s something special when he wears his Camelbak hydration pack. I have been thinking about taking him camping for quite awhile.

I started looking at different options online. It has been a really long time since I have looked at getting new gear or replacing certain things that I used to own. It turns out that the tent that I owned probably wasn’t so great after all and I could do better.

After about three weeks of researching and reading reviews, I decided to get a Kelty Trail Ridge 3 dome tent. Kelty is a good brand and this particular tent has really good reviews.  I’m anxiously awaiting for its arrival.

I hate that I do this but, sometimes making a purchase like this makes me think of where I have been or where I am going. Things have gotten a lot better since my divorce. It has been six years this past April 10, that it was final.  Coincidentally, this was the date that I finally ordered the new tent.

Little by little, life has come full circle. I just have to be patient for some things.

While I am waiting for our spiffy new tent to arrive, I have been researching sleeping bags.  I’ve also been going through boxes of things that have been moved probably 4 times in the past 6 years that haven’t been gone through in ages. I found my old griddle and other cookware.  It has been patiently waiting for me.

This is exciting. I’ve traveled all over the place but I haven’t been on a real camping trip in a long time. I am looking forward to it. I will probably take Dom for one or two days at a time to see how it goes. He takes after his mama so I am certain that he will love it.