A Walk In the Woods- Snowfall Means Snowshoes

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We had a significant amount of snow fall in my area over the past two days. I made a last minute decision to go out to the park for a short hike before work.  I grabbed the bag that contained my snow shoes, loaded Lu in the car and off we went.

It was the first time this year that I was able to hike with my snowshoes. They definitely came in handy as the snow was just about to my knees. Snowshoes really do make a difference when you’re making your way through deep and heavy snow.

I was the first person to trek through the freshly fallen snow in the park. It was still snowing lightly when I arrived, but then the sun came out and the sky was the most beautiful shade of blue that I have seen in awhile.

I almost couldn’t stop staring at it.

Blue skies.. Nothing but blue skies..

Blue skies.. Nothing but blue skies..

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It was so beautiful!

 

I didn’t get to hike for very long before I had to get in the car and head back home. I had to work and the decision to go out to the park was last minute. Even though I didn’t have a lot of time, I still enjoyed it.

As usual. I had the entire place to myself. Lu and I had a really good time.  I took some photographs. I hope you’ll check out the gallery below.  It was a gorgeous morning. The sky was amazing.

 

 

A Walk On the Lake- Lake Michigan In the Winter

One of my favorite songs is performed by Toad the Wet Sprocket. It’s called “Walk On the Ocean”.  It’s an oldie but goodie and I’m sure that you probably know it. If you don’t, click on the link and enjoy.

The lyric that resonates with me the most is:

“Now back at the homestead, where the air makes you choke. People don’t know you and trust is a joke,”

Ah life. Ain’t it grand? Sometimes it’s more grand than other times. Quite often it’s of the sarcastic sort. Between the usual stressors of life and the added stressors of life, I am at a tipping point. I’m not so sure it’s a bad thing anymore though.

Trials are part of life. If you’re unhappy you need a change. If you want change you have to make it. Good bad or indifferent, you’re the only one who can do anything about your situation.

My problem is letting go of attachments and fear. I want to make sure that I am doing the right thing.  It never fails that when I am at my breaking point ( again) that the universe catches wind of it and then whispers into the ears of people and situations around me and it makes a positive change. Usually though, it’s only temporary.  That’s the sad part that I have come to realize.

Holding out hope for anything is just another form of bondage.

Or is that the universe ( or God ) telling me to just be patient and hold on? That’s one way to look at it.  Either way, it’s a beautiful day and I decided not to be a headcase and go for a walk at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at West Beach.

The West Beach location is small. In the summer time it is usually crowded down on the beach, but not so much out on the hiking trails.  Admittedly, the hiking trails around the West Beach location, aren’t a whole lot to shout about.  I enjoy them nonetheless.

I think the best part of exploring the area is climbing to the top of the ominous looking staircase and taking in the views.  If you care to check out the photo gallery, the staircase is pictured in the fourth photograph. It looks challenging to some, but it’s worth the climb.

From the top of the staircase you are above the pines. You have a 360 view of the area. On a clear day you can see the city of Chicago. You can also see this in the gallery on photograph number eight.

I was alone in the park. The final patrons were returning to their vehicles when I arrived. I was lone. This is the way that I prefer it most of the time. I have been hungering for time to myself. This is the best way to get it. I passed by an older gentleman who was walking an Afghan Hound on a leash. I’m sure he thought there was something wrong with me by the way that I was staring. I’d never seen an Afghan Hound in person.

I didn’t have any of my dogs with me.

I started out my hike by walking along the path to the stairs. I made it to the stop and paused for awhile, taking in the views.  The sun was out, the day was clear and you could see Chicago in the distance. It’s approximately 40 miles from where I was standing to the city limits.

I made my way down the back side of the stairs into the dunes. Most of this section of the park is fenced off to keep people from disturbing the dunes. Humans cause a lot of damage in addition to the natural changes that are also occurring. We needs fences and signs to remind us to leave things alone.

I enjoy this section of the stairs going down because you’re above the pines and also at tree level. There is just something about the pines that I like. More than just the smell. They make me happy. They make me feel peaceful.

I eventually landed on the beach.  Lake Michigan is beautiful no matter what season it is. In my opinion though, the best sunsets come in the fall.  In the wintertime, the lake will eventually freeze over in some spots.

If you look at the photographs you will see what are known as “ice shelves”. This is basically the frozen edge around the water.  The waves crash against the store and bit by bit it freezes. If you look at the photographs you will see where the shelf has formed ( in this spot ) approximately 20-30 feet onto the lake.

I went against the warnings and walked out onto the shelf until I was about 6 feet from the edge. I took great care to make sure I didn’t slip and fall and also listened to paid attention to any movement or change that would indicate it wasn’t going to hold my weight. I wasn’t over concerned. It’s been pretty cold lately.

I stood on the edge for quite awhile. Just looking. Thinking. I also managed to take some photographs and make a couple of videos. It held the peace I was looking for and it made me forget what was on my mind when I left my vehicle in the lot.

After I made my way off the ice, I sat down on a small log that was  frozen in place on the edge of the grass and the sand. I sat there for quite awhile just to watch the waves crash into the shelves, and to listen.

On a humorous note, when it was time for me to leave, I walked towards the bath house, which is where I usually exit to go out to the road that leads to the parking lot.  I didn’t realize until I had gone up the steps to the building that the giant garage doors were down and the bars were up. I couldn’t pass through to leave.

Instead of going all the back from the way I came, I decided to take the only other option available.I walked around the stone pillar and went underneath the bath house. Much like structures built along the ocean, the bath house sits up on concrete pillars to protect it from real high tides and or flooding.

That was an adventure.

It was a good day.

It was a good weekend.

I hope that you’ll check out my gallery that’s included in this post in addition to the short video below.  This video is the first one that I have uploaded to YouTube in almost 7 years! It’s only 17 seconds long. Long enough for you to get the gist of what Lake Michigan is like at this time of year on a calm day.

Photo gallery..

 

Me Time: Getting Outside

Spicer Lake Nature Preserve

Spicer Lake Nature Preserve

I have been working a lot for the past few months. Enough to make me crazy and second guess what it is that I am doing with my life at times. My job can be very stressful and I depend on physical activity like hiking and working out to work through the stress.

I am also an introvert.

The Ur ban Dictionary provides a great definition.

Introvert:  Opposite of extrovert. A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.

I’m not shy.  I just need to be alone to recharge. They also nailed the “quiet parks that not many people know about”.  The local park that I visit in search of solitude doesn’t get very many visitors. That’s why I like it so much.

I’ve had a really buy schedule since mid October. I got to spend some time in the woods only one time since then. I also went to the gym maybe two or three times in as many months. I either didn’t have the time to go or I was simply too exhausted.

I made it out to my favorite local hiding spot, the Spicer Lake Nature Preserve.  The preserve is part of the St. Joseph County Parks and is located on the far western part of the county. It sits in the corner of two Indiana counties on the edge of Michigan state.

It was 13 degrees when I started driving to the park. It warmed up to a balmy 18 degrees by the time I arrived. It was sunny though and that helped. It wasn’t so bad. Once I acclimate to the cold weather, I generally only wear a fleece jacket with layers and a hat and gloves.

It was jut a little cold.

It was jut a little cold.

I took one of my dogs, Dingo Lu, with me.  Lu is an Australian Cattle Dog and also my primary hiking partner. She’s quite velcro and usually if I can’t find her, it’s because she’s standing behind me. Keeping me in line.

Dingo Lu has opinions

Dingo Lu has opinions

We did a short hike of only two miles.  I took it slow and tried to enjoy my time. It wasn’t long until my phone started chirping. It never fails that when I don’t want to be bothered that I get a barrage of texts that I actually have to answer. When I’m lonely, nobody calls.

It was more work than it should have been to silence my brain. The fuzzy cotton that clogs your thinking when you’re stressed out really holds on until you force it out. Deep breaths. Pausing to look around. Snapping some photo’s.  It works every time.

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