Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Randomness

I’m trying to finish up working on the photos I took on the camping trip that is now weeks in the past.

Under the Cut River bridge.

I feel like I shouldn’t take any new photos until I get these processed and put away.

It’s for sale, you could own this gem.

But of course there’s always something that needs photographing around here.

Cool car.

So it’s hard as time goes on to go back to the images I took so long ago.

Obviously a math teacher is selling firewood.

But I try to stay disciplined. Kind of anyway.

After 7 hours of torrential rain the only part of my tent site that was dry was right where I had been sleeping.

And looking at these images, these random images not related to any particular story, makes me smile.

Fire dancing, moments before the rains came.

So I guess it’s OK that I’m still working on them after all. Hope at least one of them made you smile too!

Iris at the Iroquis Point Lighthouse. I thought this post needed something pretty.


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Time warp

Sometimes I’ll read a blog post I wrote and then note at the bottom the links to similar posts, and I’ll click on one and read the post and then pick another link at the bottom and click on that and read and so on and so on…and time moves on and the next thing you know I’ve spent an hour or more back in time remembering.

Whitefish Bay

Such a thing happened to me today, and eventually I wound up in 2014 celebrating my 1500th blog post. I read that relatively short entry and thought how much life has changed from 2014, but how much my life is the same today too.

I enjoy blogging because it connects me to all of you, plus I have an excuse to take pictures. But I also like that it’s a history of my life. I’ve often wondered when we did something, or what happened during a particular trip, and all I have to do is go check the blog.

The mouth of the Hurricane River

I guess it’s something of a public diary.

Anyway, today I checked to see how many blog posts I’ve written, but I can’t find that statistic. Seems there’s much more about how many people are clicking on your blog than anything about what you’ve done. I’m sure it’s in there somewhere. But if I had 1500 posts in 2014 I imagine the number is double that now.

On the shores of Sable Lake

Regardless…it sure was fun bopping around in the past. You should try it on your own blogs. I think you’ll end up smiling at the memories you have stored there.

As I headed home she wished me safe travels

PS: The images here are random things I shot on my camping trip. They didn’t make it into a blog post, but I thought they deserved to be seen.


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So…..lighthouses

I’m starting to feel repetitive here. All three of these lighthouses have appeared in this blog in years past. Still, lighthouses are irresistible, so maybe you won’t mind seeing them again. I didn’t mind visiting them again myself.

I was exploring the northern edge of the Upper Peninsualia, when I noticed a sign for Point Iroquois Light, and I remembered visiting it a few years ago.

A beautiful building.

During all the years I lived in the UP I never knew about this lighthouse. But it’s a special one, on a beautiful piece of land with a great view of Canada.

Canadian windmills across the way.

When we were here before it was open and we climbed the tower. This year covid has it closed, but I still enjoyed walking around the grounds. I was taking a picture of the lilac bushes along the front of the lighthouse when I realized there were butterflies everywhere.

Do you see them in this image?

So now you’ll have to indulge me while I show you some of those.

Hold still for a moment!

I spent a long time circling this lilac bush, trying to get a good shot of both types of butterflies.

I love the colors on the underside of this guy’s wings.

They didn’t stay still long, especially, it seemed, never stopping long in the sunlight.

Did you know the body of the monarch is spotted? I didn’t until just a couple weeks ago!

But it was so much fun to try. And in the end I got a few shots that I liked.

What a spectacularly beautiful day.

During this trip I camped at two locations, the first on the Straights, and the second at the mouth of the Hurricane River, where it empties into Lake Superior.

My site tucked into the trees. This was a beautiful, but rustic, campground.

This campground has a lighthouse too. You walk a mile and a half up a beautiful, wide, mostly level path above the shore of Lake Superior, out to the point where the lighthouse sits.

It’s a really pretty walk, though 1.5 miles starts to feel like a long way if you’re carrying all your photography gear.

My goal, when I made the reservation for this campground, was to do some night photography with the lighthouse in the foreground. It was a good plan.

Some of the coast here is rocky. All of it is beautiful.

I walked out there late in the afternoon one day. No one was out there, covid had this lighthouse closed too, so no park rangers were around.

Almost there!

No tourists either as the wind was picking up and another storm was on the way.

Au Sable Light Station, a beautiful compound.

It was kind of nice to have the place to myself.

I loved the colors of the brown ferns in the late afternoon light, with the red brick outbuilding.

On the other hand, it was still a couple of hours until the sun set, and a few more hours after that until it got really dark.

And I loved these sweet daisys with this building down near the water.

I started to feel uncomfortable with the thought of walking back down the path in the dark by myself. Plus there were no open restrooms out there.

The weather was changing.

So I reluctantly gave up on the idea of staying there until the stars came out. But I haven’t given it up totally. I plan to go back but bring someone with me so I’m not out there all alone!

The view from up there is stunning!

In the end it was good I headed back when I did. That evening the thunder began far off and quickly advanced until it was overhead. We ended up having 7 hours of pouring rain, lightening and thunder. I listened to it all from my cozy tent, glad I wasn’t running back through the dark and rain from the point!

As I listened to the pouring rain that night I thought about this open window in the tower. Bet no one closed it before the storm.

My last lighthouse is out at Whitefish Point. It’s a totally different sort of lighthouse from the other two.

This is the image everyone gets from the parking lot. It was starting to rain when I grabbed it.

And the beach there is totally different too.

Filled with huge fallen trees turned driftwood, tossed about by Lake Superior, it’s certainly not a swimmer’s paradise.

I had grand plans of trying to get the Milky Way behind the lighthouse. Or at least some stars.

Would have been cool with the Milky Way behind it.

It was sunny and 85 degrees when I left to drive up to Whitefish Point. When I arrived it was 58, windy and thunder was just off to the west. Another plan foiled.

And then the storm arrived.

So there you have it. Three lighthouses along the south shore of Lake Superior. Worth the trip even if I didn’t capture what I set out to get. I guess that’s the fun (and frustration) of photography.

There’s always next year. You won’t mind seeing them again, right?

It’s all about the light. And avoiding the rain.


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Epic camping experience

Time is sliding by and I haven’t shared my wonderful camping experience from last week. And it would be a shame if you missed that because it was amazing and it definitely made me smile.

We were in sites C3 and C4.

You know that usually I camp alone with my Katie-girl, but this time Katie stayed home and I met a couple of friends at a campground on the Platt River, within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. The three of us had kayaked this river last fall, and checked the campground out back then.

The trail from the parking lot to our sites.

And one of my friends knew someone who told us about the walk-in sites which are even more beautiful because you’re not near anyone else. No one’s generator will be running all night. No listening to people partying around the campfire in the next site, because there’s so much space between them.

My campsite.

Plus, if you have to carry everything to your site you’re not apt to be partying late into the night! Trust me on this.

Our other site.

Our first afternoon one friend and I got tents set up on our two sites. We were at the end of the trail so no one else would be walking by. As it turns out, most of the time no one else was out there at all.

It was a short hike over the dunes to the lake.

Once we were set up we walked the .8 mile through some low sand dunes to the beach on Lake Michigan. It was a dark and pretty cold afternoon, but it was good to walk after our long drive to the campground. And you can’t beat the view once we got out to the shore!

A chilly afternoon for beach walking.

The next day we decided to take a hike on trails within the park, looking for three small lakes. We drove around on some narrow dirt roads and accidently ended up back at the beach, just further down from where we walked the day before. It was beautiful, but still kind of stormy with a threat of rain.

It was a dark and stormy morning.

Eventually we found the trailhead.

This looks inviting.

The woods were beautiful, filled with wildflowers. My friend had an app on her phone that told us what they were.

This was really tiny, but the bright color made us notice it all over the forest floor.

Of course I don’t remember any of it, except for this lady slipper.

This ladyslipper was right next to the trail, just begging to be noticed.

We found the first lake just as it began to sprinkle. But we didn’t let a little rain stop us.

Bass Lake, the smallest of the three lakes we walked around.

We continued on around the first lake; the trail led right through a deep, wet boggy place, with no option except to just get our feet soaking wet. We were compensated for that by seeing a beautiful, lush fern right there.

Worth the muddy feet.

We eventually found all three lakes as the rain continued. Of course I had left my raincoat in the car where it could stay nice and dry.

A little rain never hurt anything.

Ah well, we enjoyed seeing the woods and the flowers, and the lakes, and when we got back to our campsite our other camping friend was arriving!

Nature’s double yellow line.

We had a lovely dinner….

Yummy dinner coming up!

…and an even lovelier campfire where we heard coyotes loudly discussing something important….

Did you hear something?

….and went to bed. During the night foxes yipped and owls hooted and we knew we were truly in the woods!

The next day we kayaked down the river again. We were looking forward to a nice easy paddle, but the wind picked up, and we had to work really hard across one long lake, and every time the river turned to the west into the wind.

Paddle harder!

By the time we got to the mouth of the river we were definitely tired!

A pretty amazing day.

But not too tired to hike the Empire Bluff trail! The trail goes up and down through some beautiful woods.

Heading to the bluff.

And the first view you get of the shoreline is stunning.

A first peek through the trees.

But it was soooo windy by then it was hard to stand up on the bluffs and look at the view for long, so we drove down to another beach to watch a guy who was windsurfing.

Not easy to do!

And then we went to a diner and had a burger! It was my first restaurant experience since February of 2020. It was amazing.

Our last night at camp was windy with a big thunderstorm blowing over. Lightening and thunder and wind, the perfect ending to a perfect three days in norther Michigan!

Tucked in safe and dry.

We packed up in the morning, walking everything back down the long trail to the car.

Packing up always takes longer than setting up.

It took a bit of work, but it was definitely worth it to camp back in the woods away from everyone. We had so much fun, it was peaceful and beautiful and I’d do it again next week if I could.

One of many trips to the car.

Oh wait. Next week I’ll be camping in the Upper Peninsula. Not at a walk-in site, but it will be beautiful in a different sort of way.

Home sweet home.

Stay tuned.


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Joyous Lilacs

I’ve seen pictures of the Pt. Betsie lighthouse in lilac season. I’ve been covetous of those images because I’ve never seen it myself, never timed a visit to the lighthouse, one of my favorite places in this state, at exactly the right time.

I always get a happy feeling, deep down inside, at the first sight of the Pt. Betsie beach.

Yesterday, on my way home from a 3 night camping trip near the Sleeping Bear Dunes, I finally got to check that as done.

I mean…how can it get better?

The lilacs were at their peak, the sky was cerulean blue with a few wispy white clouds, we were the only ones there.

Perfection.

The view the other way was pretty striking too.

I have many reason to love this lighthouse, one being it’s where my parents visited during their honeymoon in 1953, and where they went for their 50th wedding anniversary a year before they died.

Gentle waves lapped at the base of the lighthouse.

I like to sit and think about them there, and I hope they were close when I squealed at my first sight of the purple blooms against the white of the lighthouse.

The iconic image. Even though I have hundreds of these I can’t resist this angle every single time I visit.

I imagine they were, possibly, even squealing along.


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It’s gonna be a long list

About this time a couple of years ago I decided to put together a list of interesting, stupendous and fun stuff to do in the coming year. You know, sort of like resolutions, but way better.

I got some of the things on the list done in 2019, but had to carry a few of them over onto the 2020 list. The title of that post was “2020 sounds so cool.” Little did we know what 2020 would really turn out to be.

So I’m looking at my 2020 list of fun stuff and realizing that today is the last day of the year and the odds of completing any more of these fun things before the year expires is remote. Ok, impossible. But I think I should give myself a pass and use the virus as an excuse. I’ll just move some of these things to my “Fun and interesting and stupendous things to do in 2021” list, which I will put together in a future post.

Meanwhile, here’s what I did do, before chaos reigned in all our lives.

**Improve my night photography skills** Well, I did get to go to northern Michigan several times this past summer and fall, and each time I did some night sky photography. I even got some decent shots of the Neowise comet! So though there is still much room for improvement I think I made progress on this one. And because I love it so much night photography is probably going to get a place on my 2021 list.

**Spend a week in the Southwest.** We got out to Arizona in February, before we realized what was going on with the virus. It was a wonderful trip, we got to visit with a friend, and also see some amazing sights, like Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon and even more wonderful, a slot canyon! I’m so glad we went, I hope we get back out there again someday.

**Walk in at least 3 5K races.** Well. I did one race, virtually, with a friend from California. It was fun, and preparing to keep up with her (she’s a really fast walker!) got me out and walking for several weeks prior. I could have done more. Should have probably, but they’re not cheap and I sort of felt like I could go do a 5K without paying someone for the honor. But did I? No, I did not. So maybe a few 5K races will be in my future.

**Purchase a set of extension tubes for the camera and explore macro photography.** I did get a set of tubes, and I’ve tried them a couple times, neither time with success. I can’t figure out the focus, seems to be a theme in my photography lately, and I get frustrated and stop. I need to just take the camera with the tubes out into my own back yard and figure it out. How hard can it be, right?

**Take Katie camping at least twice this summer.** Well. I went camping several times but only took her along with me once to our local state park, and that was when summer was just about over. She had a good time, but doesn’t seem as enthusiastic about it as she used to be. We also camped in the back yard a few times over the summer. Each night she wanted to go back inside around 3 a.m. so I’d take her in and then head back out to finish my own sleep under the stars. When I really think about it, she probably just had to go to the bathroom and she’d most likely have gone back to bed in the tent if I’d taken her back, but to be honest, I sort of liked being able to sleep in out there and not get up at 5:30 to make her breakfast. Win/win, right?

**Meet up with other sheltie moms for doggie adventures.** Katie and I were lucky enough this year to meet up with one sheltie mom and her girl Abby this past fall. We social distanced and met outside so it all worked out. It was so nice to see them on a beautiful day down in Ann Arbor. Hopefully there will be more of that in 2021.

So…what didn’t I get done?

My camping trip to the Upper Peninsula got cancelled, and I never rode my bike once, not even in my driveway. That’s two years in a row with no bike riding. Maybe I shouldn’t even add bike riding on local trails to my 2021 list. I never made it to Alabama, haven’t seen my family down there in over two years, so that’s got to be on the top of the list, and I didn’t make it to Florida to see the sheltie boys, and here they are already over a year old!

I never took a drawing class, but I did morph my watercolor painting into a continuous project, sending smiles out almost every week since March. I’ll post more about what that’s turned into another time. And I hardly made a vegan meal, certainly not one a week like I had planned. I’m trying to go to the grocery store much less frequently and I run out of fresh stuff really fast. That’s my excuse, though it might not be the only reason. I’ll have to debate with myself over this one.

What will be on the list of fun, stupendous and interesting things to do in 2021? I don’t know yet. I might be cautious, given the virus hasn’t been stalled yet, or I might go all out.

You’ll have to wait for another post to find out.


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Random thoughts from the yard

Covid has made me random in many ways. Random meals put together from whatever is here rather then running to the store to pick up a missing item. Random camping trips to get away while remaining isolated. Random walks through the yard instead of parks to avoid running into other people.

The sugar water is getting a little low, lady!

That’s not all bad, you understand. Some things we’ve learned to do during this strange time would benefit us to continue once the world returns to normal. If that ever happens.

Things like eating at home together instead of catching a meal on the fly. Doing with what’s in the pantry and not wasting gas and engery rushing to the store every day. Talking to neighbors on walks through the neighborhood instead of waving at them from your car as you drive somewhere else.

Three stages of bloom.

Recognizing your home is not such a bad place to be, even while yearning for exploration and adventure.

I was weeding when I noticed a large monarch butterfly hovering around a hydranga tree filled with beautiful white blossoms. Such a pretty image I went inside and got the camera.

Pink zinnia impersonating purple coneflowers.

Of course he (or she) wasn’t anywhere to be found when I got back outside. But lots of other things were.

The images in this post were from that brief weeding interlude. I should be content in my yard, it’s a pretty amazing place.

In the wild part of the yard.

But the road has always, and continues to, call me.

I have a friend in the UP (Upper Peninsulia of Michigan for those of you not from around here) who has a group of women friends that gathers regulary to camp, along the shores of Lake Superior or the banks of a river. They kayak and sit around the fire and talk and I wish I could be there too.

Centering.

I think I need to put together a group like that down here in lower Michigan. A few other women who like to camp and would like to camp together somewhere once in awhile.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my camping solitude too, and Katie and I love to spend that time together. But sometimes it would be nice to have a group of people who would like to explore together.

The light bounces.

So who’s in? Could we manage to socially distance while camping? Dogs or no dogs, tents or RVs, who’d like to go…and where?

Pink and green coexisting.

The possibilities are endless.

New possibilities.