Hiking

New Orleans, Lessons from the Swamp

New Orleans, Lessons from the Swamp

I'd never been to New Orleans. This classic southern Cajun-vibe city perched on the gulf in a giant swath of wetlands where seawater meets the Mississippi River. I bet you've heard the nickname, The Big Easy, but like most, I didn't know the origin. Historically,...

Fall MTB Frisco, CO

Fall MTB Frisco, CO

Mountain biking is better…when you are actually in the mountains! The biking we do at home in Michigan, at sea level, on dirt trails with no rocks, on gently rolling hills, I pondered. Is that really mountain biking? Of course, the genre encompasses a wide range of...

Wilderness & Winnipeg (Manitoba, CA)

Wilderness & Winnipeg (Manitoba, CA)

Reflecting on a visit to Canada's heartland in the Manitoba province, I am struck by the diversity of experiences: bikes, bison, baseball, and beauty, to name a few. We found adventure in the wilderness and the city of Winnipeg. The vast outdoor spaces were inspiring...

Beachy Backcountry (Sleeping Bear Dunes)

Beachy Backcountry (Sleeping Bear Dunes)

It was the first time in five years that we did not get rained or stormed on, huddled in a tent or hammock! This annual learning-journey tradition continues to churn out memorable moments. Josh and I (Uncle Josh and Aunt Laura) guide our nieces and nephews (ages 7 to...

Liquid Sunshine

Liquid Sunshine

“It rains a little bit every day,” Jen explained as we compared packing lists for a group trip to Hawaii to celebrate belated birthdays. She was right, just not a little bit. It was December 3rd - We arrived on moist Maui with news of a blizzard warning at elevation...

Rope Swing and a Crime Scene

Rope Swing and a Crime Scene

Backpacking the Silver Creek Pathway along the Pine River (Luther, Michigan) We always emphasize the annual niece/nephew backpacking trip is a learning journey. It’s a weekend in Michigan to gain some backcountry and independent skills like setting up a tent or...

New Bern, NC – Coastal Hospitality

New Bern, NC – Coastal Hospitality

Big things come in small-town packages. New Bern, North Carolina is the shiny gem in a small velvet box - open it up and discover the appeal, both on the surface and underneath. The intercoastal and ocean views are the shiny gem exterior, but the friendly locals are...

Poop in a Group (Backpacking the Manistee River Trail)

Poop in a Group (Backpacking the Manistee River Trail)

It was the first time in three years that we did not have severe weather to contend with on the annual nieces and nephews’ backpacking adventure. There were, however, plenty of other happenings that keep the drama and laugh meter high. We added another nephew to the...

The Little Red Riding Hood

The Little Red Riding Hood

Much like the Little Red Riding Hood story, Sedona is a village with beautiful scenery (a red rock riding neighborhood) to explore. However, beauty can also hold danger, a symbolic wolf…the advanced and rocky terrain. Riders will be lulled into gazing at the distinct...

Volcanoes and Vino

Volcanoes and Vino

The #9SuperFriends trip to Chile and Argentina was anything but traditional. We traded seasons: winter for late spring and Thanksgiving dinner and turkey for a gourmet dinner in the heart of Chilean wine country, the Maipo Valley. Piles of beef and fish were the...

7 Soggy Buns

7 Soggy Buns

We billed it as a "learning journey," so the kids would be exposed to backcountry camping, the kind where you hike in your gear and poop in the woods. We chose Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness with beach access to Lake Michigan just north of Ludington. Perhaps the excessive...

Tucson Two-a-Days

Tucson Two-a-Days

We started our trip on a reverse red eye flight, going from east to west from the Great Lakes to the desert. To reverse means to go the opposite way or to flip-flop. We did all of those things this trip to Tucson. We reversed time zones, embraced an opposite climate...

The Noog

The Noog

Christmas on the road usually brings some unique experiences. The sign said Bikers Welcome at Rumors Sports Bar & Grill and was open on Christmas. We were the wrong kind of biker but we went in anyway for a late dinner. As cigarette smoke drifted around in this...

Birthday in Bavaria

Birthday in Bavaria

It was Kim’s 50th birthday. She wanted to go the Alps. A trip was born that brought six friends together for a tour around Munich, revelry at Oktoberfest and epic hikes/bikes in the Bavarian Alps on the German/Austrian border. Looking back, the adventure revolved...

Finding Professor Pokey Peter Patterson on the MRT

Finding Professor Pokey Peter Patterson on the MRT

At the Upper River Road trailhead, the kiosk noted that the Red Bridge was closed to both cars and hikers. We set off hopeful an alternate would be available. A hard-hat clad worker informed us that hikers are not allowed to walk the beams that connected the bridge...

Liver Dance III

Liver Dance III

I returned for the third time to the land of tea, toasties and talent. Everyone’s heard of River Dance but perhaps never tried the Liver Dance Tour in Ireland. When one of my travel mates suggested a trip goal to visit 25 pubs in a week, the tour became aptly named...

Unexpected AZ

Unexpected AZ

The Arizona sun continues to call to me home. The state of my birth will always hold a special place in my heart plus I finally got to share it with the other half! Watson was pleased with both the hot temps in the Sonoran/Phoenix desert and the rocky trails that...

Christmas In The Carolinas

Christmas In The Carolinas

Many of us can relate to Clark Griswold’s tirade in the National Lampoon movie. He turns to his wife with eyes bulging, How can it get any worse? Look around Ellen, we’re on the threshold of hell! Holiday commercialism, family interaction, logistics, shopping and...

Yosemite Luck

Yosemite Luck

It was 5:15 p.m. on a brilliantly hot August day. There was a line of cars waiting to enter one of the U.S’s most visited National Parks. We added two more to the thousands already gaping at giant Sequoias, 1000-foot falls and domed towers of granite. Enter Yosemite...

Hunting Elk

Hunting Elk

There are plenty of campportunities in Michigan for alone-time in the woods. There’s a gem in the heart of the lower-peninsula, called Pigeon River Country, just east of Gaylord. The area is home to an expansive State Forest of 105,000 acres and the Midwest’s only...

A Hike Without Ropes

A Hike Without Ropes

At the close of Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon this September, with tunes and stories still rolling in my head, I keep drifting back to memories of visits to the Emerald Isle. Mweelrea Mountain (Mill-Ra) A Hike Without Ropes (from November, 2011) Before...

Superior Views

Superior Views

The view from the Rock Cut Cabin was pristine – Lake Superior stretched out beyond our sight, golden eagles soared overhead, thimbleberry bushes lined the driveway, a rock-face bordered the fire pit, with two perfectly placed Adirondack lounge chairs, while waves...

World Cup in the Peg

World Cup in the Peg

Friendly is the word that characterizes the people of Winnipeg, this city in the plains of Manitoba. Ever helpful and hospitable, Winnipeggers offered advice, asked about the nature of our visit and apologized profusely, even if a mishap wasn’t their fault. We simply...

Flat Alaska

Flat Alaska

In 2006, I visited Alaska for the second time with fellow biker chic, Theresa. The trip plan included several epic, two-wheeled adventures. Before embarking on a 23-mile Johnson Pass bike ride, with six other exceedingly fit women, it seemed wise to gauge what to...