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Monday, July 7, 2014

Adventures in Nature & Food - Marquette, MI (Part 1)

First off, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!  I hope everyone had a safe and fun weekend.

I'm very sad to read some of the fireworks-related accidents over the weekend, and I can't stress enough that these are not toys.  They deserve caution and respect.  I don't even know why the average consumer is allowed to operate the huge fireworks that are on shelves today.  I remember hearing about injuries even when we could only buy sparklers & snaps!  (those little white twisted things that you throw on the ground, and they make a loud POP).

I spent last week in my hometown, Marquette, MI.  Most of the week was spent in nature and relaxing.  Towards the end of the week friends and family started arriving, which is when I had more beer and less sleep.  It was an amazing week!!

I've made the pictures large in this blog because they are so good, I want to show the great details!

I'll start out with this pic because I love it - 

I'm not going to lie, the drive isn't an easy one - it's 7 hours with no traffic, and minimal bathroom breaks.  I had the thought that I didn't really have to arrive at any particular time, so I put my feet up and kind of took my time.  I stopped at Old Navy (ok, 2 of them), and bummed around the Outlet Stores and West Branch and Birch Run a bit.  I bought a cool new water cup, and my favorite tea that I've been looking for FOREVER!

 I had this plan to stop at ALL of the scenic turnouts.  Guess what?  They're all pretty much the same. Especially in the UP.  A whole lot of views of the bridge!  But I did stop at a few, and this one had a pretty cool trail up to a viewing deck.

On Sunday I was lucky enough to visit with my second family, Samantha, Alex, and my God-son Izaak.  It was Izaak's birthday so after breakfast we got to watch him win his hockey tournament (GO IKE!), then a visit to Sam's mom's house for ice cream and this AMAZING birthday rhubarb cake.  It was so good that Im going to include this not-healthy, not-organic, super yummy rhubarb cake recipe:

Grease a 9x13 baking dish.  Set the oven at 350 degrees.
Spread out 3-4 cups of chopped rhubarb
Pour over it 1 cup sugar
Then 1 3 oz package of strawberry jello
Then 1 package of yellow cake mix
Mix 1 cup water & ¼ butter, melted
Bake for 45 minutes.  Seriously.  That easy.  And it was amazing!

After they headed back to Calumet, the first part of the week was spent letting my brain decompress - I went out to Presque Isle quite a bit, and just walked around town.  I breathed in the air, let my muscles relax, and just did whatever felt natural.  

While out there, I decided to stop on this trail that isn't really marked, but I thought I would try it out. It goes into the middle of the peninsula.  I kept calling it the fairy trail because it had this great canopy of trees that tinted everything green.  The path was covered in moss and baby grass, making it feel like a fantasy land.  I almost expected tinker bell to come out and start chatting.  When I mentioned this to my friend Michelle, she said there is a fairy trail in Ann Arbor where there are fairy houses along the way.  I kind of dig this idea!  There was also a lot of really cool, really old, fallen and decaying trees.

If you have read my blog before, you know of Serene Point.  No, it is not actually called that (maybe I should start a petition!), but it is where I go to reconnect with the earth's energy, the water, and the way things should be in my life.  This spot literally changed my life, and was the birthplace of this blog.  I would go every day and sit and read "Eating Well" or "Organic Gardening" and time stood still.  Or I would close my eyes and feel the warm rock underneath me and hear the splashing of the waves over the rocks on 3 sides of me.  The best part is the solidarity of that spot.  And when I am through, I stand up and look around and realize there are 20-30 people on the rocks above and behind me, and I couldn't hear any of them while sitting at Serene Point!

One of the beautiful sites from Presque Isle

One day after my time on the island I also stopped at the entrance of the park at the bog walk.  Cool little "almost one mile" jaunt around the bog.  Apparently there is sometimes an abundance of birds and wildlife.  That day I saw a momma duck and her ducklings, and a couple of crabby old geese!  I had to take a picture of the iris - how can it just grow out there??  SO COOL!  I love the boardwalk - it is what I really wanted at the cottage on our path out to the sauna.  And the last picture just felt really magical to me (I guess theme of the week?), like I was going under this canopy to a different dimension.

After all that exercise, I set off to find the best food truck in town!  Meet Dia De Los Tacos.  No, they aren't mexican.  I read an article about owner Mike Walker (who I went to school with), and he said "I just really freakin like tacos"!  Would you turn this down?

I also visited with family that I don't get to see very often, and had some great laughs with them.  I also took over the microphone and sang songs until I saw them yawning.   Im so glad I got to hang out with Uncle Bud, Aunt Dodie, my cousin Dave, and Gidget the Midget (a tiny attention-loving dog).  My mom and Uncle Doug were there too!  Unfortunately, I have no pictures of that night, but I think that may have spoiled it anyway.

My very good friend Michelle arrived late Wed night, making it very necessary to go to the Sweetwater Cafe for lunch on Thursday.  Of course we started the day with a Belgian Peach Beer, which was actually very sweet.  And this very tasty tomato & pesto grilled cheese.  Why don't I make these at home??

We then went and walked the break wall - we even went off the "smooth" part and onto the boulders that are technically off limits.  There was a couple of times the Coast Guard put on their sirens (they are located near there), and we were SURE they were coming for us!  We made it about ¾ of the way out, but turned back.  We had gone a really long way, and the rocks seemed to have more slippery spots than the earlier ones.  The second pic is playing with filters. I love this one.  I didn't know it looked so cool until I downloaded onto my computer!

On our way back we stopped to look for a couple of geocaches - this one was our favorite tucked away in the trunk of a tree!  There was also a deer right next to the road.  They are very used to people, and very tame, so this is not all that unusual, but still really neat! 

And this is the end of Part 1!  Check back for party 2!

Peace.  Love.  Serene.