Lake Superior

The shores of Lake Superior. This was taken back in 2004 on a family vacation at Madeline Island.  We stayed for a week on a stretch of a mile long beach.  It was a wonderful relaxing lake retreat without having to travel too far.  When you are land locked living in rural Wisconsin the excitement in seeing Lake Superior is almost that of going to the Ocean without having to travel to one coast or the other.  Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the United States.  When you look across the vast space you can see glimpses of Canada, in the right areas, most other areas you see nothing but an empty horizon.  In Montana, they call it Big Sky.  I am not sure what to call the vast openness of Lake Superior.  Nature is where I feel most at home.  Hearing the waves crash on the beach leaves you with a relaxed worry-free feeling. If you ever get the chance to visit Madeline Island, make the stop.  The State Park on the North end of the Island is a must see!

Lake Superior 2004

Black Hills, South Dakota

Taken in Custer State Park in South Dakota.  Anytime I could see anything other than rolling hills and the occasional bluffs along the rivers, my excitement doubled.  For myself that is what the Black Hills were to me.  It was the closest thing I could get to the mountains without going to the mountains.  This is a beautiful stream/river/crick/creek or whatever you call it in your area.  Quietly flowing through the park unassuming in size, but beautiful and necessary for the plants and wildlife.  Winding through the hills and trees a simple stream brings so much with it. Early morning mist rises off it as a mother and fawn have a morning drink or after a warm day to cool off a bison or big horn sheep.  You will never know what you will find around a stream.  For me it brings serenity, peace, and calmness to a much-needed hectic life.  The sound of a bird chirping, wind rustling in the trees and the light babble of the water is absolute heaven to the soul. 

Custer State Park 2019



Mt. Rushmore

Grand Tetons

This photograph makes me giggle every time I see it.  Let me give you a back story as to why.  In 2012 my family went to a great Dude Ranch for a Vacation.  We all found our own way there and back.  I was with my sister Karen when we flew into Jackson Hole, WY.  My sister wanted to start the trip with the Grand Tetons.  I was 100% in on that.  I had never been to the Tetons and was extremely excited!  We found these amazing tent cabins that we could rent for the night (at the time, extremely cheap). All we needed to do was to pack our sleeping bags.  It was fantastic!!  Our first morning I woke up and checked my iPod, yes, I said iPod, for the time.  It was 7am and did not want to wake my sister, so I let her sleep while I went down to the lake to take photographs.  It was so peaceful, no one was around while I walked around exploring and soaking in the views around me.  The absolute solitude was wonderful after a day of traveling. I decided to go and get us some breakfast before heading back to my sister.  I thought it was odd that no one was around at 7am, but extremely grateful!  I was shocked thinking how is breakfast not open at 8am?  That’s because it was really 6am.   Here I had somehow really gotten my time change mixed up. I tell you I was the butt of my own joke that day! I laughed so hard! No wonder no one was around.  Long story short. Every time I look at this picture, I remember how messed up I had gotten a one-hour time difference so wrong and how much I laughed.  Seriously, still to this day I do not know how I managed such a mess up!! But it is a wonderful memory for me.  When else would I get a chance to see the beautiful lake at sunrise with no one else around but myself? 

Jackson Lake Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming 2012

Cannon Beach

 In 2014 I traveled to Portland, OR to visit friends from college I had not seen in years.  The one thing I absolutely wanted to do on that trip was to go to Cannon Beach and the Film Museum in Astoria. If you have not guessed, I am a huge Goonies fan!! I convinced my friend and her 5 yes, 5 children to come with me.  It was only supposed to be a 2-hour drive that ended up taking over 4 hours.  We came upon a bad accident that had closed the road causing us to backtrack and go the “long way”.  Our short trip to the beach was not exactly short. All we could do was laugh. I am a strong believer that you will live a less enjoyable life without humor. The kids were amazing for such a long delay, and I was able to see more of Oregon than I planned. Arriving at the Cannon Beach was such a treat for this land locked girl! We played in the surf, ran on the beach, got chased by waves and enjoyed the sunshine! It was a wonderful day spent with a dear friend and her children. The vast openness of the beach and the massive size of Haystack Rock makes you realize how small you are in this amazing, beautiful world. 

Haystack Rock, Oregon 2014

Grove of the Patriarchs

In May of 2020 after my flight was cancelled for my aunt’s 90th Birthday I decided to get in my car and head west. Since I was driving, I wanted to make use of having my vehicle with me to take adventures.  One adventure that I cherish was to The Grove of The Patriarchs in Mt. Rainier National Park.  I am not a hiker, so I usually look for something realistic and easy (teehee).  The hike there was wonderful, it was easy and short, just how I like them. The grove is on an island that has protected it from fires and allowed for old-growth trees to survive for some over 1,000 years. You can see Douglas-fir, silver fir, hemlock, and Western red cedar trees some with a diameter of nearly 40ft and more than 300ft tall. I was able to convince my extremely reluctant cousin to join me for the day.  You see, Mechelle does not like to hike. I am so happy she came with and so was she.  It was a day filled with laughter and fun.  She was so patient with me constantly stopping to get a shot here and there.  She also was wonderful to point out some things I had missed.  We made a great team that day!  I also must say, it is nice to have company willing to take their time and take pictures as well.  It is rare for me to get a photograph that isn’t a selfie when I go solo on my adventures.  Seeing the old-growth trees in their giant glory was a sight to soak in.  Standing next to the massive trees made me feel so small and insignificant.  The sights and the sounds of the river and the wind rustling the canopy so high above, left me with feelings of peace and serenity.  I could have stayed there all day to just enjoy. If you have not guessed by now nature does that to me, and I love it for that.  It reminds me that I am just a small part of this giant world we exist in. Because it is an easy hike it is perfect for all ages.  Mark this on your list as a definite stop.  

Grove of the Patriarchs May 2020 Washington State


Glacier National Park is a place I have been so excited to visit.  It was a great trip, a memory I will not soon forget.  The Going-to-the-Sun Road was an adventure for sure.  For someone who is not a fan of heights. (Ha ha ha) That Road is not something you want to take your eyes off, it’s a long way down!!  I took many, many stops along the way to soak up all the beauty in the sights around me and to calm my nerves. (If you cannot laugh at your flaws, life is not as fun!)  The clouds did hinder a full glorious view that Glacier has to offer but, it was beautiful just the same.  It was a situation where the camera did not do it justice.  By the time I got up to the visitor center on top of Logan Pass I was in the clouds.  I did not stay long, the visibility and crowds sent me packing.  I am not a fan of large groups of people, I prefer to be more secluded. Unfortunately, when going to some of the most popular National Parks, people are something that are hard to avoid. As I drove down Logan Pass toward St. Mary Lake the clouds parted, and the sun made a joyous appearance.  All in All, it was a wonderful day filled with beautiful sights.  I hope to plan another trip later this year! 

Glacier National Park 2020