Michigan Summers, Fireworks, and Fireflies,

Tonight I have the urge to write. I don’t particularly know why but it’s there none-the-less. It’s been an uneventful day and I find myself with some quiet, almost-alone time. The kids are here but somehow peaceful, dinner is cleaned up and… that’s it. Nothing else is happening.

I’m not writing tonight to talk about weight-loss and diets or being fit, even although I think that will end up being a thread in tonights afghan. I didn’t have some amazing week where I lost a bunch of weight or a terrible week where I gained back all my progress. It was average. It was uneventful, mundane even in the weight-loss department. I am where I was the last time I wrote and so tonights update isn’t so much an update as it is just me feeling like writing and actually having the time to do so.

Last week was a blur from start to finish. My sister-in-law and her family were up from Tennessee for the holiday week, which means we were busy. We spent Fourth fo July at my other sister-in-laws house with the whole family plus others. We swam all day, got a little sunburnt, ate hotdogs and brats and watermelon and watched fireworks out the car windows on the way home with exhausted kids struggling to stay awake. The next day we were back out there at the pool, swimming more, eating more, and burning more. Tuesday and Wednesday were chill days because my wife had to work, although Wednesday night we got together with some friends we haven’t seen in forever, mostly due to the pandemic, partly due to us all having numerous children who all have activities so getting together is tough to schedule. Thursday was family picture day, which is always challenging with little ones, but also worth it in the end. Pictures were followed by everyone coming back to our house for pizza and games and ended with two cousins spending the night and the kids all having a blast. Friday I got to golf with my brother-in-law from Tennessee which was loads of fun and hopefully the first time of many. The week concluded with a big family dinner at BlackRock and me consuming way too much steak. (if there is such a thing, as stated in my prior post) Somehow all of the snacking and hot dogs and pizza didn’t lead to me gaining a bunch of weight back. I’m still where I was and am moving forward once again.

This week my wife and my oldest son are going on a backpacking trip to North Manitou Island. It’s an island off the coast of northern lower Michigan, in Lake Michigan. It is part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and is thus protected. It used to be a logging camp that was abandoned in the 50’s and the island is now uninhabited outside of the park ranger who keeps people alive who are hiking on the island. We did a similar hike a few years ago and loved it. You have to take a ferry to get to and from the island and if the weather is bad you just have to stay on the island for another day. There’s also no campfires allowed on the island. You can use camp stoves to heat food/water but no fire pits or open flames allowed. It’s pretty rustic and is a good first true backpacking experience where you really have to pack in everything you need for the time you’ll be on the island and you have to filter your water and go to the bathroom in the woods with a shovel. It’s awesome!

Which has of course lead to me and Allison (wife if you didn’t know her name) to start looking at more, bigger backpacking trips. We really love it and want to start checking hikes off our list. (shared google doc we both add trails and hikes to that we hear about) Obviously the National Parks are all on our list (life bucket list is to get to all of them eventually) but really there are so many other great trails to get to. We want to start working our way through the Appalachian Trail, all 2,190 miles of it. While we’d love to maybe one day do a through hike (whole thing at once) we don’t have 6 months to set aside to do it, so splitting it up into more manageable hikes is where we’ll begin. Same thing with the North Country Trail, (4,600 miles) the Pacific Crest Trail, (2,650 miles) and the Continental Divide Trail. (3,100 miles) Those are the big guys that we are planning to start chopping up so we can do sections at a time. Plus there are thousands of other smaller trails to explore, that we will use as training runs and just weekend getaways.

Sneak peak of future me

Something about getting out there, with your pack on your back and nothing else; it’s just so freeing. To start walking and not looking back. To find a place to camp under the stars, no tv’s, no cell phones. Sleeping in a hammock or a tent, listening to the sounds of nature; there’s nothing that compares.

My initial thought is that as this year ends and I am actually 40, I will start to transition this space into more of a hiking/backpacking blog that also continues to update my fitness and health. This fitness journey that I am on is not something that is gonna end in 18 days when I hit the big 40. I plan to keep eating organic, real food that is free of preservatives and chemicals and my hope is that those food choices along with a backpacking/hiking lifestyle will help me achieve my fitness goals.

We will see how things go. We hiked in New Hampshire a few years ago and loved it but then last year covid hit and threw a wrench into everything so we’re trying to get back to where we were. We also want to camp more and are starting to think about getting a hard sided camper. We just bought a Suburban to fit our large family so now we have the ability to tow whatever we want. It kind of feels like driving a bus but it is nice having all that room! We don’t want anything too big because we like actually camping and not just hauling a small apartment around from campground to campground. We want something that sleeps at least 5 (carter almost always sleeps in a tent or hammock and not in the popup) and that has a small bathroom. Don’t really care about the kitchen or any electronics, again we like “camping,” but we do want it to have solar panels so we can boon-dock if we want. (not at a campground just out in nature with no hookups) Having a camper will also allow us to go on more hikes since we could camp near by and then doo out and backs or loops.

Me on long trips

So that’s the update for tonight. Life continues on. July is half over almost and yet it feels like it’s just begun. School is only 5 weeks away!

Recommendations for this week:

Instagram: Andr3wsky – just a guy who is hilarious and is apparently a lawyer.

Podcast: Nurture vs Nurture with Dr. Wendy Mogel – great for parents, or people in general

As always I have not been compensated in anyway for my recommendations. I just like what I like!