Hiking the Dunes in Sand and Snow

It was so bitterly cold that we wore face masks to shield every possible inch of exposed skin from the ferocious winds that drifted over the dunes. Bundled in layers with our hoods up and snow boots on, we trekked the snow covered staircases one step at a time at West Beach in the middle […]

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Milwaukee In A Day

We didn’t make vacation plans in 2020. Looking back through our photos, our last destination trip was visiting Seattle in the summer of 2019. As we made it through the unknown changes of a pandemic year and relocating for a new job, it has been refreshing to finally settle in where we are and explore […]

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Camping Local

The fire crackles as two plump marshmallows singe to toasted perfection while we gaze into the embers beneath. It’s a warm night and we relish in the stillness of the forest with only an owl’s gentle hoots calling to us from the distance. It had been far too long since we had pitched the tent […]

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The Japanese Grocery Excursion

Matcha green tea, Botan rice, Curry packets, Tonkatsu sauce, and Inarizushi-no-moto, are just some of the ingredients we use regularly that are hard to find. We stock up every few months at the closest Asian store when in the South Bend area or visiting family in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While we can usually find the […]

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Family Camping Trip in the UP

Buckle in, it’s going to be a wild ride. The four of us clip into our seat belt harnesses with growing anticipation for an off-road journey in the Can-Am Side by Side. Craig takes the wheel as we leisurely roll past the neighboring campsites, cross the road, and enter the main passage for ATVs and […]

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Birding the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

At last, we find ourselves on our first visit to an official birding sanctuary in Olympia, Washington. Where the freshwater of the Nisqually River meets the southern edge of the Puget Sound, the estuary habitat is shared by the lands of the Nisqually Indian Tribe, a hunting area by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Service, […]

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Olympia’s Mysterious Mima Mounds

As far as the eye can see, all around us are oddly symmetrical mounds of earth. Now covered in wildflowers, this dimpled landscape of mounds, each measuring about six feet tall and thirty feet wide over several hundred acres, looks like it could be something crafted by science fiction.  According to Washington’s Department of Natural […]

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THE COAST OF OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Massive driftwood greets us as we climb aboard their logs to enter Rialto Beach. Low tide reveals pools of water and crusty barnacles hugging to the rocks for dear life. Wild, undeveloped coastline stretches for miles with jagged “seastack” islands standing their guard to the waves that crash the shore. Derek rips off his hiking […]

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The Hoh Rainforest

We enter the Hall of Moss where velvety green giants drape over our heads and cover the forest floor with a blanket of sprouts. Now that we’re away from the crowd our steps lighten as we slowly scan the scene for animals among the world of green. Derek takes his time with his binoculars tilted […]

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Lake Crescent

“I’ve seen the most magnificent lake. I can die now.” – Derek Jager It’s been said that the water is so clean that it’s as clear as crystal. Carved from glaciers thousands of years ago, it plummets to over 600 feet with so little nitrogen that algae are unable to grow. The water is home […]

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