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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Snow and Yikes!

We actually got enough snow today to make it look like winter. Yippie!


Except I was too busy to take advantage of it. My plan calls for me leaving here on Friday morning to give me plenty of slop time in case of weather, but right now, I'd say that's not looking good. Saturday morning is acceptable, but I'm going to try really hard to get through the rest of this abominable list tomorrow.

My printer ran out of cyan toner, so I've ordered more and it's supposed to arrive tomorrow, but they don't always manage to pull off the one-day delivery. We'll see. It would be really good if it came. I need to print more promotional materials and more copies of Devotions for Hikers.

Trying to figure out how much stuff I need to take with me to continue the writing while traveling. The answer is: way too much (files, most hikes except the last two years do not have digital pictures so there are boxes of prints, maps). And I don't have all the tapes digitized yet. Have been doing them in order, but maybe I need to try to transfer a couple of the last hikes which have digital pictures. And if I manage to write the chapters to cover everything I'm taking I'll only be half done with the book. Not enough. Sigh. Can I write 16 chapters in March? I doubt it. Most of those are long ones.

Worst case, I take pre-orders at the NCTA Celebration in May, but I'd rather have the books. Yikes, yikes, yikes.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

West Side Gang Tuesday

It's hard to believe I've been going to my writers' group since 2010. The critique group meets twice a month, and I'm usually there unless I'm out of town.

I didn't get any other pictures today, so this is what you get. But it's a good choice to demonstrate a quality day because their comments have helped my writing to grow so much.

West Side Gang writers' critique group

In other news: I wrote a short chapter and continued trying to organize my thoughts for the next one. Got the exhaust on the car repaired. Continued preparations for leaving.

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Moon - Sun - Moon

Everyone has been posting pictures of last night's Super Blood Wolf Moon on Facebook. But I guess that won't stop me from adding my own version. Picture taken at 11:35 last night.

Super Blood Wolf Moon

There was sunshine all day, even though it was cold. Started out at -6 degrees, but warmed up to 18 in the afternoon. Sun hung in there, and provided a molten gold sunset.


Just a couple of hours later, that old moon just showed up again, but golden this time.

golden moon

In other news: I did get my act together. Finished writing a chapter, did errands mostly associated with getting the car ready for a long trip. Did other pre-trip necessities and preparations.

See 2014 lunar eclipse
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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Full Crash

After the wonderful weekend, I'm in full crash mode. No apologies. See you tomorrow.

Here are a couple of big old rabbit feet (tracks) to wish you luck.

rabbit tracks

See Where the Rabbit Went
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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Bookbrokers & Kramer's Cafe

Today, it was time to head back south. Had to catch a shot of Traverse Bay (an arm of Lake Michigan). Looks great in the sun. But cold here. Really cold.

Traverse Bay

This afternoon I had a book signing at Bookbrokers and Kramer's Cafe in the Grand Traverse Mall, Traverse City. You can see my poster near the middle.

Bookbrokers & Kramer's Cafe

They have Michigan authors in to do this almost every Saturday. Here I am waiting to greet people and sell books.

Bookbrokers & Kramer's Cafe

I signed up for this opportunity immediately after hearing about it just over two weeks ago, but I think it might be the beginning of a really significant relationship. The owner, Dan "Doc" McDougall, is really supportive of Michigan authors. He is displaying my books in a way that people might actually be interested in buying them. He's full of ideas to support and attract local authors. We are already cooking up something for this summer.

And, I found a very cool book that I bought as a research item for future books in the Dubois Files series. They sell primarily used books, which are discounted. Current Michigan authors' books are full price, of course. I think my "find" was great. Maybe I'll share about it another day.

Also, PS, I bought a sandwich there for dinner. WAY better than the food court stuff and no more expensive. Recommended.

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There probably aren't enough wonderful words available to cover how much fun today was!

I'm starting with a picture of the view from the North Country Trail. This is the first place a hiker coming from the east on the NCT will see one of the Great Lakes. That's Lake Michigan far in the distance. But I'm getting ahead of the story.

view of Lake Michigan

Doug was headed out to a business conference, so I made sure I got a nice picture of Doug and Pam before he left.

happy couple

That meant that Pam and I could do what we liked for the rest of the day!

First Pam and I went into town so I could make an initial contact with the local book store. They didn't buy books on the spot, but did look at them and take the information. The person who makes the final decisions was not in. But at least I've made a start. We did another errand on the same trip, and had wonderful hot pretzels at the Petoskey Pretzel Company.

hot pretzels

Then we came home and had leftovers from last night for lunch, and they were still yummy!

After that, we went for a snowshoe walk up to the top of the property. They donated an easement through the Nature Conservancy a number of years ago that took a half mile of North Country Trail off road. This past year, they added a really nice shelter that just needs a couple of finishing touches to be complete. So we went up there and checked on things. I hadn't yet had the chance to see it.

Skyline Shelter

It's got bunk space for 10 people!

Skyline Shelter

Next, we hiked to the observation platform where you get the view I began with. This is a really special place to me because it's where I ended my entire North Country Trail hike in 2010. The friends who came to hike the final three miles and celebrate with me stood on that deck and sang "The Happy Wanderer."

observation deck on the North Country Trail

The actual NCT mileage today wasn't worth counting toward Hike 100, but it was like visiting an old friend anyway.

We flagged a trail through the woods on their property so that her AirBnB guests would be able to find it easily. When we came back inside we couldn't believe it, but we'd been outside for about 2.5 hours.

flagging trail

And, you didn't think Pam and I would get through a day without music did you? We played piano (she taught me some new stuff), accordion (I taught her some new stuff). But then, look what I got to try!!!! You would get totally bored if I added all the exclamation points this deserves. It's a half-size cello, and it's missing a string. But Pam said, "that doesn't matter." I'm thinking, "Really?" But she was right. I played two songs with only one missing note. We're not saying how well I played them, but I learned how to hold all the pieces of things, and how it basically works. I'd never, EVER, tried playing a string instrument with a bow before.

beginning cello

Pam always makes me feel like I could actually play music better if I practiced. She's an amazing teacher.

And then we played a really fun card game until we were ready to head for bed. What a day!

See Petoskey Friends
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Petoskey Friends

I am in Petoskey with my good friends Doug and Pam. This was just a "little" walk down to the recycling station, but it's really quite a big deal. Doug has survived cancer this past year, and is very much in the still adapting to walking again stage. It's SO good to see them!

two people walking in snow

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this pile of yummy ingredients for the dinner. It looks so great, and smelled great too.

chopped raw vegetables

Pam cooked them up and mixed in baked spaghetti squash for a really wonderful vegetarian dinner.

cooking a one-pan meal

Then Pam and I got right into the music. We did accordion and guitar for a while. No picture. Maybe tomorrow. Then we switched to harps. Pam can do ANYTHING musically. But a few years ago, she went nuts for harps.

playing Celtic harp

She even got me playing. We played the "Going Home" theme from the New World Symphony. Yes, with two hands!

playing Celtic harp

Awesome evening. More tomorrow!

See last Petoskey Visit
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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Runner Stumbles

Tonight I went to the local book club meeting, because they were doing a reader's theater presentation of a play called The Runner Stumbles.

Kind of surprisingly, I wasn't at all familiar with the play (1979). It's loosely based on the true story that was also the basis for the book Isadore's Secret, which I do know.

The actual events occurred in 1906, in northern Michigan. A nun, in a small parish was murdered.

Here, the priest and the nun have a conversation.

The Runner Stumbles, reader's theater

A scene from the courtroom. As you can see, the readers wore just a few pieces of costume to be suggestive of their roles.

The Runner Stumbles, reader's theater

And here, the housekeeper testifies in court.

The Runner Stumbles, reader's theater

It's really a thought-provoking play. It was made into a TV movie starring Dick Van Dyke, but if I ever saw it, I sure don't remember it.

So that's my big cultural night out!

In other news: I got my entries for this year's Michigan Outdoor Writer awards sent in. That's a huge job to choose which pieces to submit in the various categories, and then to get everything scanned and turned in according to the formats they want. I also did laundry. Fun stuff coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tuesday Night Methodist

Due to a communication snafu, I haven't been playing with the handbell choir this year. However, they needed someone for this Sunday, and I'm filling in. Therefore, I was at the Methodist Church for practice today.

The third of the stained glass windows was lit from inside, so I was able to get a somewhat good picture of it.

round stained glass window, United Methodist Church, Ludington

See the link below for the other two windows and the story of how they were transported to their new building.

In other news: It's the same as it's been for days: transferring tapes, writing, tax records, miscellaneous projects I need to get done before I can leave home for six weeks. I'm certainly doing things, but it seems like I'm not making much progress.

See Three Gifts
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Monday, January 14, 2019

Another 100

2018 was the third year the North Country Trail Association has offered the Hike 100 Challenge. The idea is that you hike any 100 miles on the NCT in the calendar year, and you get a patch. You can hike 100 different miles, or the same mile 100 times. Whatever.

For this past year, they also offered a Hike 50 patch in honor of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System.

Mine came in the mail today.

North Country Trail Hike 50 and Hike 100 Challenge patches for 2018

We all know I'm a sucker for patches, but every year I do wonder why I feel compelled to do this. I sure don't have to prove myself any more. (Reminder, I'm the 9th person to E2E the whole trail, and the first woman to do it completely on foot.)

Nevertheless, I want the patches. And it just seems like it would be bad form not to do it, unless I really can't hike that far any more. Because I want to support the NCT.

Of course, this year, I hiked 300 miles on the Midland to Mackinac Trail that didn't count at all, and some other odd hikes here and there as well.

Of course, I really pushed the timing for 2018, finishing my 100 miles on December 13! Yikes. Hope to do better for 2019. I already have 11 miles done.

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Small Hike in the Sunshine

It was just too beautiful to spend all day today being good.

And it worked out that both Sue and Cathy were able to take off and go on a little hike!

hiker near tree blowdown

We went south from Timber Creek on the North Country Trail. I actually hadn't gone there since the big blowdown in the fall. I kind of didn't want to. I knew there had been a lot of destruction. You can see an open area beyond Sue in the picture above. That used to be all trees. Well, it's still all trees, but they used to be standing.

Here's what they look like now. In a lot of ways it's sad to me when the forest I'm familiar with changes so much, but it's a part of what happens, so we'll just deal with it. At least the trail was opened quickly.

tree blowdown

Three happy hikers. (But it would have been good if I could have gotten Sue out of the shadow, but couldn't tell on the small screen)


And I got my doggie fix for a while. Sophie and Anabelle are always up for a hike and some hugs.

hiker holding small dogs

Hike 100 Challenge for 2019 is at 11 miles.

North Country Trail, south from US 10 at Timber Creek to Wingleton Rd and back. 3 miles

In other news: Well, I have worked on a lot of things today, but it's not clear that I've accomplished a lot. I transferred a tape. I wrote some words of the next chapter, tentatively named "Scattered and Cloudy." I wrote the first draft of my next column before the interview I did earlier this week lost its freshness in my mind. I made a salad for dinner that was ok, but not great. I went to Ludington and took some pictures for that column because I wanted to do them when the sun was out. I went to the grocery store. I'm not sure how those things took all day, even with a little hike in there. But they did.

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