Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First date after baby!

So, here I am, back at home after my first getaway with Hubby after having Jordan. It was way overdue. I mean, come on... the kid's almost 16 months old!

I remember the first time I was away from Logan overnight. I worried about him. I remember the first time he went away for longer than a night. I sobbed so hard, I just couldn't stop. Being separated from him was so hard for me.

This time? Not hard. Not hard at all. Now, don't get me wrong, that's not to say that I don't love Jordan just as much as I love Logan. I just think I have changed over the years. I have realized that time away from the kids does me good and time away from ME does THEM good. I also think I waited too long to leave Jordan overnight. I could have used a mini vacation months ago (and so could the boys!). Anyway, aside from a couple text messages to my mom, there was no looking back this time!

Hubby and I had planned to leave early on Thursday so we could head up north and enjoy the afternoon at the hotel, go out to eat, swim in the pool, etc. It didn't end up happening that way because we found out Logan's very first tee ball game was Thursday night. So, we went to the game (it was so cute!) and then we left afterward to head up north and my mom stayed with the boys.

It was 10:30 by the time we arrived at the hotel and after checking in we got to spend a whopping 15 minutes in the hot tub and pool, but hey, it was better than nothing!

The next morning, we headed to Leland to catch the boat to North Manitou Island, one of our favorite places in the world. Basically, you take an hour-long boat ride to the island, they drop you off, and you're there until the boat comes back. You have a scheduled day to be picked up, but the weather is quite unpredictable on the Great Lakes and it's not unheard of to be "stranded" on the island for an extra night. It's never happened to us, but we have had a close call with some bad weather and the one-hour boat ride turned into a really really rough, wet three-hour boat ride. Scary!

Anyway, this weekend, the weather was exquisitely perfect. It was clear and sunny and warm. Couldn't have asked for anything nicer.

I could go all sorts of crazy describing the places we visited on the island and the trails (or rather, non-trails) we took, but I don't think it would mean anything to anyone who reads this. Suffice to say, it was a busy holiday weekend, there were lots of people on the smallish island, and we were in it so deeply that we rarely saw a soul. We bushwhacked a lot, saw some old ruins we hadn't seen before, hiked in woods, swamps, dunes and along the beach, sweated, were bug-bitten, sunburned, swam in Lake Michigan (it was so cold, but we were so dirty!), beachcombed and just enjoyed the peace. I took hundreds of photos, too, of course. I'll just share a couple dozen with you.

Arriving on the island, you are greeted by this sign at the end of the dock. I bet it's been photographed thousands upon thousands of times!

After an orientation lecture by the rangers (camp at least 300 feet from the water, don't do anything stupid because there's no help, hang your food so chipmunks don't get into it, etc.) you're set free. We got hiking right at noon. Headed around through the woods, to the beach then up a hill and through a couple old homestead clearings. Found the Maleski Place.

These old ruins are crazy. There are other bits of evidence of human life scattered about, like this basin.

There are supposedly a couple crosses marking the gravesites of Maleski children at the homestead but we didn't find them. Then again, we didn't spend a lot of time searching for them.

After that we headed inland to explore the west side of Lake Manitou, a very pretty little lake on the island. Here I am by the swamp that surrounds the outlet from the lake.

And here is a view from the west side of Lake Manitou.

Most people hang out on the east side and we could see hikers swimming over there. Some guys came by in a canoe. We might have spooked them a little when they finally saw us.

After taking a break at the lake, we headed up through the woods to get to our super special secret sacred campsite. On the way, we passed this old clothes wringer perched on a rock.

Perhaps it was marking a trail? If so, we missed it and ended up bushwhacking. Boy, did we get covered in spiderwebs!

After setting up camp we did what we always do after setting up camp: we went for a walk! But without packs this time. We ended up heading across the top of the bluffs. The view was incredible and we came across this tree with its roots all exposed. It was still managing to hang on, but one day it'll probably fall down the dune to the beach.

We followed the shoreline back to camp.

Rested our beaten, hiking-hot feet (oh, the cold water felt SO good!)

Made camp tacos (mmmmm...)

And watched the sun set from our "picture window."

In the morning, I had to dig a tick out of Hubby's leg (*shudder*), we ate breakfast on the beach and set off on a beach walk. The sun was coming up on our left side, and our shadows were in the water as we walked. The packs on our backs kind of looked like angels' wings, I thought.

We cut inland through a swamp. It's usually not very passable here, but the island was SO DRY that we could walk right through and barely get our boots damp.

After heading through the woods for a while and then back down to the beach for a trail mix break, we headed up Old Baldy Hill. It's a HUGE dune climb. I mean, it takes a long time to reach the top!

Starting upward

It was hot and my arms got really sunburned. Once you hit the top, though, the view is something else. You can see the whole island from up there.

Behind me you can see the dune hills leading wa-a-a-a-a-ay down to the water, where we had come from.

The view.

Then came the hardest part of our hike. We bushwhacked down the back of this gigantic hill. Not only was it thickly wooded, it was also very, very steep. I will admit I was afraid and fell several times. A couple falls resulted in involuntary butt-slides until I was stopped by a tree or whatever. Yeesh.

Yeah, this is NOT a trail!

Somewhere along the way, we lost one of the really cool maps Hubby made. We decided that if anyone found it, they DESERVED it.

Later, we set up our second camp

and spent some time lounging on the beach before making dinner. I had picked a small handful of wild leeks and we sliced them and cooked them in olive oil (oh, that smelled good!)

and then added them to our pasta salad and salmon dinner. Yum. Then, of course, we went for an after-dinner walk.

More house ruins.

The next morning, we were awakened early by an insistent whippoorwill (Actually, he'd been calling all night. I slept very little that night.) and we broke camp. As we were leaving, I turned around to take a look and the sun was just starting to peek above the horizon.

We walked a little way inland and I snapped this photo of the sunrise.

We headed toward the docks but didn't take the trail. Why would we? No, instead we climbed up through the woods and followed the ridgeline back. It was an incredible way to start the morning and end our backpacking trip. We found a really special place, took off our packs and hung out up there for a while. Neither of us wanted to leave. But, eventually we had to. We had decided to wait until we reached the dock area to cook and eat our oatmeal and coffee, so we went down the hill, caught the trail and got to the "village." (it's called the village because that's where the island's main population used to be. Now just the rangers stay there in the summer. This is a national park.) We got there with 2 1/2 hours until boat time, and we were kind of bummed that we hadn't made breakfast up on the ridge instead. It was so nice up there.

But anyway, we ate and then went for a short beach walk. I found a Petoskey stone near the ranger station. It's our state fossil and the legend says the pattern is like the rays of the sun. Pretty.

A while later, the boat picked us up, we rode back to the mainland, walked to our car, stopped at a little bar in Sutton's Bay for a burger (and lots and lots of water and pop!) and headed home to our boys. They were happy to see us. Logan was waiting to pounce on me but Jordan acted a little ambivalent. like maybe he was trying to tell me he was mad that I'd left or something. He warmed up quickly, though, and Grandma was ready for a break!

Mom even made us an AWESOME veggie lasagna and a beautiful salad so I wouldn't have to cook dinner after we got home. She thinks of EVERYTHING!

I couldn't have asked for a better mini vacation with my hubby. It was wonderful.

Thanks so much, Mom!


Gwenn said...

Wow, your trip pics are awesome! Congrats on getting out w/o the kiddos, what a wonderful gift!