Just trying to climb back on the wagon

Ok, true confessions time. I definitely fell off the wagon in the last month. Or so. Probably a little bit longer. Maybe a month and a half? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where I started to slip.

Which wagon, you say? Oh you know, the healthy-eating-exercising-regularly wagon. I wish it was only one or the other that slipped- the eating or the exercising. But they both definitely suffered. Oh man.

Let’s tackle the eating first. From like January to April (May?) I was pretty good about eating whole foods and limiting processed food, but lately here the pastries and ice creams have been consumed at a pretty high frequency.


why must fried dough taste so good?

Damn you, Zingerman’s pastry case at the Food Coop! Why must you call my name every time I drive by you on my way home? You and your bostocks and almond croissants and cranberry muffins!

Also, since it’s summer, I start craving rootbeer floats. I can even replicate the Butterbeer from Harry Potter World with butterscotch rootbeer and vanilla ice cream, and it’s heaven. Heaven, I tell you.

Also, these very delicious ice creams went on sale at the Coop this week, and sh*t just kind of hit the fan. I brought home 3 of those bad boys. 3!


And there’s the exercise. I haven’t stopped completely, but the frequency and intensity of my workouts have definitely decreased. In the early part of the year I went to the gym to lift weights 3 times a week, went to Taekwondo twice a week, and had cardio sessions here and there. Anyway, those definitely dwindled.

Is it just the mid-year slump? New Year’s Resolutions losing its luster? I started getting my eating and exercising together months before January, but yeah, I definitely got a big mental boost at beginning of the year.

Is it because it’s summer? It’s so damn hot out. It’s too hot to run. Or it’s too rainy. Who wants to run in the rain?

Anyway, I could come up with excuses all day but it doesn’t matter. I slacked off, lost focus, stuffed my piehole, got lazy with the exercising, period.

I’m just going to dust myself off  and try to scramble back up the wagon. I might have to run after it first!





Trip Recap: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, July 2014

Miner’s Castle on Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Over the 4th of July weekend, we went on our second camping trip of the season in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Our next-door gaybors Jess and Kayla were getting married in Marquette on the 5th, and we decided to make a camping trip out of the 2 nights before their wedding.

If you live in Michigan and love the outdoors, the Upper Peninsula is heaven. You’ll find acres of dense forests, unspoiled rivers, picturesque lakes, waterfalls, mountains, and a beautiful coastline. Here there are still bears and eagles living in the forest. You can do practically any outdoor activity for weeks and still not run out of things to do: camping, backpacking, fishing, hunting, kayaking, canoeing, biking, skiing. The Upper Peninsula is one of those places that you can truly call wilderness.

I decided that we would go to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for our camping trip. We were actually also there last year in June. I chose to go back there primarily because we were taking our fat little dog with us, and I wanted to take her to a place that I was already familiar with. It’s her first camping trip with us (we rescued her 9 months ago), and I didn’t want to overwhelm her. Pictured Rocks is run by the National Park Service, so it’s a little more developed especially in the high tourist areas. Normally my intention when we go camping is to be as rustic and primitive as possible, but this was a compromise because I obviously didn’t want to freak out our little pug too much. If you know anything about pugs, you’ll know that they aren’t exactly like huskies.


This is Jobug; she’s not the outdoorsy type. Pretty sure her natural habitat is the couch.

Day 1: July 3, 2014

We drove up to the U.P. on July 3rd. Being a holiday weekend, I was naturally worried that the campgrounds would be full by the time we got there. It took us about 7 hours to drive from Lansing to Pictured Rocks and got there around 8pm.

We bought some firewood at a little shack in front of someone’s house and piled it into the back of my sedan.


so much wood

The we head to Little Beaver Campground, which is one of the 3 drive-in campgrounds in Pictured Rocks. It’s also the smallest, with only 8 sites.From H-58, we turned into the 3-mile road that led to the campground. With mounting anxiety, we drove around the small loop in the campground and saw that every site was taken. What did we expect? It was a day before a major holiday on one of the most popular camping weekends of the year.

It was still daylight, but we knew we had about an hour and a half before sunset. We wanted to set up camp asap. Luckily, I had a back up plan (who am I kidding, being an uber-planner I had researched and mapped ALL the campgrounds in the area).

I knew that there are several state campgrounds off of H-58, the closest 15 minutes. These weren’t the part of the Pictured Rocks system that’s run by the National Park Service, but instead by the Michigan DNR.


We choose Ross Lake Campground simply because it was the closest one. We were crossing our fingers that we would find an open campsite. And we did! There might have been around 10 sites there, and only half of them were occupied. And you know what? Ross Lake seemed just as nice as Little Beaver Lake. Sure, all the sites at Little Beaver Lake had an unobstructed view of the lake, but the sites were so much closer to each other that it just seemed cramped. We didn’t have anyone at either side of our site, and the campsites seemed larger in general.

Kory and I have set up camp together several times, so we unloaded and set up in about 30 minutes.


It was starting to get a dark when we started the fire to start making dinner. Making food over the campfire is one of my favorite parts of camping. From starting the fire with kindling and nursing the flames, to roasting a sausage with a stick and watching it sizzle, to watching flames dance around the edges of a pot of baked beans and seeing it bubble. There’s just something so satisfying about cooking your food over an open fire. Eating the food you cooked over a campfire feels like such an achievement because of all the effort you put into it. Add the fact that a campfire is such an enjoyable experience.


It’s just the best thing ever

It turned out to be a cold night, and I for one didn’t get a lot of sleep. I always have trouble falling asleep anywhere that’s not my own bed, especially on the first night of a trip. My feet were also freezing. During the first couple of hours Josie was inside my sleeping bag with me keeping my top half warm, but soon my arm was going dead because it was pinned beside/underneath her. Eventually she walked out of the bag and slept on her dogbed.

Day 2, July 4, 2014

I finally got some sleep in the wee hours- probably around 3 or 4 am or so. Ofcourse, because were camping, we woke up shortly after sunrise, around 7am. Depending on how you look at it, waking up at sunrise is either one of the best or worst things about camping. Sunlight permeating every corner of your tent and the sound of every bird and critter in the vicinity is nature’s alarm clock, and it’s kind of hard to ignore it. For me, it’s usually rough the first day, but then it’s ok after that. It’s amazing how quickly your body clock resets and becomes attuned to nature when you’re sleeping outdoors.


Josie also had a rough night

After breakfast, our first destination was Miner’s Castle. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Pictured Rocks. There’s a National Park Service information center/shop and bathrooms with flush toilets. You basically park your car, and walk like 100 feet to the vista point. Tourist attraction or not, the views are magnificent.


You can see many more incredibly views comparable to this one all along the Pictured Rocks lakeshore if you were to hike the North County Trail that hugs the coast. This portion of the NCT is apparently the most beautiful and scenic in Michigan. I believe it. Someday, I’ll hike/backpack it!

Then we headed to nearby Miners Beach where we sat on the beach and ate our lunch.

IMG_7075 IMG_7140 IMG_7148

After Miners Beach we were so sleepy that we decided to head back to the campsite to take naps. I inflated the airbed and we all got some shuteye.


The airmattress seems like the antithesis to roughing it, but I dont curr I love it

After naps it was now time to go on a hike. We chose a really short and easy one because we had Josie. We chose the Beaver Lake loop that went from the Beaver Lake Campground to Lake Superior and back.

The mosquitos were ferocious, especially at Beaver Lake. We couldn’t stay still very long because then the mosquitos just attacked us.

Beaver Lake copy

Beaver Lake

After Beaver Lake the trail starts to get more sandy as it approaches Lake Superior. It was pretty cool to walk out of the forest and up the side of a dune and then finally see Lake Superior as you get to the top.

It was about 1.5 miles from the campground to Lake Superior, and it took us about 40 minutes.

It would have been absolutely gorgeous to stay and watch the sunset over the water, but we didn’t want to hike in the dark. It took us about an an hour and a half to do the 3 miles or so loop.

We got back to Ross Lake campground as it was starting to get dark. There were a couple more campers, but the campground still didn’t feel cramped.

We made our classic camp dinner of baked beans, sausage for me and vegan dogs for Kory, and roasted potatoes. After dinner many s’mores were made.


I never make baked beans unless I’m camping

The air mattress was still out and we lay on it to watch the stars. We had still had so much wood that could last for several hours. So we put the air mattress as close to the fire as it could without catching. We took our sleeping bags out of the tent and crawled into them, with Josie curled up between us. It was pretty fantastic falling asleep under a brilliant canopy of stars, snuggled in with my babies, being warmed by the fire. This is why I camp, people.


pretty awesome

Around 3 am or so the fire finally died out and we headed into the tent. It was thankfully not as cold as last night. Everyone had a good night’s sleep.


goodnight, critters.