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House Swaps.

It has been a busy end of the summer. I love the fall for fishing though. This monster trout was gorging on salmon flesh. Quite a memorable fish for me.

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Small crowd at Bird Creek in August.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-52-14-pmAmanda completed her first marathon.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-52-31-pmWe still had some nice weather along the coast.

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We moved out of our house that often had moose in the front yard.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-54-10-pmBut we bought this house and put a fish in the front yard. screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-54-21-pm

Mostly, we bought it so the dogs would have a big back yard.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-54-34-pmThe trails nearby also are fantastic.

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I love fall fishing. screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-55-26-pm

Wine in Wisconsin?

When you are in Wisconsin, there seems to be a bit of drinking going on. When you are on vacation, there seems to be a bit of drinking going on. When you combine the two, it gets fun. We stopped at Wollersheim Winery and Distillery for a tasting and tour. It was fantastic. The grounds were beautiful.screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-6-23-01-pmThe history of the place was fascinating to me. From their website, “In the 1840s, the Hungarian nobleman Agoston Haraszthy discovered the sloped land where the winery sits today, and planted it with grapevines. During his short time in Wisconsin, Haraszthy also incorporated the state’s first town, Sauk City.” What a busy guy. I also like where his head was. He eventually gave up Wisconsin for a different wine growing area, California. Turns out, it was a good move.

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We made it out of the winery, even if we wanted to stay, and found our way (barely) to a farm. It was a beautiful space with chickens, a cat, a dog, some kind of farmers, and an old farmhouse. It was a great way to be introduced to the next part of our adventure, the Wisconsin Dells.

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Bakeries, Boats, and Buskers.

One of the things that I love about vacations is being able to spend time looking for the perfect bakery. We spent one morning visiting a few and trying their baked goods. The best pastries seemed to come from Door County Bakery. They also had the best flowers outside.screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-7-27-39-amWe also had to explore the area by bike to find the best beach. I think that we all agreed that Ferdinand Hotz Park was the best place to have lunch. This is the view of Lake Michigan from the beach.screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-7-28-00-amThis is the view of the beach from Lake Michigan.screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-7-28-17-amFrom our apartment, we walked down to the barbecue overlooking the almighty Green Bay where there was live music. The small figure on the bottom left is a guy playing a guitar and singing. What a way to end vacation days!screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-7-30-39-am

Kayaks and Flames.

We got out early one morning and joined a kayaking group in the cold, but beautiful waters of Lake Michigan. The weather continued to be spectacular. Our group hugged the coast exploring caves and occasionally getting our breath taken away by plunging into the lake.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.03.46 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.04.06 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.05.00 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.05.26 PMWhen we headed out for dinner we went to a world famous Door County specialty, the fish boil. Scandinavian immigrants brought this tradition to Door County. It is a great way to feed a lot of hungry people. Fish, potatoes, and onions are all boiled together. After about 30 minutes, a thick film coats the top of the water. To get rid of the film, but keep the water hot for the next boil, kerosene is thrown on the flames. The water boils over the pot keeping the remaining water hot and ready to cook the next batch rapidly.Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.05.59 PMScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.06.10 PMAfter returning from Wisconsin, I found out that Anchorage has its own fish boil.

Headed North to Door County.

“Door County” is mentioned a lot when you are in the Midwest. We left Milwaukee and headed north. We were going to the famous Door County. Door County is known for its camping, beaches, and cherries. Also, true to midwest style, everyone is very friendly there.

The blue skies were tremendous as we sat in the air conditioned, cruise controlled truck loaded with bikes and luggage. The countryside was better than I expected. Corn fields and dairy farms were everywhere.

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We rode bikes into and through Peninsula State Park. Peninsula State Park has 460 campsites, an 18 hole golf course, a theater in the summer, big sandy beaches, and miles of bike trails.Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 7.15.46 AMNicolet Beach as a storm rolled in.Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 7.14.11 AMWe made it up to Gill’s Rock in the very far north of Door Peninsula. The weather continued to be perfect as we mingled with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins while eating, drinking, and watching the sunset. Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 7.14.48 AM

Visiting Wisconsin.

We recently took a trip to Wisconsin to visit Amanda’s family. The first stop of the whirlwind tour was out to eat. We love cheese, and I love fried food, so I was in heaven eating fried cheese curds. These Wisconsinites take their cheese very seriously. Almost as serious as they take their beer consumption.

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That night we walked along the water of downtown Milwaukee and it was beautiful. The air was warm and the sky was dark. After our first summer in Alaska, I was surprised by how much I missed the dark skies. I will probably be eating my words this winter, but the dark sky was beautiful at night. Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 8.36.18 PMMy father in law likes to ride motorcycles more than I do. He offered me one of his bikes one afternoon and I couldn’t say no. It was hot out and beautiful to ride by miles and miles of fields. Blue skies with green fields and an orange bike. I couldn’t stop smiling or sweating.Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 8.36.36 PMWe never stopped moving on this trip. I was introduced to the Bugline Trail. It is a fully paved trail that passes by homes, limestone quarries, and railroad tracks. It was a lot of fun on a bicycle built for two.Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 8.37.22 PMEvery ride needs a destination. This ride happened to turn around at a pub that has been around since 1862. We stopped inside for a quick blast of air conditioning. And maybe a beer or two. We definitely had a weasel peter sausage. Thank you Hanson Brothers Pub.

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Swan Lake Canoe Trail.

Kind of a “how to”.

Near the house.

Great Horned Owl. This one was sitting above a decapitated and disemboweled rabbit. Unlike other owl species, both male and female Great Horned Owls sing. I love being able to see this down the street from our house.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 6.34.15 AMFireweed is a common sight here in Alaska. The name Fireweed derives from the species’ abundance as a coloniser on burnt sites after forest fires. Its tendency to quickly colonize open areas with little competition, such as sites of forest fires and forest clearings, makes it a clear example of a pioneer species. Plants grow and flower as long as there is open space and plenty of light. As trees and brush grow larger the plants die out, but the seeds remain viable in the soil seed bank for many years; when a new fire or other disturbance occurs that opens up the ground to light again, the seeds germinate. Some areas with heavy seed counts in the soil can, after burning, be covered with pure dense stands of this species and when in flower the landscape is turned into fields of color.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 6.34.39 AMThe dogs. We love them. Sometimes, they listen to us.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 6.35.01 AM

Wolverine Peak (almost).

Hike 6/52 for the 52 hike challenge.

It starts off beautiful right from the trailhead. It is a big well worn trail at the Prospect Heights Trailhead.

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Then it slowly follows the appropriately named Powerline Trail.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.08.33 AM

This is quite an easy trail. It isn’t too steep, it is wide, it is gorgeous. I love Anchorage.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.08.44 AMThis time of year, there are flowers of every color outside. The pinks, the purples, the whites, the yellows, I wanted to show them all off. I wanted to sit and stare at them, I wanted to make sure I made noise to alert any bears.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.02 AMThe whole trail is very well marked. I brought a GPS, but really did not need it. Some of our adventures are totally unmarked and out in the middle of nowhere. This trail was nothing like that.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.15 AMThe views from the trail were incredible.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.27 AMI did not have enough time to make it to the top of Wolverine Peak, but I think that is it behind the dogs. The trail got steep, the day got late, and I had somewhere to be. I did get to hear coyotes calling as the sun went down. This place is amazing, still.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.42 AM

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