Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cloud Shadows

Fresh snow and blissful silence greeted us at our park today.

There were no tracks; we were the first to experience the blanket of new snow on the trail.

No ice-fishermen were on the lake; the ice was too thin.

After a long and leisurely hike through the woods, we played fetch in the open area overlooking the lake.

And watched cloud shadows race across the snow-covered expanse.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


I was surprised to see Flood Warnings on the news today but this early spring thaw has definitely caused some flooding issues in our area of the state.

Charlie and I have been frequenting the pathway along the River Edge Parkway in recent weeks, but tonight our path was blocked by overflowing water too deep to walk through.

No problem though. We just turned back and continued our long walk in another direction... away from the river!

We'll be enjoying the warm temps for another few days until this weekend when we're forecast to get a fresh new blanket of snow with colder temps. Only in Wisconsin can you go from shorts & t-shirts one day to winter coats the next... in February. Gotta love it.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Thom Field

There's a high school athletic complex called Thom Field in our neighborhood. It consists of tennis courts, a football field and a series of soccer/lacrosse fields. It's bordered by neighborhoods on three sides and a strip of wooded area on the north side. A lot of local people walk their dogs along the wooded strip bordering that side of the complex, and depending on the time of year also let their dogs off-leash to play on the wide open grassy area of the soccer fields (whether allowed or not).

I am one of those people who occasionally let my dog off-leash in this area, although never when other dogs or people are around and I always make sure she does "her business" off the athletic fields so as not to dirty the area that kids are playing sports.

This field is like a beacon to Charlie.

No matter where we're walking in our neighborhood, she's constantly trying to steer me toward Thom Field.

We often have "Charlie's Choice" walks where she gets to choose which direction we go. Inevitably we end up at Thom Field.

There are times when I don't want to go to Thom Field and I have to literally drag her away from that direction. She sulks all the way home.

But since today was so beautiful and Charlie's walk was delayed until late afternoon due to other obligations, I let her choose her walk.

And of course we ended up at Thom Field. Gotta love her dedication and persistence.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Temperatures for the past couple of days have been seasonal but cold; thankfully warmer weather is on its way! I'm looking forward to some intense hiking and being outside all day when it hits 50 degrees this weekend.

A couple of nights ago, we took a walk with our friends Sara and Ellie and I nearly froze! The temperatures were decent but the wind chill was bitterly cold and I wasn't wearing any layers. My legs were so cold when we got home that my skin kind of burned.

Tonight was less windy, but still cold. I didn't want to stay out too long so I let Charlie off-leash on a deserted part of the River Edge Parkway and told her to go find a stick so we could play fetch.

This is the "stick" she brought me (VIDEO):

After whittling the small tree down to a reasonable size, we played some fetch and then she carried the darn thing all the way home.

She was so proud of her "treasure" that I allowed her to bring it in the house for a few minutes before tossing it into the backyard for her later enjoyment. What a nut.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Scared to Death?

A really frightening thing happened today.

Charlie and I were on our way to one of our favorite hiking spots to do some snowshoeing and enjoy the mild weather when an oncoming car crossed the center line and almost struck us head-on. I quickly swerved to the shoulder and missed the other car by inches and was able to correct my swerve before ending up in the ditch, but the incident left me badly shaken.

I was glad we were only a couple of miles from our destination where I'd have a chance to calm myself.

The scene played over and over in my head as I strapped on my snowshoes and got Charlie buckled into her harness. We set off for the quiet peninsula, off-trail, to make our own way through the woods. The rhythm of movement, deep breaths of cool humid air and the sight of Charlie bouncing through the woods slowly put my mind at ease.

As I thought about what "could have happened" I realized how lucky I was. Everything around me seemed more beautiful... even the stark and barren landscape and the grey sky with hazy sun shining through filmy cloud layers. I started feeling very grateful for everything in my life... my health, my family, friends, great job, cozy house and of course, my beautiful Charlie.

Mother Nature's artwork on a tree trunk.

And as I considered how horrible this day could have gone and how scared I was at that moment the car was heading toward us, I considered the phrase "scared to death."

I think in most instances when people are "scared to death," they are actually "scared to life." When you have a near-death experience or barely escape some terrible fate, life seems so much sweeter afterward.

I don't think people dwell on the "death" part of these scary situations as much as they begin to appreciate their life more. All the simple pleasures of every day life.

So today, I was "scared to life" and will probably carry this feeling with me for quite some time. I'll slow down, take in the scenery, smell the scents, taste the food, smile more and really listen when the people I love are talking to me. These are the moments that life is made of and that all too often, we ignore.

Take some time to experience each moment today and appreciate everything you have because you never know when you'll lose it. Live each day to the fullest!


Friday, February 10, 2017

Full Moon Urban Hike

After a week of freezing cold temps and treacherously icy sidewalks, it warmed up enough today to allow for a safe walk. And just in time, since it was the full moon as well!

Charlie and I enjoyed an hour-plus long walk along the frozen Wisconsin River and then through downtown Wausau to check out the ice sculptures on the 400 Block.

The recent freezing rain has made a shiny and somewhat surreal glaze over all the snowbanks. I was thankful that the sidewalks were fairly dry so I could focus my attention on the moon and stars in the sky and city lights reflecting off the snow and ice instead of watching my footing and missing out on all the great sights.

It was an urban hike full of beautiful nighttime scenery and the fresh air and exercise felt wonderful! With warmer temps sticking around for a while, I'm looking forward to a weekend full of snowshoeing and hiking with my favorite hiking partner - Charlie!