I've taken a long break from blogging, primarily because my "professional" writing has eaten me alive. At a certain point, I couldn't face more blank screens demanding, words, words, WORDS! I've finished some obligations now and hope to get more balance in my life. Hence, an ease back into my blogging.
Every summer (excepting the year I moved here), Cara and I spend two weeks at Bearskin Lodge (Cabin #2) on the Gunflint Trail, near Grand Marais, Minnesota. It's a lovely place and we unplug--no email, no interwebs, no cell phone, no television, etc.. So, what do we do? My Bearskin trip, by number and name.
On Foot (roughly):
Runs: 33.5 miles
Hikes: 19.5 miles
Comment: I averaged a bit more per run up there, probably because the easiest way to avoid getting lost in the woods and eaten by bears was to stay on the summer home road and run out and back--5.5 miles. I played with that a bit--the shortest run was 4.5, the longest was 10. I was very happy with the latter; I'm feeling good about running a half marathon this fall. The weather was cooler, but there were serious hills. We don't have those in central Illinois. We are a flat land people.
The hikes were great. The highlight was a second week hike of the Cascade loop, up and across the Cascade river, which empties into Lake Superior. Some great, challenging terrain. I enjoyed all of the hikes, though.
I also used a kayak for the first time and loved it. Did a bit of swimming, although most of that was paddling around after a run. I now miss a cold lake after a hot run.
Animals: Bald eagles, Loon, baby Loon, Fox, Ducks, baby Ducks, Deer, Chipmunks, Hummingbirds, Hawks, Pine Martin, Vole, Turtle, Seagull, lots of dogs, and probably other stuff I can't remember.
Comment: On our second day, I sat on the dock, watched a bald eagle dive the lake, catch a fish, fly to the other side of the lake, and eat it on a log there. Another eagle soon joined it. This is not Champaign/Urbana, I said to myself.
It's always a constant drama with the baby ducks. One day, there's 4. Then there are 3. And so on. Nature, red in tooth and claw.
King, Ship, and Sword by Dewey Lambdin; Russia Against Napoleon by Dominic Lieven; The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame; The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Ramage and the Drumbeat by Dudley Pope; The Living Great Lakes by Jerry Dennis; Take This Bread by Sara Miles; Ramage and the Freebooters by Dudley Pope; Tinkers by Paul Hardy; Blockade Billy by Stephen King; The Battle of Waterloo by Jeremy Black; The Gunflint Cabin by John Henricksson; Governor Ramage, RN by Dudley Pope.
Comment: For some reason, Napoleonic naval fiction always works for me up there. I've read Forester and O'Brien in past years; Dudley Pope is less well-known, but still enjoyable. Dewey Lambdin is a great time and offers a rogue of a hero. That era seems to have been a theme, without conscious thought. Russia Against Napoleon is an awesome achievement, truly a work of a lifetime. Very good read if you like military history. I enjoyed them all, although Billy was not anywhere close to King's best work. The most disappointing read, probably.
Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary year by reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Again, I am sure, in many cases. Well, well worth the time.
That's what I did on my summer vacation.