I’m not sure what it was about tonight that made me plant myself and write. I’m sure it’s a build up of a lot of things… I am trying to decide on some new art for my new walls (and therefore going through a bajillion photos), I have a session to edit, I have a session to shoot tomorrow and I found myself with a rather free night after my dinner plans got spoiled by a computer hard drive meltdown. (Side note – make sure you back up regularly, folks!)

Anyways, here I am. Sitting at my computer with this little lady curled up on my lap watching the cursor move along the screen. Occasionally she nibbles on one of my wrists to try to ‘encourage’ a hand to scratch between her ears. Hmmm perhaps I should do a split screen between my writing and a YouTube video of birds flying. I bet that would keep her happy for as long as it takes for me to write this!


So I think it goes without saying that I have at least 1000 topics I could write about right now … my epic backpacking trip in New Zealand, the various road trips I took around the S Island, my adventures around California one weekend, hiking in Northern Minnesota, several trips to the farm in Iowa with the family that seems to grow exponentially each time I go, my life as a house painting nomad in Europe, the bazillion churches I saw around Italy and Spain, the animals I met in Europe or heck, even the animals I worked with before Europe! Or maybe my new apartment or the way I showed my Italian friend around Minnesota or even how much I LOVE fall!

After throwing a [figurative] dart at the topics of my life over the last few years, I’ve decided on …


… Backpacking in Northern Minnesota! YAY!

I absolutely love being up north, especially during the fall. Honestly, I often don’t try to go up there in the summer because it’s such a zoo! But there is something about the fall that just gets to me. It’s a bittersweet season – its beyond gorgeous, i get to start wearing my scarves again yet oober cold weather and stressful winter driving driving is nigh. Last fall I convinced dad to watch the girls so I could cruise up there mid week and get some camping and hiking in. I somehow lucked out and skirted the rain my first night which helped me have an absolutely amazing evening at my favoritest camp ground. Now, I know it’s risky to give up favorite places up there, but I’m willing to bet the handful of people who are reading this are not going to make a significant dent in usage up there. Though if you could clear your plans with me ahead of time, that would be swell 😉





THIS is my favorite park. George H. Crosby Manitou State Park. It’s off of a long gravel road (which my mazda protege loves cruising over), the only camp sites are pack in, the Superior Hiking Trail passes through it and it’s inland from the lake a handful of miles. I feel like these details keep the park a bit quieter than the others in the area and i LOVE it!

The night I camped there I had the entire park to myself (unless there were some SHT folks passing through) … it was both super encouraging and a bit terrifying. My site had a bin to keep my food away from the bears and I had no cell service. I was clearly not in the city anymore!

Once I had my tent set up I wandered off to a hike I had done once before. As I made my way past the waterfall, I saw the clouds clear and knew I was going to get sunset in the glowing hills! And it was then that I fell in love with the area all over again …



Besides not getting eaten by a bear, I was SUPER excited to have been able to start a fire, cook my meal of mango curry and to survive a night all by my lonesome in the middle of the dark woods.

The next morning I moved along. I had planned to camp a second night but the clouds moved in early and I decided I had proved enough for a few days. I was more than happy to spend my next night catching up with family rather than roughing it out in the woods. We wandered around Duluth for a bit but mostly just hunkered down out of the rain. I was treated to a warm bed, hot beverages, fresh pancakes when I walked in the door and even a warm shower. My family is amazing 🙂

Overall, this was a fantastic trip! I went up again this year but the timing wasn’t quite as good and the weather did not really cooperate. It was still amazing and brought back fabulous memories, but there is something about wandering through a golden forest that makes my heart happy.