Tag Archives: paddling

Coming home: Wisconsin Summer

I love coming home from a trip- I am so thankful for my husband, and my home, and my own bed… and of course, my little pup.

With that said, I apologize for the next few posts, as they’re a little behind schedule. πŸ™‚

My first morning home, I had lots of work to catch up on, including errands. I hooked Abbie up, laced up my running shoes, and ran to the post office and the bank. I even ran through the “drive through” at the bank, since I can’t take Abbie inside, and when the tube came back through the little vacuum thing, there was a biscuit inside!

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She sure earned it, as she did a great job as District 4 Alderdog and welcomed everyone we saw on the run. Thanks, Chase!

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This is random, but we picked up some sweet corn, and I just LOVED this middle cob. Why have straight lines, when you can be crazy? πŸ™‚

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I was able to squeeze in an engagement photo shoot with Brigitta and Stryder. They’re such a neat couple, and we were so excited to work with them!

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We had gorgeous weather, and we went for a little walk on the Green Circle. Lovely!

It is so hard going on vacation during the middle of wedding season, and I have so much to try and catch up on. This year was even crazier, as I am also staying very active as a new alderwoman, and trying to learn as much as I can from everyone around me. This brings me to Bob. Meet Bob!

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Bob runs Poky Pedaling, a totally free group of organized bicycle rides around our community. He’s an active advocate for pedestrian and bicycle safety, so I had my meeting with him on our bikes, and we rode around the city. Thanks for sharing your thoughts during our “mobile meeting,” Bob!

I made it home in time to help stack some wood near our shed, and I amazed at this piece that I found…

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Bark beetles do some beautiful work. Art by bugs. They must have been incredibly busy before the bark fell off, revealing this masterpiece. πŸ™‚

We worked up quite an appetite working in the yard, and we were more than happy to have dinner with Brian’s family, at Dale and Sheri’s house.

Fish fry, jalepeno poppers, french fries… yes, we’re spoiled.

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It was really awesome. I sure love these people!

We got home late Friday night, and I was exhausted, but I climbed out of the covers just early enough to run the Violet Thompson 5K, a fundraiser for a very special little girl in town. I had no idea if I’d know anyone there, but sure enough, I found George and Marc around mile 1.5. πŸ™‚

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Great run, boys. πŸ™‚

I’ll leave you all with a few photos from paddling out on the chain. I just can’t get enough of my SUP and Marl Lake.

I made us SUP hatch-friendly blackberry mojitos. I muddled the rum and mint and berries before we left, and the rest is a delicious memory. We know how to spend a day on the water. πŸ™‚

So many more shoots to share with you- it will be an engagement and wedding explosion here for a while!

As always, thanks for reading, friends!

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Colorado: Days Three and Four

I kicked off day three in Colorado with a little paddleboarding at the reservoir. It was a beautiful morning to spend on the water! Just as I was about to lock the car and head in, one of my October brides called me, reminding me that I’m never actually on vacation, but I can pretend to be. I scheduled a meeting with her for when I got home and tried to put it out of my mind.

This view helped.

I took my brookie for a swim…

This SUP was very different than the wooden beauty that I have at home, but it was a great time. I changed out of my suit into a sundress in the car (mental note: spray Febreeze again to keep that hot car from smelling like the river…), then headed downtown to grab coffee and do a little work.

I love this little shop,Β The Cup, so I kept coming back. It’s a really popular place, so the lines are usually pretty long. I had almost made it to the front of the line, and the man in front of me was asking the barista all sorts of questions about the prices of coffee, and he dropped a handful of change on the counter and started counting it. He suggested that he’d go to Starbucks since it was cheaper over there. It was obvious to me that he was having a hard time paying for his coffee, so I said, “It’s okay, I’ll give you a buck or two to cover your coffee.” Karma points earned. It was sure a surprise for me when he turned to the barista and said, “In that case, instead of drip coffee, I’d like the Nitro.” It must have been some kind of coffee with nitrogen… so I ended up buying my stranger a $5 cup of coffee. Sure, I’d blown my coffee budget, but at least that guy got a really nice cup of coffee. I stuck with drip, myself.

I typed and edited and read and sorted, then packed up to head to the fly shop to meet Kyle. I’d been virtually introduced to Kyle through my other TU friend from Oregon, also named Kyle. It turns out that TU people are awesome, though that’s really no surprise to me. We met in real life at the shop, grabbed a couple flies, then headed out to Boulder Creek.

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It was a beautiful day to be out on the water.

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(photo credit: random awesome fly angler who walked by)

Kyle caught a couple fish, and I didn’t catch a darn thing. I did have a strike, though… but couldn’t follow through. I was amazed at some of the shallow moving water that was holding fish. I couldn’t believe they were in there! I tried several new casting techniques that I’ve never done before. It was a great learning experience. I just love fishing in other areas and learning more about fish behavior.

We stripped off our wet waders and boots and headed back into town for tacos and beer at Sanitas, and we talked about TU on the drive. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I really love that organization and everything they do for cold water.

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Delicious food, great beer, and fabulous company. Thank you for all your help, Kyle! I really appreciate you taking a chance to get out fishing with a stranger.

I came home to see this smiling face, and I fell sound asleep, dreaming dreams of pretty mountain trout. ❀

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And just like that, I woke up. Solo fishing day.

Don’t get scared now.

After being skunked fishing with Kyle the day beforeΒ (who certainly knows what he’s doing), I headed out to the stream with low confidence. I knew I needed an attitude adjustment, because embracing a bad mood is no help to anyone, especially myself.

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Once I picked my spot to fish, I grabbed my yoga mat, did a few poses with deep breathing, and strung up my rod.
I walked down to the river, and tried this new spot. No luck.

Another new spot. No luck.

Changed flies. No luck.

Changed flies and went to a new spot, scaring a snake along the way. No luck.

Tried a dropper. Lost both flies in a tree lined with other anglers’ flies.

Tried not to be frustrated, but didn’t know what fly to use. Tried a hopper. No luck.

Caddis? Before I had a chance to cast, I saw a hummingbird flying near me, making the cutest little sound. Took a brave little walk through fast water, holding on to a dead tree for security.
Cast once. Twice. Three times, then a flash and strike. Set the hook!
I pulled in the prettiest brown trout, and burst into tears.. so yeah, I snapped. Lost my shit. It must have been the stress and the pressure… no one wants to fly out to a new state in a new region and come home empty handed. Relief washed over me when I felt the tug at the end of my line. Thank. Goodness. I fooled one.

I caught several more in the next fifteen minutes, including the biggest trout I’ve ever caught while wading. I packed it up and headed back early, leaving on a high note.
This game is certainly about the chase, about feeling independently adequate, trusting yourself and trusting the fish, and being brave on solo adventures. Sometimes it’s harder than I thought it would be, but it’s always worth it.

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I grabbed a quick lunch from a food truck downtown, then headed up toΒ Chautauqua to run my little heart out.

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Trail running: where going down is just as hard as going up. Don’t-fall-don’t-fall-don’t-fall.

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It was an awesome run, and very unlike my flat Central Sands home. There is a beautiful grassy park at Chautauqua where I stretched out and did a little yoga, then headed back to Aaron’s to shower and get ready for “girls’ night out.”

The drive to Denver was pretty short and there wasn’t much traffic, so I got there before Meredith was finished with her kickball game. I stopped in at Starbucks to grab coffee and do a little work until she was ready to hang out. The view from the coffee shop was amazing!

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When I got the “I’m ready!” text, I headed to the park to finally see my friend! I met Meredith when we were in first grade, and the rest is history. I love that the park she was playing in had views of the mountains on one side, and the Denver skyline on the other. So awesome.

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We headed to Meredith’s condo for dinner, catching up, and we got ready to go out. She has a gorgeous view of the skyline from the patio of her Capitol Hill condo.

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I don’t know the names of all the places we went, but we danced, played beer pong, and laughed a lot. Thank you for the fun night, Mere!!!

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All this vacation was wearing me out, and I was so happy to snuggle in on Meredith’s couch for a night of sleep before my upcoming day at Rocky Mountain National Park. That adventure is up next.

Here, fishy fishy…

Miles this year: 347.65

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Two Days At Home = Cramming Summer Fun

After those dusty, hot Lifest days, we recovered with a dip in the Chain of Lakes in Waupaca.

One of the things that I love the most about those Wisconsin lakes is how turquoise/blue they are.

My friendΒ (and our occasional intern)Β Chris Pruitt, took that photo of my little brookie going for a swim. πŸ™‚ Marl lakes are awesome because the high mineral content of the soil binds extra nutrients, inhibiting the growth of algae. The white muddy bottom also reflects the water in a unique way!

We played with my SUP and Brian’s kayak until we were completely exhausted. I love long summer nights.

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Thanks for the invite, Chris!

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Looking at those photos just reminds me how spoiled I am… Brian built me that wooden SUP and it is absolutely gorgeous- it tracks straight and looks great!

Obviously, we crashed hard on Sunday night, and I woke bright and early for a shoot with these beautiful Collectivo coffee beans. I look at this image and I can practically smell the aroma… I think I’m doing something right. πŸ™‚ Product photography of consumables is supposed to make your mouth water!

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Smelling, drinking, and agonizing over the details of those beans woke me up so I could head over to the KI Mobility ground breaking at their new location. It is so exciting to see a local business growing as quickly as these guys have- and they build some amazing products!

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I haven’t been to many groundbreakings, so it was pretty exciting! The mayor, city staff, and other alderpersons all had the opportunity to participate- I’ve never done that before! Put on a hard hat, and use a golden shovel to scoop some dirt? If only all construction was like that. πŸ˜‰

A little yoga, a little running, and a lot of laundry…

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…then I was packing to head off for another adventure, as a counselor at the Wisconsin Trout Unlimited Youth Fishing Camp.

That recap is up next! As always, thanks for reading, friends!

Miles this year: 330.05

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Police Department Tour + The Week Before Traveling

I’ve loved being an alderwoman so far- I have the opportunities to meet many of the important people who keep our city running smoothly. One of my favorite tours was of the police department! Growing up with Grampie and all of his police friends has made me a big lover of those who protect and serve, so I was very excited to check out their facility.

Of course, many places in there are pretty secret, so no pictures. I was so busy taking it all in that I didn’t even think about it!

Many thanks to our Interim Police Chief, Mr. Skibba. I loved meeting you and seeing how you guys work to keep us safe. Thank you for everything you do!

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I had one week left at home and in the office before leaving for a couple weeks, so I squeezed in a few headshots and mini sessions for clients before I headed off on Heidi adventures.

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I had one shoot in the studio- gorgeous swirls of cream in coffee…

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…then I hit the road for a haircut. I have been going up to Stef at Kasha in Wausau, and she has been doing a great job! I didn’t want to head to Lifest with crazy hair, since having my face on the Jumbotron makes bad hair look exponentially worse. πŸ™‚

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A little stress led to some required time on the water…

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…and Brian surprised me with a completed project.

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Yes, that’s a trailer for my kayak, pulled by my cruiser bike. I’m so spoiled. SO SO spoiled. It has always bothered me that I have to load my boat or board on my car to drive the three blocks to the river, and now I can just pop it on my bike and pedal off into the sunset! Too cool. ❀ Thanks, baby! Now I just have to remember to make wide turns, since my small craft are 14 and 16 feet long.

As always, thanks for reading, friends! I’m off to pack for twenty days on the road with four days at home in-between.

Up next? Lifest- a team of photographers and videographers working out of a media trailer in the hot July sun, taking open air showers in the cattle building, and capturing concerts and concert-goers nonstop for four days. Love. It.

Miles this year: 317.8

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My Favorite Holiday Weekend

I love kicking off my favorite holiday weekend with the Heart and Sole Race, in Pittsville, WI. It’s always on July 3rd, so sometimes it’s crazy hot! It’s an evening race, which sometimes helps, but it’s a fabulous five mile race that raises money for their little local fire department. What a great cause!

There are a couple things that I can count on in this race, and this Blues Brothers guy is one of them!

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This course is an out-and-back with four water stations, and they’re all needed since it’s usually so warm. I stop every time! I run this race with my friend, George, and we chat almost the whole time. We both see runners that we know from other races, so it’s nice to wave at our friends when we run by! That’s one of my favorite parts about out-and-back courses… I get a chance to see everyone who hit the turnaround before I did on their way back, and then I get to cheer on everyone behind me once I turn around! πŸ™‚

The finish line for this race is just adorable. So festive!

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I obviously took that photo before the race- when we came through the chute, there were lots of other people with us! I really love small town races. πŸ™‚

I enjoyed some incredible watermelon post race…

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…and granola. Oh, gosh, the granola.

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It’s homemade, and I have dreams about it the rest of the year. It’s sooo delicious, and I love munching on that once I finish the race! πŸ™‚

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Many thanks to this lady, who obviously is responsible for cooking pans and pans and pans of the good stuff!

George and I came in at a strong 47:24, and refueled with cold beer. πŸ™‚

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I came home, soaked in a tub, and hung out with Brian on our newly finished back deck. We live close enough to Riverfront Rendezvous that we could hear Here Come The Mummies as they played, and I relaxed with a glass of lemonade and enjoyed them from the comfort of my own home. πŸ™‚

On Saturday morning, we prepped for a cookout later, and I got ready for our Stevens Point Fourth of July parade. I love parades, and the Fourth of July, and everything patriotic. This is my favorite day!

The common council and the mayor all got together and walked in the parade. It was a lot of fun!

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This is me with “the Marys…” Alderperson Mary Kneebone and Alderperson Mary McComb. πŸ™‚

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Our other friend Mary was driving the truck with the City Band float. Way to go, girl!

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After the parade, I dropped off cookies for our police department and fire department (THANK YOU for working holidays and keeping us safe!), then met Chris and Amy at our house for some lake time!

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We had some perfect weather- hot and sunny with a cold, clear lake to jump in. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to our house for our annual cookout. Of course, I completely forgot to take photos of our friends and all the delicious food, but we had a gaggle over for burgers, brats, sweet corn, and all sorts of traditional grilling foods!

For dessert, we featured my tenth annual flag cake!

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I can’t believe I’ve been making this cake for ten years! I used to choose white cake, but now I make angel food cake with fresh whipped cream for frosting. Delicious!

Once it got a little darker, we played with some sparklers. My friends are the cutest!

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We finished our night with s’mores by the fire, and Amy and Chris stayed for a sleepover!

We woke them up with coffee, egg sandwiches, and quite impressive Bloody Marys.

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Breakfast on the front porch with friends is really the best way to start my day, especially since our post-brunching activity was a walk to the new winery. Brian and I were lucky enough to attend their soft opening the week prior, so we were excited to show off this new facility!

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We strolled through the parks on the way home, stopping to look at the emergency vehicle display.

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Abbie was thrilled with all our visitors and all the time playing outside, but she was really happy to cool off inside for the afternoon. πŸ™‚

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Stevens Point hosts fireworks on Sunday, so Brian and I headed over to the park with our kayaks and watched both our friends in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades play at the park AND the fireworks from our little place on the water.

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Don’t worry, friends: we are experienced kayakers and had both bow and stern lights, as well as headlamps. I get concerned about the other kayakers out on the water- there is a lot of boat traffic out for the fireworks and I’ve seen less experienced kayakers struggle in the wake. Lights are very important, too!

We packed up the boats, drove the three blocks home, and collapsed in bed.

Fourth of July weekend? Complete, and a total success. πŸ™‚

As always, thanks for reading!!

Miles this year: 308.55

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Killeen and Ernie + Wisconsin Adventures

I was home just long enough to charge my camera batteries, do a load of laundry, kiss my Mr. Mustache and my pup, then I headed down to shoot the engagement photos of the gorgeous Killeen and handsome Ernie in Elk Grove.

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This shoot was extra special because Killeen is my cousin, and you can definitely see a family resemblence! πŸ™‚

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We lucked out with fabulous weather, perfect lighting, and a cute little nature reserve right near their house. You’d never guess we were in the city!

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We shot, and posed, and laughed, then headed back for an Italian dinner (Chicago has the best food options!), a sound sleep, and a short runΒ before I hit the road home. I had a meeting with my accountant (my aunt, Tina) in Madison, to work on my taxes. Being self-employed is difficult for many reasons, only one of which is doing my taxes. Another quick meeting at city hall, then Brian and I headed off to Waupaca to deliver our little Abbie monster to my mother-in-love. We made the switch at a very funny and Wisconsin-y bar, JR Sportsmans, with a gigantic fish out front, and a little game farm.

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We ran home, performed minor surgery on my kayak (a new compass!)…

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…then headed up north to meet Nikki and celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend.

We swung by my grandparents’ home to give my grammie and grampie a little love and share the news about the alderwoman gig. They’d already seen it in the paper, and saved me the clipping. I love these people. ❀

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Once we made it up north, we kayaked, ran, did yoga, napped, sat in the hot tub, went to the Tomahawk old car show (saw Adam, a pianist friend from college!), sent the boys fishing, and caught a tree frog.

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It was an incredible weekend of relaxation, laughter, and a fabulous reminder that sometimes the oldest friends are the best friends! Love you, Nikki.<3

We met my mother-in-love again in Waupaca to pick up our puppy, and we took her out to dinner. We love the food at the Chain Bar in King- their pizza is delicious! While we sat at the covered outdoor bar, we watched a storm roll in, and a double rainbow appeared. How cool! πŸ™‚

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I spent the following week in meetings as an alder, including meeting the president of our neighboring town, since we share a boundary line.

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I went on a fun run with the SP running group (and saw Margaret and her new babe!), shot a few headshots, and spent some time playing outside with Abbie.

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I also went down to southern Wisconsin for a Wisconsin League of Municipalities training for newly elected government officials. I have learned so much with this job- more than I ever realized I needed to know! Do you know the average lifespan of a Wisconsin police car? I do! πŸ™‚

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I spent the night in Madison with our friends, the Langes, and we went out to dinner at this crazy but delicious Jamacan restaurant.

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Before I knew it, I was back at home with Mr. Mustache, and ready for a whole new week of adventures.

As always, thanks for reading, friends!

Miles this year: 288.1

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Driftless adventures

Our first stop once we got back to Wisconsin was at Goose Island park.

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We put in, and headed out for a great paddle on the beautiful Mississippi River πŸ™‚
We stayed pretty sheltered, since the park is full of beautiful little water mazes, and we spent a couple hours exploring.

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It was a fun day to be out- hot, humid, and a fair amount of current, but very little chop. After we loaded up, we dried off, hydrated, and headed down to Viroqua via a beautiful country drive. 30 minutes of solid Wisconsin. ❀
A late lunch at the co-op, and 15 more minutes in the car led to one of my favorite spots, Camp Creek.

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We only had a couple hours to play down there, but I caught a few fish.

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I also took my very first fish selfie.

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I peeled off those waders, sat by the car, and ate chocolate cake while drinking an IPA. Perfection.
We packed up and drove the three hours to home, with just enough energy to unload the car from the home-Amherst-Milwaukee-Winona-LaCrosse-Viroqua-home trip, and collapsed into bed.
My Monday morning involved getting my first crown. I didn’t realize that young people needed crowns sometimes, so I felt pretty old when they told me I needed one. In order to lighten the mood, I wore a crown to my crown appointment.

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Yes, I love my crazy life.
As always, thanks for reading, friends!
See you soon!

Miles this year: 417.65

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