Oh Canada!

we took a great little vacation up into Ontario, Canada over the past week. we specifically visited Lake Superior Provincial Park, which is on the northeastern shores of the lake. we were hoping to spot some moose, but they didn’t cooperate. so we settled on some beautiful hiking and other wildlife. last summer we visited Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado. Northern Ontario had much the same feel with a very rugged terrain.

we decided to try some fairly intensive trails. we went on one trail around Trapper’s Lake that is designed to take 90 minutes. with a 5 and 7 year old, the time estimates should be thrown out of the window. this trail was not hard for Paula and me, but we could easily jump over a mud puddle to a stump sticking up an inch over the water that was 2 feet away. for JD and Ellie, this became a huge challenge. Paula and i had to really work hard to help them stay on course without falling in water, mud and muck. but, they did just fine. while we were in the park, we saw very few people. some trails (like Trapper’s trail) had no other people on them. we also took a long hike a long the Sand River. the hike took us over 3 hours, but we got to see 3 beautiful waterfalls along the way. we took another hike to Orphan Lake. we ended up on a cliff about 50 meters above the lake, which is about 100 meters above Lake Superior. from our vantage point, you could see both lakes and the view was just stunning. in fact, i have some photos you can view from our trip by clicking on photos above (or here). the Orphan Lake photo is a bit crooked, but Lake Superior can be seen in the background and it looks like hazy mountains or something far in the distance.

perhaps the funniest moment came from JD. i have to tell you, this little guy was having a heck of a time on trails. he fell more often than he wanted, that’s for sure and he made it a point to complain about falling. on one particularly flat part of a trail, he was overheard saying, “this trail is soooo easy. easy peezy peezy peezy pee” and just then he wiped out and scraped his elbow — also bursting into tears and crying. i don’t make it a practice to laugh when one of my kids gets hurt, but this episode was just too hard to keep my face straight. he won’t let us tell this story to anyone . . . yet, so keep this between us for now. ;~)

on the way back to the USA, we crossed over the 50 year old Mackinac bridge. it’s 5 miles long connecting Michigan’s upper peninsula with the lower one. we then took a high speed ferry boat to Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is pretty nifty as there are no vehicles allowed on the island. everyone either walks, rides bikes, or takes a horse drawn carriage. very neat. we stayed right downtown and had vies of Lake Huron and the bay with a neat lighthouse. we decided to rent bicycles on the days we were on the island. and, on our last day, we decided to bike around the whole island. this is an 8 mile bike ride and we did it with ease. after our long hikes, the bike ride was barely a challenge. the joke on the island is that they workder collect 10,000 pounds of horse manure each day. the island also produces 10,000 pounds of fudge each day . . . draw your own conclusions. here’s a photo i took from mainstreet this past Tuesday:

mackinac_mainst.jpg
everyone had a wonderful time and it was hard to return, but we managed. if things go well, we’ll be living in Italy at this time next year, so more good times are ahead.

10 YEARS

today was our 10 year anniversary. Paula and i hired a sitter and hit the town for a nice dinner and good conversation. it’s hard to believe we’ve been married for 10 years, but as i think back i can’t believe how much our lives have changed, most notably with Ellie and JD, but much else. 10 years ago i was finishing a Master’s degree and working at the KU Center for Research on Learning. Paula was working on her Ph.D. through the Center for Research on Learning (so, that likely explains how we met, eh?). We were renting a neat greenish house on Massachusetts Street not far from downtown. We soon bought a house on Cranley Street on the SE side of Lawrence. neither of us had any idea we’d end up in Michigan doing what we’re doing and here we are starting our 8th year at GVSU. that just blows my mind.

here’s to the next 10 years! CHEERS!