Washington Island 2014

A couple of weeks ago, Sofie and I headed to Washington Island for our annual weekend getaway with Bella and Charm. To sum it up, it was amazing. We had 3 nights and the most of 4 days to relax and explore.
Here are some of the highlights…

• We hiked Rock Island the first day and walked/jogged the 5 mile trail, of course exploring the shore or whatever else caught our eyes along the way.

• What made this trip extra special was that some friends who frequent the island were there with their horses. Because of this, we were able to explore off the road and really see the land.

• We rode about 24 miles total on the road, in the water, through fields, meadows and along the shore. We also happened on trails through the woods with ferns and even hidden sand dunes in the middle of the island.

• We went to the annual Death’s Door BBQ Competition. We rode the horses there and tied them to trees while we sampled some delicious food. Then, we rode over to Main Street and got a couple of beers horseback.

• We picked about 6 pounds of wild blackberries. After eating our fill, I was able to bring home enough to make blackberry jam to enjoy in the months to come.

• When it comes to bugs, there are only butterflies and dragonflies on the Island, or so it seemed.

• The most frequently asked question of the weekend was, “Do year hear that?” To which the other would respond “I hear nothing.”

• We ate a lot of good food and drank some good drinks.

• We enjoyed our traditional Black Velvet at the Fiddler’s Green.

• The horses behaved like old pros. They were patient, went through anything and everything we asked them to and did not tire (except for some ouchy feet on the hard road). Charm in particular was totally in her element. She was happy and forward.

• I ended up selling my saddle on the Island. I’ve had it for sale since February and now it’s gone! Who could have guessed that would have happened?

• One night we laid out a blanket around midnight and looked at the stars all while enjoying some gourmet popcorn.

• The weather was perfect. Low 70s, mostly overcast but not dreary. Ideal when you’re riding all day!

• We had this ridiculous giant white truck for the weekend. The thing was so loud people would make comments about it to us … oops. We named it “Great White” for the weekend. Totally redneck.

• We had no schedule!

• And lastly, we became experts on Snoants and Cincolizards. I will tell you all about them sometime…

Till next year!

Here are some of the pictures that sum it all up…

IMG_7998-0.JPG

IMG_7997-0.JPG

IMG_7999-0.JPG

IMG_7995-0.JPG

IMG_7994-0.JPG

IMG_7991-0.JPG

IMG_7993-0.JPG

IMG_7992-0.JPG

IMG_7990-0.JPG

IMG_7711-0.JPG

IMG_7989-0.JPG

IMG_7712-0.JPG

IMG_7679.JPG

IMG_7649-0.JPG

IMG_7642-0.JPG

IMG_8003.JPG

IMG_8004.JPG

IMG_8002.JPG

IMG_8001.JPG

IMG_8007.JPG

IMG_8008.JPG

Advertisements

Extreme Trail Riding

On our recent trip to Washington Island, Sofie and I were on a short trail ride before dinner and decided to investigate some gravel roads. I was looking at the GPS on my phone and I could see that the gravel road lead us to a shortcut and would cut our ride time in half instead of doing a big loop.

20130903-164437.jpg

The gravel was a little tough on the horse’s feet so we were hugging the sides of the road as much as we could. It was a gorgeous day. We were both in tank tops and sunglasses.

After walking and talking for a while, we both looked up to see that our gravel road had ended.

Confused, I referred to my phone and something wasn’t right.. it said there were roads, but apparently there weren’t any roads. Well, the woods was clear and inviting, so we decided to take a stroll to see what we could find.

We walked through the shaded woods and enjoyed the beauty that surrounded us. Nothing was around, just nature, us and our two horses.

Soon, we came upon another road that seemed abandoned and was overgrown. We followed it and it seemed to match up to a road on my phone that we were suppose to follow: the shortcut. We happily followed our new road and had to dodge some sticks and branches as they came flying past us.

20130903-164528.jpg

There was talking, silence, joking, you know.. just enjoying the moment.

Then, we looked up again to see giant trees that had fallen across the road. It almost seemed like someone was logging, but never picked up the fallen timber. These trees were huge and I wasn’t too sure that Charm and Bella would have been able to safely navigate them.

Referring to my phone again I saw the main road we needed to get to, wasn’t that far away, so we decided to dive into the woods again and attempt to bushwhack our way through it.

It started out okay, but soon the woods got thick with various heights of footing and fallen timber scattered randomly around us.

20130903-164535.jpg

You want me to walk through this??

Now what?

I felt we were too far in at this point to turn back. Plus when looking at the map, the road we needed to get to didn’t seem that far away, so we kept going.

We were jumping fallen tree trunks, stepping over fallen brush, climbing small rocky hills. I kept having visions that I was with Man Tracker and was looking for the prey! But no, we were just somewhat lost in the middle of the woods on Washington Island.

20130903-164543.jpg

Those are some tall trunks!

20130903-164600.jpg

Charm was content to take a break with her feet down in a little hole.

20130903-164552.jpg

Sofie was getting a little too adventurous!

20130903-164612.jpg

HUGE uprooted tree that had pulled up some stone with it. Kinda freaky.

After things got really thick, we both eventually jumped off and led the horses through. Since we were just going for a leisurely ride, we had both just had our lead ropes and halters on the horses, which was perfect since we were asking them to navigate such compromising terrain. Now we could easily lead them through without possibly getting a bridle stuck on a branch or something like that.

20130903-164605.jpg

Is this ridge possibly part of the Niagara Escarpment?

It seemed to go on and on forever. But I think since we had to find horse friendly spots to cross the fallen trees and massive piles of brush, it just took longer than it would have if we were just on foot.

I think the most frustrating thing was that we could hear cars going by on the road.. it wasn’t far away at all, but we just couldn’t seem to get there. Every time we had to go around a fallen tree, we would end up going south or west when we needed to keep heading east.

20130903-164619.jpg

Ugh, yes we made our way through this somehow.. We have the world’s best horses!

Finally, which seemed like an eternity, we saw a car through the trees.. the road! It wasn’t a straight shot out of the woods yet, but at least we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

20130903-164626.jpg

It cleared out just before we found the road. This was a little more swampy.

Finally we got to the road and breathed a sigh of relief. We both got dismounted our horses and looked them over for wounds and cuts. Charm had one one her hind end, but it was nothing serious, just a scrape.

We ate a snack that we had packed and followed the newly blacktopped road north on the shore and took another stop at a beach. Of course we had to run the horses on the sandy beach and take a few pictures.

20130903-164636.jpg

The east beach… finally! Only a little over a mile until home.

Then we headed back to camp, tired and sweaty. We earned our showers and also a delicious dinner of odds and ends plus a delightful and entertaining night out at the Fiddlers Green with some fellow camping horse friends.

I’ll never forget this day and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat!

My visit to Rock Island, Wisconsin

DSC_5187

Rock Island Shoreline

This past weekend I was able to escape for a couple nights for the annual Washington Island trip with the horses. This year, Sofie and I decided that we were really curious about Rock Island and wanted to spend a little time discovering it. We were able to catch the noon ferry ride over and hiked around for a couple hours trying to soak it all in.

Cars aren’t allowed on the island, or bikes. So we walked with the other tourists that were enjoying the beautiful day. There is a campground on the island, and I would actually like to camp there sometime. They are primitive sites, but it would be an awesome adventure.

Here are a few pictures that I took during my short visit. I’d like to go back, and am trying to convince Adam that a night in October would be perfect (fall colors? yes please).

I hope you enjoy these pictures. It wasn’t the best time to shoot since the sun was shining high, but I think you’ll get a flavor of what the island is like. Please click on the picture for a better view.

A hint of fall.

A hint of fall.

DSC_5188

The typical trail on the island. Only foot trails, no bikes allowed.

The typical trail on the island. Only foot trails, no bikes allowed.

Fliterary Butterfly

Fliterary Butterfly

DSC_5191

Loving all the different colors and textures.

DSC_5259

The gate at the top of the hill.

The Island Boathouse. The first thing you'll see upon arriving at the island.

The Island Boathouse. The first thing you’ll see upon arriving at the island.

Washington Island in the distance

Washington Island in the distance

Gorgeous ground cover, including thyme.

Gorgeous ground cover, including thyme.. it smelled amazing.

Rock Island Lighthouse (Pottawatomie Light). The oldest lighthouse in Wisconsin.

Rock Island Lighthouse (Pottawatomie Lighthouse). The oldest lighthouse in Wisconsin.

The steps leading to to shore below the lighthouse.

The steps leading to to shore below the lighthouse.

DSC_5229

The top of the Boathouse, Viking Hall.

The top of the Boathouse, Viking Hall.

These Saddled Prominent Caterpillars are an invasive species and are defoliating the island hardwood trees.

These Saddled Prominent Caterpillars are an invasive species and are defoliating the island hardwood trees.

Fiery Searcher Beetle. This guy is also called the Caterpillar Hunter and aids in the caterpillar control. The only thing is they probably need about 10,000 more on the Island.

Fiery Searcher Beetle. This guy is also called the Caterpillar Hunter and aids in the caterpillar control.

More pretty groundcover with a rock hedge.

More pretty ground cover with a rock hedge.

DSC_5264

We are hiking back down the hill. It was around 2pm and a gorgeous day. Washington Island is in the distance.

DSC_5246

Trying to notice the little things.

DSC_5232

There really wasn’t a bad view anywhere.

Washington Island 2012

Last weekend I managed two nights away from the husband and kids for a quick trip to Washington Island with my good friend Sofie and our horses. We had a wonderful time.

The weather was predicted to be cold, cloudy with “ice pellets”. Nice.

Actually we lucked out because none of that really happened. For the most part it was sunny and in the 50s and low 60s.

We stayed in a really cool cabin at the Washington Island Campground.

It’s technically a “shelter”, so there’s no heat, but there was electricity with a microwave, mini-frig and a sink with cold water. Luckily we were able to borrow a space heater from the lodge otherwise we would have been a little cold at night.

Here’s the view of the inside. Sofie slept in the top bunk:

And I slept in the loft. It was kinda scary climbing down those steps first thing in the morning. But it did feel like I was in a tree house.

The horses were right down a little path in a pen. We could see them clearly from our cabin window. This is what we woke up to each morning:

The horses were eager, ears pricked forward when they heard the cabin door close and nickered for food. I suppose they aren’t used to depending on humans for food since they are on pasture this time of year. It was nice to feel that connection from them.

The first day we took a nice little ride down the road for a couple hours and then headed back to the cabin for steaks, green beans and potatoes on the grill. Then we watched a movie and had some wine, cheese, and venison sausage with crackers. (That’s a lot of food?? Yeah.. but we rode A LOT we can afford to eat that good 😉 )

The next morning we ventured out for a nice breakfast and a special coffee drink from The Red Cup (it’s the place to go for coffee on the island). After that, we played with the horses, packed our lunch and left for a long ride that lasted most of the morning and afternoon.

To avoid the north wind, we decided to ride to the southern shore to the beach area.

We ate our lunch at the picnic table, met some very nice people from Taiwan (believe it or not!). The horses decided to have a snack too and were fighting over grass. Bella was trying to steal it out of Charm’s mouth. They crack me up.

Then we rode in the water and the horses had loads of fun splashing around!

The sky was awesome. There were small rain showers around that provided dramatic clouds and interesting lighting.

We did get stuck in the rain a few times and had to find shelter under some large pine trees in the woods.

Here we are waiting out the rain… but still smiling…


We looked around and realized it was a gorgeous part of woods we were in.. so of course we had to take pictures. Sofie first…

Then Charm and I. The funny part was, I wasn’t too sure about jumping the log on the way out. You see, there was a small hole on the other side and I wasn’t sure if Charm would fling her back legs up and launch me into a tree.. but I decided to trust her and see what would happen.

Hanging on and trusting my horse at the same time! Aaaaahhh!

Was that all Charmer?! I can see she wasn’t too worried.

We made it back to camp and got ready for a fancy dinner out. We went to this place called the Sailors Pub. It was right on the water and served delicious food! Sofie had roasted duck and I had lobster in vodka sauce with some homemade pasta with cheese inside. This place was fantastic and is known for it’s view of the sunset. Check it out:

After dinner we decided to check out a place called the Fiddlers Green. An eclectic place on the northern part of the island.

There, we both enjoyed a Black Velvet.. Strongbow with Guinness on top. We drank our dessert! It was a fun and cozy place to go!

The next morning we decided to drive around the island for a little while to see the sights before heading for home. First we had to stop at the Red Cup again for a coffee and we headed north to the Stavkirke, the Norwegian church on the island.

Here we are!

Then we headed over to School House Beach and had fun with panorama photos!
After one last trail ride, it was hard to say good bye, but we had to get back home to our families.

The horses traveled really great.. especially considering the ferry was rocking and rolling on the way home once we got into the open water. It was really windy.

Till next year!

Running the Beach on Washington Island

Every girl’s dream right??

Check out that round canter!!! ❤ Go Charmer!!

Sofie and I recently took a trip to Washington Island with the horses. We crossed the ferry and enjoyed trail riding on the island for three days.

We had an absolutely AMAZING time. The weather wasn’t the best, but we made the most of it. The campground is set up for horses and was very accommodating.

Through this trip, I fell in love with Washington Island. It’s still preserved and not as touristy as the rest of Door County. The roads are quiet, lined with ferns and wildflowers. I would love to make this a place I frequent.

Yellow Lady's Slipper

Horsetail

Indian Paintbrush (notice the little spider in his web too!)

Rocks on School House Beach

Luna Moths getting romantic! For those of you who know me well, you know how excited I was to see these two!

The male is on the left with the thicker antenna.

Sofie and Bella enjoying the tree covered road.

The Stavkirke (Norwegian Church)