Friday, June 29, 2012

Land of 10,000...

Steps????  Ok, I know that Minnesota is actually known for being the land of 10,000 lakes, but I think I took about that many steps hiking last weekend in MN.  Wow, did my legs hurt.

I have been missing in action due to vacation, busy work schedule and a surprise I will share at the end of my post.  :)  No peeking!

First off let's start off with some vacation highlights.  We (and Grandma Karen) went to Duluth, MN to attend a family wedding.  Of course, we went just days after they had received a record 8+ inches of rain in one days, which caused a lot of flooding.  Luckily, where we stayed was not heavily impacted, but there were definitely areas that had a lot of damage.  We could still see lots of debris in the streets where the water rushed down the hills, etc.  Anyway...

First stop Gooseberry Falls.  Because of all the rain, the falls were really rushing, but were also very muddy.  This was my kind of hiking, with blacktop walkways, etc. to take you to each fall area.  :)

Hope had her own camera with her to take photos, but I am pretty sure she only took pictures of flowers and butterflies.  :)

Then we drove a little further up the coast of Lake Superior to the Split Rock Lighthouse.  We toured the grounds and then took the path down to the waterfront viewing area.  Here is where about a quarter of the 10,000 steps comes in.  :)  These were the steps we had to go down to the waterfront viewing area (and even tougher climb back up).  Hope was a trouper and took each of them with us.  :)  You can't even see the bottom in this picture.

This was the first landing where you got a really great view of the lighthouse.  Of course, this is where Hope chose to inform us that she had to use the bathroom.  Good Grief!  We just told her to hold it because we were NOT going to come this far and not go all the way to the bottom. 

This was the view from the very bottom.  We climbed out on the rocks in the water and did a little exploring before heading back up.  Beautiful!

After this, we decided to go just a little further and go to the High Falls trail.  After going on the previous trails, we figured it would be just as nice a hike.  WRONG!  Again, keep in mind all the rain they had a few nights before.  Well, this is what we were hiking through...MUD!

It was a 2 mile hike to the high falls and I was hiking in FLIP FLOPS (this was early into the hike, it got much worse)!  I would NOT recommend it.  Hahaha!  We covered with mud and mosquito bites by the time we got back to the car, but we had a fun adventure we are still laughing about.

On the way to the falls, we met a group of hikers and asked if it was worth continuing on.  They said "Oh yeah, but only go to the high falls"  Of course that was another half mile further than the two-step falls.  So that is what we did.

When we got to the falls, the stairs all the way down to the viewing area had been washed away, so Joe climbed down and got some clear photos.  Well, it was amazing, but totally NOT worth the 3 hour MUDDY hike it took to get there.  Maybe I am just not that big of an outdoorsy person after all.  Hahaha!

The next day we just relaxed at the hotel since it was raining and it was the day of the wedding.  Joe's cousin Cassie and her husband Tom were married in a beautiful ballroom, which is also where they held the reception.  It was a great place to have a wedding.  Here is the happy couple.

Look at the details of the ballroom!  Oh my!  I loved it!

Here is Hope and Cassie chatting before dancing the dollar dance.  They talked about their American Girl dolls.  Cassie is a teacher and you could tell how much she loves kids.  They had a special kids meal, each kid table setting had a goodie bag just for them and...

..for kids of all ages...A PHOTO BOOTH!  It was SO much fun and I would recommend every wedding reception have one!  Everytime you did a photo session the machine would print two copies.  One for the bride and groom and one for the guests to keep.  This also served as the guest book.  The photo attendant would glue the picture into an album and had a silver sharpie pen you could sign well wishes to the bride and groom.  Such a cute idea!  Here are our photos below.  They had all kinds of fun props too.

The next morning Joe and Hope got up early to walk down to Canal Park and got to see the bridge go up to let some boats through.  She thought that was pretty cool.

Later we all drove down there and had lunch and walked though the museum and just as we were leaving we saw this...a horse drawn carriage ride.  So we decided to take a quick ride through Canal park.  It was fun and something none of us had done before.

Then we drove up to Enger Tower.  Again MORE steps.  Hahaha!

Hope and I declared were were officially done hiking for this vacation, but the view was worth it up all the steps to the top!  :)  Then we headed home on Monday morning.  Whew!  I don't know about you, but I am tired just reliving it.

Well, now for that surprise SNEAK PEEK of the July featured project for The Scrappy Gourmet.

Check back after July first for the full reveal.  Well, I am off to enjoy the rest of my day off!  Have a good one and stay cool!  We actually hit 100 degrees this week for the first time since 2006.  WOW!


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