Nature and family have always been side by side for me. Living in Michigan we are surrounded by beautiful parks, forests and lakes which my family took seriously! Growing up I would spend time hiking, digging, driving and discovering with my two siblings and a vacation meant we were headed off to a lake, the UP, or to some campground on the water.
My dad lives near Lake Michigan and inspired my love of fishing. My Grandpa Austin gave me the love of birds, calling us his little chickadees and keeping his backyard feeders full. He had a large garden and always had a love and respect for nature.
My mom and Grandma Phyllis are part of a large family who take camping to a whole new level. I remember a mixed bag of Great Aunts (my Grandma has nine sisters) and a whole lot of cousins racing to the beach, riding our bikes like crazy, relaxing in front of a campfire, playing bingo, playing Marbles (like aggravation, only wooden and a lot more yelling) sharing childcare and meal prep responsibilities and probably learning a cuss word or two. We would earn pennies for cleaning up the camp site and a cousin or two would end up with Poison Ivy or swimmers itch.
We would go mushroom hunting for Morels in the spring and play a game of who could follow Grandma around the longest. I swear she can smell them in the air. My sister would usually fall in dirt, a small creek or mud while my brother would knock down dead trees somewhere in the forest.
My first trip to the UP (Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for those of you not from around here) changed my life. I had been able to visit Mackinac Island a couple times before finally making the trip over the bridge as a high school freshman. My family camped at a number of beautiful campgrounds stopping for a day or just a couple hours to explore a river, awe inspiring waterfalls, pristine wilderness and the most expansive forests I had ever seen. We visited our Aunt Marvel and Uncle Larry (one of the Great Aunts from my Grandma’s Family) for about a week at their cabin on Nevins Lake. We fished, learned how to tie different knots in the fishing line, saw loons, pike, hummingbirds and the most amazing views of the stars. We found waterfalls and hiked up the shore of Lake Superior. The finale of the trip was the day we spent camped out at the Porcupine Mountains State Park. We hiked to Mirror Lake and back to Lake of the Clouds where a cloud descended on us as we relaxed on a stone overlooking the park. It was surreal and beautiful. As soon as we left I knew I wanted to go back and I needed more experiences like that in my life.
College presented a whole new adventure with nature. I am an MSU alum and love any chance I have to go back and visit the beautiful campus. Although I was a journalism major I managed to squeeze in a couple of courses to keep my love of nature alive. Forestry and Astronomy were both challenging and a perfect break from all the writing and political science courses I was taking. My long time boyfriend and I enjoyed a few awesome college vacations (cheap or free trips with family) to the UP, (turns out he has family up there too!) Mackinac Island (where we got engaged) and to a few friends’ family cottages.
After college I married my high school sweet heart and we set off to start careers, a family and traditions of our own. We now have two amazing kids who both love nature and are so excited about the animals, plants and environment around them.
Our blog is to hopefully remind you of the inspiring and fun natural beauty we are surrounded by and how fantastic it is to share that wild spirit and encourage it in our children. We hope to offer simple ways to enjoy the outdoors, information about birds and wildlife we encounter and ideas for trips and excursions you can take with your family!
Talk to you soon!