Friday, November 6, 2015

Reasons You Should Start Riding a Fat Bike This Winter

I recently read a blog post on 10 Reasons You Should Start Snowshoeing This Winter by Tubbs Snowshoes.  It made me think.  As a long time snowshoer and as someone who started riding a fat bike this last January I started to think about why you should also start riding a fat bike.  While many of the reasons are the same as why you should start snowshoeing, here's my take on reasons to start riding a fat bike this winter (or really any time of the year).

Reasons You Should Start Riding a Fat Bike This Winter

Fyxation Blackhawk on the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) in Marquette, MI
Riding the Noquemanon Trail
Network - Marquette, MI
1.  You like to ride your bike. 
While many people continue to ride their road and mountain bikes through the winter, many people may not be comfortable doing this.  A bike with big tires, typically 4 inch or 5 inch really provides stability in snow and you'll just float when you ride on packed snow.

2.  Exercise
And who doesn't need to exercise.  Riding a fat bike just gives you another reason to go outside this winter.  Bundle up in your layers, grab a group of friends and head out on the trails or through your city.  Pound out a few winter miles.  Your body will appreciate it.  And you'll have a smile on your face the whole time you're doing it.

3.  New Friends
The Fat Bike community of riders out there are out there to have fun.  Each ride I've taken other people on fat bikes always want to have a conversation about fat bikes.  People who are not on fat bikes are curious about them.  Each event / race I've done people are supportive of each other and help each other out.  And eventually you get to know these people and they become fast and true friends.  I've probably made more friends in the last year than I have in the last 5 years combined.  And if you ever need advice... Just ask.  There's even a great Facebook Group, Fat Bikes, just for Fat Bikers to share information, share rides, and ask questions to.   You might even make a few new friends to ride with.

Fat Bike Group Ride from Fyxation Bicycles, Milwaukee, WI
Making new fat biking friends.  Group ride out of Fyxation.
Photo Courtesy of Nick Ginster (Fyxation)
4.  See the Magic of Winter
Riding a fat bike into the woods on packed trails (usually done by snowshoers or groomers) gets you out to explore nature with a whole new view.  The forest is magical in winter.  Bare trees, animal tracks to view, snow on the ground, the sun bringing it all to a sparkle.  You'll get to see the trails you ride all summer in a whole new way.

5.  Feeling Happy
With that smile on your face as you ride through the snow - there's no other feeling like it.  Maybe winter will become your favorite time of the year?  Bring friends along and the smiles turn into laughs.  Have fun in the winter.

Riding my Fyxation Blackhawk - the smiles never end
Smiles come naturally when riding my
Fyxation Blackhawk fat bike.
6.  Winter - Your New Favorite Season
I've always been a winter person but riding a fat bike made me love it even more.  Therefore, yes, this just might happen to you too.  Winter, that one season of cold and snow just might become your favorite.  Riding a fat bike on snow is not like anything you've ever ever done before.  As soon as the leaves start changing colors, you'll be dreaming of the white stuff falling from the sky.  And as soon as it does, you'll be out the door riding your bike with a smile on your face.

7.  You Might Want Snowshoes Too
Snowshoes make a great way to pack trails to ride a fat bike on
Snowshoes are a great way to pack
down trails to ride.
As I mentioned I'm a long time snowshoer and snowshoes are a perfect way to help with your riding.  Packed trails don't just happen by themselves, it takes something to pack them down.  And from experience when there's fresh snow, sometimes it is a type that needs to be packed first before riding.  I know there were days I'd wake up, grab my snowshoes, go for hike and then jump on my fat bike and ride the trails I just packed.  Bonus:  you'll get a double workout on these days.

Once you get on a fat bike you'll be asking yourself "Why didn't I do this sooner?"  I know I did.  The experience, the culture and the friends I made were all worth the investment into buying a fat bike.

And riding in snow is just magical...

"This first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event.  You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?"  J.B. Priestley

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Mountain Biking - Moab

Adventures in Moab, Utah

Over the last eight years I've gone to Moab, UT multiple times to either mountain bike, climb, hike or backpack.  Of all these activities I always have enjoyed mountain biking the most.

Riding Moab

Moab provides opportunities for riders of all skill levels, but does cater more toward people who have the ability to ride intermediate to advanced trails.

My most recent trip in September 2015 allowed me to continue to push my riding capabilities to new levels.  From starting out on trails I know well to stretch my legs after 20+ hours of driving from Wisconsin to dropping down loose gravel and tight switchbacks at 11,000+ feet.

Moab Brand Trails

Moab Brand Trails - Moab, UT
Moab Brand Trails, Moab UT
Day 1 - Arriving early afternoon on Sunday in Moab I quickly found a place to set up my tent at one of the BLM campgrounds along the Colorado River.  I immediately decided I needed to stretch my legs and choose what I consider to be one of the "easier" trail systems in the area - the Moab Brand Trails.  Now don't get me wrong, trails here are rated from easy to difficult.

I started off with stretching my legs for a short distance on the Bar M Trail (rated easy) out to the Rockin' A (intermediate) back to the Bar M to catch the North 40, a fun single track trail.  Finishing this off I was ready to head back to camp and relax.  I knew the next five days would include a lot of riding.

Amasa Back / Hamasa

Hamasa Single Track trail via Amasa Back, Moab, UT
Hamasa via Amasa Back, Moab, UT
Day 2 - I rode one of my favorite areas in Moab.  The first time I rode the Amasa Back jeep trail was in 2007.  Hamasa and Captain Ahab didn't exist.  You had no option but to ride the jeep trail - rated black for mountain bikes.  After years of riding that, last March 2015 I finally decided to do Hamasa and take the single track.  About half way up my rear brake went out and I had to bail and hike my bike back down 2 1/2 miles to the car.

Amasa Back Jeep Trail Overlook, Moab, UT
Amasa Back Jeep Trail Overlook, Moab
Redo - in September 2015 I went back and was determined to head back up Amasa / Hamasa to get to the overlook that I appreciate so much.  New bike with new brakes.  Nothing was stopping me.  The single track was a lot more fun than taking the jeep trail.  The view at the overlook was amazing as usual.  I have no idea how many times over eight years and multiple trips I've seen that view - it still is beautiful.  I'm sure I'll be back again in the spring.  

Klondike Bluffs Area

Klondike Bluffs Trails, Mega Steps / Alaska Intersection, Overlook of Arches National Park
Klondike Bluffs, Alaska/Mega Steps.
 Overlooking Arches National Park.
Day 3 - Over the course of eight years the Klondike Bluffs area went from a couple of trails that headed up to overlook Arches National Park to a full on trail system.  Each time I go back I get to ride new portions of this trail system.  From old jeep roads to single track to rolling flowy trails to climbs and drops to the overlook, it's a great place to explore.

Today I rode 18 miles getting ready to do the Whole Enchilada the next day.  It was a good way to make sure the legs were stretched out and continue getting used to being at a higher altitude.

Whole Enchilada

Whole Enchilada
Day 4 - Early morning round up at Chile Pepper bike shop to catch the shuttle to the top of the Whole Enchilada.  Excitement was in the air.  Everyone was chatting on the ride up about where they are from and where they ride.  I think one of the things I love most about coming out to Moab to ride is I always get to meet interesting and fun people and make new friends.  Today was probably no exception.  These people had interesting tales to tell as we took the ride up.

Riding up we left the red rock that surrounds Moab and headed up into the La Sal Mountains to get dropped off at roughly 10,500 ft.   Getting dropped off the adventure began.  31 miles of trail and 7,000 ft of decline ahead.  But first we had to climb Burro Pass to 11,200 ft.

Whole Enchilada, Burro Pass, Moab, UT
Burro Pass, Whole Enchilada
Once on top of Burro Pass I took a break to take in the surrounding area before dropping down the other side.  I had been warned the day before about the drop on the other side of the pass.  Loose dirt/gravel on a steep decline with tight switchbacks.  Tough - Yes.  I rode some and walked some of it.  Once I got down past this area I started to ride and felt pretty good with what was ahead.  Time to ride and enjoy.

And then it all changed...  I hit a rock with the side of my tire and put a big gash in the tire.  All I could hear was air coming out of my tire and felt my happiness with my ride disintegrate.  I put in a tube and found that it wasn't holding air, ugh.  After a while of messing around with that, my riding partner for the day and I had fallen pretty far behind the group of people we started with.  With the outlook not good for me with no tubes and a tire that had a cut too large for the Stan's Sealant to fix, I had to bail.  I hiked the bike to Warner Campground and started walking down the road.  Thankfully a great couple rode by with their truck and drove me and my bike the 30 miles back to Moab and Chile Pepper bike shop where I was able to get a new tire put on the bike.  A frustrating end to my day, but this is not the last time I will do this ride.  Next year I'll start at the Hazard County line and finish off the Whole Enchilada.  Never give up.

Dead Horse Point State Park

View from Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab, UT
View from Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab, UT
Day 5 - Eight years of coming to Moab and I had never visited Dead Horse Point State Park.  I learned in the last couple of years they put mountain bike trails in the park.  After the day I had previously and the 90+ degree weather, I decided to take a late day drive up and check out the trails and ride into the sunset.

Driving up the temperatures started to drop and were comfortable when I got there.  The sun was starting to sink as I took off to ride some of the trails.  As I was riding I realized that I was across from where I rode on day 2 - the Amasa Back trails. The view was just as good from here as it was on the Amasa Back overlook.  As the sun set I continued to ride and got back to my car just in time where I didn't need headlights on my bike.  What a great way to end the day.

Navajo Rocks

Navajo Rocks, Moab, UT
Navajo Rocks, Moab, UT
Day 6 - My last day of riding in Moab I decided to ride Navajo Rocks for the second time.  The first time I rode these trails was earlier this year and I really liked them.  It was a great place to ride and end my trip to Moab.  Riding on this last day I took my time to enjoy the desert surroundings.

I stopped and talked to a group of four riders, some of them on fat bikes, each of them with a unique story.  Two guys from the UK had just completed riding the Great Divide from Canada south.  The other two were a couple who were moving from New Zealand to Australia via fat bikes.  They were taking their fat bikes around the long way across continents to get to Australia. Their story was amazing.  I felt fortunate to meet these people and hear their stories.  It was a great way to end my adventure and my journey.

Amazing Moab

Moab always amazes me.  From the surroundings to the people I meet.  I think it's one of the reasons I continue to return to this place.  For eight years I've been visiting Moab and this is not my last trip.  Mountain biking, climbing and hiking - I will visit again.  It's a place to be appreciated.  A place to build great memories.  A place to just be...

To end this post I'll quote Edward Abbey from Desert Solitaire because it's fitting.  Desert Solitaire is written about this area of Utah and Arches National Park.  And this sums it up pretty well.

"A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles."  Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Reboot - Learning to Listen to Your Body

This weekend I've learned I need to listen to my body.  My initial plans were to do a second mountain bike race in the Wisconson Off Road Series (WORS) at the Reforestation Camp in Suamico, WI. I had a lot of fun last weekend racing at the Colectivo Coffee Bean Classic at Minooka Park and surprised myself with taking second place in my age category.

As it turns out my body had different plans for me.  I think it is trying to tell me I need a break and a reboot. In the past four weeks I had actually done three races

The 24 hour races were back to back and I didn't take a break in between, meaning I rode almost every day between the Riverwest 24 and the Wausau 24.  Though I had a team on the Wausau 24, my body took more of a beating in the 6+ hours I rode for the team.  I was beat.

Even with a weekend between the Wausau 24 and the WORS race, there was no rest.  On the non-race weekend I rode Saturday at John Muir and then Sunday a few laps at Minooka trying to figure out the course for the following weekend.  And of course this doesn't include riding during the week multiple times.

I've been known for pushing my body to the limits and this weekend it may have hit the limit.  It decided to provide me with a fever that is knocking me down.  It sucks!  And while I will sit here and sulk about it, I do understand that continuing sometimes to push your limits can have effects.  And I will listen.  I will give myself a break.  Only so that I can start pushing my limits again and ride my bike.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Riverwest 24 Hour Bike Race - My First Time

July 24th, 2015 was the 8th annual run of the Riverwest 24 Hour Bike Race that goes through the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee.  For years I've enjoyed the event from the sidelines: watching the riders, listening to bands, drinking with friends.  But this year was different.  I decided I wanted to ride in the race.

Jamis Quest Elite - Ready for the
Riverwest 24 Hour Race
About two years ago I bought my first road bike as an adult.  When I bought my Jamis Quest Elite I promised myself since I purchased a road bike, I needed to do the Riverwest 24.  The first year I was out of town on vacation and couldn't do it.  This year, I knew I would be home.  It was time.

Riverwest 24 Hour Bike Race - Solo

Riverwest 24 Hour Bike Race - Start Line
Riverwest 24 Hour Bike Race - Start
And not only was it time to ride this race, I decided I wanted to do it solo - ride my road bike for 24 hours.

I wanted to test my endurance, could I ride for 24 hours?  How could I perform against the riders who have done this before, some of them multiple times?  Could I get into my zone for that long?  I had no expectations except to ride as hard as I could for the entire race.  And lastly could I win?  Get enough laps and enough bonus points to come in first.  (Ok yes, I am a bit competitive)

Well the last question was answered the day prior to the race.  Unfortunately my dog had some health issues on that Thursday that caused me to change my game plan.  I needed to take a step back and focus on taking breaks throughout the race to go home and check on her.  Winning the race was out.  But all the other questions were still in play.

I changed my game plan for trying to get enough laps and points to really trying to test my endurance.  How many laps / miles could I do in 24 hours even when I knew I would be spending time off the course at home.

Riverwest 24 - the 24 Hour Riding Endurance Challange

The race started and I was off.  Riding with who knows how many countless riders.  The bikes, the people, the camraderie - this was fun.  Riding to the checkpoints was an experience.
Riverwest 24 Hour Race: Checkpoint 2
Riverwest 24 Hour Race: Checkpoint 2

  • Checkpoint 1 - I got my first of many punches to my manifest(s).  
  • Checkpoint 2 - my neighborhood, my friends punching my manifest, cheering me on.  
  • Checkpoint 3 - Twizzler Alley (they handed out Twizzlers to everyone riding by who wanted one), riding the Marsuipal Bridge.
  • Checkpoint 4 - where it all started, headquarters.  Time to start the next lap, get a new manifest, look at the scoreboards.
As I continued to ride into the evening I thought to myself "I feel good.  I can do this."  The adrenaline rush, friends always checking on me, the people, the neighborhood, and getting into the zone.  

And I did it.  43 times to be exact.  From 7 pm on July 24th to 7 pm on July 25th.  The Endurance Challenge was met.  I did it.  24 hours.  209 miles.  

From early evening, to night, to sunrise, to a hot day, to early evening.  What an experience it was.  I can't wait to do it all again.

Riverwest 24 Hour Race: View of downtown Milwaukee at night.  

Downtown Milwaukee at night.  I saw this many times as I rode through the night.  It was beautiful, calming and endearing to see the city I live in lit up.  

Riverwest 24 Hour Race.  Sunrise over the Milwaukee River.

The sunrise view out over the Milwaukee River toward Lake Michigan.  Such a beautiful sunrise it was on what would become a hot, steamy day.  Following this was a bonus checkpoint at the top of Resevoir Hill in which you were able to have a professional take a picture of you with the sunrise in the background.  I can't wait to see / get that picture.  Memories.

Race over.  24 hours of riding done.
Tired? Yes
Sore butt? Yes
Ready to do it again? Yes

43 Laps
209.10 Miles
6115 Ft of Elevation Gain

My first Riverwest 24 Hour Race was in the books.  

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."  John Muir

I kind of feel this is a good John Muir quote to end this blog with.  The Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee is diversified and unique.  It's amazing how this race has brought this neighborhood together for the last 8 years.  You do find that if you pick out one thing in the Riverwest neighborhood, it is connected to everything else.  It's what makes this neighborhood a special place to live.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Mountain Biking - Returning to the Dirt

I bought my first mountain bike back in 1995.  It was a rigid Schwinn Frontier - it was what I could afford at the time and before I knew anything better about mountain bikes.  (Before the days of when you could just "Google" it.)

1995 Schwinn Frontier
1995 Schwinn Frontier
For years I rode that bike.  It went with me when I left Wisconsin for North Carolina and then Florida.  I rode that bike along the ocean during low tide and high tide.  Brought it with me when I moved back to Wisconsin and took it on trips to ride in Acadia National Park in Maine and on the trails around Stowe, VT.

It's been on the John Muir trails and the Milwaukee River trails - it was my bike and it was fun.

Giant Anthem 3 Upgrade

2006 Giant Anthem 3
2006 Giant Anthem 3
Then in 2006 I finally decided it was time to upgrade to a full suspension.  After renting one in Vail, CO to ride down Vail Mountain on some blue and black runs I was hooked.  When I got home I started researching and talking to friends about what was a good bike.  I ended up finding a great deal on a Giant Anthem 3.  Wow, what a difference the full suspension made.  Riding John Muir with a full suspension versus a rigid was such a smoother ride.

Vacations were now going to be upgraded.  In spring 2007 I started making annual trips down to Moab, UT to ride the infamous slick rock and trails in the area.  Amazing.  Any where I went I brought my bike with me.  I loved riding this bike.  Every weekend you'd find me at the trailhead.

Riding Burnout

I did that til about 2012/13 and then I hit a wall and burned out from riding.  I still rode some but managed to not look at the bike like I used to.  I pretty much put it aside and picked up a new sport - rock climbing.  I kept looking at the bike thinking I should really get it out but just didn't have the desire.  I almost felt guilty for having it and not riding it.  

In November 2014 I started talking to and hanging out with someone who rode mountain bikes.  These discussions revived my guilt feeling for leaving my bike hanging in the basement.  In December I finally pulled the bike down and took it to the trailhead.  I'm so glad I did.  My burnout period was over.  It was time to start riding again.  But now what - winter was coming.  

Winter Riding - Fat Biking

2015 Fyxation Blackhawk
Fyxation Blackhawk
With winter coming and finally getting beyond my burnout period I wanted to keep riding.  To do so I bought a Fyxation Blackhawk fat bike.  It was awesome - riding in snow.  I was able to ride all winter.  And I even decided to try racing - something I was always afraid to do.  It was fun, I took home a few 2nd places and I was addicted.

Spring 2015 - Back in the saddle

This spring I took the Giant Anthem 3 to my local bike shop - Fyxation and had a tune up done on the bike.  New tires, new rear shock, new derailuer hanger.  Back in the game - it was time to head back out to Moab, UT and ride.  I didn't realize how much I had missed riding the slick rock.  But I did realize how much I needed to work on my riding to get back to the level I used to be at.  And I think my Giant Anthem 3 was starting to show its age of 9 years old.  Even with the tune up - I managed to do something to the rear brake when I was out there and had the brakes replaced upon returning home.  Then the next trip over Memorial Day weekend to ride the CAMBA trails I started to have issues again with the gears jumping all over the place.  I finally decided it was time for the next upgrade.  And that this bike would become my project bike.  Something to use to learn how to work on bikes and drive trains.

Salsa Spearfish Upgrade

2015 Salsa Spearfish
2015 Salsa Spearfish
It was time, I reached out to the owner of Broken Spoke Bike Studio who I made a comment to about a month earlier and let him know.  I did some research before contacting him and new what I wanted and could afford - or at least I thought I did.  

That conversation ended up going in a direction I hadn't thought it would and I happened to contact him at the exact right time and had an opportunity to upgrade the original upgrade I thought I was going to do.  I ended up getting a custom built bike that was built to race in the WORS (Wisconsin Off Road Series).  It was actually my dream bike.  Wow.  But now - I have a bike built for racing.  I've never raced a mountain bike.  And WORS is a pretty big series with some pretty serious competition.  Not like the fat bike races I did during the winter.  Do I do this?  This is crazy.  Do I do this?  I guess I knew deep in my gut the answer.  As I said above racing the fat bike was addictive.  Yes - I will do this.  Starting this August - I will race my new bike.  It's a little stressful, but if I could do the fat bike race, I can do this.  My goal for my first race - finish it.  

I'm so glad my burnout period is over.  I've been training by riding as much as possible.  Riding on dirt as much as possible and getting out with other people to get used to riding with a group.  Riding my road bike when I can't get out on dirt and working to push myself as hard as I can or as hard as riding in the city allows.  Yes, I'm nervous.  But I'll let the nerves drive me forward and get over my fear.  

"Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world."  John Muir

I'm going to keep exploring between the pines and looking for new worlds to explore whether it be hiking or biking.  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fat Biking - A New Winter Adventure

"Life is either a great adventure or nothing."  Helen Keller

How do you live your life?  Me - my life is all about the adventure.  And adventure for me typically means I've walked out the door and am on my way to do something in the great outdoors.

Seasonality doesn't stop me.  I do many of the same adventures year round.  Summer / Winter Backpacking, Rock and Ice Climbing (I need to more of these), Bicycling, Hiking, Snowshoeing and on and on.  I'm always open to trying new sports and activities and this winter is no different.  Over the last couple of years I've seen the occasional Fat Bike riding around in the winter and have always been intrigued by them.  Being a cyclist both road and mountain bike, this seemed to be a natural progression.  Well this was the year.

Fat Bike Leap

This was the year I made the leap.  After renting a Surly Pugsley for an afternoon I was hooked.  I knew I had to have one.  Two weeks of researching, talking to people who have them and expanding my knowledge of the Fat Bike world I found exactly what I wanted.  A Fyxation Blackhawk.  And lucky for me - Fyxation was in the process of moving their headquarters into my neighborhood.  I was able to walk down and get it set up for me.

Fyxation Blackhawk

Fyxation Blackhawk at John Muir Trails - Blue
Fyxation Blackhawk - John Muir Mountain Bike Trails (Blue)
My new winter adventure.

After a couple of days of waiting patiently it was built and ready to come home.  Waiting for that first weekend to ride was hard.  But once it arrived - I jumped on and never looked back.  I was hooked!  My bike, my FAT bike. I was riding a bike, in winter, in snow.  What could be better?

Fat Bike Adventures

To quote Dr. Seuss:

"Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all"

That's kind of how I felt (except substitute bike for ball).  Adventure awaited.

  • I rode in my first ever bike race and took 2nd place.  Then I immediately rode in my second race.  And I was hooked on the thrill of racing.  
  • I rode on the John Muir Mountain Bike Trails.  In Winter. On Snow.  How incredibly fun.
  • I took a road trip chasing the last of the snow to Michigan and rode at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and on the NTN Trails in Marquette.  
And I've met some of the nicest people along the way.  The Fat Biking community is incredible.  

The snow may be gone (or do I go in search of more snow?), but the Fyxation Blackhawk will not be going into hibernation.  I'm sure there may be a summer adventure along the way where I'll want to ride a fat bike.  

"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt."  John Muir

Or in this case snow.  But whatever you do - get outside and find your own adventure.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ice Age Trail and the First Snowfall

Over the years I've probably visited and hike the Ice Age Trail like what feels like a million times.  There are areas I can go to and know every little turn, rock and where to find the hidden gems.  Today was one of those hidden gem type of days.

First Snowfall on the Ice Age Trail - 2014

Each year when we get our first snowfall I tend to steer myself to the same section of the Ice Age Trail in Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest.  The section that runs north from Mauthe Lake Campground can be magical in winter.  And over the years, I've noticed that this is the one section of trail that I like to do solo (or with my dogs) in the winter.  I have a spot by one of the three creek crossings that I find is a great place to take a break, think about things and sometimes try to put things into perspective.  The serenity it provides is something you'll not find in the city or our daily on the go lives.  Part of it is because of the beauty of the spot and the calmness the creek provides.  And part of it is the ability of the place to let the mind go free and let your imagination roam.  It's that power of nature that provides a calming sensation and prepares me for what may come.

Yes it was the first snowfall last night.  And yes, I went back to my favorite spot today.  I was fortunate enough to only have to share it with the deer, squirrels and rabbits today.  I now feel relaxed and refreshed after having the ability to look at the forest in a fresh layer of snow and my spot on the burbling creek.  And I feel a little more ready for what's ahead.

Ice Age Trail - Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest
First snowfall on the Ice Age Trail Creek Crossing

Ice Age Trail - Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest
First snowfall on the Ice Age Trail Creek Crossing
The power of the imagination.  What do you see?

Ice Age Trail - Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest
First snowfall and my trail companion
"Everybody needs beauty...places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike"  John Muir

I hope you all have similar spots you can go to and if you're lucky that means you'll be in nature.

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