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What We Discovered on Our Belle Isle Adventures


During the adventures on Belle Isle, we discovered a beautiful green house and conservatory.

Since it was the morning of Thanksgiving, there wasn’t anyone else in sight. 

The whole island appeared abandoned. Although I’m sure in the warmer months, it can be quite the popular place to visit. 









The green houses seemed so eerie on this bitter cold day.




We also discovered what is apparently the oldest aquarium in the country.  Now I really want to go back and visit when it’s open!


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The BIG Hike


When planning a trip to explore the mountains, I wanted to include a hike; one we hadn’t been on before. On a quick search I found a trail to the top of Hawksbill Mountain. It was labeled as moderate, 2.2 miles round trip, with 360 views of the mountain range. That was the one!

During the drive up the the mountains, I spotted the mountain peak that this trail led to.  It stood out high among the mountain range.  It was going to be a big hike!

We traveled along the curvy mountain roads and before we knew it, the pavement ended and we were left with a road of dirt, barely enough for two cars to pass.  One side was against the mountain, the other side a steep drop through the trees. This hike was already seeming to be intense, and we were still in the car. 

Were we up for it?  I hope so, because no turning back now!

Eventually we saw the small entrance to the trail and parked precariously on the edge of the dirt road. The mountain top towered above us.  

Soon we would be on top. If we could make it!


The hike started off simple enough, a narrow cleared path through the trees with a small incline. The sunlight trickled through the autumn colored trees.

 But as we ventured on, the incline became steeper and steeper.



Every so often there would be a break in the trees. A glimpse of how high we were.










The hiking guide said the trail would become steep towards the end, so every time the incline increased I thought “We must be nearly there!!”

But on we hiked. 

Until we were scaling over rocks, almost straight up!

It was supposed to  be about 1 mile to the top. But had I read that right?  I second guessed myself as we climbed the rocks, almost completely out of breath. 





But soon enough, the ground began to level out and we found ourselves at the top, overlooking the vast Blue Ridge mountain range and the valleys below. 


The big hike was a success!  We spent quite a long time at the top, taking in the views.  

The hike back down was so easy, in fact, we were so pumped from the hike up there that we ran all the way down the mountain.  It took us over an hour to get up, but less than half an hour to race back down!

Now I am looking forward to even more big hikes!
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Weekly Journal: Snow Days at Work

Last weeks craziness at work was briefly interrupted by a snow storm.  

However, there were too many important things that needed to happen, so I braved the icy roads and made it into work instead of staying home.

The first snow day was fun, the few of us that came to work took a break for a snow day excursion to a coffee shop.

The second snow day was annoying, because still, only a few people came in but there was 12094369249 things left to do.



A few days later and it’s over 60 degrees and the snow is melting. It almost feels like summer. I felt so excited for spring weather that I almost started clearing out the garden in preparation. But seeing as it’s still January, and there was still snow covering half the garden, I decided to wait.


Let’s see what kind of weather next week brings. 


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I Went to Canada and All I got Was A Picture of Detroit


A Canada visit was planned during our week in Detroit. But time got away from us. Soon we found ourselves on the evening of Thanksgiving, leaving the next day.. It was our last chance to go to Canada.

I’ve never been out of the country before, and there Canada was, I’d been staring at it all week across the water front. A place I’ve often dreamed about moving to when things are rough here. I had to go.


We didn’t think about it too much, we just continued to drive, past our hotel, through downtown, following signs for Canada.


The Ambassador Bridge glowed eerily in the distance as we passed the point of no return.






After waiting in traffic we finally got to the border patrol agent. He asked why we were coming to Canada, we told him we had never been and wanted to spend a few hours in Cananda and take pictures. He replied with “DRIVING AROUND IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY IS NOT A DESTINATION. 

We told him we were visiting family in Michigan and wanted to visit Canada while we were up here. 
His Response: THIS IS NOT MICHIGAN.

He continued to grill us and I thought he was going to make us turn around, but then he finally said “Welcome to Canada” and opened the gate.


Had we really made it in? It didn’t seem real. It felt strange, my phone didn’t work, the signs were in French, the speed was in kilometers, everything looked slightly… Different.. But almost the same.

 Like an alternate reality.

We drove around for a bit, almost getting lost since I couldn’t pull up directions, but we eventually found our way to the water front and admired how pretty Detroit looked from the shores of Canada.



We felt like we were someplace we didn’t belong. We felt strange and out of place, like we had sneaked into the country! Probably because the border guard gave us such a hard time.
 And maybe because it was almost midnight by now.
Maybe it was because Windsor wasn’t a very exciting city.
Maybe because we didn’t plan anything out and had no idea what to do. 
Maybe because nothing was open at this hour of the night.

I stared across the water, missing Detroit.

We thought about stopping somewhere, getting some food, making the most of our Canada trip. But we mostly just wanted to get back to America, because part of me was paranoid they wouldn’t let us back in for some reason.


But this time it was much easier, no crazy questions, we breezed right through, we made it back.



So my first trip out of the country wasn’t anything like I had expected.   But now I am looking forward to a proper trip to Canada, one that is more planned out! 
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Snow Maze



Whenever it snows I just want to be out in it, exploring. Everything has a diffeernt look to it when its all covered in white. On the day it snowed last, I went exploring downtown. I wandered all over. 

Eventually I came to this little park I always forget exists. 

A little waterfall, with suspended concrete walkways all around.



Nobody was around as I wandered up the steps and navigated the little maze. With views of the snowy city all around.








It’s always interesting what you can discover, or rediscover, when you wander around. 
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Abandoned on Thanksgiving


It was Thanksgiving morning.
 On our own in our Detroit Hotel room, we didn’t have anywhere to be until early afternoon. 

It felt a bit odd, not rushing off to a family members house, to begin the day of eating. I felt a bit lost. What was there to do?

Explore Belle Isle of Course!


Down the interstate, we made our way through downtown, navigating around the parade,  then across the bridge to a small Island in the Detroit river between Michigan and Canada by the name of Belle Isle.

Belle Isle was originally referred to as “Hog Island”  due to the wild livestock that ran free on the island. However in 1845 the island was turned into an elegant and sprawling park. Many people worked on designing the park, including  Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in NYC. Some of my distant ancestors, the Campaus, also helped to design and build the park!

The little island holds walking trails, a greenhouse, an aquarium, an old lighthouse, and a lot of seemingly abandoned buildings. 


But on this frigid Thanksgiving morning, the entire island seemed abandoned.

 Forgotten by time.





These old run down buildings were part of a zoo that closed down many years ago,

















Belle Isle held so many interesting places to explore. We ended up spending a few hours there wandering around, when I only expected to drive in a short loop and then leave. 

I think Belle Isle is not actually as desolate as it appeared on this day.  I hope to go back and visit in the summertime to see how it comes to life. 

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Snow Garden


The snow that fell in December, quickly covered the ground and all the plants with a fluffy white coating. 

Even the dead remains of flower stalks that I never got around to ripping out of the ground. 

They’ve sat there for months, taunting me with their ugly selves, a reminder of yet another thing I need to do that there never seems to be any time for. A reminder of a once pretty garden, now covered in overgrown dead brown stalks. 


But today the dead flowers looked kind of pretty, as the snow clung to their dried husks.








The garden isn’t so bad in the winter, especially when there’s snow around.

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Weekly Journal: A Cleaning Fool



After many months of holiday craziness,  nonstop activities since autumn first began, life has begun to finally return to its normal state. 




I took five days off for Christmas. In the beginning I was very excited, but after five days of nonstop Christmas events, I could not wait to go back to work and have a normal routine again.

I took New Years Day off  and with the help of my new robot vacuum, I spent the entire three day weekend cleaning and removing clutter from the house. That was also an overwhelming few days, but I’ve been meaning to do it for ages so I’m glad to have finally started. 

This weekend has also involved more cleaning. (The more I clean, the more messes I seem to find!)  One of my goals this year is to breathe again. I’m allergic to dust, mold and cat hair, so with my little robot vacuum, and the new upholstery tool I got for my standing vacuum, I am hoping to keep the house cleaner than ever. So far it’s been going well!

I do love the holidays but this year really took it out of me! I’m looking forward to these slow winter months ahead. And having the cleanest house ever!
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What We Saw From a Detroit Train Car


Venturing to downtown Detroit for the first time. None of us were sure what to expect, or what exactly we were going to do.
Around and around we drove, everywhere was full, rush hour was just starting. Finally, a parking space appeared, on some side street many blocks from the center of downtown. 

Surrounded by the shadows of tall buildings all around us, I checked the map to see what was nearby. There was a stop for something called the People Mover, a sort of above ground subway; It sounded intriguing so we headed towards it. 

We found the entrance in the bottom of some old building, nobody was around and it looked a bit run down. We debated for a moment if we should just keep walking, but decided to go for it. 

Our change was traded for tokens. 75 cents to ride the train as long as you wanted.

We passed through the gate of the grimy little station and climbed the stairs to wait for the train. We stood in the cold until the little train car came, and we were soon to be amazed by the sights of downtown Detroit.


I didn’t realize how big Detroit was, I was quite impressed by the sea of skyscrapers in the city I was born in. I found myself loving Detroit more and more.


















We rode the People Mover to the Renaissance center and wandered around a bit on the water front. It was freezing cold so we decided the best way to see the most of the city without freezing to death was to hop back on the little train and ride it around and around.

The Detroit People Mover Travels in a loop around downtown with 13 stations. It operates above ground which is a great way to get a tour of the city as you explore different areas of downtown.

The People Mover was built in the 80s with very high expectations, but due to Detroit’s Decline, it never got as much use as was originally hoped.  Fortunately things seem to be looking up for Detroit in recent years so I am looking forward to seeing how this city grows!