Tag Archives: Wisconsin state parks

Nothing beats the love and support of a good partner.

It is Sunday, September 30th and I am writing this at Governor Dodge State Park campsite 349 in our dark green 1999 Dodge Ram conversion van. I backed up the van to the electrical hookup just like a huge RV instead of this little van and pushed the cord to my lap top out the little pop out window. The back bench seat folds down to create a bed big enough for Mike and I to lay side by side. I am lying here on top of the sleeping bags which are zipped together to create a sleeping bag for two, typing. I am not really comfortable but not uncomfortable either. I’m alone expect for the dogs. One dog, Angie is on the floor by the bed sprawled on her pet bed. Dean-o, the other dog, is up here with me. It was a trip getting here I’ll say that, deciding whether to come here or not. First it was yes, then no, then yes again.

A few days earlier.

The Love and Support of a Good Partner

the support of a good partner“Mike I want to drive up to Governor Dodge and hike. The fall colors are so beautiful. I can leave Sunday. Spend the night and come back Monday. That will give me two days of hiking. What do you think?”

“I think that would be great.”



Of course he thinks it would be great. He knows I love to hike. He knows I love Governor Dodge. He knows I am enthralled with the fall colors this year. And most importantly, he wants me to do what gives me joy. We could have come together. We could have left on Saturday and returned on Sunday because he would need to be back for work but since his health issues of arthritis and gout in his big toe he doesn’t enjoy hiking much anymore. Plus he’s not too big on driving even if it is only two hours. So I came up with this big bright idea all on my own for myself.

Saturday night, the night before I was to leave while lying next to Mike who was also reading, I set my book down and looked over at him. I realized I didn’t want to leave him. Yes, I love hiking and Governor Dodge but I don’t like leaving Mike.

“Mike, I’m not going,” I announced out of the blue.

“Why,” he asked turning to me placing his book spread open on his chest.

“Well, this book I’m reading is too scary. It’s about a woman who survives this rapist murderer and she helps get him sent to prison. He is getting out of prison and now he is going to be after her. It’s going to be one of those on-the-edge books where she is on step away from danger. I’m sure she will come out OK but the book is just too dark for me. And it’s scaring me now. Anyway, I don’t want to leave you.”

“You’re an independent woman. You can do this.” Mike picked up right away that the book wasn’t the real reason.

“Maybe, but it’s my choice not to leave you. So, you don’t have to think I’m not going because you are making me.”

“OK,” he said knowing full well it is of little use to argue with me.

With that I toss my book on the floor vowing silently to myself not to finish it and turn off my bedside light.

The next morning at around nine o’clock all of a sudden going to Governor Dodge didn’t seem like a bad idea. The sun was up and the scary thoughts and the sadness about leaving Mike have vanished with the night. After all I have to walk the dogs anyway and the fall colors are not going to be around much longer. All we need is one strong wind storm and they will all be knocked to the ground. What the heck I should go.

“Mike, I think. I’m going to go after all.”

“OK.” and with that he immediately sets out to get things ready for me. He remembered I wanted to take my hiking boots which were out in the shed. He got those and put them in the van. He got together the sleeping bags, a folding chair, flashlights, lighters and fire starters so I could start a fire. The day before when he thought it was a go, he went to the store and bought me some red grapes, pineapple, bananas and strawberries. Now that it’s on again he cut up the pineapple and strawberries, put them in containers along with the grapes and set them in the cooler he dragged out. He packed in some bottles of water.

“Do you want your salsa and chips,” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said not giving them a thought till he mentioned it.

“What about a Coke.” I looked at him quizzically wondering, should I?. I don’t drink soda at all but once a week we have a Coca Cola in little glass bottles made in Mexico with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. They are more expensive than regular Coke but worth it.

“Go ahead. Treat yourself.” I grinned.


I gathered together some clothes and put them in a backpack. I packed up my laptop and some books. Mike got the dogs food, their bowls and leashes. He put all this in the van. We were rushing around in a flurry to get me on my way. Within the hour I was draped over him in an embracing hug saying good-bye.

“I don’t like leaving you,” I said into his neck.

“You’ll be fine. You’ll be hiking,” he said squeezing me tighter.

As long as I thought I was just going for a hike it felt OK, but camping over night. I don’t know. We broke apart and looked each other in the eye.

“I could always come back after I hike,” I said with a sheepish grin. “Not even stay over night.”

“Just let me know so I can get my girlfriends out of the house,” he said. I punched him in the arm. “No, really, Janice, you’ll have a good time.”

“Well, you know I’ll be calling you.” I said as I got into the van.

So, I drove two hours to go hiking feeling apprehensive, selfish, guilty, silly. Many people do this kind of thing, I thought. They drive hours somewhere to do something they love to do. I don’t know why I should feel like I’m doing something so weird and crazy, so wrong.

About halfway there I smiled to myself thinking about the last-minute running around we both did just so I could go for a little trip out hiking in nature. How blessed I am. I am with a man who goes out of his way to help me get what I want out of life. I feel a fullness in my chest that spreads upward causing my scalp to tingle realizing what Mike did to help me get on my way. This is what a marriage, a partnership, is all about, isn’t it? Being a support, a catalyst for the other to ‘go for it’. Our marriage has had its ups but it is times like this that I understand how truly blessed I am. Nothing beats the love support of a good partner which colors my world as brightly as the fall colors.  My partner, my husband meets the seven qualities of an ideal partner that I found on Psychalive.    I just hope I do the same for him.  I hope I am an ideal partner for him.

And so I hiked for two days, four hours a day. I snapped pictures every step of the way. And, as it turned out, I had cell phone coverage even on the trails and called Mike often sharing little adventures with him. The first thing I did, after hugging Mike, was sit down and show him my pictures. I don’t know if they captured the beauty of what I was seeing. Being there and seeing the colors, inhaling the fall aroma and listening to the birds can’t be totally captured. I put a little slide show together adding some word values to a few of the pictures. Values that being on my hike, admiring the colors and having the support of Mike inspired. It took me quite awhile to put it together which is the reason for the lateness of the post. I hope you enjoy what I put together.

Peacefully Coexist

Running through the pine trails of the forest

My start to the new year was not something to be desired.  I woke up New Year’s day with the flu.  I stayed in bed all day and watched the snow falling gently outside my window.  I love walking when the snow slowly drifts down.  But not that day.  That day I tossed and turned and moaned.  But the day before, on New Year’s Eve, now that was a different day altogether.

Mike had gotten the flu the day before and was still recovering so Angie and I decided to go for a walk.  More like a hike, actually.  I choose Kettle Moraine State Park Southern Unit.

The temperature was in the upper twenties.  Nice and cool with the sun peeking out behind forming cirrus clouds.  A light dusting of snow covered the trails.  Frost coated the trees bare branches glistening in the sunlight.  As the day wore on the frost turned to gleaming water droplets.  Wet tree trunks stood out from the backdrop of the frosty branches sporting patches of mossy green.  Some oak trees held fast to last fall’s colors leaving bright patches of burnt orange.  Angie and I hiked almost five miles climbing and descending the glacial hills.  It was a most glorious time.  With one possible exception.

I was not the only one with this idea.  I never saw the parking lot so full.

“Look at all these cars,” I said to Angie.

Angie sitting in the car seat next to me like the little human she thinks she is, turned to look at me with her round yellow/brown eyes.

“Yeah, sure.  Let’s just get going,” she seemed to say.

I smiled and patted her chest.  When we got out of the car that’s when I heard it.  Gunshot.  It was hunting season.  I hadn’t even given that a thought.  I am not a hunting fan.  In fact, I don’t like it at all.   Were all these cars for hunters, I wondered.  I let Angie out and hooked her up to her leash as gunshots fired all around us.  Another car pulled in and I watched as two men got out and walked towards the trails.  They were runners.

“They’re not even wearing hunting colors,” I said.  “What do you think Angie?  Is it ok to hike or will we be shot.”

We started on the trail and a lone runner was headed in my direction.

“Hey, did you see any hunters?” I asked as he trotted past me.

“Just a few over towards the far end.” He said jogging backwards.

“Thanks,” I called after him.  I made the decision to go for it even though I didn’t bring our orange vests.  Angie had her pink coat on and I had a red hat.  That should be ok.  Shouldn’t it?  We would just stick to the trails.  I noticed most of the hikers and runners were not wearing blaze orange either.

And so we hiked.  I took pictures up the ying yang marveling at the beauty around me.  At last, I ran into a group of five hunters all wearing orange from head to toe sporting huge rifles.  We greeted each other as we passed.

I couldn’t get over how their orange clothing stood out in the forest.  If I didn’t think about what it was they were there for, it was almost part of the beauty.  The next hunter I saw I decided to take his picture and I did just that.

“Got your picture.” I said to the hunter standing in the path ahead. “Want to see?”

“I’m very photogenic,” he replied smiling.

“Well, I didn’t actually take a picture of your face.  See, your looking off into the distance.  You really stand out.”

“Oh, yeah,” he said as he looked at the screen on my camera.  Just then there was gunshot close by.  I jumped and said, “Oh my”.  We looked at each other briefly.

“Well, Goodbye,” I said shrugging still not acknowledging his gun or hunting at all.  I got a few steps away when I heard a walky talky crackle.  I turned around.

“Two hikers coming your way” came a voice.”

“Thanks,” said the hunter into what looked like a cell phone.  “We keep track of hikers,” he said to me.  I grinned and gave him a big enthusiastic thumbs up.

Even though I don’t like hunting, when I encountered hunters on my hike I didn’t give them my opinion or tell them they should leave Bambi’s mom alone.  I respected their right to participate in the activity of their choice. I don’t have all the answers.  And I am certain that I would not make a convert out of any of those hunters anyway.  They in turn respected me.  No one talked with me about hunting and they took care when hikers were around.  And I saw that the hunters were not angry because hikers were all over their “hunting ground”.  I think this is a fine example of peaceful coexisting.