I’m a pretty nostalgic person. What I found awesome as a child, I find awesome as a grown up child. My pops, Greg/Sherm/Gregy/Popsicle/my doghters Gpa/Gregsie, was a land conservationist until he “retired” this year. I put that in quotations, because I recently spent a Saturday morning with him when he fielded a phone call from a farmer for a solid hour.
Anyways, because of his land conservationist ways and earth loving habits, we would spend countless hours together in the woods where he would be quizzing me, “What kind of tree is that” “Is that an invasive species or not” “Can you climb that” followed with a quick “Please don’t tell mom I had you climb that.” I didn’t tell her. Because to be fair, I loved/love being challenged, especially from my dad who is probably the most coordinated fella in all of the land.
My pops and I are a lot alike, but he is much more of a daredevil…He fell out of a haymow when he was a kid, cracked his skull, pole vaulted without a mat, fell off the roof when everyone was sleeping cleaning the chimney, raced snowmobiles, trick water skied. While I get pulled over for going too slow. Really, he’s rad.
Side note, when my pops fell off the roof, some 20ft or so, he shattered his ankle/leg…really just destroyed it, but he also managed to give himself a black eye from the landing. When the paramedics asked him how he received the black eye, because he’s Greg and doesn’t understand how to be in a bad mood, he told them that when Pam (my mom his wife) saw him, she took the bat to him.
But anyways, I love spending my time off figuring out if I can climb that, or if I can jump that high, heck, I even do that in the office. Luckily, Jarod, one of my forever friends sits near me at work, understands and accepts my shenanigans and is always supportive of me not being able to touch the ceiling wearing Chuck Taylors, but encourages me to always try again. Friendship.
So this past week I had the opportunity to reconnect with nostalgia and get outside. When my brother and I were younger our family needed to visit every waterfall that has ever existed in Wisconsin. And because my father is Greg Lowe, we needed to get as close as possible to the waterfall, so that was my plan, get as close to a waterfall as possible, and really, just be me for a minute.
Last year I planned a trip to the Porcupine Mountains…and then I canceled it, because life is tricky. So this year, I forced the time. It was ideal.
As most know, my internal GPS is ridiculous, and my ability to listen to an external GPS is equally as bad. Seriously, the guide spends the majority of her talking time telling me to please make a u-turn. I like to just “feel” out the right direction often. I’m rarely right, but they usually lead me to my favorite paths.
I moved to Boulder for a hot minute…twice. On the second time moving back home, feeling absolutely lost with life…I took an immediate wrong turn after fueling. It lead me to a huge field of sunflowers…again I love nostalgia. My grandpa, Hutch, once planted a field of Sunflowers out to our family land (where I was challenged to climb things) when I was super young. It was my favorite and thus started a love of sunnies. But, I took this wrong turn as a message of I was making the right choice…I was going home. Since then I haven’t really made wrong turns, just a ton of interesting choices.
I started my day with a few wrong turns to only be greeted by the coolest birch trees. Hi, again, I’m super nostalgic; my grandparents’ house had this beautiful birch tree in the front yard that had to be in every single family photo we ever took. Gosh, I love and miss my grandparents. Anyways…
I made my way to Porcupine Mountains, immediately saw a tiny trail off of a bridge, parked my car and just went. I didn’t get a map, because hi, I do what I want regardless, I was already too lost and had no idea where an actual ranger station was, and I just get too excited and go. Well I absolutely nailed it. This trail led me straight to Manabezho, Manido, and Nawadha falls! It was 50 degrees…but there is something I really enjoy about being cold and I tend to wear a stocking cap for 7 months out of the year. For some reason, the park wasn’t busy. I met about 5 people while exploring the waterfalls. Obviously, I say hello to everyone, unless they have a puppy, then I only say hello puppy and skip the owner, because again, I get too excited and forget my manners.
So I sped walked through the forest to get to the falls…to then create a path down to the falls…to then hop rock to rock…to get as close as possible without accidentally having to swim. To where I then yelled, “ Why is this a thing.” Because really, we live in such a cool world…and so much is just a day drive away.
I’m generally an anxious person about things. I know a lot of people that can handle driving on close to E, after the waterfalls I hit 120 miles left, yes 120 miles, and I started to get really uncomfortable. So I backtracked 20 miles to the town I knew had a gas station, filled up, and then went back to the mountains. I have the same feeling when eating Qdoba or Chipotle…really about four bites into my burrito bowl I’m already sad it will be ending.
I then stopped at every legal or legal-ish opening I could find to see Lake Superior and hiked Lake of the Clouds. It was perfect…for several reasons..
- There was no plan. There was no schedule. I was completely unstructured for the first time in a very long time. I was free to make as many wrong turns I felt was necessary. It was freeing.
- I found myself accidentally running so many times throughout the woods. It was one of the best days of exercising being unaware that I was making myself go farther just for the chance to see more.
- I didn’t fall in the water. I did, however, go in the water several times because there’s something wonderful about cold water and being able to make yourself cold
- I did a thing. I did several things. I saw new to me things.
So there’s my challenge. Do things, things that make you excited to accidentally exercise. Be alone. Be cold. Be without a schedule…even if it’s for a day, an hour, heck a few minutes. B
e ok with Celebrate wrong turns.