Tag Archives: gear

What Can We Cram Into a Weekend?

Jason and I are pretty smart travelers. We’ve never forgotten anything major and we’re often fully prepared for the journey ahead. However, Jason and I are rather dumb pre-travelers. We do a stellar job of leaving ourselves with an insane amount to do in the days just before we leave on big trips.

I must commend us this time around, though. Instead of leaving everything for the day before we leave like usual, we’re trying to crank through as much as possible two days before. Progress  🙂

Friday night, we headed out for fish with the Brother-In-Law, Jeremy, and Jason’s grandpa Don. We went to what is fast becoming a regular dining choice for our family: The Main Street Family Restaurant in fancy, schmancy Palmyra, WI. We’re living large here, people  😉

Jason and I don’t frequent this diner for dinner, but we are huge fans of their breakfast. (And we satisfied that breakfast craving the very next morning  🙂 ) Friday night, it was all about fish.

Seriously, I need a better point-and-shoot camera for my dining adventures.

I enjoyed their three-piece breaded cod as did Jason. Jeremy and Grandpa had the beer battered cod. They also offered baked, but apparently only in limited quantities. They served the last of it to a table nearby. Each entree came with salad or soup, bread, and coleslaw.

Our only real complaint was the service. Jeremy and Grandpa being regulars, they know who the good waitresses are…and we did not get one. We waited an unacceptably long time for our soups and salads, refills were sparse, and the attitude was not appreciated. It’s not a make-or-break for us, since we know that most of the other ladies are really nice.

As for their breakfasts, they are AMAZING! I always get the vegetarian skillet, which is super yummy. Jason gets their ham & cheese omelets, and he absolutely LOVES their hash browns compared to anywhere else he’s been. If you like good diner breakfasts, you must stop here.


After breakfast on Saturday, Jason and I ran to the nearby Columbia outlet in search of some more vacation clothes. I scored some good deals and brought home a few new tops and, very excitedly, two pairs of shorts! I can never find shorts that fit me well, so it was a pretty big deal.

When we got back into town, we headed over to a wedding reception for our neighbors who got married in Las Vegas a couple months ago (Congratulations again Tommy and Laura!!). Then it was back home to get some stuff done before heading out for dinner. We picked up a couple of pizzas and drove out to the lake for dinner with Luke and Amy and their awesome 16-month old twins. They are seriously the cutest kids ever  🙂  They almost make me want one of my own, but…well, not really  😉

Today, we have been plowing through laundry like crazy. We broke for lunch at Jason’s dad’s place. As much as I didn’t want to face the mound of to-dos waiting for us at home, I really didn’t want to sit out in the sweltering heat any longer (it feels close to 100° out there  😯 ). When we got home, I wrote my weekly post for StudentBranding.com. And after this, I’m prepping some Yosemite 2010 recap posts for this week followed by completing that Yosemite 2010 scrapbook once and for all (no, I’m not done yet  😳 ). Then, packing. Sounds like a good time…


National Trails Day 2011

I switched our regular Sunday hike to Saturday in order to “celebrate” National Trails Day 🙂 . I almost regretted this decision as we were driving out of town, though. We had a little patch of rain headed our way. Luckily, the most we experienced was a minute or two of sprinkles. Then the sun came back out in full force 😎

So, our initial plan was to head out to one of our favorite trails in the area, the Scuppernong Hiking Trails. However, when we arrived, we were met with a full parking lot and people galore. Little kids were running around everywhere. There were people sitting around behind their vehicles as if they were tailgating. We knew this was not going to be a good place for us at all.

We figured we would backtrack to a less crowded area we passed. On the way, we noticed that the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail was pretty quiet. We have driven past this spot many times, but we’ve never checked it out. No better time than on National Trails Day!

Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail is a 1.5 mile loop trail. The area is home to wildlife, fish, and clean, clear springs.

I’m not a huge fan of nature trails, because, let’s face it, they tend to be rather boring. At first, I thought this trail would fit that trend. But it surprised me.

Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail

Equipped with my new hydration pack!
Yay for Hydration!

The first portion of the trail skirts the Scuppernong Marsh. Along the way, you come across a small portion of an old railroad bed that used to connect an old marl plant to a lime products warehouse in Dousman. There is still one wall of the marl plant standing.

Railroad Grade

Marl Works

I had no idea what marl is, but I learned that it is a lime-rich, grayish-white soil which was used as a fertilizer on lime-poor soils and as mortar in building construction. Who knew?

Just beyond the marl plant, we came to a small footbridge that crosses the Scuppernong River and leads to marl pits which were formed by the removal of tons of marl. We found what we thought was the trail winding between the marl pits. It really didn’t feel right, though. When we finally hit a dead-end, we knew we had gone too far in the wrong direction. Oops  😳

Crossing the bridge to nowhere.
Entering the Marl Pit

Watching the River

Marl pit.
Marl Pits

We worked our way back to the real trail and continued deeper into the woods towards the springs that feed the Scuppernong River. There are about six springs along the trail, although we only saw one. We took another side-trail, but Jason was convinced it led nowhere again. If we had continued, we would have seen the other springs. Guess we’ll have to go back  🙂

BUT, Jason did spot a turtle before we turned around! In typical Laura fashion, I wanted to take him (or her?) home  😉

New Friend!

Hello friend!

Getting closer to one of the springs.

Finally, we came across our first (and only) spring: Hotel Spring. It was super cool, because you could actually see the water bubbling up from the ground. My point-and-shoot just couldn’t capture it, so we took some video, too.

Hotel Spring
Hotel Spring

Crystal clear water flowing from Hotel Spring.
Pebbly Spring Flowage

The trail then took us back into the woods through an old cranberry bog area. It was super wet, but I managed to make it through with relatively clean shoes.

As we turned out of the parking lot, we were treated to one more wildlife sighting: Cranes! A little crane family was hanging out, babies and all. Sandhill cranes have lived in the marsh for centuries (probably not these specific cranes, though 😉 ).

Sandhill Cranes!


On the way home, we dropped by Paradise Springs, another nature trail that defies the odds. This was actually the location of my first “hike” with Jason – if a half-mile paved trail can constitute a hike  😉

The fieldstone spring house that was built in the early 1930s. The roof is gone, but it’s still a beautiful building.
Paradise Spring House

The small area is so peaceful. Jason and I walked around a little, watched the fishies (there is a pond stocked with brook trout for catch-and-release fishing), and sat for a little lunch.

Here fishy fishy!
Brook Trout

Brook Trout

Over 30,000 gallons of water flow from Paradise Springs each hour! It is “protected” by the spring house. We watched a stereotypical group from Illinois (note to my Illinois friends: I specified “stereotypical” here  😉 ) try to find the spring. They walked out from the spring house confused and continuing to look for the spring. Uh, duh?

Another great hiking trip and an excellent celebration of National Trails Day!

Did you get out to hike yesterday? Where did you go?


Yes. Yes I did.

Jason and I went to Mecca this weekend – aka REI – and picked up a few things during another one of their big sales. Tops on the list: hydration systems. We have both experienced what a pain in the butt it is to just rely on water bottles when hiking. Lesson learned.

Jason picked up a bladder to use with his huge backpacking pack. Since we will no longer be trekking from camp to camp, I don’t really want to haul my big pack on our shorter hikes. So instead, I bought a Camelback hydration pack, not just a bladder. But I had to make sure it went with my bag ensemble 😉

The front pocket is just big enough for my hiking needs. Plus, it has all sorts of little organizing slots. Love!

I plan on swapping out my side-slung North Face bag on our weekend hikes for the Camelback as well, so it’s not just for our vacation. While I absolutely love the bag and it’s a nice, smaller alternative to my larger daypack, it makes carrying water nearly impossible. At least that’s how I justified it to Jason  😉

Maybe it will make it’s debut this weekend for National Trails Day. You’re planning on getting out this weekend, aren’t you??

Thank you everyone for the well-wishes about my new gig with CampingGearTV, both here on the blog and on Facebook. I’m super excited about it, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on all the cool gear I’ll be trying!


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