Great Places & Awesome People

Our time off really does make everything worthwhile! We are able to explore some great towns in Northern Minnesota.  Last weekend we headed to the Chippewa National Forest to discover "The Lost Forty."  A couple that visited Voyageurs a week or two ago shared about "The Lost Forty" and we thought it sounded a lot like something that we would be interested in so we planned a day trip to check it out.  Navigator E took us through the little town of Effie, MN- they had a wonderful wayside so of course we had to stop but I didn't mind because the little store had clean bathrooms.

E ALWAYS has to read those darn signs!

While we were there reading the waysides there was this couple geocaching.  I didn't really know what they were talking about at the time so we couldn't offer up any help.  However, I am so late on this-there are over a million caches and it would really make our roadtrips more fun for me!  I am considering investing in a GPS.

We also stopped in Big Fork small little town- a lot of closed shops indicated that the city may have seen its prime.  I love the cutouts so of course we had to pull over and take a picture- excuse the obnoxious size...I just think its so funny! 

Love this picture...of course my fish is bigger!

The turn off for our destination was near Dora Lake.  We pulled over to take this awesome shot of the pelicans.  It is so surreal to see this beautiful bird on Northern Minnesota lakes.

Dora Lake Pelicans
The Lost Forty turned out to be a great little hike with interpretive signs along the way.  The trees were beautiful. 

Pretty Big Trees & Smile

Favorite shot looking up into the canopy

On our way out.

E being E...most always has to take a different route home.  You know- you never want to be too predictable the enemy might be watching.  So on the way back home we took Highway 2 east and had the opportunity to see what Lake Winnibigoshish was all about.  First off, this building was along Highway 2...E is currently seeking an architect who can build a huge walleye house for us.

Our dream home.

Lake Winnie is huge!  You can't even see across it, we were so surprised when we pulled in because there was one truck/trailer in the parking lot otherwise the boat launch was empty- and we couldn't see a boat for the life of us.  But we hung out awhile and enjoyed the view.

Family Picture.
 Our lifestyle choice has certainly presented many opportunities to meet amazing people from all over! 

That couple that I mentioned earlier looking for a cache in Effie.  They were signed up for tours on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  It was fun to see them each day and learn of their geocaching challenges and successes.  We chatted a bit each day and I really enjoyed meeting them.  

Not to mention the faces we see in our own little community of Whispering Pines.  Our neighbors Rich and Kathy are from Colorado and are wonderful!  They are a young retired couple and have taken advantage of living here in the north woods.  They have kayaked much of the lake, Rich has learned fishing techniques for walleye and northern, Kathy is a domestic goddess- she's a great baker and seamstress.

I just recently met my favorite visitors of the summer thus far.  Dennis and Karen are a married couple that have been RVing full time for 3 years.  They too are a very young retired couple looking to conquer the world.  Dennis and Karen met at a classical concert in Budapest in 1998.  Dennis is from Colorado and Karen  is originally from South Africa.  She has the most precious endearing accent.  I really enjoyed chatting with them and appreciated them being so open to share their story.  They are on E's Kettle Falls tour today.

Other than that the time has come to start thinking about our next move and where we go from here.  So we would appreciate all the prayer and positive thoughts to find something that fits with our schedule leaving Voyageurs, fits E's career goals, and is all a part of God's plan. 

E, J, & Loaf


Feeling Blessed.

We didn't get around to update the blog last week because we had little to write about with a quiet week and the news of a visitor we had our mind elsewhere. This week we are feeling super blessed and have more things to share.  So with the heat so crazy and my facebook post about not having a use for this weather because God didn't give me a hot bikini body....I thought I'd enlighten you with all the wonderful things I have been blessed with instead!

God didn't give me a bikini body but he gave me an imperfectly perfect Love.

It is already July, and we are still feeling so blessed to have the opportunity to live in Northern Minnesota.  The love shack has brought different challenges, so has "working" together, and other influencers- but all in all we are enjoying the time we have together living in the north woods. 
The Lady Slipper Festival was the weekend before last and we signed up for the first annual 5K.  It was a crazy morning weather wise but the rain held off for the 30 minutes it took most everyone to finish.  Ethan received the 2nd place ribbon for his are group!

Handsome Love with His Ribbon
Later that day he caught a sucker which is an ugly fish but rarely ever caught...he's so awesome.

Cute Dude...Ugly Fish 
E is also a pretty awesome dude because he wants to see everything and do everything!  It gets a little annoying when he reads every wayside sign and takes every piece of literature at rest stops.  But he takes me along for the ride and most everywhere has something magical about it!  For example he took me down Ash River to the Falls just yesterday!  It's outside the park but such a great place to visit.

Absolutely Gorgeous!

Voyageurs National Park is such a beautiful place that even Darius Rucker's crew is up here experiencing all the natural beauty from a houseboat!
God didn't give me a bikini body but he gave me the most supportive best friend a girl could ever find.

Steven came to visit, it was so good to see his face.  I might add that it's a whole lot thinner but that's because he has crazy self discipline.  Just another reason why he's so great!  He arrived last Friday and we had the opportunity to take him around the lake so we stopped off at Hoist Bay.
We tooled around Namakan and then hit up Ash-Ka-Nam for pizza.  Their pizza is fabulous but their service is gawd-awful!  Anyways back to my Steven and his wonderfulness.  It was great to catch up on things and business!  I love following the GT world and am looking forward to the possibility of more sales calls with him later this summer.  I think Steven's energy for free enterprise fuels my excitement for it so hopefully we're able to secure an account or two!

On Saturday we headed to International Falls and took in the Grand Tour on Rainy Lake.  Please excuse E's serious lack of fashion sense with his raincoat tied around his waist in the picture below- everything else considered I think it is a great picture.
Beautiful Day Beautiful Friendships
All in all I think it was a good visit and I am so thankful Steven made the trek to visit us!

God didn't give me a bikini body but he gave me awesome opportunities to enjoy mother nature.

This past Sunday I was able to get out and hike into a few of the interior lakes.  Probably the hottest day yet and I was a sweating machine but I wouldn't turn down a day to get outta the visitor center and explore.  Gary is a super-part-time employee of the park and is responsible for repairing the boats on the interior lakes.  He was originally supposed to go with the visitor use ranger but I lucked out and was able to tag along for the day. 

Besides the heat the trail was a bit wet and muddy.  In one area you actually walk along a beaver dam-one step off and you'll for surely get wet. 
 Of course my love for deer is ever intensifying the more and more I see of them!

The Hoist Bay Buck
Sullivan Bay- Cooling Off

Hide n' Seek- Ek Lake Literally 5 feet away

Locator Trail Head Bay
 On the Grand Tour we seen our first set of baby loons this summer.

We have been volunteering at the community bingo nights in Kabetogama, which we both have enjoyed. E calls the numbers and I sell refreshments!  We have become friends with Marlene a forever resident of the community and a overall wonderful woman!  Tonight is our last time volunteering for the summer- so I hope to snap a picture of E calling numbers!

Hope everyone back home and our friends around the globe are doing well!

E, J, and Loaf


Visitors...Ours. Not the Parks.

Apologies for the delay in posting an update!  We had our first visitors of the summer, Dad, Schmoo, Ginger & Rocky arrived on Sunday and then our friend Stacy and her husband Kevin came up on Thursday!
Last week Friday E & I went on a little field trip in the park to explore more of Namakan Lake.  We ventured out as far as Junction Bay, swept around Wolf Pack Islands, and took a little break at Hoist Bay.  Hoist Bay is a visitor destination in Voyageurs National Park and personally my favorite.  It’s an old commercial logging camp turned resort- there are remnants of both eras that are pretty cool.  There is a beautiful swing that I am in love with….it’s very romantical.

Sunday morning we received a call from my Dad just about the time we were heading off to work.  He was already in the park!  We didn’t expect them so early but were so glad they had arrived safely!  They stopped down at the Visitor Center and Dad snapped great shots of E in uniform with his new awesome camera!

Time went by so slow at work all week long seeing we had to work and Schmoo, Dad, and the babies were out playing!  But we took advantage of the opportunies to spend time together every night.
  • Fishing a few nights
  • Working with Schmoo on his Discovery Pack and Junior Ranger Club programs kept us busy!
  • Rocky finally learned how to swim.
  • Schmoo Baby couldn’t get enough of the water.
  • We took a short drive to Orr and experienced all that lovely city has to offer.
  • Dad's infamous drives down random dirt roads.

On Thursday our friends Stacy and Kevin showed up with a love shack that put our vintage baby to shame!  Our visitors stay’s overlapped and Stacy and Kevin were such good sports about humoring Taylor and all his stories! Thank you to the both of them for being so flexible in their mini-staycation in Whispering Pines.

Stacy when my Dad wins the lottery we are all going to that magical place!

Our visitors pulled outta here on Friday afternoon and things became quiet again.  We caught up on our sleep and rested for our 5K.  I better save a few of the stories for this Thursday as I’m sure it will be a quiet week.

XOXO to our visitors this past week-Thank you for coming up and hanging out with us!