Craig Lake State Park

Location and access:

Michigamme, MI

Access via Craig Lake Road (marked as Megellan; Craig Lake State Park sign at intersection) from US-41.  Access is narrow dirt road, but well graded.

View Larger Map


Land Owner/Entry Fee:

Michigan State Park – requires Passport


Small dirt parking lot with gated 1/4 mile 2-track trail to access site.  The portage is very well graded, downhill from the parking lot.

Outhouse, picnic tables, firepits, recycle and trash at access site.

Other Resources:

MDNR – Craig Lake State Park

Hunts’ Guide to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Canoe and Kayak rentals


The water is very dark brown/red, but very pleasant to swim in.  We stopped at one of the campsites, beached and swam, also at the picnic area near the access site.

08-2011--UP-Vacation - Craig Lake State Park 017

The water was very refreshing, but the it was pretty mucky on the bottom.  Also, the water is so dark, you can’t really see the big rocks – so, I suggest caution if “diving under”.

08-2011--UP-Vacation - Craig Lake State Park 023

Description and thoughts:

Craig Lake State Park includes 3 lake systems and a network of trails that make it possible to portage from lake to lake.  We paddled along the shoreline of Craig Lake, keeping the mainland to our left.  We were out for about 3 hours, including a stop to swim.  Our pace was pretty slow and mellow, so it could be done much quicker with more focused and consistent paddling.

08-2011--UP-Vacation - Craig Lake State Park 022

There are some islands that you can paddle up to, some are sandy and seem to have picnic areas.

We all agreed that the lake is just stunningly beautiful and it was definitely worth the portage for the drop-in.

08-2011--UP-Vacation - Craig Lake State Park 029


Old Town Loon 12′ Kayak

08-2011--UP-Vacation - Craig Lake State Park 016


Time of year:

Early August, 2011

Posted in Paddling | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Craig Lake State Park


Some observations I made this past week while vacationing in the UP:

* In the lower peninsula, you buy campfire wood – as in – wood for the campfire; whereas in the upper peninsula, you buy camp firewood – as in – firewood for the camp.

* I had a chance to test my technical skills and found that – in this regard – I am as strong of a mountain biker as I think I am.  Definitely not any stronger, but certainly not less strong.

08-2011--UP-Vacation 135

* In the winter, we hiked the Songbird trail with boots and YakTrax.  In the summer we hiked it barefoot.

* Lake Superior is cold.  And wonderful.  And amazing.  I wish I could swim in it every day (in the summer, of course).

08-2011--UP-Vacation 192

* Walter takes far less exercise to wear out than Chilli did at his age.  Thankfully, Chili takes far less exercise than he used to.

08-2011--UP-Vacation 215

* Technical trail does not always mean hard, rocky, rooty climbing.  Sometimes, technical trail can have no climbing at all.

08-2011--UP-Vacation 093

* Sometimes, climbing can be the easy part.

* My parents work hard for most of their adult life and it seems to have paid off.  They’ve got a pretty good thing going on in this phase of their lives.

08-2011--UP-Vacation 062

* Chipmunks and seagulls make Walter crazy.  I think they are aware of that.

* The Aqua Kong seems to be the only ‘fetch able’ toy that is strong enough for a week of Walter and Chilli.  The Squirrel did OK in February, but Walter is bigger and stronger now and they just get ripped apart.

08-2011--UP-Vacation 182

* The Keewenaw Peninnsula is an amazing thing.

08-2011--UP-Vacation 131

* I am growing as a mountain biker.  I am still learning and still getting stronger.
08-2011--UP-Vacation 021

* I’m pretty sure its Karma that gave us such perfect weather last week.

08-2011--UP-Vacation 06608-2011--UP-Vacation 069


Posted in life hippy | Tagged , | Comments Off on Observations

A picture is worth a thousand words

TL;DR: This past week, I was on vacation in northern lower Michigan and found myself without anything to read.  In my rush to pack after the step-son’s wedding, I forgot to grab the last few volumes of the comic book series I’ve been working my way through over the past few years.  A local comic book store turned me on to another ongoing series, and after reading the first 2 volumes, I’m totally hooked on the world of comic books.  I’ve decided to document my experiences and research as I navigate my way through the massive world of narrative art.  So, I’ve created a new category called Comic Book Adventures.

Please bear with me, I’m very new to this world and it is a very particular world.  It has its own language and terminology that I’m quickly learning, but still don’t completely comprehend.  But I’m terribly intrigued and want to become an expert.


All my life, I’ve had trouble with reading.  In elementary school, I hated reading and never really learned to love it like so many others.  I always did terribly on the reading comprenhension part of standardized testing and rarely, if ever, read for pleasure.

In college, my sister introduced me to a couple of authors who’s writing style seemed to work for me and I’ve since read most of their works, some more than once.  However, I still struggle with most books I try to read because I have trouble with comprehension and often have to re-read sentences over and over again, making book reading a long and frustrating process.  I can devour audiobooks while driving (having a long commute is great for this) or at home, while knitting or doing dishes – which has been great for taking in some fantastic sci-fi books – as well as some non-fiction and other just great stuff.

A few years ago, our friend Jessica introduced Nick and I to a comic book series – Y:The Last Man, introducing me to the world of comic books.   I’d never read a comic book before and oddly, it took a bit of time for me to really figure out how to read these new books – unsure of the right order to read the word balloons and how to identify the emphasis within the ballon;  but once I did, I found that I could blow through the Trade Paperbacks quickly and was always looking for the next book.



After flying through 2 TPB volumes (and reading the second volume twice) this past week, I think I discovered why I love comics so much more than “traditional books”.  I tend to get lost in all the words used to describe a scene, an emotion, a character in books; love dialog, but find long scenic descriptions to be tedious.  Comic books draw the scene, so they don’t have to describe it with words.  Genius.

Still working my way through Y:The Last Man, and having finished 75% of The Watchman, I have a long way to go.  I realize this is a well established world with its own rules and language.  My Comic Book Adventure category will be my space to document what I learn.  In future posts, I’ll talk about the ongoing series that I started on my vacation last week; I’ll talk more about Y:The Last Man and The Watchman; and then I want to dive into the Marvel Universe.  Along the way, I’ll talk about my experiences at different Comic Book Stores and other experiences along the way.  The Comic Book Adventures category will be the default category for all of my comic book research, information and reviews, but in the future I might add some “sub” categories as well.

Anyone else new to this party and have any suggestions for me as I navigate this strange new world?

Posted in Comic Book Adventures | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Slacker-to-5k continued …

One thing I learned about myself through biking is that my body takes a long time to warm up for activity.  If I’m in “good” shape, it will take me near 5 miles to warm up on a mountain bike ride; “not so good” shape is about 8 miles.  One miserable Iceman took a little over 10 miles.  I also know that once I’m warmed up, life gets a whole lot more enjoyable.

One thing I learned about myself through introspection and past history is that if I didn’t stick to the plan religiously, I’ll give up.

One thing I was learning about myself is that I needed to fit this in with everything else I do, not replace something else with this.  I did not want to resent this sport because it took away from something else.

Its about a mile walk from my house to the high school track.  The track was comfortable to me – there would be no one else there, the surface was a bit softer than concrete and walking there would be a good long warmup.  Seemed like a pretty good plan, so one Sunday morning, I laced up my old running shoes (from my last attempt) and walked on down to the high school track.  With Robert in my ears, I completed my first couch-to-5k workout and then walked back home.  Later that day, we met some friends at PLRA for a ride.  It was a very successful day.

The following Tuesday, I woke up an hour early and walked down to the high school track for my second couch-to-5k workout.  I set myself a goal – if I continued with the program for 4 weeks, I could go to Hansen’s and buy new shoes.  I was so afraid that if I missed a single day of the program, I’d fall behind and quit that I kept going, 3 days a week (Sun, Tues, Thurs) and never missed a day.  I got my new shoes, finished the program and my first 5k race.  Yep, that’s right.  I ran a 5k race in August.  I had not started out with the intention of ever running a race, but I’m so glad I did.  It was scary, and amazing, and fun.  I was hooked.


Photo by Erik Mile

About 6 weeks later, I did a 10k at the Detroit Zoo.  I finished within my time goal, but bonked a little before mile 5, threw up in someone’s driveway and sort of walked/ran to the finish line.  It wasn’t pretty, but I finished.


Photo by Nick Shue

So yeah – I went from “I am NOT a runner” to “I finished a 10k race” in just about 5 months.  And I haven’t looked back since.  Running has helped me to love exercise.  It has made me stronger on the bike (no kidding, I rode a fraction of the previous year’s mileage last year and was stronger and faster than ever before).  Running has taught me that I can dig deeper than I ever did before.

In a couple of weeks, I start training for a half-marathon.  Yep.  I will complete a half-marathon just about a year after I started my couch-to-5k program.  I guess I was wrong.  Maybe I am a runner after all.

Posted in running hippy | Tagged , | 1 Comment


For as long as I can remember, I’ve hated running.

When I was in high school and on the softball team, I just about cried at the beginning and end of each practice when we had to run the bases for a given amount of time.  Or worse – running laps around the gym.  I thought I had ankle problems at the time, since that’s what seemed to hurt most.  I taped my ankles for 4 years in high school to get me around the bases and catching flies in the outfield.  And declared that I was not a runner.

During my college years, I worked with a girl who ran for fitness and I started to get intrigued.  See, I was a swimmer.  My sport involved bathing suits, finding a pool, being wet and chlorinated; swimming is not ‘portable’.  You can’t count on it for fitness if you travel or have a hectic life.  Running seemed like the kind of thing that could go with you anywhere.  I loved the idea.  But *sigh* I was not a runner.  I’d already decided that.

When my sister began running, she urged me to give it a try.  She suggested I try a walk/run kind of thing (run for a min, walk for a min or two; repeat).  It made sense, so I gave it a shot.  And I hated it.  I would have to walk for 3-5 minutes between each run and could only do a few runs.  Every muscle in the lower half of my body was screaming and I could barely breathe.  I hated every second of it.  So I gave up.  And declared that I was not a runner.

But I never stopped thinking about running.  And I did try various walk/run and couch-to-5k type programs over the years.  I tried and failed several times.  But (I kid you not), running was in my head so deep that I often dreamt of just running for miles and miles.  Yet, I continued to declare that I was Just. Not. A. Runner.

I was defeated by running.  Which was OK, because I became a Mountain Biker instead.  And was immediately in love!  Mountain Biking is crazy fun and amazingly hard.  Mountain Biking makes me feel incredible.  Its adrenaline and endorphins.  And most of all .. It is an escape from suburban-corporate-daily-life and gets me out and into the woods.  *dreamy sigh*

Last winter, when we started loosing weight and following a trend-line on the Physics Diet, I noticed that when I did some form of cardio 6 days per week, I lost much more weight than those weeks when I only did cardio 2-3 days a week.  When we came back from our mid-winter vacation in the Caribbean, trainer season was over and it was time to think about the outside world again.  I knew I needed to exercise 6 days per week, but I just didn’t think I could get myself on the bike that often without feeling resentment, rather than love.  I did not want to be so tied to my bike for fitness that I didn’t want to ride it for fun.

Nick had started focusing on training for the Lumberjack 100, and I really didn’t feel like tagging along on most of those rides.  I was on my own, and looking for something to supplement biking.  We had a gym membership at a little gym close by, but I never liked that place much, or gyms in general.  Also – I really prefer things I can do outside.  I dug up a Couch-to-5k podcast that I’d found a few years ago and sync’d it to my iPhone.

There was no way around it; the fates were telling me, it was time to try this running thing again.

to be continued …

Posted in running hippy | Tagged , | Comments Off on Slacker-to-5k


Last November, the Husband and I decided it was time to seriously make a change in our habits and loose some weight (more on “weight loss drama” in another post .. or series of posts .. not today).  He had read somewhere (its what he does) about The Physics Diet and it clicked for him.  Now, both of us have tried many things.  We’ve done Atkins, Zone, Weight Watchers, *just counting calories*, and *just trying to make good decisions*; but at the end of the day, we were just eating too much and moving too little.  And seriously folk, that is all there is to loosing weight – eat less, move more.  We all know this.  The knowledge is not rocket science.  But, the follow through?  That’s the tough part.

In November, I started weighing and recording my weight every day in my online fitness log.  That is it.  Every day.  What The Physics Diet does, is a whole lot of averaging and calculating, so you can see your trends over time – rather than needing to focus on the daily spikes and valleys that naturally occur.  It is very motivating to see that number change daily – if its “up” one morning, then I have no problem eating lighter for lunch that day.  If it’s “down”, I feel proud.

And for me, it worked.  I continued to log my weight daily until the end of April.  I’d lost around 20 lbs and had gotten to a solid jean size smaller than when Id started (I promise, I will talk more about this in another post).  The winter was over, and I’d made great progress.  I got on the scale from time to time to make sure I was maintaining.  We both did very well through the summer and into fall.  But then, the holidays hit and we both slacked off the exercise and mindful eating.  Ugh.  The cookies.  A weekness I doubt I’ll ever overcome is Christmas cookies.  *love*.  *ahem* .

So, I stepped on the scale a few times recently and the number was concerning.  Nowhere near where I started, but definitely on the train backwards.  I decided it was time to revisit my fitness log and get this body back on track.  I’ve been logging for the past few days and so far, its not budging.  Its frustrating.  But I have been moving more lately.  Trying to get some form of exercise every day.  So I think its just going to take a bit of time.

But, I’m motivated.  I’ve got big plans for this summer.

Posted in life hippy | 1 Comment

Cudighi Pizza

I finally had a chance to get to the Amish Market the other day to buy some meat.  On the counter by the register, I spied some round focaccia bread that looked awesome so I grabbed it. Home baked pizza is a favorite of mine, but since we haven’t yet ventured into making our own dough, I’m always looking for yummy alternatives.


I was not disappointed.

Cooked at 425* for ~11 minutes on a pizza stone was just about perfect to make this a crispy yet chewy crust.  Had I a bit more patience and let the oven heat up for another 10-15 minutes (allowing the stone to get better heated), it might have turned out even better since it was a tiny bit soggy in the middle.

We spread a bit of Olive Oil on the crust and minced up some garlic which went on top of the oil.  Then added some pizza sauce, onion, roasted red pepper and some cooked up Cudighi sausage from the UP.  About 4 times a year, a local fire department near Sands TWP, MI converges in a school gymnasium to make and sell handmade cudighi.  My dad always stocks extra for us and so we usually have it in our freezer.  It is – by far – my favorite sausage for pizza (and spaghetti, and lasagna and …. ).


The end result was fantastic.  We were half way through an episode of Star Trek TNG when we decided to make the pizza, and it was gone before the second half of the episode was over.  Crazy Yum.

Saturday Night Cuidghi Pizza

Crust – Foccocia from the Amish Market

Sauce – Meijer Organic Pizza Sauce

Cheese – Meijer Brand Mozerella

Toppings – Onion, Roasted Red Peppers (from jar), Cudighi

In the fall and winter, I love to drink hard apple cider, and had just picked up a 6 pack of Woodchuck Limited Release from Fall.


When I first took a drink of this, I didn’t think I was going to like it.  And then I realized I was tasting cloves – as you’d find in mulled cider.  By the time I’d finished this bottle, I was in love.  I will definitely have to get some more of this before its gone for the year.

Posted in In the kitchen, life hippy | Tagged | Comments Off on Cudighi Pizza

Dusting off the WordPress

With the ever increasing popularity of Facebook, it seems I’ve kind of abandoned my long-form blogging. I’ve been following some new (to me) blogs lately which have been tickling my brain to start blogging again myself.

Historically, I’d post about daily life happenings and such, but now I just update Facebook instead.  I’d really like to try to find a niche in the interwebs with my blogging. Unfortunately, it might take some trial and error to really find a groove that works for me, and hopefully a groove that will be interesting and intriguing to readers as well.

Since I’ve made a lot of life changes in the past 12-14 months, I think I’ll start by talking about the changes and my mental process of change. We’ll see how this goes 😉

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dusting off the WordPress

Becoming a Farmer

Hello again world.  Its been awhile since we’ve talked.  My bad.

I want to talk about becoming a farmer.  Nick and I have secured 2000 sq. ft of farmland at Michigan Micro-Farm and along with my cousin Jon, we’re going to grow organic vegetables this summer!  I loved doing the CSA last year, but am suddenly completely enamored with the idea of growing exactly what I want and getting my hands dirty to do it.

This is Michigan Micro-Farm

We picked up a brochure for Michigan Micro-Farm when leaving the Sherwood Brewing Co. a few weeks ago.  Our CSA partners from last summer had just told us that they weren’t interested in doing it again this year.  We we’re pretty sure we didn’t want to take on a full share ourselves, and were considering a half-share when we stumbled onto this.

We can hardly grow grass in our backyard, because of light, trees and dog(s).  So, growing vegetables is pretty much out of the question.  My cousin Jon has always wanted more help, more space and more opportunity with his garden, so we decided to have a partnership of sorts, where we could grow enough vegetables for all of us and then some.

Nick's standing in front of our space at Michigan Micro-Farm

Behind Nick is our garden!

Last week, we met Jon to buy the seeds for the garden – I hadn’t yet secured our spot with MI Micro-Farm, but knew they had plenty of space available and Jon wanted to get the peppers started!  We drove by the farm that night to check it out.  One of the owners happened to be out there, so we chatted and secured a spot right then.  Now, its for real.  Game on.

Our garden at Michigan Micro-Farm

We stopped by today and it looks like our spot has been tilled.  We’re going to get some manure and get started planting very soon!  Jon has started some tomatoes, peppers and such already at home.

After visiting our garden today, we went to Lowes to buy some quick supplies to build a compost pit.  We had a pile of leaves left over from last fall that never got picked up (since we don’t really have grass in the back yard, its not a huge deal to leave some leaves for spring).

Nick fashioned this compost pit in record time. Nice.

The compost pit went together really quick and easily.  Unfortunately, that meant that we had to get to moving the wet and heavy leaves all that much quicker 😉

Close up of our compost pit.

It was actually a pretty perfect opportunity, because the leaves had already started to decompose and do the work we wanted them to do.  When they were finally all moved into the compost pit, the driest of the leaves had been moved to the bottom of the pile, and the wet ones are on top.  It was like doing a full mix of an already-in-progress compost pile that we accidentally started last fall.  I love accidental planning 😀

The dark spot is where the pile of leaves was left over from the fall.

Our plan for the yard is to build a patio, using patio blocks, to cover most of the dirt area where we have the hardest time growing grass.  We have been mildly successful growing grass in the back-most part of the yard, so we will probably place sod in that area of the yard.  I’m looking forward to the patio part :).

We also filled the tiki torches and cleaned the porch chairs today.

Posted in life hippy | Tagged , | 3 Comments

I’ve been using the wrong word.

From Wikipedia:

Hypocrisy is the act of pretending that one has beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities or standards that they do not actually have; this is usually done in order to mask their actual motives or feelings; falseness.

The term hypocrite is widely misused. Many persons state that hypocrisy is the action of ‘not practising what you preach’. It is easy to see the resemblance, and completely understandable why there has been widespread confusion. However, this, like many others, is an incorrect definition.



1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude

I’ve recently been aware that I’ve  misunderstood the meaning of the word hypocrisy – I was one who believed the meaning to be ‘not practicing what you preach’.  I’ve often felt hypocritical in my actions when they do not align with the things I say or believe.   And, while I’m somewhat relieved that I’m not actually a hypocrite, I’m left looking for a word that describes the conflict I feel and struggle with.


For example, I firmly believe that buying my produce from local farmers is the best choice for all involved, yet its rare that I actually purchase my produce from local farmers.  By definition, this is not a hypocritical act, but I’m still very conflicted about it.

The conflict is about choosing convenience over food that I know will taste better.  I choose to eat food that has travelled the country before getting to my refrigerator because the produce is more accessible to me and my crazy-life-schedule.  This feels entirely hypocritical because I have been known to preach about the personal, social and ecological benefits of local eating, yet I do not default to this practice.  However, according to the dictionary, hypocrite is not the right word.  But somehow, conflict does not seem like the right word either.

For me, local eating is a goal that requires a lifestyle changes, and I’m working on that.  One day, I hope to make local food my default, and cross-country food the exception.

But, what about the Tahoe that we recently bought?  One friend told us we needed to turn in our hippy cards due to this purchase.  Another friend simply said “dude, I thought you were supposed to be earthy?”.  My feeling on the subject is this – being earthy does not mean I need to suffer on road trips in a small, underpowered vehicle.  It also doesn’t mean that I need to spend entirely too much money to get a hybrid version of the same vehicle to make myself feel more smug.  I do not feel I need to martyr myself by  being miserable on vacations for the sake of saving some gas.  Also of note – this is not a daily driver for either of us.  When one of our other (admittedly gas-guzzling) vehicles dies, we will likely replace it with something small and environmentally more friendly.

This, I suppose is the root of my internal (and external) struggles with finding my place in life and keeping my focus.  I try my best to make decisions that first benefit myself, and second benefit my community, my environment, my world.  I struggle to not let my direction be guided by societal norms and stereotypes, but it is a difficult line to walk when I’m keeping my feet in two different worlds.

Posted in corporate hippy | 1 Comment