On Tuesday I made the flight back to good ol’ Minnesota.
On the plane, I sat next to a very wonderful couple who was incredibly nice, with a lovely accent that made me feel like I was coming home. My fondness for them did not even change when I found out they were actually from Wisconsin 😉.
The first thing I noticed upon landing: it was very gray. And the second: lots of water. The third: very flat.
OK, I expected this.
I did not expect to feel so cold! Man, I lost that Minnesota toughness pretty darn fast. The constantly beautiful weather in California must have made me soft.
It was great to visit with my family on the first night in.
On Wednesday, I had lunch with my father-in-law and sister-in-law (the latter of which flew in from NYC). What a treat!
And I got to visit the lake that I grew up on.
I am having a fun time watching the wildlife here too. A male pheasant casually made its way through the front yard at my parents’ house.
Bird watching has been pretty amazing too — I’ve been able to see all my favorites! And the squirrels here are so cute! I guess you could say I was a bit homesick (only I didn’t realize how much until I got here).
I had a nice visit with my little Thumper. He is 12 now and I am so happy my sister is taking such good care of him. I miss this little guy but he would not have been happy on the road.
Lake Superior was just as amazing as I remember it.
My hike on the Temperance River trail brought back a lot of memories. And it was just as stunning and impressive as ever.
I went up to the spot where we had our private memorial service for Fritz last year and spent some time there.
I am always amazed by the power of water, whether river or ocean. Just seeing how the rock has been carved away over time and the changes that occur each year…it is impressive.
This used to be called the Cauldron Trail because of the deep caverns that have been carved away over time. It has always fascinated me. I realized today that I have been visiting this area for 21 years now. And that sure makes me feel old!
Every hiker I met on the trail was so friendly — waving, smiling, and saying hello. ‘Minnesota nice’ really is a thing (so is ‘Minnesota passive-aggressive’ but I didn’t have to deal with that). Even people at the grocery stores and gas stations were friendlier than I remember.
Despite the cold, when I reached one of my jumping spots, I was very tempted to go in.
By the end of the trail, I realized I hadn’t lost all of my Minnesota after all! I spent the whole day wearing just my fleece, something only a real Minnesotan can do in this kind of weather!
The only downside? Their beer selection was a bit embarrassing. I guess San Diego is spoiling me after all! However, I did get to eat my pizza to the sweet sounds of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. A perfect way to complete the journey.
At first, I told Andy that I didn’t think I could come back. I did not want to leave the North Shore. But we made a deal to find some place that had all the lovely parts of Northern Minnesota but hopefully without the crazy winters, humid summers, and swarms of bugs. And close to the ocean (how could I so easily forget about that?)!
It was a long day with a lot of driving. Originally, my sister was going to join me on the adventure but plans fell through and my friend Anita was there to keep me company.
We even got to see 8 deer throughout our day of driving. I sure do miss some parts of Minnesota!