MI to CO – Day 4, Last Day

 

IMG_0807 2

We swung by downtown once more for a picture of the colorful Art Alley and continued onto Mt. Rushmore!!!!  On the way to Mt. Rushmore, we passed through a few towns and saw signs for an alpine coaster at the adventure park in Keystone. I am such a child when it comes to alpine coasters and slides, so of course I asked Marie if she’d be up to pay $10-15 for a ride. Since she had never gone before I told her we HAD to. To our great happiness and luck, it just so happened to be OPENING DAY so we got to ride for FREE! We love free things (especially ones that consist of getting to fly down  a coaster on a mountainside) so we were ecstatic!

Then we were off to Mt. Rushmore. I was pretty excited to see a place I had seen pictures of so many times in history books. Places like these always look smaller in reality than the pictures, but it didn’t disappoint. Note: If you don’t want to pay the $10 to park (which is full most of the time anyways), you can get great views off the highway too.

IMG_0896 2

We drove onto Crazy Horse Monument. I had actually never heard of it before but was excited to check it out. We ended up skipping it because of the $22 fee but it was interesting to see it from afar and learn about it from the brochures nonetheless. It’s a work in progress which is what makes it unique. Right now, the face is carved out but the entire horse and most of Crazy Horse’s body still needs to be complete. I don’t even know if it will be done in my lifetime! Hopefully it is so that I can return one day.

We drove further on to Custer State Park. As our great luck would have it, it was opening weekend so we again got free park entrance! Everything was really rolling our way. We drove through Needles Highway and had a beautiful view of the entire valley around us. We drove through narrow tunnels carved right through the rock and passed by numerous lakes. We had lunch in a little town called Hot Springs and saw a neat mural (and another waterfall of course….)

IMG_0893 2

We drove for a few hours and hit Nebraska (had to get the state sign of course). We stopped in Alliance at Carhenge (yes it’s what it sounds like, Stonehenge made of cars) and saw a bunch of other art made from car parts. It was definitely cooler than we thought it would be.

We got a picture of the infamous Chimney Rock on our way out of Alliance and continued onto Denver, our last destination that would mark we were home.

IMG_0884 2

We passed through Wyoming briefly (another state sign stop of course) FullSizeRender 14

We had no idea we lived so close to Cheyenne! I’ll have to come to Frontier Days for some concerts sometime… We stopped in Fort Collins for some delicious Indian Food (highly recommend Bawarchi Fort Collins if you have a craving for some authentic Indian/Nepalese cuisine!) It was great wrap up to the extended weekend. We saw so much in just four days! I can’t wait for the next one. Thanks for adventuring with me Marie! Adventure on my friends.

IMG_0832 2

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

MI to CO Road Trip – Day 3

After about 1 hour of sleep from our night out on the town before, we set off to South Dakota (not before getting a $20 quiche breakfast downtown, whoops). It was pouring rain as we left the city, and our first destination was Minneopa State Park, about an hour and a half outside the city. The drive was so beautiful with all the greenery, it almost seemed jungle like and I forgot I was driving through farmland. It was so green here! Minneopa State Park had a bison enclosure that we could drive through (did you know Bison can run up to three times as fast as you can sprint?). This is the warning the sign gave us to urge us to stay in our cars… And of course, it’s not a state park without a waterfall or two!

IMG_0868 2

We continued on our way and passed into South Dakota.Our first stop was Palisades State Park. This place was so neat! In the middle of plains and fields and farmland, this mini Jurassic Park like park rested in the middle amongst it all. If you weren’t looking for it, you could easily drive right by it since it’s so small.

We continued into Sioux Falls. Falls Park in the middle of the town has a huge area with many waterfalls flowing into each other. Besides it smelling like stinky fish (not exactly sure why), it was beautiful!

We continued further into South Dakota with hopes of seeing Badlands National Park before the sun set (thank goodness for late sunsets). We made it! And yay to my national park pass that I only had to use at this spot on the entire trip. It was gorgeous, especially at sunset. We saw big horned sheep, deer, and had beautiful panoramic views of the plains around us against a sunset backdrop.

IMG_0747 2
Sheep sighting!
IMG_0759 2
The Yellow Mountains

IMG_0767 2

IMG_0784 2
Not a bad end to the day…

We used Couchsurfing.com again to secure a host for the night in Rapid City. Brady, a wildlife biologist (he has pictures of him with POLAR BEARS in his house, HOW COOL RIGHT), took us out to a favorite brewery of his downtown where Marie and I stuffed our faces with pizza (we deserved it OKAY). Thankfully we didn’t stay out until 5 am this time and we got a great night of sleep.

MI to CO – Road Trip Day 2

Marie and I hit the road again after our free continental breakfast in Ironwood, MI. Yum!

IMG_0905

Superior falls was our first destination. A short drive away from our motel, why not start another morning with a waterfall? We continued onto Potato Falls (now we were in Wisconsin!) where we actually saw some other people for the first time!

We did some hiking and exploring around here, then ran into this nice gentleman named Gary, who mistook Marie for someone else. But funnily enough, Marie was good friends with the girl he thought she was! How funny right?! We chatted with Gary for a bit and he told us we HAD to go to Bayfield and take the ferry to Madeline Island to check out Tom’s Burned Down Cafe ; so we did of course!The best part about road tripping is running into locals and taking their advice on things to check out. He also recommended fish tacos at Patsy’s in Washburn, so we fueled up before our next adventure. We got to Bayfield shortly after and bought a round trip ferry ticket. We sprinted to the ferry terminal because we thought we were late (we were wrong haha). We spent our whole time on the island at the cafe. It was a sight to see as soon as we arrived. It was literally built right on top of it’s old foundation when the original one burned down.

IMG_0570 2
The infamous cafe!

It was very artsy, covered in funny quotes and sayings painted on pieces of wood… We grabbed a few drinks and walked around, determined to read them all!

What a blast! After we had our fill of bloody mary’s (or at least I did), we headed further west to Pattison State Park for, you guessed it, more waterfalls! Here was Wisconsin’s tallest waterfall!

IMG_0582 2

IMG_0799

We continued on our way to Minneapolis, our destination for the night. We used Couchsurfing.com to connect with some locals to stay with for the night! We met Christian and Joe and we had such a great night out on the town. We played pool, shared beers, and talked for hours until we realized it was 5 am. So much for getting a full night of sleep for our long drive the following day! Oh well, worth it!

MI to CO Road Trip – Day 1

We used Roadtrippers.com to route our trip and it worked so great! It recommends sights to see, places to stay and eat, hikes to do… whatever you need! Then it estimates the gas money you should set aside, the miles on your trip, and the total time it will take.

I arrived in Detroit at 1:30 am… and we drove through the night… Rain + dark skies + deer territory made for a sketchy drive… which made me all the more stoked to see the sun rise over Mackinac bridge in the morning. We wanted to be in the Upper Peninsula by dawn… We made it!

IMG_0434 2
Big Springs
IMG_0436 2
On the raft!

Our first stop was Palms Brook State Park in Manistique, MI to see the Kitch-Iti-Kipi or “Big Springs”. A self guided raft floated in the water awaiting our arrival. It was attached to a cable across the water and by the turn of a big captain’s wheel you could take the raft out to the middle of the spring. The park was empty! Yay small towns and not so great weather, we’d take it any day for the sights to ourselves! The water was crystal clear, with a green hue. 45 feet deep and you could see straight to the bottom. Huge schools of trout swam around calmly at the bottom. You could see the springs enter the water from the swirls of sand dancing around the bottom of the spring. What an awesome first stop of the road trip. We took in the peace and quiet then continued on to our second stop.

 

IMG_0453 2
Marie!

Fumee Falls, our first waterfall of many! We were so distracted with directions and trying to find it that we drove right by in on the highway… Haha oops! All the waterfalls in this part of the land is yellow/gold from all the copper and other minerals in it. Interesting huh! All the water levels were also extremely high due to our timing of the road trip happening to fall when all the snow from winter is also melting. Just makes the waterfalls all the more grand to see!

We stopped at another few falls that were a little detour off the main road; Long Slide Smalls and Smalley falls. The short hikes were so beautiful and green! Don’t fall in!

 

IMG_0460 2
Long Slide Falls!
IMG_0904 2
Smalley Falls – Don’t fall in!

 

Bond falls was huge compared to the first few we saw. There was so much water our feet were getting soaked on the boardwalk!!

IMG_0471 2
Bond Falls

From here we went up to Porcupine mountains… We went to another waterfall on the way of course (Bononza falls). This waterfall was not yellow.. it was BROWN! Here the

snow runoff was so strong it was sweeping clay and sediment from the river bottom and everything else along it’s path. It was crazy! And because of this, the Michigan lakes were all brown too! Crazy! We got an up close view of Lake Superior as we drove along its coast.

IMG_0557 2

We made our way to Lake of the Clouds.It was extra foggy so it really was a lake floating in the clouds.. We can’t wait to come back in the fall when the trees are a beautiful rainbow of reds, yellows and greens…

IMG_0485 2
Lake of the clouds

We made our way to the Presque Isle Scenic Area, also nearby. There was so much to do here! There was a group of 3 waterfalls scattered around this area. It was incredible how much water was flowing in the river and how brown it was!

IMG_0505 2
Running to the falls!

Our last stop before calling it a day was the Black River Scenic Byway… There were about 5 waterfalls along this little byway. At this point, Marie and I wanted to fit it all in so we full on sprinted to the viewpoints. Sometimes there were little trails we had to walk from the parking lot. Rainbow falls was the best of all, only because the sun actually came out just in time for us to see a RAINBOW! It had been cloudy and rainy all day up until this point.

IMG_0514 2

IMG_0547 2
Sun is coming out!

Our day was coming to an end… What a great first day on the road! Since we pulled an all nighter the night before, we decided to splurge and give some business to a local motel – the Indianhead motel. We fell asleep as soon as we hit the pillows, with stomachs full of mac n cheese. The world could have been coming to an end right outside our windows and we never would have known.

Chase your dreams… no, really.

I finally decided to just do it. To just up and pack all my things, find someone to cover my lease, and drive across the country to my new home. With no job in place and no place to live, I still wasn’t worried. The excitement of getting to finally live in a ski town and live my dream by spending a whole winter season racing on my snowboard…. I just knew everything would work out. 5 months later, I won nationals! It was a dream come true…nat2017_181409I’m not exactly sure what my end goals were (or are)…. I mean, Olympics would be sweet… but all I know is that I’m having such a blast doing it. Life is too short for regrets!

I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life… I had dreams of being a news anchor… and a doctor…. a film producer… The world is at your fingertips… I started pre med in university, then junior year I decided I was too antsy to get out and explore and see the world, so I decided to drop pre med and just get the Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Engineering. 15 years less schooling gave me all the more time to see the world and live a life of my dreams!

I worked a few years as an engineer at start up medical device company. It was a great experience; I worked with some of the brightest people in the field and learned an immense amount of information. I was giving responsibilities that no recent graduate would be given at start up company in the neuroscience field. But it just wasn’t for me. I was not cut out to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours a day or work in a lab. Life is too short for me to work day in a day out from 9-5 (at least for now).

I feel blessed that I get to live the life I live. I was able to ride fresh powder every morning this winter, hike beautiful lakes and mountains on the weekends, and take time off whenever I desired for impromptu camping excursions and road trips. I still work, but I take on jobs that allow me to have the flexibility of creating my own schedule, and I realize I love it so much.

 

Hanging Lake – Glenwood Canyon, CO

This place is such a gem… Hidden in Glenwood Canyon, CO, this hike is only 3 miles round trip (1200 feet of elevation gain)… It was formed by a geologic fault that caused the lake to drop  down from the valley above it; the lake literally split in two! It resulted in waterfalls and the beautiful dripping moss that hangs down from the upper part of the lake. Note: Hanging lake parking lot gets really crowded if you go in the morning, so go in the afternoon!

 

IMG_9228
Hanging Lake
IMG_9226
Ben being silly!

 

IMG_9229
Me being silly!

 

Grizzly creek is a great place to hike too if the hanging lake parking lot is full. There are little wooden houses, waterfalls, and a beautiful creek of course.