Crusin’ (in the U.P.) part II: Ancient Stones

Part I is here

Ok so I’ve mentioned a few times that this trip — FOR SOME REASON — reminded me of, and subsequently made me really want to play Skyrim. I only play a couple video games to be honest, but Skyrim is one of them, and I LOVE IT. Gorgeous landscapes, mythical storyline, DRAGONS…? You get to be an ancient Nordic hero and I looove that. I gone and purchased the soundtrack while up there in the UP. Go and listen to this song from the soundtrack, called “Ancient Stones,” which is fitting, because our Lake Superior cruise on Monday was ALL ABOUT ROCKS. YES.  See? I brought it back around. I know how to structure a blog post.

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To be fair, this really reminds me of Fable III.CRW_5517 CRW_5549 CRW_5555 CRW_5558

I wasn’t super paying attention, but let’s see if I got this right: The Upper Peninsula was, at one point, just a huge rock. And this was like, MILLIONS of years ago. Mainly, when most of the world was just a big rock. Then like, glaciers and stuff, BOOM, melted, creating a ton of lakes in the midwest region. Minnesota has such a low elevation we got the brunt of the water flow. Hence the state of ~10,000 lakes. Lake Superior carved out all these nice rocks, which are Limestone I believe, and then thousands of years of erosion and rust have givin them a very painterly look, so,  they call them The Pictured Rocks. My sister-in-law mentioned this was kind of a touristy thing, but I believe that sometimes a tourist trap is a tourist trap for good reason (just never go to Madam Tussauds ANYWHERE). Hilariously, we saw a lot of signs for the Pictured Rocks on our way up there, which advertised that they were featured in the Kid Rock video “Born Free.”  I was REALLY sold then.

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Our nephew, Petoskey, who is actually named after the state rock of Michigan, really liked hanging out with us during this trip, and especially during the cruise.CRW_5621
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Eventually I lost my window seat facing the rocks so I took a lot of pictures out in the back. Which was more fun anyway, so who cares.
*~The Newlyweds~*
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Alan took a picture of me, after I set up the camera for him. I seriously need to teach him how to just use it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Too many pictures of waves? Make one of them black & white. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Why take pictures of a  FEW THINGS when different things are happening ALL THE TIME? This is why I always have the camera.
Afterwards, little niece Athena came running to me (she and Gramma), because she found a big bear, and she wanted a picture of it.  Oh my god, even the 3 year old is ultra-aware that I am a camera fiend. Gahd.
Isn’t this the CUTEST?

This was such a fantastic trip. If we could make it a yearly thing, I would be 100% down for it. Though it could never be exactly be the same. Remember what I was saying about nostalgia? I can never be satisfied. I’m too full of longing. Cue melancholy piano music from Skyrim.

Crusin’ (in the U.P.) part I

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Monday was a big day. There was the wedding, and then a near 3 hour cruise the whole family took in the evening. As a result, I took almost 1000 photos that day. Over 5 GB. More than I took on my entire Honeymoon. By the end of the trip, I had become known to Alan’s family as the one with the camera. The nut who just can’t put it down. I’m mostly ok with it though. Who is going to take pictures of family vacations if NOBODY takes pictures? They’re worth something to me. I have tons of photos of me when I was a kid, and to me that says “My parents made a conscious effort to get out a camera and document this.” These days it’s smart phones, which, sure, they take fine pictures, but it doesn’t feel the same as taking a *real* photo. In my time developing a photography habit, I feel that the growth has been noticeable. I’ve learned about light, exposure, lenses, and it fills me with confidence that if I could learn these things on my own, then I can keep learning, and keep fostering those skills. So now all my family knows about this obsessive hobby and pokes fun at it, but I also like to hope they’re secretly grateful that someone is around, getting all this… Even if I do take it to the extreme.
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Did you know Lake Superior is the best lake? Now you know.
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I can’t  really emphasize the pleasure I got, running around on this boat, with a crisp, cool air wooshing past me, and the late summer sun on my face, while in a mostly pretty sparsely populated boat, just having free reign to take photos of everything.
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It’s hard to know where to stop on this one. I choose to stop here. Because I just really like those photo. I don’t know what is in my brain that makes me look at a landscape and think “This reminds me of that video game I like to play.” Alan said it was a tribute to the game developers and their skill in making a realistic universe. I worry that I am become less and less attached to reality, since I’m just thinking about displacing myself from the real world and wanting to insert myself into a digital one. Maybe it’s an innocent sense of escapism. Maybe it’s that I have a huge, constantly running imagination and I always want to picture myself adventuring in a pure, natural landscape, largely untouched by people.  Huh.

Being able to retreat to the woods, on the cusp of fall, staying in a surprisingly cushy, yet still modest hotel — with wifi, and TV, was exactly what I needed, and now know it’s exactly what I really want. Being able to wake up to a view of a quiet lake, surrounded by trees, with french press coffee in the morning, and then go on hikes in the afternoon with my husband, then do work on a little table at night while drinking beers, and starting over the next day. It’s the ideal. Minneapolis, you are great, but to have the immediacy of nature, and a few creature comforts, and not to be burdened by anything else in life, is not something you can totally offer.

I’ll post the second half of the cruise photos later on!

Wedding in the woods

CRW_4854“Wedding in the woods” was included on Alan’s and my wedding invitations, but for his sister Jessy, and her now husband Eli, it was actually true.
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Jessy and Eli have already been together for a long time, and have three children to prove it. Their wedding ceremony was very small, extremely intimate, and also superbly located at the bottom of a waterfall — at the end of a narrow dirt path up hills and under boulders.
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To be clear: I was not the official photographer. I was given the OK to take pictures but I also felt sort of awkward doing so, like I was trying to show up the photographer! But an intimate wedding at a waterfall at 10 AM in the UP? I didn’t have a choice, guys.
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The ceremony was over in about 5 minutes.
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Alan was asked to be witness, too.
They’re pretty cute.
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Afterwards a few of us walked to a neighboring waterfall for more photos. Alan and I went because the bride and groom were our ride.
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It’s like a little fairy forest!
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And then, the “reception”….
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Pasties. The local cuisine of the Upper Peninsula. Alan and I got to know these guys pretty well in London. I would’ve eaten 5 of those things but that wouldn’t have been sensible. We got some frozen ones and are going to eat them in about, oh, half an hour.
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Before heading back to the hotel we stopped briefly at the Superior shore to buy boat tickets (which is coming up shortly.)

Congrats, Jessy & Eli! Much love <33

Gloomy the U.P.

CRW_4580Attention, younger Caroline from two days ago. PACK LAYERS. For the love of god, pack layers and a rain jacket.
It rained so much the first part of the summer, I thought it would be worth it to buy an actual rain jacket for myself, and I always seem to leave it at home and then it just POURS.
We met up with Alan’s family in their cabin, cooked up some delicious breakfast, played with Star Wars toys (courtesy us) and went  out to look at Waterfalls, which sounded like an unpleasant prospect, given that I only had a zip up hoodie for warmth. I’m still also getting over this cold AND I wasn’t showered at the time and felt gross. BUT. It ended up being alright anyway.
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This one was pretty easy to get to.CRW_4681 CRW_4687 CRW_4689CRW_4695
And then there was quite a bit of forest to walk through for the next one. Absolutely beautiful path though — it reminded me of some fantasy forest. Then again, almost every landscape makes me think I’m in some fantastical place. This trip has made me think a lot about Skyrim. DON’T ASK WHY….. I ended up buying the soundtrack while on this trip and have been listening to it while editing photos. Woo escapism.
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It was blustery as hell out there. My mother-in-law lent me a windbreaker at least. Ugh, I was really missing my jacket though. It was brand new. It was a Columbia, and I got it on super sale. :(
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This was probably the first time I’ve actually switched between my two lenses.
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LOOK AT THIS RAVEN. After we got back up to the cars, I used the bathroom and came out and this enormous raven was sitting on a post and people were standing around taking pictures.  My god. He was huge.
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So metal.

Tomorrow is my sister-in-law’s wedding. It’ll be in the morning at another waterfall, and it promises to be much warmer and much sunnier. Can’t wait to show photos from THAT.


Dispatches from the U.P.

CRW_4425CRW_4422Hey everybody. We’re in the Upper Peninsula right  now. It’s absolutely gorgeous up here. Fall foliage is OUT, unlike down in the city, where it has been a painfully slow burn. We’re at a motel with a little balcony facing a tiny lake. Alan’s sister is getting married on Monday afternoon so we’re having an extended weekend. The drive was long but it was colorful.
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It’s about an 8 hour drive, and I’m fighting this cold, and neither of us got that much sleep last night, so it was a bit murderous to be honest. I’m glad the weather was good, and the colors were out.
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Alan’s sister and her family live in Michigan and we only see them about once a year. Maybe twice if we’re lucky.  With two weddings, we got lucky. Her two boys are uhhhhh, rambunctious.
None of the photos of their many adventures climbing Uncle Alan like a tree made the cut, unfortunately…
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I’m glad we got an early start so we could arrive when it was still warm and light out.
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More tomorrow, and Monday!

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