Saturday, October 8, 2016

A "Fall" Adventure

Well, the Switch-keeper just flipped it to fall.  It turned to fall two nights ago.  Three days ago Brady P. and I were out in t-shirts.  Now we have to wear winter coats and hats!  Happy fall!

So you might be thinking, "Well, that's great, Amanda.  Why didn't you tell me sooner?  I mean, where was your nice Color Report that you did the last few years?"

I've been busy, sorry.  And actually, that's why I took the time to write today.  To a) tell you that the leaves are AWESOME if they didn't all blow off already.  And tell you that the fungus is amazing too.  Dozens of species up here for you shroom lovers.

And b) I wanted to tell you what I have been writing in my spare time.  Usually I don't like to leak things too far in advance just in case something tragic happens, and I don't finish.  But I am really excited about it.

I am writing a memoir.

Oh, geez.  Now you are probably thinking, "A memoir?  But you are like 12 years old!"

Yes, I say to you.  A memoir.  You don't have to be old to write one.  You just need a mighty experience that you want to share with the world because you believe it's worthwhile.  And it helps if you actually like writing... and you don't mind sharing your personal details with whomever reads it... or risking people getting mad at you because you wrote something that offended them.

Yeah.  I can do all that.

Besides, I am about 80% finished with the first draft.  "What?!?"  You sound surprised.  Well, why do you think you didn't get a color report?  I got stuff to type before I forget it all, man!  And don't get too excited yet.  The first draft is like the framework of a building.

I am really stoked about this story.  Can I tell you what it's about?  I know, I made you read this far, so I may as well.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my little boy and I had a rough first year of his life.  I mean, medical stuff that I never, ever fathomed happening to anyone's child, happened to my little boy.  He survived open-heart surgery, urethra surgery and several emergency room visits.  That's the jist of the hard part.

He was also, unbeknownst to us until after his birth, born with Down syndrome.  Now, if I would have visited a gypsy with a crystal ball ten years ago, and she told me, "Amanda, you will be kissing and hugging and loving the snot out of a person with Down syndrome in a few years," I would have said patooey.

I know, right?  I was a jerk.  

So it is more than perfect that he came into my life.  I have never been sad about it, by the way.  It is part of this journey of life.  My community, my family and I are all better because of that precious little boy.

I know.  Tears.  Well, through my wit, rawness and charm, that's what my next book is about.  How hardship and stress and the unexpected can turn out to enrich our lives beyond what we ever thought possible.  Going with the flow, and being grateful for each new lesson.  I mean, why else are we here?

It doesn't have a title yet, but you can be sure that I have a whole list of them written down, and sometimes possible titles come into my head and keep me up at night until I write them down.  I also don't know when it will be ready.  How can I predict that?  Just give me time, and hope nothing tragic happens... even though it's part of the journey.  Wink.

Anyway, you've been so patient while I spew about my personal life.  Here are some pictures from the U.P.  Luckily, I went to the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association (MOWA) conference in September, so I took my camera on some cool adventures... mostly waterfalls!

The conference was based in Bergland, Michigan surrounding Lake Gogebic.  I was excited to explore this territory just over one hundred miles from my own house.  The following pictures were taken in the Black River Parkway Falls area just north of Bessemer.  So worth a trip.  I mean, there were 5 cool falls within less than eight miles of each other.  My friend and I didn't realize that the North Country Trail connected them all, so we drove to each one separately.

The first was Great Conglomerate Falls.  We saw so many mushrooms along the way, we were like little kids!

Great Conglomerate Falls

Way cool red mushrooms

Then we drove to the next spot where we could walk to two falls: Gorge and Potawatomi.  These were awesome as well, with their own set of mushrooms.

Gorge Falls

Potawatomi Falls

A little yellow guy between the rails of the overlook

Haha.  I really need to get a mushroom book.  "Little yellow guy?"  That wouldn't pass in my wildflower world.

Past these were Sandstone Falls and Rainbow Falls.  Both awesome as well.  Rainbow was too big to capture on my camera to do it justice, so you will have to take my word for it.  We lucked out, though because it rained in the evenings, so the falls were much more voluminous than they would be during a dry spell.  Falls in the fall?  I highly recommend it.

Sign before Rainbow Falls
I love the warning on it

The next day two friends and I visited O kun-de-kun Falls.  It was totally worth the mile hike, but let me tell you that you might want to wait until someone redoes that trail because it was a muddy slip-and-slide.  If you are agile and don't mind the mud, go for it.  That one is just off of Highway 45 between Bruce Crossing and Watersmeet.

And there are so many other falls in that area that I just didn't have time to get to them all.  If you ever need a waterfall fix, check it out.  Any area visitor center should have a map of all these falls and more.

Can I brag about one thing?  I entered an article into the MOWA craft awards, and it won first place in the "Best Feature" category.  It was about the "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" event held each winter in Big Bay, Michigan.  If you are a woman, I recommend attending it.  If you want to read it, the link is here.

Wow.  You made it all the way to the bottom of this post.  Thanks for your eyeball endurance.  Not many people will read this many paragraphs in a row these days.  Kudos to you.

Now I better see what else I can get done while my little boy naps.