Friday, August 2, 2013

summer vacation or many photos on Friday

This post is going to be photo heavy and wordy and personal, just so you know up front. But I had to share with you our summer vacation, at least parts of it. Mostly in praise and thanksgiving. One year ago I could never have dreamed of being able to do all the physical outdoor activities we did while on vacation. Mostly because I was dreaming of being able to brush my teeth and dress myself. Even now my eyes well up with tears at all that my medications have allowed me to accomplish. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a part of my life, but it is not controlling it. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Enbrel. Thank you, Dr. Eyeanson. Thank you, family.

approaching the pictograph

Our vacation started with a 7 mile paddle in a canoe. Our destination was an 800 year old pictograph in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The only way to see the  pictograph is to paddle to it and I determined I was not going to miss it. Off we went and our voyage started with an 80 rod portage just to get to the water.

Being out on the water up there is unlike anything you have ever experienced. Growing up on a lake, I know water. The sounds, the smells, the feel of the breeze coming off of the lake in the evening, but up in the BWCA, its pure. Pure silence. No motors. No airplanes. No human noise. Only you and nature. The loons call hauntingly and the sound echoes across the lakes. The wind rustles trees and shrubs and you hear it. Experience it. Feel it. Become a part of it. If fills your soul with so much gratitude and praise and you realize the depth of beauty that only God could have imagined and created.


After a short 5 rod portage and more paddling, we came around the corner to where the pictograph is located. Its unreal. There are several myths about what it means, but does it matter? A Native American created this to share information, his story. The top three curved lines represent canoes. The X is the North Star. The moose is impressive. And it appears to be his dog underneath him. A museum in real life.

trail on kawishiwi falls

The next morning I got up and out of bed and had no pain. No stiffness. So we were off on another adventure! It was going to be a hike into Kawishiwi Falls. Not a long hike, maybe a mile, but downhill and then up on the way back.

trees on kawishiwi falls trail

The trail was beautiful. Full of roots and old trees. Isn’t it amazing how roots spread and reach? Even through rocks? Soon we began to not only hear the roar of the falls, but to feel the rumbling and shaking.

mist on the plants kawishiwi falls

As we continued nearer to the falls, the air began to get heavy with mist and the plants all glistened in the sunlight. We were instantly soaked.

first look of kawishiwi falls

Around the last bend and we saw the pure force and power of the falls.

kawishiwi falls

The river was well beyond its banks, crashing and tumbling and roaring.


The scenery in the BWCA is an interesting study in contrasts. Blue sky, green trees. Crashing waterfalls, calm lakes. Jagged rock walls, fields of wild flowers. The lupines were in bloom everywhere. I could have sat in this field and taken photos all afternoon.

kayaking on Lake Shagawa

But we had more plans for the afternoon…kayaking! We paddled around Lake Shagawa. There was a family of wood ducks with at least 18 babies. Two loon families with their babies on their backs, and a calm breeze to keep the heat down. Again, I paddled. On my own. No issues. No pain. Again there were tears of happiness.

the quarry hole 18

We left the little man behind with grandma and grandpa, along with the wilderness for some golf. The Quarry golf course is a top course nationally and one of our favorites. We played 18 holes. I played 18 holes of golf. (Birdied the 4th hole even!) Ultimate gratitude.

butterflies on the high falls trail

The last adventure on our trip was to hike to High Falls at Tettegouche State Park on the north west shore of Lake Superior. It was a cool day, being next to the Lake, which was perfect for hiking. Butterflies floated on the air everywhere, yellow and orange, white and brown. It was like magic.

first view of stairs at high falls

After the first leg of the hike (read mud, mud, mud), we came to an opening and we saw across the way the stairs. The STAIRS. The stairs the state park employee warned us about…we were headed all the way down there.

roses on the high falls trail

The wild roses were in bloom, adding to the magical feel of the day.

suspension bridge

The suspension bridge is about the half way point. 5 people at a time only. Its creaky and swings a bit. And see the water, how it stops? That is the edge, the drop off, the falls.

high falls tettegouche park

Many, many, many, 340 one-way to be exact (because the little man actually counted) stairs later, we reached the bottom. And this view. Well, that was worth it. And more tears. Of happiness. Of joy. Of gratitude. Of being overwhelmed by the beauty of this Earth. Of prayers answered. Of medications working. Of really and truly living and experiencing this sh0rt and precious life.

Take that RA.



Jennifer K said...

Looks like you had a wonderful trip. I've never been up that way - it's beautiful!

Judy I, St. Louis MO said...

Thank you for sharing pictures and details of your wonderful vacation. And how awesome you were able to enjoy it without pain. Just realized you have a new picture. It looks great.

Angela Fehr said...

Wonderful, Kimberly! So happy for you.

Diane said...

Gorgeous pictures...never been to the MN side of Lake Superior, but the Michigan side is beautiful as well in the UP...I once heard someone say "there is nothing here"...nothing here...look around, this is God's country!! Thanks for sharing, and glad you are much better!!

Mary Friederichsen said...

Oh Kimberely! Praise The Lord for prayers answered! I am so happy for you! I remember reading how difficult and painful your life had become a year ago! I am so glad that you found the right Drs and the support that you needed to get your life back,and I am sure that The Lord put them there for you! May God continue to Bless you! Thank you for sharing these photos and your story,it will give many others hope! That will be a trip to remember for a life time! Gorgeous!
Sending you gentle hugs!

reen said...

I am awed by nature and totally jealous of all you were able to experience. Thank you for sharing with us.

a1983alaskan said...

Kimberly- What a wonderful story of your vacation! Beautiful, beautiful photos! And yes! What a miracle you've experienced through the blessings of the Lord. His love and grace have been bestowed. Your faith has been solid.
Continue prayers for you. Thanks for sharing!

Wanda Guess said...

What a beautiful post! Happy thoughts and gorgeous photos!! Thanks for sharing with us. XO

Dorothy C. said...

This is the best post ever! So happy you were able to get out with the family and enjoy part of our beautiful country. May you be an inspiration to others that with God all things are possible.

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