This summer, I walked and biked hundreds of miles on the roads and paths around my home. I paddled across lakes and down rivers on two dozen kayaking trips. I tended a bountiful vegetable garden. I relaxed in our backyard pool and tossed bean bags with a handful of friends who are part of our “inner” circle.
One friend said I looked quite tan. No doubt, since I spent a lot of time outside. But outside seems to be the safest place to be during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In my less-active moments, I play board and dice games with my husband, Greg. Since he got tired of losing at Scrabble, we moved on to Farkle, and then became obsessed with Rummikub, which I highly recommend. Our latest game is Blokus. I also read a lot – and just started my thirty-first book of the year.
I’m fortunate to live in a pleasant community, and I enjoy spending time in and around my home. Yet, last week, I was bouncing off the walls with excitement to head to northern Wisconsin for a long weekend, my first (and probably last) getaway of the year.
We rented a house through Airbnb in Three Lakes, Wisconsin, a special place to our family since Greg’s grandparents used to have a summer home there, so the area holds many happy memories. The property owners had kayaks, a canoe and a pedal pontoon boat available to us on Big Lake.
Our friends Nicki and Doug joined us for the weekend. On Friday, we went for a long walk and had a great dinner on the outdoor deck at Eddie’s White Spruce Restaurant & Tavern in Eagle River.
On Saturday, we biked around the country roads and relaxed on Big Lake, the ladies in the kayaks and the guys on the pedal boat. The skies were overcast, but the fall colors were at peak and absolutely stunning.
On Sunday, Greg and I kayaked past his grandparents’ old place, returning to shore in time to see Nicki and Doug waving their arms and alerting us to otters playing in the water. I sat on the dock and watched the otters for an hour, thrilled by my first-ever, otters-in-the-wild sighting! After lunch, we biked the Three Eagle Trail between Three Lakes and Eagle River. We had drinks on the dock and watched the otters again before dinner, then enjoyed a roaring campfire.
All in all, we did the same things Up North that we’ve been doing all summer—walking, biking, kayaking, playing board games and reading books—but in a new place. I came home Monday refreshed by the change of scenery and quality time with friends, and awed by the fall colors that serve as a reminder of how beautiful our world is even in these challenging times.