Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer yields to school year

School’s back in session. Always great to get back into the swing of it, but during the week before school starts, we want to take advantage of the last days of having that more open schedule. Last week, we went to Petoskey and Charlevoix, partly to see if we could find some peaches for canning and partly just to have a nice day trip. No peaches available in bulk, only by the pound and expensive due to the early warm and late frost this spring, but it made for a nice day trip regardless. 

We just kind of poked along, stopping at turnouts to Lake Michigan, at farm stands and at artsy/touristy shops. We also stopped at Petoskey State Park to look for Petoskey stones (found a few, as always).

At the park we also were entertained by the kite surfers, three guys on short boards holding kites. It was a breezy day, so they got some speed and just as we were leaving, one guy got some serious air. One of the kite surfers packed up to go just as we were. Looked to be an involved process of capturing the kite, deflating the kite, packing the kite. Not something to do single-handedly. By nature, kite surfers are avid in their sport.

One sees the avid sportspeople on the road, a cluster of expensive bikes or skis or kayaks on the rack, them driving off to some destination to pursue their sport. I like to see that. They’re probably adding to the economy of the areas they visit. They are enjoying the outdoors and maybe even advocate for conservation of the places they mountain bike, cross country ski or kayak in.

I don’t get out that much. My recreational pursuits tend to be closer to home or right at home or campus. Skiing, cycling, hiking, canoeing are things I can do casually during my usual day. That’s one of the big advantages of living here – the fact that we can do paddle sports, cross country skiing, cycling right in our immediate neighborhoods. It’s part of the lifestyle here, and we use that fact when recruiting people to come work at the university.

I have not always lived where one can canoe so casually or with reliable enough snow to XC so often. But one can always go cycling and running . All you need is roads (although one place I lived was miles from a paved road so not so good for cycling when all I had was a road bike). What about hiking? Is a long walk through town a hike or does one need to be in an interesting natural area to call it a hike? As a kid and as an adult, I’ve walked for transportation, often a couple of miles distance. I never considered it a hike, though.  Regardless of what it’s called, it can be a good way to get somewhere and enjoy the journey even if it’s just through town.

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