Mary Beth Writes

I adore the Niagara Escarpment and you probably do, too.

A while back Len and I spent a gorgeous afternoon hiking in Wisconsin’s High Cliff State Park (on the upper right side of Lake Winnebago). A sign near the parking lot informed us that the impressive cliffs at the edge of the lake and through the woods and under the Indian mounds that are there, are the edge of an ancient sea that covered much of the middle of North America. That rim of limestone, as you can plainly see on the map, creates a limestone rainbow in the middle of North America. Len and I have occasionally talked about a “dream trip” around the Niagara Escarpment. The afternoon we hiked on Manitoulin Island we realized we were doing exactly that.

See where the red line goes through a lacey mess of islands between the upper peninsula and Ontario?  That is a wild and beautiful conglomeration of big islands, little ones, swampy peninsulas, and sparkling rivers finding their way to Lake Huron.

I knew Manitoulin and Mackinaw islands (the Ottawa called it Michilimackinac, which I can’ pronounce). These sizeable islands were places where First Nation people would meet to trade what they had grown or gathered and to negotiate problems and maintain peace.  These two islands were to northern Indians and the first European immigrants what Sicily and Crete were to the people who plied the Mediterranean.  Places everyone passed by, stopped in, caught up on the news, learned parts of each other’s languages.

The “Cup and Saucer Trail” is a somewhat famous hiking trail on Manitoulin.  We decided to hike up to its famous cliffs overlooking miles and miles of lake and woods. 

We never made it.  Canada doesn’t go out of their way to make their parks accessible. We hiked an hour, made it up several runs of “steps” which are outcroppings of rocks one scrambles up. I’d already done two of these crazy climbs on my butt and knees while hanging on to side rocks with my hands.  Len is more agile than me but even he was surprised at that 10-foot rise that we were supposed to scramble up next. Disappointed, but not fools, we turned around. 

Still, we hiked nearly two hours on a skinny, rocky path in an ancient forest. It was stunning, though next time I want to stand ON the Niagara Escarpment for a long view, I’m going back to High Cliff.

Here are some of our pix from that day.

This was one of the easier places to climb up ...

That's the limestone escarpment, peeking out.

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A-Z Barbara

Barbara 1/26/2023

A-Z means I’m writing short takes on random topics and I’m going in alphabetical order. I love this quote: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

That’s the spirit I’m pursuing: Undisciplined, irreverent, and original.

A-Z, Alaska

1/25/2023 

I’ve never been to Alaska. I’m sure I’d love it but going there is not a big dream for either Len or me.

However, this. When our son was around 12 he developed a crush on all things Alaskan. Kid who lives in a ranch house on a Midwestern cul-de-sac wants to get lost in tundra and mountains with moose and wolves. Yup.

At first he just talked, dreamed, read books, and watched shows about Alaska. Then, at 14 he got a part-time job as a janitor at a vet clinic and he kept that job until he went to college. It was a good fit for a kid not drawn to homework.

A to Z

1/25/2023

I am not exactly depressed, but I can whip up a pretty good glum at almost any moment. There have been about three sunny days since Thanksgiving, and four colds, and I’m feeling it. How about you?

We can’t even properly whine. Not with the Atmospheric Rivers of Doom in California, and tornadoes in the south. And all the other glum and hateful news.

Sara Kurtz & Healthcare by Zip Code? Really?

1/22/2023 

Many of you have been very generous in the past. Please think about making a donation to the GoFundMe account of Sara Kurtz. Donate here. 

Who is Sara? She’s a friend of my niece Susan.

Len Explains Fusion Energy

The photo is of Lisa Meitner. The BFF of one of our kids is (quite likely) a great grand niece of this amazing woman. 

...

MB: Len occasionally explains very complicated science things to me or our kids in such a way that we actually understand it. One of our kids asked him what the big deal was about fusion. Len wrote this and I thought some of you might like to read it.

Long live curious people and long live nerds. 

 

Almost. Two Years Later

1/6/2023 

 I remember where I was two years ago this afternoon. Do you?

I was writing. I knew I had another hour to just work by myself and I was happy about that. I love no interruptions.

Len was downstairs. I heard him turn on the TV. We NEVER watch TV during the day so it was weird when he called up to me, “You should come down here. Something’s happening.”

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