Friday, September 10, 2021

A September update

Greetings! Welcome to the month of September. 

Summer is flying by and fall will gift us all its spectacular colors in just a few short weeks time. 

My fiancĂ©e Brenna and I recently spent the long Labor Day holiday weekend in Cleveland, exploring this new-to-us midwest city along Lake Erie. She booked us a cozy Airbnb in the hip Ohio City neighborhood, where we eagerly retreated from our busy routine of work chaos, the start of grad school for her, and a summer that seemed to fly by before we could even blink. Stuffing our stomachs full with Cleveland's best eats like thick grille cheese sandwiches from a joint called Melt Bar & Grilled or hand-scooped ice cream from Mason's Creamery, catching the vibrant sunset from the shoreline downtown, and touring The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame- Cleveland is seriously such an underrated, fun city to explore and getaway to. While there, I brought along Jack Kerouac's On the Road in an attempt to try and reread it. I struggled in 2017 to even break 80 pages when I first bought it and my interest faded, which was a shame because I know its such an iconic piece of literature. Perhaps I wasn't in the right headspace at the time...but now I can't put this book down. I love his writing. It's just so colorful, expressive, gritty, inspiring, and identifiable.
"It was a wonderful night. Central City is two miles high; at first you get drunk on the altitude, then you get tired, and there's a fever in your soul."- Jack Kerouac

Anywho, Cleveland rocks. There's a lot of spirit , hospitality, and pride floating around in the air, and I'd highly recommend spending a long weekend calling this underrated midwest spot home. It was a perfect city for Brenna and I to just unwind and relax in, after a busy whirlwind of a summer. Plus, the drive itself isn't hard to do...Cuyahoga Valley National Park I'm looking at you.

Shifting gears. A few weeks from now I'll be embarking with two friends on a backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic putting the kibosh on our annual national backpacking trip for 2020, thanks to proven vaccinations the three of us are stoked beyond belief to have another trip on the calendar. Isle Royale National Park sits far out in the middle of cold Lake Superior and is like a four-hour ferry ride from Copper Harbor, Michigan up I'm the northernmost tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The remoteness, raw solitude, and ruggedness of Isle Royale are intriguing beyond words to me and I cannot wait. I'm craving this degree of adventure.

But before then, training and preparation is underway. We've mapped out our four-day route, stockpiled food, and I've been monitoring the Horne Fire, wildfire that's currently battling its way east across the island- within earshot of parts of our itinerary. Let's hope the wildfire is safely contained in the coming weeks. Given that I'm still in the recovery stages (albeit so much better today than back in March before my bone graft surgery on my right knee), it's imperative to me that I'm not only in the best shape I can be in aerobically but that my healing knee is up to the task of bagging several miles across uneven, gorgeous midwest terrain. There's a surprisingly steep hill, shaped almost like a half bowl, behind the house I grew up with nine trees atop that's since proven to be a close spot to train. It's almost been therapeutic to load my pack, throw on a podcast, and do laps up to the top. Or collect miles through the Kettle Moraine State Forest Pike Lake Unit where groves of maple shield from the humidity and late summer's sun. 

It's good to be outside.