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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Quarantine Diary #682 Did YOU ever save something from social media?

1/25/2025 

 I have a lot of pictures; most are photographs Len or I took, but I also have an incredibly random collection of internet stuff saved over many years.

I’m feeling random today, so I’m sharing a few of them. There will be no rhyme or reason to this. Some days one just deals with what comes along.

This first photo - above - is dedicated to the Lab Workers everywhere. 

Quarantine Diary #681 "If this were easy ... "

1/23/2022 

Thanks to you who responded to yesterday's post with affirming comments. It feels awkward and sad to cancel activities we want to do with people we like and love. As our friend David so helpfully reminded, “Just because we’re paranoid doesn’t mean it isn’t out to get us.”

Are you also are confused about quarantining? This HuffPost article is the clearest article I’ve read yet about how long to isolate if one has Covid, or one is positive, or if one has been exposed.   

Quarantine Diary #680 Too Close Covid

1/22/2022

Judy suggests a podcast that her daughter-in-law, an infectious disease physician, listens to and recommends. It’s The Osterholm Update: COVID 19. Osterholm is an epidemiologist and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He’s on President Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board.

The podcast is a little wordy here and there but one can fast-forward. Here is what I learned that makes a difference to me.

Quarantine Diary #674 - MLK Day

1/17/2022

It’s Martin Luther King Day.  I read this last week (in Soul Matters for those of you who are UU). 

There is no such state of being that can be called - “I’m not a racist.”

There is only racist and anti-racist.

Quarantine Diary #668 Making an Effort

We hiked on Sunday.

1/11/2022

How was your weekend?

Have you noticed that with this omicron iteration of covid isolation – if one is not an employee - it’s tricky to tell what is a weekend and what is not? I think about what my kids might be doing and maybe we call them and that is the main way weekends are different from weeks. By what other people are doing.

Quarantine Diary #664 Whine, whine, whine.

1/7/2021

Lincoln gave a speech in January of 1838 to Americans alarmed by mob actions.

He begins: “In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American People …

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