Hey there September
Blog post written by Rima:
Hey there September, you snuck up fast huh?
Welp it's going to be almost a year near the end of September since we moved to Minneapolis. Quite a long year I might add, but at the same time didn't it fly? When you're in something, waiting and waiting it often feels like time is dragging on like a sloth with a bum leg. Speaking of sloths, I was a sloth for most of this past year but then I got my gazelle lungs and am finally able to galavant around.
The past several weeks we have been able to go on some adventures here and there. Since I had been able to go floating down a river on a tube we thought why not a weekend on a lake!? So several weekends ago we went up to our friend's Kim and Aaron's cabin about two hours up north. There we got to play around on a lake which was wonderful since we both love lakes. Our new inflatables got a chance to bask in the sunlight. Laima had a monstera leaf, Kim was on an avocado and I had a toucan that I had named Tito J. Tito was quite large and took up a bit of room on the pontoon boat.
Another activity that I had not been able to do myself in years was to kayak! It was quite exciting to be able to paddle around without struggle, but I guess my arms were the only things that got a tad tired. I even tried fishing from my kayak and caught a fishy. That evening we all went on the boat at dusk and caught a bunch of fish. Mostly catch and release but for the larger Crappies we kept three of them. I had called my transplant team the day before to make sure it was okay if I was to eat any fish we caught in the lake. Luckily, they said yes! Post transplant you aren't allowed to have fish for a certain amount of time due to food born illnesses. Raw fish is a no no, I’m bummed that I can’t eat sushi anymore, but it's okay you can’t beat fresh fish that you caught yourself.
During this lake weekend Laima was looking forward to cracking open a board game none of us had ever played called Settlers of Catan. Now for anyone who has ever tried to play that game without having someone there who has played before and knows the rules then you will understand. We struggled pretty hard to try and understand the many layered confusing instructions. We were in need of an experienced player. Youtube was even used to try and figure it out, Laima even texted her friends who play the game to get some help but we were out of luck. One day I'll know how the settlers of Catan live their lives and that day is not today.
A few weeks after the lake, Laima and I booked a campsite for two nights up by the north shore at Gooseberry Falls State Park. We went up Tuesday morning and came back Thursday late afternoon. It was the best two days I've had in the outdoors in a very long time. As soon as we got to our site we put on our hiking clothes and went to hike the trails at Gooseberry falls state park. It was going to be about a three mile round trip starting from the lake and along the river going up towards the waterfalls.
Gorgeous views all around. Green and leafy. Lots of stairs made of wood panels just stuck into the dirt, made into the earth. I'm generally not the fastest walker but when compared to Laima’s stride I think many people would struggle a little to keep up…or maybe it's just me, even with my new lungs. So basically the whole hike I was behind her. At some points I would lag behind because I was either taking a picture of something or admiring a beautiful view and would have to run to catch up. I did a lot of running and catching up to Laima, but I didn't mind since I was physically able to run up all the stairs and inclines in the trail. All that running around definitely made me sore for the next few days.
The second hike we did was at Tettegouche State park. We chose the hike that would bring us to High Falls. It was going to be 1.7miles one way in. Within the first five minutes I knew my feet and shins were doomed, but I grinned and bared it. I was not going to pass up this hike. The closer we got to the falls we could hear the rushing sounds of water. Laima turns to me and goes “do you want to go to the top of the fall or to the bottom?” Both! duhhh!
We didn't just hike this far to only see one view of this sucker! So at the top and across a rickety metal bridge and up some more we found a secluded spot near the edge and had a little lunch. I finally got to rest my feet. My arches were screaming. Even with going to the gym very often and running stairs at the stadium here and there my legs and feet still act as if I do nothing! After our little break we headed to the bottom of the falls. Down a ton of stairs that I was going to have to go back up.
It was a beautiful view. We sat on some boulders and had a cheese and cracker snack before we started the trek back. At this point my leg muscles were starting to get a tad tired. We had to go back up all the inclines we had previously gone down. I know that the first few hikes of new my lungs' career were going to be work for sure, breaking in new muscles I haven't used in who knows how long. But I'm ready for the challenge. I'm ready for this upcoming week's camping and hiking excursions. Yes, we most certainly did book another two nights camping up north again! :)
Earlier this past week we wanted to check out a waterfall at a state park about an hour away. Willow river state park has a nice waterfall we've been wanting to explore for months but never did. I'm glad we didn't go pre transplant because the incline walking down and back up was really steep. It would have taken me like a million years to walk back up. Actually no, I would have needed to be pushed in a wheelchair, but that incline going down in a wheel chair would have been very dangerous for Laima and I.
Down at the bottom of the half mile trail were the falls. They were gorgeous. A few large ones and the several smaller ones in different spots. We kind of forgot to bring our water shoes from the car, but we didn't really care, we took our shoes off anyways and just went in barefoot. We spent a good amount of time sitting right by the falls. I even sat in the water, I had luckily put on my bathing suit bottoms before we left the house. The water was cold but refreshing. Not numbingly cold. The current was strong, and sun was hot. I wanted to go fully into the water but didn't want to cut my foot on anything or get dragged away by the current.
After the falls we were getting hungry and so we headed to Stillwater, a cute town right next to the Saint Croix river. Laima had found a place on the outskirts of town that had Walleye. We had yet had the chance to eat the fish that the state is known for. It was at a super cute little log cabin looking place called Phil and Tara's Hideaway. We decided to share the Walleye and the Cod fish n' chips. Both dishes we absolutely delicious. We both agreed that it was one of the top fish n' chips we had ever had. Like sooooo good. If you're ever in the Stillwater area and want some good fish, definitely check that place out.