Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Picture Is Worth…

A Picture Is Worth…
By Jeremy Hagerman
February 2013

The Great Lakes surrounding the State of Michigan are nothing less than impressive.  We've heard the words, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and sometimes we fall short of the vocabulary to describe what we intend to portray. 

Last August a good friend and I decided to take a backwoods camping trip, a guy’s trip that would become an annual event to mark our manhood.  Sounds crazy, I know, but as a husband and father of two little girls, I am surrounded by Barbie dolls with pink and purple toys (don’t get the wrong impression, I absolutely love my ladies).   We play outside and take adventures to our local park and we travel with our pop-up camper to state parks for an occasional family trip; sometimes we even just pop up the tent or camper in the back yard.

I get outside on a regular basis but the thought of this trip wouldn't leave my mind.  I work as a full time firefighter paramedic.  I coach athletes who are preparing for their season of triathlon training and I help people who want to lead more healthy lifestyles.  I love adventures and traveling, I enjoy running and racing everything from the local 5k to Ultra marathons and the Ironman triathlon.  My training always leads me outside and I love every minute of it.  I hit the local dirt trails to run or ride mountain bikes; I cruise for hours out on my triathlon bike and will swim in almost any puddle I can find.  You see, I grew up to love being outdoors.

I grew up in a small farm town.  As a child I ran through in the woods and played in the corn fields.  I had a tree fort in my back yard and real tire swing.  My grandparents owned a cabin on a small lake where we would ‘adventure’ in the woods, go fishing and play.  My father owned a small sailboat and he used to take me out sailing with him.  I have a picture of my dad and I sailing around Crystal Lake in Mid-Michigan; it’s one of my favorite pictures of him and me.  My family would go camping at PJ Hoffmaster State Park on weekends and I’ve spent more than a few hours playing in Lake Michigan.  As our family grew up he needed something better to sail, he bought a bigger boat and we traveled across Michigan to the inland lakes and sometimes to the “big lake” Lake Michigan.  Eventually he settled on a 30’ sailboat that couldn’t be towed around.  Darn the luck, we had to keep the boat at a marina in Muskegon and for the next several years of my life we spent our summer weekends sailing Lake Muskegon, venturing out into Lake Michigan and swimming off the boat.  I took more pictures of our family vacations than you could imagine.

My buddy and I decided that our “guy trip” needed to set the tone for all future adventures.  We decided to go to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  We planned to hike for four days covering about 30 miles and we would only take the supplies that we could fit into our backpacks.  Of course, I took my camera and phone and he had a video camera… you know, just the essential stuff.   As we bought our back woods camping passes we had no idea what we were in for.  The trip was amazing and I have more stories from that single trip than from most of my recent races.  The campgrounds have a single fire ring and in the evening the other campers come together.  We met a few campers and hikers, some just out for the weekend, some were minimalists, others made several trips in to bring all their camping stuff; one guy was a Sasquatch researcher, no joke.  It wasn't perfect and there were a few problems; I ran the North Country Trail 50 mile Ultra Marathon just the week before our trip, my feet hurt, we packed too much stuff and it became hard on our shoulders to carry, one of the tent poles broke, on the last night I thought I heard a 'Squatch at our campsite although there was no such evidence the next morning.  It was tough, it was demanding, it was… a guys trip.  The trip was a success and it was truly a fun experience.  As expected, I took a bunch of pictures!  While they all show part of our journey none of them can explain the experience.  Several of the places we hiked past were breathtaking, especially the Coves.

When I got home I shared my photos with my family.  They thought some of the pictures were neat but my girls were more interested in the “Bear Poo” chapstick that I bought for them.  Someday they will look at these pictures and see something that sparks an inner voice to go outside, adventure.  Hopefully they will think that some of the pictures make me look like a manly man, not afraid of the bears or Sasquatch.   Someday, I hope to take them with me on adventures like my parents did for my brother and me.  Someday they will create memories where their pictures will be beautiful but words will not be able to explain the beauty they saw.

I've taken hundreds of photos of sunsets over the Great Lakes; there always seems to be that one picture that from every summer that you keep forever, you frame it and it becomes your desktop background for weeks on end.  Sometime this month, go visit one of our Great Lakes and take a picture of the sunset or a sunrise with you and your friends or family (yes, I know it’s cold… that’s one reason this picture will be memorable).  Make it your desktop background or have it printed, post it at your desk or on your living room wall.  That picture may not hold the resale value of the paper it was printed on but your experience will live on through that picture for generations to come.

Start planning your next adventure.  It doesn't have to be a crazy guy’s trip; your adventure could be a day trip to a state park or a more extravagant overnight stay in a Traverse City bed and breakfast.  Plan to take a picture and as the sun sets over one of our Great Lakes, be Great Lakes Proud -

 Jeremy is the owner of Motiv8 Fitness and Training and maintains certifications as a USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach and  USAT Youth and Junior Certification, USA Gymnastics Instructor, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and ASCA Level 2 Swim Coach.  Jeremy is a full time firefighter/paramedic with more than 13 years of experience.  He maintains license as a paramedic , ACLS and BLS Certifications, Fire 1 and 2, Fire Officer 1,2 and 3, HAZMAT Operations, Trench Rescue and Wildland Firefighter.  Most importantly, he is married to an avid outdoor enthusiast and they have two young daughters who love adventuring. 

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