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New tradition: Getting into the woods is a way to recharge

A tad askew

September 29, 2012
JACKIE?STARK - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

As the leaves begin to change and the air begins to cool, I'll be spending this weekend in a cabin on Mirror Lake inside the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

My husband and I made the same trip last year with his parents. We thought it would be nice to see the fall colors and spend a little time together.

Now, it seems as though this will be our first family tradition, and I'm pretty excited about that.

As you read this with your morning cup of coffee, I'll be far away in the middle of the woods, sitting around a fire with my husband and in-laws, waiting for our morning coffee to finish percolating over the fire. I won't be waiting for my cell phone to beep, or my email to update or for the next political commercial to tell me just how terrible that other guy is for Michigan voters. I won't hear a single car rush down the road or a single siren off in the distance.

Instead, I'll be enjoying the outdoors, waking up to a beautiful sunrise, staring out at the shimmering water of Mirror Lake. I'll be happy with the knowledge that, for at least the next two days, I have nowhere to be, nothing to do and no one to answer to.

It's easy to get swept up in the fast pace of daily life, especially working at a newspaper. Though our office doesn't quite operate at the same speed as that in "The Newsroom," (an HBO series I would highly recommend) it does become pretty hectic. News these days is not something that's produced once a day en mass. Thanks to the Internet, news is updated every second of every day and whoever gets it out there first wins.

I can handle that type of on-the-go lifestyle, but I'm looking forward to recharging my batteries out in the woods, slowing down a little to take in the beautiful fall colors on a hike or the fresh smell of cold earth in the morning. The only stress I want to feel is on my fishing line as I reel in the catch of the day.

According to, one in four Americans think they can't afford to take vacations. Technically, this trip out west isn't really a vacation, since it will only be over the weekend, but still, the cons of not taking some time off certainly outweigh that one-week paycheck.

It's important to sneak these mini getaways in every now and then. I hate to trot out an old cliche, but I cannot believe how quickly this year is going by. And as I get older, I'm beginning to really to appreciate how little time we actually have.

Work is important. It gives us purpose in our lives, and for those of us who are lucky enough - and I include myself in this category - it also provides a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that we are doing something worthwhile every day.

But - as long as I'm going with cliches, here's another one - as we all know, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

So while I'm out in the woods, I'm going to do my level best to not speak of the newspaper or anything related to it. I won't be carrying my standard notebook with me. I'll be trading in my camera and cell phone for a pair of hiking shoes and a warm coat.

And when I come back to work next week I'm sure I'll be that much better for it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jackie Stark is a Marquette resident and a staff reporter at The Mining Journal. Her column appears bi-weekly. She can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is



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