Day 260 ~ Illinois Beach State Park Zion, IL

December 10th, 2016 ~ Day 260


Another bone chilling day, at least it warmed up to 25 degrees by the time I started my hike. It also felt warmer because there wasn’t any wind. I headed over to the Illinois Beach State Park, my favorite place to hike everytime I come to visit. This is a special place for me since the day my granddaughter was born and since today was my grandmother’s funeral service, I thought it would make it another memorable hike. 

My path began through a forest of dried leaves. Everything around here has died for the winter. It adds a unique beauty to the place. Not something you get to see everyday in Phoenix. 

Soon I was walking through the sand, heading toward the beach. Once I came over the little hill, there was nothing but sand and water. The wind began to blow hard and I felt the lake effect cold. 

There is something so beautiful about Lake Michigan. The vast expanse of the water where as a child it felt like the ocean. More memories flooding back especially with my grandma’s service today. 

Yesterday I walked into the church I left 25 years ago. I wasn’t scared or nervous, which surprised me. Nothing had changed in the years since I left, everything was just as I remembered it. I saw so many people from my past today. Recognizing faces but not remembering names, it was an amazing experience to see so much of my extended family during this sad time. My grandma was a great person who was loved by many. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be here for her. 

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Day 183 ~ Illinois Beach State Park Zion, IL

September 24th, 2016 ~ Day 183


Five months and one day ago, I took my daughter, soon to be granddaughter, son and son-in-law to this very same trail. That was April 23rd, 2016 the day my beautiful granddaughter happened to be born.

It was a long hike for my very pregnant daughter and my sweet little grand baby was overdue. So a hiking we went. A good walk for the pregnant momma, they say can induce labor, and so it did. This beautiful little girl came five minutes before midnight that very same day.


Today I took my son and granddaughter on the very same hike. Even though she’s been here before, this time she could actually see it, if only she was awake. The trail is sandy, but not difficult to walk through. It’s packed sand until you get to the beach.


We headed to the beach to see the waves. I grew up visiting this beach as a child, swimming in Lake Michigan. We used to ride our bikes to the beach with out our parents and swim all day. So many memories here. If only my sweet Mileena were awake to enjoy this moment with her Emmy. Sweet little girl was so tired. The wind and chill from the lake along with the noise of the waves crashing into the shore soon woke her up though.


We headed away from the shore, back to the trail,  and found a pond where we thought we may see some wildlife. We didn’t get to see any, but we did find some deer tracks in the sand.


The leave are changing color here too! Little patches everywhere. I have decided the reds are my favorite! Fall will be here soon, I’m a little sad that I’m going to miss it.

We hiked a little over two miles. Plenty enough for me carrying a twenty pound baby. She’s getting so big! I hope for the opportunity to bring her here every time I visit Illinois. To tell her the story of the day she was born.

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Day 29 ~ Illinois Beach State Park Zion, IL

April 23rd, 2016 ~ Day 29

Back in town where I was born raised, I am here to see my daughter as she gives birth to her first child, my first grandchild. I was able to take my older two children, Ashley and Nicholas along with my son-in-law Brent hiking. This hike had a dual purpose. One, to continue my goal of hiking every day for 365 days and two, to help get this baby born. In all the years I’ve lived in Illinois, I never hiked anywhere around here. It wasn’t a passion of mine until I moved to Arizona. I was able to find a few trails to hike while I’m here visiting.

Today’s hike was at the Illinois Beach State Park. When I lived here, I lived only a mile from the trail, yet I never hiked it. They recently had a controlled burn, so most of the grass is burnt and you could still smell the scent of burnt wood. With the remnants of the fire, I noticed cacti. I never knew there was cacti in Illinois. It was like a piece of Arizona came with me home.

The beach was beautiful. It reminded me of all the times I watched my babies play in the water and of all my childhood memories spent on Lake Michigan. So many memories come flooding in when I come back here and I’m grateful for the new memories I get to make while visiting.


Update: The hike worked! My beautiful grand daughter Mileena was born April 23rd, 2016 at 11:55 pm.




Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan




My pregnant baby taking a break.


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