Leaving the Midwest

Five years. That's how long Katie and I have lived in Wisconsin. Five years ago we moved from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, leaving behind friends and the land I loved for a faint promise of a better job propect. Things turned out. Both of our careers have advanced since the move, I became more integrated with her family, we got married and had a son. And I was never too far away from the one place I still call home: the Upper Peninsula. Within the next month, though, that will change.

We decided a while back that Wisconsin was a temporary location. I didn't want to raise children here and both of us had a fixed limit in the area's job market. It was fun, and we've met good people in the Fox Cities area, it's just not where we want to settle down and grow a family. Deciding where to move has been a constant discussion over the last year, a discussion that has led us to Phoenix.

Now I'm not a fan of Arizona. I don't know the area, or the terrain, and the thought of spending summers jumping from one air-conditioned unit to the next sounds disgusting. But Katie's family is moving there, and the job market is (a bit) more tech-friendly, and I have family south of Phoenix. Our other options, which included Washingon, Texas, New York, Minnesota, Michigan, and maybe a half-dozen other states, all had considerations to weigh, and Arizon won.

So that's it. We move to Arizona by the end of October. A lease is signed, we're comparing moving options - a difficult task with two dogs, two cats, a sixteen-month old child and pregnant wife - and I'll be two thousand miles from home. Visiting the Peshekee Highlands and Huron Mountains will no longer be a weekend trip. There are things to look forward to, I'm sure, yet the thought of truly leaving Michigan after living in or near it for twenty-plus years is incredibly saddening.

As a small aside, I'm not entirely sure what to do with all of the posts and pictures I've collected on this blog about hiking yet. I will still be hiking, probably crawling over the Superstition Mountains like a backyard jungle gym, and plan on continuing to post on the blog on these adventures. The UP adventures, though, deserve something special. I may collect them in a manner similar to the waterfall site, a general collection of hikes with geocoordinates and descriptions, or just simply renovate the old hiking map with a massive update. I won't just let it disappear, though. Five years of hiking God's Country won't be let go that easily.