A Hiking We Will Go

A winter wonderland…

I love hiking in Whitewater State Park. I always find beauty each time I go.

Hiking up the Dakota trail in snowy conditions

A gorgeous view atop the bluffs

High on the bluffs overlooking the Meadow Trail

A Hiking We Will Go Haiku

arrive atop the bluffs
wintry landscape

My goal…less is more. I enjoy deviating from the traditional 5-7-5 haiku rules.

I will continue experimenting with line length, punctuation and strong words to describe a scene, feeling or thought.

I’ll be spending my Black Friday painting, writing and hopefully reading. Is anyone else avoiding retail stores on this crazy day?


Take Me There: Oregon

I love to travel, and I hope to be able to spend more time on the road at some point. I took the image I included in today’s post, but it’s not an original idea. I have seen images on Pinterest similar to the one I am posting. However, I selected the state of Oregon as my next destination, which you’ll see below.

I am starting a much needed bucket list. I have determined that there are so many places I want to see, but I don’t have a plan. So, here’s to starting a plan.

I want to visit the state of Oregon because I love the outdoors. It’s also one of the last seven states I need to visit. (Yes, I have been to 43 states.)

Take Me There: Oregon


Oregon Haiku

Pacific northwest—
Miles and miles of hiking trails.
Lace up your boots.

Have a fantastic week!



Finding Beauty Throughout the Day

It’s time for the weekly Haiku Challenge. In the month of September, I posted a haiku poem for each day. I enjoyed this process and I decided to continue building my collection of haiku poems. Each week, I will post at least one haiku along with a photo.

The image below was taken from my hike last week in Whitewater State Park. This picture resonates with me because even though our path through life is challenging, there is beauty all around. I hope this little slice of life brings peace to your day, whether you are overworked or feeling ill. Take each step one by one…find beauty in everything you do.

Bridge in Whitewater State Park

Haiku Challenge

Traveling down a
path, not knowing where it leads.
Find beauty each day.

Tell me something beautiful in your life?



Family of Asters

Hey, Hey, It’s Monday!

Tonight I am attending a wine tasting at my friend’s house, who is also the editor/publisher of Rochester Women magazine. The wine tasting is research for my next article. We are tasting dessert wines from local wineries. And dessert wines are my favorite!

I hope to have a post tomorrow about this experience, but that might be pushing it. The deadline for this article was due on the 22nd of September. Yep, a week ago.

Unfortunately, our schedules were so hectic this was the day the five of us could get together. I’ll be pecking away at the keyboard trying to finish the dessert wine article as soon as possible. But, my last haiku is scheduled for tomorrow and I don’t want to miss the last day! I am thinking a haiku based on dessert wine.

Anyway, I managed to take about 100 photos this weekend on my hiking adventures. So, here is another image from Saturday. It’s my inspiration for the Haiku Challenge.

Flowers in Whitewater State Park

Day 29: Haiku Challenge

Pale purple asters
blooming. Gathered together
like a family.

What is your favorite fall flower?




At One with Nature


I hope you have had a great weekend!

I enjoyed my hike so much on Friday, I decided to go back to Whitewater and hike a different trail on Saturday afternoon. It has been a nice alternative to running around my neighborhood or hitting the gym.

I hiked the Dakota trail and took a different route at the top. At the first fork in the trail I meandered down the hillside to the Valley Trail. The trail was shrouded by trees still full of leaves, and many of the downed trees and rocks were covered with moss.

Valley Trail in Whitewater State Park

Whitewater State Park

The trail followed the river for a bit and that’s were I found the inspiration for my next haiku.

Whitewater River in Whitewater State Park

Day 28: Haiku Challenge

Mossy river bank—
little nooks and crannies are
filled with the unknown.

Are any of you avid hikers or nature lovers?


The Beauty in Whitewater State Park

Friday was a productive day. And though I haven’t had time to post any haiku poems in the last couple of days, I am ready to make up for lost time.

I left work at 1:30 on Friday and went to Cabin Coffee. I had a bowl of soup for lunch and wrote an article from the event I covered Thursday evening at the local elementary school. The event was Bingo for books. There were about 40 elementary school students with their families playing Bingo. The winners of Bingo were able to select a book of their choice. It was refreshing to see little bookworms so excited about reading.

I finished the article and cut lines for the photos and sent them to my editor. After a working lunch (which is how I spend most lunches) I went home and started a painting. I have another Wine & Canvas event coming up in October. Actually, I have two in October, one the first weekend in November and another one on December 12th. I finished the background of one of the paintings and decided a hike would be the perfect way to round out the day.

Since Whitewater State Park is close in proximity (and it’s gorgeous this time of year), I decided to hike the Dakota Trail. It was a beautiful fall afternoon. I wore a long sleeve shirt, but soon realized it was unnecessary.

The Beauty in Whitewater State ParkTHe Dakota Trail

The Beauty in Whitewater State Park

Although, the treetops were fiery shades of orange, red and yellow, there were already many leaves that were asleep on the trail. The curled leaves crackled and crunched beneath my feet and every so often there was one sad green leaf that didn’t have the opportunity to turn a warm golden or fiery red color.

The Beauty in Whitewater State Park

Overlook on the Dakota Trail

I wound my way up the rocky cliffs and followed many stairways, some as steep as ladders. The chipmunks put me to shame. Those critters scurried up the steep staircase like their tail was on fire. When I arrived at the top, I couldn’t resist taking more photos of fall foliage.

I took the shortest loop because it was after 5 p.m. I didn’t know how long the hike would take, plus I wanted to go to the Marnach house. The hike to the Marnach House was about 45 minutes round trip.

The Marnach House was my final destination. This building has been restored as a monument and tribute to all Luxembourg pioneer immigrants by the Luxembourg Heritage Society of America.

It was first built in 1857 by John and Nicholas Marnach. They were immigrants from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It’s masonry and architecture are typical of small Luxembourg farms of the nineteenth century.

Dakota trail at Whitewater State Park

And now, for the Haiku Challenge

The Beauty in Whitewater State Park Day 25: Haiku Challenge

Writhing snake-like roots
intertwined with earth and rock—
creeping and crawling.

Fall trees starting to turn colors

Day 26: Haiku Challenge

Minnesota hills
and the warm treetops embrace.
Good night setting sun.

The Dakota trail overlooking whitewater creek.

Day 27: Haiku Challenge

Like a bird soaring
high above the river, I
look, listen and breathe.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

How did you spend your Saturday?




The Place I Call Home

Last week, I offered a look inside of How It All Started for me as a writer. I wanted to give you a few writing samples that helped me obtain my first freelance writing assignment for Rochester Women Magazine.

This piece was written after a long, unhappy road in Corporate America. I was about to leave for South Korea to teach English hoping I would find what I was looking for. I spent a few weeks at home with my family prior to leaving the country. I wrote this one for my dad. Popps if you’re reading this, I love you. (note: I kept my last name under the name it was when I wrote this piece)

The Place I Call Home

By Nicole L. Heidbreder

It was mid-May of my 30th year, and I was still searching. My bare feet skimmed across the wooden planks with my father following one step behind me.  I felt the dried pollen and twigs snap under my feet and wondered if my dad felt the same prickly feeling beneath his bare feet.  We crept across the deck on the back of my parent’s house, the deck that had been feverishly nailed together, plank by plank, by my industrious father.  We stood together on the left side of the deck peering over its sturdy wooden rails.

The night was cool, but the air felt like a heavy woolen blanket resting on my shoulders.  A soft breeze swept the sweet and refreshing scent of lilac up from the back yard.  The moon hung low in the sky sending a mysterious glow into the night. I heard the double click of the yellow Lumilight flashlight. Light catapulted into the darkness.

The flashlight beam was as bright as an old lighthouse guiding ships into the harbor. It lurked around the perimeter of the yard and froze on a pair of peculiar, neon orange beads floating in the night. In a low hoarse whisper, my dad asked me if I could see the raccoon at the edge of woods.  His voice reminded me of the narrator on the hunting shows he watched on TV. The stalker who sat for hours without making a sound, waiting for his prey to come into the cross hairs of his scope, silent, just long enough to surprise the innocent victim. Then, in one piercing blast, the animal crumpled to the ground and expelled one last breath. I could almost feel the tension of a shotgun blast until I realized I was still standing next to my dad watching these particular critters who were now members of our family.  These small furry creatures were unafraid. They knew they weren’t in danger.

In the illuminated path of the bright Lumilight beam, I saw a momma coon hovering over a piece of bread.  She nibbled with her long slender nose and ripped the crust of the wheat bread away like a small, persnickety child unwilling to eat the entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She nibbled at the bread uninterested in the Hollywood spotlight that made her the star of our backyard.

My dad shifted the beam. He scanned the edge of the woods that framed the yard and I watched the floodlight illuminate the lush foliage and reveal two more beady eyes. A few feet to the right, two pairs of eyes floated just above the ground; another momma coon and two babies sat feasting on our leftover dinner. I realized how blind I had been, searching for a place to call home. What I thought I wanted was no longer what I needed.

I had been away, tackling life on my own for almost eight years, and although this was still my home, and would always be my home, in a sense, it really wasn’t my home at all anymore.  I had been living in several different cities, trying to settle into a peaceful environment that made me feel as safe as this place.  Now, I was standing in that haven alongside my father with my family inside. They were supporting me in yet another bold move into the unknown. I realized I was seeking to find this very place, but still looking in the wrong direction. I was about to make a decision that I knew was the wrong one, but I didn’t know what else to do.

The double-click of the flashlight brought me back to the present time. I was beneath the night sky and the distant glow from the moon.  The coons rested peacefully somewhere in the darkness as my father and I crept across the deck and back into the warmth of the home he had provided for my family, and for me. I knew I would continue to search, a relentless search, for a place I could call home.


And now, for my daily Haiku

I took this picture this past weekend on my hike to Chimney Rock.

A glimpse of Chimney Rock in Whitewater State Park.

A glimpse of Chimney Rock in Whitewater State Park.

Day 3: Haiku Challenge

Shadowy retreat;
guarded from sun, rain, snow, but
no place to call home.

Happy Wednesday!

Have you ever forced yourself to make a bad decision in your life because you didn’t know what to do next?


Chimney Rock Hiking Adventure

It’s Tuesday after a holiday weekend and today snuck up on me. I know it’s Writing Prompt Tuesday, and I have that prepared, but my Flash Fiction piece from last week isn’t finished.

Have you ever had one of those days, or, in my case, one of those weekends where you run around trying to get things done, but nothing really gets accomplished. Well, that was my Labor Day Weekend! I am hoping for lots of writing to happen this week.

So, for today, I bring you Day 2 of the Haiku Challenge and another writing prompt.

Chimney Rock hike in Whitewater State Park.

Chimney Rock hike in Whitewater State Park.

Day 2: Haiku Challenge

Massive Chimney Rock.
Perched on a ledge peering at
summer foliage

Now, about that Flash Fiction Prompt…

Remember the writing prompt isn’t always about getting a final piece completed, but it’s about getting the creativity flowing.

  • Character-Police Officer
  • Setting-Hollow Tree
  • Plot-A character overhears a shocking conversation

Have a great Tuesday!

Did anyone write over the long weekend? If so, what did you write about?