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  • Writer's pictureSam Hageman


Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Welcome to the Adventures of a Great Lakes Girl & Mitten Made Pups

Why Start a Blog?

I tried starting a blog before, but still believed no one was interested & had very little response the last time. However after talking with more people around Michigan & other parts of the world via Instagram many people seemed interested in our travels; tips & tricks for road trips; tips on traveling with a dog; & more. Before I knew it I was always talking about my travels. I also feel like I want a place that does not limit the amount of characters I can use to talk about our adventures & to keep up with my goals, such as traveling to every Michigan State Park, the 52 Hike Challenge, Road Trips, & more. After a lot of encouragement from some good friends I decided it was time to do a blog.

Why the "Great Lakes Girl?"

Bruce Peninsula National Park

My name is Sam. I am a twenty-seven year old lawyer & born Michigander who loves traveling, camping, photography, & dogs. I have always been a water baby. It was so bad that when I was little my parents had to start putting me on a baby leash when we went to the beach, because at the age of two I ran from the car to the water (almost making it) without them & scared them to death. My obsession with water has only grown with age. I have traveled to all of the Great Lakes & many of Michigans inland lakes, as well as to both the Pacific & Atlantic Oceans. However, the Oceans have nothing on the beauty of the Great Lakes.

Milky Way at Lake Superior Provincial Park

Besides my obsession with water I am also obsessed with the night sky. If I was able to live in a cabin on a Great Lake & stay up late to catch the Milky Way or Aurora Borealis I would do it in a heart beat. Recently I have even started to learn more about night photography & started to take my own night photos.

Cliff Diving at Dead River Falls

I am also always willing to try new things, except food as I am quite picky.

I am a thrill seeker. If I go to an amusement park I am the first person to run to the highest & fastest rides. I have also been cliff diving on three occasions & plan to continue finding more places to cliff dive throughout my travels. On my thrill seeking to do list right now are: sky diving, bungee jumping, & zip lining.

When I am not at the water, gazing at the stars, or seeking new adventures or thrills, you can catch me at home with my family. My fiance, Garrett, & our dogs, Dexter & Alfred, are the loves of my life. They are my adventure buddies & are always seeking new adventures with me. I couldn't imagine my life without these three.

David, Ashton, Dexter,& I after backpacking the Porkies

I also travel with my two brothers, David & Ashton. They are dorks, but I love them to death. Every year we do a siblings week where we explore somewhere new & try a new adventure. This started while I was away at Grand Valley State University & has continued every year since. We have done everything from Chicago's C2E2, to backpacking the Porcupine Mountains, to traveling the UP, to a simple camping trip locally.

Why the "Mitten Made Pups?"

Both Dexter & Alfred are rescue dogs.

Dexter came to us in September of 2015 when Garrett & I moved in together. We were looking for a German Shepherd mix & ran into a dorky picture of this dog located in Toledo, Ohio. Dexter had been neglected as he was malnourished & underweight. It seemed him & the bully breed he had lived with shared the same bowl, resulting in Dexter being dog selective & reactive. Garrett picked him up & ever since then we have been inseparable.

Alfred came to us in December 2019. He was rescued by Second Chance China Rescue off of a truck that was going to the meat industry in China for the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. This little man flew all the way from China to Chicago where we picked him up from O'Hare International. He was quite terrified at first, but after receiving his first pet he has been addicted since & never wants to be far from our hands.

Even though both of these boys are from other places, they have been able to travel all over Michigan. Their entire lives have been made & will continue to be made in the Mitten State, adventuring outdoors to the Great Lakes, 11,1037 inland lakes, 200 waterfalls, 19.3 million acres of forest, & so much more Michigan has to offer.

We are proud to be Michiganders & to call Pure Michigan, the Great Lakes State, Mitten State, Water Wonderland our Home.

Travel Experience & What to Expect

Detroit Skyline from Belle Isle State Park

One of my favorite quotes is from David Wolfe, "Travel while you're young and able. Don't worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be." From my experience, I agree with David Wolfe. Do not get me wrong, money & budgeting is a huge part of traveling (I will write an entire blog on this matter), however the experience you gain is worth far more than how broke you may be at the end.

Mt. Baker in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Although I am only twenty-seven, throughout my life I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot more then the average person. These travels include Road Trips around Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Backpacking the Porcupine Mountains & Grand Island, Hiking or Camping over half of Michigan's State Parks, a Great Lakes Road Trip through Canada, and my largest trip by far, a 15,000 mile, 48 state, 34 day continental USA Road Trip. I have also done more tourist type trips to New York City, Chicago, Disney World, Cancun Mexico, San Diego, & more. I have traveled with my dogs & fiance, with my brothers, with friends, & with my family. I also plan to do some solo trips with my dogs as well. I am very fortunate I have been able to travel & hope that I can share some of my experiences with you.

Grand Canyon National Park

Besides being a big traveler, I am an organized freak who still has every piece of information I have ever gathered from my trip planning. Every trip begins with research, a lot of research. I go directly to the state park websites, national park websites, blogs about places, articles about places, calling places I am traveling to, contacting people who have traveled to specific locations, & more. My research skills have come in handy on many occasions & have helped me build a massive amount of travel research. I hope to share these with you & some tricks I have picked up along the way.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a bit. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or if you have any topics you want me to cover. I hope you enjoy my blog & remember, Adventure is out there!

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