Written and photographed by Kalli Hawkins
All I Need are My Dogs and My ENO SingleNest Hammock
Wearing my waterproof boots and a full backpack, I head out for a relaxing spring afternoon with my pups along Lake Superior. My girl, Remy, takes off ahead of me as I throw a tennis ball with the Chuckit. Riley darts after her momentarily in excitement, then quickly loses interest and decides to head straight for the water.
We're at my favorite section of the Lake Superior shoreline and a place we've been regularly visiting throughout the summer and winter months in Northern Minnesota. Whether during overcast days, flurries, or even that elusive sunny day during the winter, we would all pile in the vehicle and head to this location to spend some time together outdoors. We would enjoy walking along the shoreline, playing fetch, listening to the waves, and, my favorite, looking for agates.
We found ourselves gravitating back to the lakeshore with the warming spring temperatures. After a gloomy past week, I wanted to spend as much time outside in the spring sun as possible. So, before leaving the house, I made sure to grab a good book and my ENO SingleNest Hammock.
Finding Relaxation in a Breeze
It's a short walk along the lakeshore to get to my favorite ENO hammock spot. While the dogs take off ahead of me towards the water, I turn my focus to the scenery beneath my boots. The scavenger hunt for agates begins. It's like a mini celebration each time I find one, almost like finding that needle in a haystack. It doesn't take long before I spot my first one and yell out, "Hey, there's one!" and quickly bend down in glee. By the time I reach my afternoon hammock destination, I have half a pocket full of interesting rocks and agates.
With my hammock set up, I grab my puffy blanket and book and settle in to relax. The dogs lay down beneath me, and all three of us bask in the warm spring sun. As I slowly flip through the pages of my book, I'm welcomed by the steady sound of lapping waves hitting the shoreline. It's a sound that never gets old. A sound that I could listen to all day long. The sound of home. I stop reading momentarily, close my eyes, and listen to the sound. It's methodical and soothing. As I listen, I can start to distinguish between the size of the waves. Some are soft and quiet, while every so often, one will crash into the shoreline with a little extra oomph.
The remaining clouds have burned off, and the sky is now soft blue. The hammock gently sways in the crisp spring breeze. I snuggle into my blanket just a touch more as the sun greets my face. I decide to pull out the handful of rocks I have stashed in my pocket to examine them and count how many agates I have. After finishing, I think, "this might be a new personal best. I've found eight agates so far today." In addition, a few small pieces of jasper. What a day. I set them on my lap before picking my book up again. I want to savor the sight of the glossy edges and intricate lines just a bit longer.
Quality Time Outdoors
After an hour or so, I can tell the dogs are getting restless and are ready for round two of playing fetch. I hop out of my ENO SingleNest, and we take another short stroll down the shoreline. While Remy's go-to for fetch is a tennis ball, Riley's favorite thing is a rock. Let's just say he's a simple guy. I find a quality-looking rock and throw it as far as I can, and he takes off with immense haste. We continue to repeat this routine of hammock relaxation and short walks along the shore for the remainder of the afternoon. Each time I snuggle back into my SingleNest, I turn my face to the sun and think of how fortunate I am to be spending my afternoon at one of my favorite places.
After three hours of glorious sunshine, I can tell it's starting to fade. I reluctantly hop out of my ENO and begin packing my belongings. I take down each Atlas Strap and unclip the carabiners while watching the dogs take their last dip in the lake. Before leaving, I take one last look at my afternoon retreat and smile. I whistle for the pups, and we begin our walk back to the vehicle. Never letting my eyes wander too far from the endless scavenger hunt beneath my boots.
Kalli Hawkins is an outdoor freelance writer based in Northern Minnesota. An avid adventurer, Kalli can often be found on a backroad exploring the outdoors with her two pups, Riley & Remy. If you would like to connect or follow along, you can find her at @kallihawkins