Meet your Cook County neighbor: Carol MorgenDec 03, 2022 06:33AM ● By Editor
A Boreal Community Media Exclusive - December 3, 2022
How did you "land" in Cook County?
We vacationed here occasionally for many years from our western Wisconsin home. Around 2008, we started coming up more regularly, in all seasons, with Bearskin Lodge on the Gunflint Trail as our home-away-from-home. One day my husband and I looked at each other and said “What if we retired up here?” It offered all the things we love to do—canoeing, hiking, a vibrant arts community. After a couple years of dreaming, we got serious and connected with a realtor. We ended up purchasing some land and building our dream home, and moved in July of 2017.
What is your favorite part about living in Cook County?
There are so many things. The first thing that comes to mind is the slower paced lifestyle (one stoplight in the entire county). The proximity of Lake Superior is another draw. Her ever-changing mood is therapeutic and healing for the soul. When we first moved here, I was a little concerned about making friends and finding our community, but I’m glad to say that hasn’t been a problem. We’ve made connections with so many like-minded folks and our social life is busier than ever!
For the most part, I do enjoy snow, especially the beauty of a freshly fallen snow on the trees and landscape. I told myself when we moved up here that I need to embrace winter, otherwise my life will be miserable for several months of the year! I do like to snowshoe, I’ve gone dogsledding a few times and enjoy volunteering at dogsledding events. I also bought cross-country skis, and I’m still learning. Flat surfaces are my friend! Of course, it does help that I’m retired, and I don’t HAVE to drive into work on those snowy, icy mornings.
You place a high priority on wellness in your life. Do you care to share your health journey and how you found success?
I’ve been overweight most of my adult life and have tried numerous times to lose weight, with some success, but always gaining the weight back. When we moved here, I really noticed the limitations my weight and poor health were putting on my life and my relationships—I couldn’t do a lot of the activities I wanted because it was too hard on my knees, I would get winded, and just didn’t have the energy and stamina to keep up with my active friends. At one point, I remember thinking this is just how life is at my age. In 2019 I was introduced to a program that seemed different than anything I had tried before. It focused more on changing my habits and mindset, to make lifelong changes. I embraced the program and went on to lose 75 lb. in about 8 months, and have kept the weight off since. I believe that people live their best lives when they feel good. Good health starts with good nutrition. Because of my success and the love of this program, I went on to become a Certified Optavia Health Coach. I work with people one-on-one, and focus on the whole person to create optimal health for a lifetime. I’d be happy to share more information with anyone who is looking for what I have. You’re never too old to create a healthy lifestyle.
Carol's before and after photos from her health journey.
What are some hobbies or activities you do to relax?
I really love hiking, especially now that I’m in shape to go longer distances. My favorite hike this past summer was the Bean and Bear Loop in October, a 6.5 mile section of the Superior Hiking Trail near Silver Bay. I’ve set a goal, along with my husband, to section hike the entire Superior Hiking Trail. We’ve completed several sections, but have a long way to go! I’m also the leader of the Happy Hikers group. I, along with my committee of four others, plan weekly hikes in the summer months for anyone who wants to join us. We have a good core group of regular hikers, but welcome any newcomers as well as tourists who join in while they are vacationing here. Two of my other hobbies are quilting and knitting, and I go back and forth between the two. I have a longarm quilting machine, and have a business (Pincushion Quiltery) of stitching the layers of top, batting, and backing together to finish quilts for others. I love that I’ve been able to turn my hobby into a business!
When my kids were young, I recall reminiscing during one holiday season about the traditions my family had growing up, and feeling sad that my own kids didn’t get to enjoy those traditions. My son reminded me that we’re making our own traditions, and one of our favorites was having fondue on Christmas Eve. We’ve done that for about 25 years now.
When I married my husband, he had two sons, ages 6 and 8. We then had two children together, a son and a daughter. They are all married, but we have no grandchildren, YET! One of my stepsons lives in New Brunswick, Canada. The others are all near the Twin Cities/western Wisconsin. That was the hardest part about moving here, being further away from them. But now they have a beautiful spot to vacation, and we’ve found the 4.5 hour drive really isn’t that long. We’ve always loved the enjoyment and companionship of our furry family members too. We currently have a yellow lab (Growler) age 12, and two cats (Sterling and Tenley), age 7. They keep us on our toes with their daily needs and desires!
Best advice that you were ever given?
Slow down—you don’t have to say “yes” to everything.
Believe in your self-worth, have confidence, you can do hard things.
All of them! One of my favorites comes from my Grandma Clara. It was her “everyday” cookie, but I only make them at Christmas time—Grandma’s Swedish Butter Cookies. Being of Scandinavian heritage, lefse is a favorite, and I’ll be making a batch with a friend on Sunday. Another more recent favorite is our Burnt-Sugar Ginger Cookies. Time-consuming to make, but so worth it!