Thursday, October 31, 2013

Little Red's-Tales from the Trails

While walking through the woods alone, things can get a bit creepy. Your imagination is not always your friend.

There's a crunch of leaves behind you or a rustle of leaves ahead. You turn to focus on something that caught your eye. Upon examination your puzzled mind tries to put the pieces together.

Shadows cast long fingers grasping what's real and imaginary. Tree limbs take on human forms.

Rocky ledges form curious images.

Have you ever hear the throaty rumble of the Sandhill Crane, the scream of a rabbit caught by a predator.

Enjoy a few of the images, what stories do you see.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mysteries of the Mountain

 Tales from the Trails-Legends, lore and a whole lot more.

Trempealeau Mountain is said to be a sacred place. It is a true wonder on the Mississippi, considering it the only mountain island in the water. It's remoteness makes it the subject of this blog during this  time of year. Halloween.

I have yet to set foot on the Mountain since the only legal access is by water craft. There are no trails, development or landings on the island and I hear there's lots of poison ivy. Not my idea of a good hike. But the stories I heard kinda make me want to go there and then maybe not.

This isn't my personal story but reports on what others have experienced. Dig deeper for yourself and you can decide what may be mass hysteria, the mind playing tricks or just people out for attention.

The first story I came across on the internet is "Mothman at Trempealeau Mountain" from Sat., Sept 11, 2010. This will get you started. A guy recalling a past experience on Trempealeau Mountain after seeing (here's another one) Monster Quest episode "Mothman" which originally aired February 10, 2010.

Yep this is supposedly the same mothman from Virginia. I guess he gets around. The history channel actually paid a visit to Perrot State Park just to check it out.

If you receive History Channel 2 it is airing again, of course on Halloween, Oct 31st at 10am and 4pm eastern time. This thing called Mothman has been traveling around the country, a precursor to bad things that are about to happen.

That brings me to my next lead on information called "Monsters in Town". Mothman is being credited with warning us about all the young men who sadly drowned in the Mississippi River at the edge of La Crosse, WI.

Maybe you have your own stories to tell. Love to hear them.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Over the Rainbow

Dave caught a Rainbow at the Farm
Somewhere, just north of Perrot Park, off Hwy 35 west of Centerville, is a family business run by three generations of women called Ecker's Apple Farm.
Apple Pie & Ice Cream Oh My

As life would have it, the youngest generation returned to follow their heritage in the fields. Together they will take a family tradition to the next stage. Follow what's brewing on their website or face book page go to
Pick'em and Pack'um

Bluegrass Music

John Deer Tractor Ride
They celebrate the harvest with family, friends and the community with their own special annual event called the Honeycrisp Hootenanny.

We joined up with old friends Dave and Jill to spend a rainy afternoon sampling hot apple cider, artisian brews and taking home a couple of pies and an inspiration for my next Holloween costume.

Git yer bushel of Apples
Ecker's offers lots and lots of apples plus specialty goods made by their neighbors in Wisconsin. They don't prebag their apples, so you can select each and every one.

We took a shining to these amazing ladies and now know someone up there is looking out for them.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fish Nets

Gil Net
Some of you may be thinking of those panty hose that left creases on your legs during the 60's, for others it's a way of life.

George Richtman
Passing through Trempealeau the sight of iridescent blue caught my eye. Then I almost ran off the road trying to see what this guy was doing, it look like a huge macramé project on steroids.

I learned he was working on a Gil Net. This wonderful gentleman named George Richtman, a true native of Trempealeau has lived and worked on the river his whole life. To me that's so exciting growing up in a suburb and learning to appreciate nature later in life.

At 7 years old he got his first Gil Net license, helping his father straighten out the lines so they dried properly. In those days they were made of linen and would began to heat up and rot if left in a pile. He remembers the day his father received his first shipment of a nylon (new at the time) netting. Coming COD at $10.00 a lb. minimum 10lbs. It was the talk of the town.

His father was a tug boat captain and net fisherman, George eventually worked for the Corp of Engineers and continued the tradition of Net Fishing for over 60 years. 

He creates the new lines every year and fishes for Sheephead, Buffalo Carp and Catfish. The Gil Net catches these larger fish as they try to pass through the nets, sporting fish are narrow enough to go through the openings.

His unique lifestyle had caught the attention of TV producers, since he isn't the loud and boisterous character they were looking for to market their reality TV, they passed him by. I'm sure lucky I didn't pass him by and found out a little more about the neighbors of Perrot Park. Enjoy a short video of the process.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fall Fungi

Puff Ball
 The puff balls are out. These giant white globes are solid balls of fungi fare. Some grow as large as beach balls.

I let this one be since it's not my favorite and it would have been a lot of mushrooms steaks to eat. It will be someone else treat.

The recent rains should bring out lots of these fleshy finds for the fall.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Peepers Report

Brady's Bluff
Leaf peepers will be happy to know Perrot is turning. The brilliant red sumac and Virginia creeper vines are just the beginning.

Perrot Ridge

I traveled up Brady's Bluff and Perrot Ridge this past week to see for my self. It's sure to go fast now folks so come on out.

Trempealeau Bay

There's still plenty to do in the park. The Trempealeau Bay is gorgeous this time of year for canoeing and kayaking. Rentals are just $15 for your own three hour tour.

Prairie Garden

The Great River Bike Trail is full of crunchy leaves to add to the sound effect of whirling wheels, and yes you do still need to buy a bike pass.

Trempealeau Refuge
A walk through the prairie garden by the nature center reveals the architecture of these sturdy plants.

Unfortunately our neighbors to the north-Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge are on furlow, due to the government shutdown. Hope they are finding some meaningful activities to take their minds off the drama in Washington. This means no entry into the refuge.  Real Bummer.