Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Stars are Out

The Amethyst colored Shooting Stars are abundant on the slopes of Brady's Bluff at Perrot State Park.

This past week the lovely lavender blooms began creating a purple haze over the slopes on West Brady Trail. You can view them from the roadside or get a real eyeful about half way up the trail.

Dodecatheon aka Shooting Stars appear on richly soiled slopes in mid spring and can last for several weeks. After the recent prescribed burns the display is greatly enhanced.

Hopefully you can also witness the act of Buzz Pollination. Unique to shooting stars that have no nectar, bumblebees take the extra effort to shake down the purple jewels for their pollen with rapid vibrations.

Sometimes they are referred to as Mad Violets.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pesky Pests

Watermelon Cake
Pests are so annoying, I guess that's why they are called pests.

We only classify them as a pest when they get in our food or homes or bite or sting us. It's not them being malicious or vengeful, they are just out to survive. We can't forget their place in the big picture and the benefits they bring.

Just like a weed is a misplaced plant, they have a place in this world.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Work Play Earth Day

Spring is here, be a good bud
 and join in and help out
at Perrot State Park on Saturday, April 23.
In celebration of
from 10 am til 2 pm
volunteers, friends and fellow nature lovers
will help out at the park.
Some of the projects include tree planting, cleanup in the campground and removing of invasive plant species.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Big Shout Out

Borrow from their FB page

Two new businesses have set up shop in Trempealeau, near Perrot State Park. Campers, hikers and nature lovers will want to check them out. Both businesses are located along Main and 2nd Streets, in the heart of the village.

Fat Cat Bait and Fishing Supply
Husband and wife owners offer all your needs for fishing and lots for campers too. Stop by just to see the photos of the humungous catfish he caught.

Catfish hunters will be happy to hear they are organizing a 1st annual Flathead Tournament on May 27-28. Catch more details on their facebook page. You'll like them.

Ryan Johnson-Guide
Driftless Grounds/Driftless Adventure Company
From Red Wing to La Crosse they offer guided kayak tours for beginners and custom paddles for the more adventurous. Including romantic escapades and glamping. Start your day off with a cup of Jo and see where the trails go.

Book Signing in the future

Watch for the upcoming book signing event at Driftless Grounds featuring author Ellen Kolbo McDonah who paddled the Mississippi River and wrote a book to tell about it. She is also a very gifted artist as you can tell by the portrait of Ryan.

Go to for more information.

Corner of Main and 2nd St. Trempealeau

Sunday, April 10, 2016

HaRVeys new friend

It takes a team. Meet HaRVeys new friend, Rambo, our newest addition to camping. Rambo is a 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck, a much more reliable truck than the Green Machine.

We said adios last month and went to Minneapolis to pick up the black beast. Lots of extras will make this truck extra comfortable for the voyages ahead of us.

Hiking Perrot Ridge

Plans are underway for a visit this summer to several state parks in Wisconsin-Yellowstone, Brunet Island, Copper Falls and Governor Dodge. Also a side trip to Frontenac State Park in Minnesota. We are ready for some camping fun.

We went on a trial run Saturday night camping at Perrot State Park. As we woke up Saturday morning to snow, it wasn't a no go. We are Ram tough.

Perrot Ridge towards Refuge

It was a perfect weekend for camping. Hardly another soul around. Some boy scouts, but they were probably rewarded with badges. We were rewarded with a lovely sunset, the sounds of birds and a spring hike along Perrot Ridge.

Perrot Ridge towards Mississippi

One of the best times of year to hike this trail since you get a 360 degree view of the area surrounding Perrot.

Plus no bugs when it's this cool

Perrot Ridge near the top

Perrot Ridge towards inland


Anemonies in Bloom

Along our hikes we saw plants returning to Perrot, plus a squadron of Pelicans


This time we chose electrical site 46. It gave us a view of Trempealeau Bay since the leaves have not yet emerged. Also a walk over to site 44 for a sunset view.

When all was done I got my Urban Boot Badge
(15,000 steps in a day)
and I hardly noticed.
FYI that's Fitbit talk.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Summits On The Air

People come to Perrot State Park for it's beauty, a breath of fresh air and now I find that amateur ham radio operators have their sights set on two summit peaks at the park. Trempealeau Mountain and Eagle Bluff are worth points in the game of Chasers and Activators.

Ok you say, what is that all about. Well I've been doing some reading about "Summits On The Air" which happens to be an organization of Ham Radio Operators with associations across more than 100 countries. It's an awards program and the scores can lead to the prestigious "Mountain Goat" and "Shack Sloth" trophies.

Organized in 2002, members (Activators) hike and back pack their radios, batteries and antennas to designated summits where they set up the equipment and try and make contact with (Chasers) who are listening in at their home base. Of course the higher the better, then the more you can hear.

Points are based on elevation and Trempealeau Mountain gets a mere 1 point and Eagle Bluff 2 points. Perrot has just two of the 40 some designated locations in Wisconsin. Some summits require extensive physical efforts and some may be just a drive and short hike.

CAUTION: If you are an "Activator" please note there are no maintained trails to either location in Perrot. Trempealeau Mountain is also a designated State Natural Area, visitors need to tread lightly to help preserve this important place. Please respect these sensitive areas.

The only legal access to Trempealeau Mountain is by watercraft. The railroad considers walking along the tracks as trespassing and is quite dangerous and the dike road from the National Wildlife Refuge is a federal property posted with a barrier for no foot traffic beyond a certain point.