Monday, July 24, 2017

Rock On

"Be A Little Boulder" at Perrot State Park
Found this rock at Perrot State Park Headquarters. To share in the fun we hid it atop the trail at John A. Latsch Park in Minnesota.

It was a difficult climb but we made the 300 plus steps up to the top. The "Be A Little Boulder" was then strategically placed under a bush just below a fantastic view of the Mississippi River.

Lots of steps up to the top of John A. Latsch Park

"Be A Little Boulder" waiting to be found under bush

Can you find the Rock in this picture!
After joining the Facebook page I found it has already been found by a fellow named Cameron who is now taking it up to the UP (Upper Michigan Pennisula).

Cameron found the rock the journey continues.

So this Little Boulder, we discovered, was originaly painted by Delores's daughter in New Orleans. Found next by Rachael who found it in N.O. then rehid in Wisconsin. Alas we found at Perrot State Park making it's way over to Minnesota.

Rock On! Little Boulder

Hail to Mother Nature

Area residents file their claims
The forces of weather have left their impact at Perrot State Park.

One week it was golf ball size hail the next week torrential rains.

Go figure we live in Wisconsin, a lush green valley with lots of rivers and lakes. Some campers found a few holes in screen tents or a cracked air vent while others got washed out by the weather and slept in their cars or found shelter elsewhere. Fortunately all woke up the next day to enjoy another day in the park.

It's always a good plan to be connected to weather alerts and know where to go if conditions demand seeking shelter. We have often found our selves listening to the weather and not even knowing the county they are talking about. I guess we just have to be more aware when setting down HaRVey's trailer jacks.

Some hiking trails were closed at the park but many remain open. If you haven't ever hiked the Bay Loop, Black Walnut or River View Trails then it's about time. All of the trails in the park are unique and offer different views. Have you seen the effigy mound, the little cottage adjacent to the park campground or the rock shelter. It's time to get to know all the trails at Perrot.

Be sure to respect closed signs as work crews will be removing trees and rebuilding trails in the days to come.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

It Takes aTown

Prairie walk at Holland Sand Prairie
The Town of Holland, located about half way between La Crosse and Perrot State Park, looks like any developing suburb in a rural setting. As families invade the country side they bring with them the seeds of change. The newly disturbed landscape tends to sprout new business opportunities.

Prairie Cinquefoil

The newly transplanted inhabitants of the township had the foresight to stop and see the special place they called home. The last remnant of a dry sand prairie existed in their neighborhood. Since it was too dry to attract farming it remain untouched until developers imagined a strip mall would please the new neighbors. Local folks organised, appealed, collaborated and put forth their own tax dollars to save what is now called Holland Sand Prairie.

Clustered Poppy Mallow
This is the last sizable sand prairie remnant between Trempealeau and Prairie du Chien. The land referred to as the Mississippi River sand terrace also includes rare geological dunes created by windswept sands over thousands of years. With over 150 native plants the 60+ acres was designated as a State Natural Area in 2017. A real treasure now protected.

Curly Milkweed

Thanks to the following organizations you can enjoy another guided prairie walk Saturday, August 26 at 10am.

Friends of Holland Sand Prairie
Mississippi Valley Conservancy
Prairie Entusiasts
and of course the Wisconsin DNR

I'm looking forward to finally catch Goat's rue, Silky prairie clover and Missouri goldenrod in future blooms.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tree Top Retreat

A local family in Trempealeau had their big reveal by Tree House Masters.

Rumor has it the company was building a large tree house project down river and ran a contest for another tree house to be built.

Lucky ducks.

Here are a few pictures when I had the chance to pass by on First Street in the Village of Trempealeau.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Stops in the name of Fun

Birch Lighting

Along the way we stopped at the Art in the Park in Lanesboro, MN. A couple of my favorite finds a lady that created birch lighting fixtures.

Wired Sculpture

Another artist that amazed me was a wire sculpture artist Would have loved the set of deer running along. He really captured the emotion of motion. I at least left with an ornamental walleye.

Lunch on the Root

Pie Guy

After a little lunch at the Riverside on the Root we stopped by Aroma Pie in Whalan, MN. Right along the Root River Bike Trail, a must for a pick me up. We had the Rhubarb Custard and Raisin Sour Cream. Both delicious, it was hard to choose.

Another very out of the way place near Lanesboro was Avian Acres. You could really feel the passion for birds with this one man operation and a barn full of avian supplies and gifts. He was busy answering all sorts of questions on how to attract certain birds.

I think you'll fall for all the fun stops in and around Lanesboro and Forestville Mystery Cave State Park.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I'ts all about the Journey

This is how they roll.
They say getting there is half the fun.

When we stopped for a day in Lanesboro, Minnesota we saw all sorts of rigs and outfitters ready to set you up with bikes, canoes, kayaks, tubes or take your around by horse and buggy.

This little town is the mecca of bike trails, country roads and the Root River all tangled into one hub of activity.

Motorcycles must stop at here at the Iron Horse Outfitters and Inn. The shop is decorated with these enormous recovered vents turned into lighting.

Also found this great art work by DC Customs. Here's their contact information

Lots of family activity on the Root River Bike Trail which runs from Fountain to Houston, Minnesota. The 42 miles of paved trail goes through rural communities catering to visitors.

Try the local transportation.

Another fun thing to do take a personal tour with Bluffscape Amish Tours or tour the country side and visit the Amish local bakeries and shops on your own.

For a lazier approach on a hot day, you can ride the Root River on an inner tube. Lots of businesses will transport you upriver.

Felt like all roads led to Lanesboro.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Trout Fishing in the Area

South Branch of Root River
Several trails in the Forestville Mystery Cave State Park were along the long and winding trout streams.

Elusive Fly Fisherman

If you are quiet you can observe  fisherman in deep concentration. He never even saw us.

National Trout Center, Preston, Minnesota

To discover more about this passion of casting for trout we had to stop in at the Trout Capital of Minnesota, Preston.

Display of Fly Tying Essentials

In town we visited at the National Trout Center to learn the art of tying a fly. The staff helped us wind, cut and glue our very own flies, while answering questions.

My first Fly

The fishing fever is everywhere, in Lanesboro we stopped at the Root River Rod Company, a local outfitting shop that had everything you'd need to get started.

Root River Rod Company

We browsed the variety of flies for sale and various tools of the trade. The sales person was setting up a lady who just got hooked on trout fishing. What fun to find a new sport to dive into with such enthusiasm.
Flies for Sale

Also in the area is Lanesboro State Fish Hatchery which raises hundreds of thousands of trout for restocking streams. I guess this is catching on!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Minnesota Driftless

Mystery Cave
We've been exploring a few of Minnesota's State Parks. Recently we camped at Forestville Mystery Cave State Park. A unique park with an abandoned town missed by the railroad and Minnesota's largest cave.

Mystery Cave is located about 5 miles from the campground. We took a break from the summer heat and went cave exploring on the Scenic Tour. Lots of different tours for those that like spelunking to photos.

Entrance to Cave

The cave floods periodically so the big heavy doors are necessary to keep debris from filling it back up. The top slit is for the bats to come and go.

Art work

They had appropriated dollars for artwork on their visitor center. Bats were the theme.

Art installation

White Nose Syndrome has reached Mystery Cave.  It disturbs the bats hibernation so they are weakened and die before their food sources are available. We were disinfected before and after the tour so as not to spread it. Maybe 25% of the population will survive.

Forgotten Forestville

We didn't tour the forgotten town but it look like fun things for kids and lots of history.

Deep Sinkhole

The naturalist programs at the park included a Sink Hole hike at Cherry Grove SNA.

The Karst topography is one of the things that makes the driftless area unique. Sinkholes and caves are common because the glaciers did not cover the landscape filling in the with drift and rubble.

Periodically sinkholes just appear as the water seeps through the limestone below dissolving the foundation. This creates caves, springs and just plain big holes in the ground that seam to go nowhere.

We also learned about Squirrels, from Grey Squirrels, Flying Squirrels and my favorite Chipmunks or ground squirrels.

A little know fact the Minnesota Gophers team mascot if actually a squirrel.

Go Squirrels!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pet Peeves

We all like to enjoy the park, but when it comes to some people and their pets that's my pet peeve.

They think they are doing their duty of bagging the pets waste but when it comes to taking real responsibility and taking it with them out of the park they drop the ball or bag.

Here's a bag from the parking lot, presummably secretly dropped before getting in their car. Park staff often finds these little gift bags also left by the vault toliet doors or worse yet dropped into the toliet only to have to be fished out by employees. Yes it's a dirty job.

Because the state parks are what you bring in you take out for the day users. There are no public trash cans for that morning cup of coffee, fast food bags or the poo from your pooch. Well, enough about responsible pet ownership.

To commemorate this blog and thank the people who deal with alot of shit day in and day out, I created some cupcakes under the theme "What kinda scat is that?".

This poos for you hard working folks at Perrot State Park.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A TRIP to the past

Village of Trempealeau, Wisconsin

There's a new view in town.

Walk the remnants of the three Mississippian platform mounds along the Little Bluff Mounds Trail.


New Trail Dedication Sunday, June 4

See the past come alive. Learn about those who came before us. From early settlers of Trempealeau to the Cahokia civilization down the river.

Trail Head Main Street

Kiosk Information
Read all about it

Be sure to visit the Library and Perrot State Park too!

Join in the dedication of the Little Bluff Mounds Trail on Sunday, June 4 at the Main Street kiosk. The public is invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony and tour beginning at Noon until 2pm.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Little Bluff Mounds.

Any Questions contact Mary Reber 608-534-0020.

Information along the way.
Learn what's below the surface

Platform view
Knowing our place