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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mom, The Explorer

Avon Bottoms is a Wisconsin State Natural Area, a floodplain forest alongside the Sugar River in Rock County, about an hour and a half from home.  When I looked at the map yesterday I chose the intersection of Carroll Road and Nelson Road as a place to start looking for the parking area.  It turns out there are a few little spots to park, but after exploring the area I would recommend continuing the half mile down to Sugar River County Park which has a large parking lot and is closer to the wildflower colonies.

Don't think I've seen one of these before.  Maybe Judy will tell us what it is!

Of course I didn't know there were multiple places to park so I took the first area I saw and ended up in the fields instead of in the forest, thinking I had to cut through to get there.  Wisconsin's State Natural Areas usually don't have specified trails and it's acceptable to just wander around.

I don't regret starting my exploration in the "wrong" spot, the wet fields had things to discover, too.  I'm not the only one who has visited them, the deer obviously like to come there to get a drink.

Frogs were everywhere, hopping back and forth as I crossed through the grasses along the edge of the water.  Even after seeing them jump sometimes it was hard to pinpoint them, their camoflage works very well.

Another set of tracks looked too small to belong to a raccoon, maybe a porcupine?

Eventually I made my way over to the woods, where I broke through into the undergrowth to find a colony of what was probably Hispid Buttercup.

This is the mother my kids have to live with, how do they do it?  

I was at my most inventive, using the rubber boots I toted along as a spot to perch my Gorillapod!  Luckily I didn't need the boots, but I wanted them along in case I had to cross any watery spots.  From the buttercups I marched back towards the road and found the other parking area...and masses of Woodland Phlox.

I continued on through the blooms, keeping my eyes peeled for more delights.  The fragrance that wafted up as I walked through was nice but nothing else was in bloom yet and as I got closer to the river the only thing I discovered was that it's not too early for mosquitoes after all.  I kept up a good pace so I wouldn't get bitten, and the farther I got from the river the less there were.  And even though I was careful to tuck my pants in to my socks and check often for ticks I didn't encounter any of those pesky guys.  I've noticed I'm less likely to pick them up in really wet areas like this one.

No ticks on me!

At the parking lot for the Sugar River Park two gents were out fishing with the kids, one so young she was in the stroller.

When I asked how deep the river was the men didn't answer me (perhaps they thought I might stay and talk their ears off), but the youngster was eager to tell me he'd been busy catching snakes and frogs (worms on fishing poles tempt frogs as well as fish according to him).  He demonstrated his technique for me and showed off his prizes in their bucket.

This is the child my mother had to deal with.
 I climbed trees and caught frogs and snakes too.
I also put dresses on puppies and hid from Indians and bad guys in the woods.

Today I'm at home and all is quiet.  Cory is in bed with a cold, Katrina is gone for the weekend and Wayne is working a double shift again.  My parents stopped over and I made them some homemade vegetarian split pea soup with some paninis for lunch and Katrina is bringing home cupcakes tonight to have while we watch "Game of Thrones" and "Orphan Black".  Maybe I should go for a walk before the cupcake eating begins....

Me and my babies, May 2002 

Look at my kids 13 years ago, they really do grow up too quickly! Happy Mother's Day, Ladies!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you were in your element:) Happy Mother's Day to you, also:)