NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dells of the Eau Claire

The Dells of the Eau Claire River park has been on my to-do list ever since I started walking parts of the Ice Age Trail.  My Guidebook is enthusiastic about the spring wildflower show there so when I ended up in the Wausau area less than 2 weeks ago I made my way over to see what all the fuss was about.

Trillium carpet beneath the trees

If you think the park is near Eau Claire you are off by about 100 miles, and don't confuse it with the Wisconsin Dells either.  The park was less than 10 minutes west of downtown Wausau and includes a beach area and campground.  I thought about staying the night but when I got out of my car I was engulfed in a swarm of mosquitoes so I went back to Wausau to stay at their Marathon Park city campground in the middle of town instead.  Not fancy, but surprisingly quiet and mosquito-free!

Tons of Trout Lilies too!

But before I left I explored the river and the dells itself which was not as mosquito infested downstream from the camping area.


A less than 3 mile segment of the IAT cuts through the park, and I saw the yellow blazes along the river so while I didn't walk the whole thing I saw enough to satisfy my curiosity.  This stretch of the Eau Claire River cascades over outcrops of Precambrian-age rhyolite schist, a very hard rock which was formed through metamorphosis and later tilted here to a nearly vertical position allowing the rock to split readily along the cleavage planes. (from the DNR website)



 From 1935 to 1942 the CCC built a foot-bridge using stones from the gorge that crosses the river further downstream. They also constructed stone steps leading to the falls area and other structures.


Most of my pictures didn't turn out so great for some reason, but the video turned out nicely.  However, I am still having trouble with the image being jerky and pixelated once uploaded to YouTube compared to the amazing crispness I see when I play it just after I edit it on my computer.  Some of my videos have this problem and some of them don't, and I checked and they are all MP4 edited with the same program (Movie Maker) and uploaded the same way to YouTube. Any help in this would be much appreciated!  A river is better seen in action, hope you enjoy it as much as I did!



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Treats and Trains

I don't want to even think about how many cookies and cupcakes have made their way past my lips in the last 3 months since I started traveling for my new job.  Bakeries are everywhere, and I never seem to have time to eat lunch...or at least that is what I tell myself as I'm eating giant chocolate chip cookies for lunch instead of vegetables.


Sweet Lola's in Wausau not only had tasty treats, but their sign was sweet as well!


When Cory was little we went to a lot of train museums, he was quite the admirer of Thomas the Tank Engine.  Hum along if you know the song.  I'm sure I'll be hearing it in my head when I'm 100 years old and senile.


Brodhead saved their train depot and turned it into a museum, and they even had a matching mural on a nearby building!


Instead of taking the train you can ride your bike on the Sugar River bike trail to New Glarus where there are cute shops and cute cows doing cute things.  They have a bakery too, and a candy shop as well, but their garden shop is what I plan to explore next time I pass through.


I don't even have to go far for a sweet treat, Kenosha has opened up a new bakery and jam shop!  And look, Elsie Mae's even provides a rocking chair so you can sit down and eat it with a spoon?



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mini Hikes at Copper Falls, Table Bluff and Sturgeon Bay

As I was on my way back from a round of appointments in the far north of Wisconsin recently I made a detour into Copper Falls to check out their campground and think about spending the night.  The campground was okay and I will consider it for the future, but there was no flush toilets or showers and that is asking a bit much of a gal who has to get ready for work in the morning after sleeping in a tent at night!


So instead I walked the Doughboy Trail which is a little over a mile but felt much longer since I am so out of shape.  Once I crossed the Bad River (that's the name, I swear!) there was a steep set of stairs to climb and they threatened to beat me but I persisted.


I had the trail all to myself which is always a plus, and I learned a little history along the way as well.  Exploratory copper mining was done in the area as early as the 1860's, but it was in the early 1900's that a mining crew got tired of their shaft flooding so they decided to divert the river.  Blasting the riverbed improved their flooding problem but did not result in finding much in the way of copper so that was the end of the venture.


I've even had an opportunity to walk a few steps on the Ice Age Trail this season, including revisiting Table Bluff near Cross Plains, Wisconsin.


It was too early for the flower show that will unfold in the summer, but I did spy a nesting pair of Sandhill Cranes.  I was pretty happy with that and after a half hour walking around I hit the road again.


And the night before last I camped at Potawatomi State Park and wandered onto the Ice Age Trail there which is the Eastern Terminus for the statewide trail. 


Only a few campers at the campground but I didn't wont for company as hordes of mosquitoes were around to chase me.  They were gone in the morning when the temperatures dropped, but my tent was wet so it wasn't a fantastic trade-off!  On top of that I must add a warning to those interested in the REI Half Dome 2 tent.  It was a pain to set up even though it is small, and even harder to take down with a cross bar at the top that the rain fly fit too tightly and I had to struggle with for at least five minutes in the cold. If I had a scissors I might have cut it off so I guess that was a good thing.   Ah, well, not every day in Door County is perfect!  Luckily REI is willing to take it back for a full refund and I will just go back to last year's tent.


My legs got nice and tired climbing the tower for the view of Sturgeon Bay.  The clouds were rolling in because I was smart enough to enjoy the sunnier afternoon strolling around town after my slice of cherry pie.  Not much sun penetrating the trees as most are finally leafed out.  There were trillium all over the campground and in town I got wowed by a tulip display...not a bad way to spend the afternoon on a work day!


The pictures in this post were taken with my Canon DSLR which I'm trying to reacquaint myself with as it takes much nicer pictures than the iPhone.  I thought I lost the battery and charger and wouldn't you know it I found them in my laptop bag just yesterday after I already replaced them.  I also finally replaced my camera backpack with the Lowepro Flipside Trek AW250 and it is much too small (crazy small for a bag that costs $150!) so back it goes as well.  Speaking of things found, the police found my camera, I don't know if I mentioned that on the blog before.  They called a few months back with the news but asked to keep it for the investigation and I had no problem with that as I had already replaced it.  It showed up at a pawn shop and I don't know if they backtracked it to find out who originally took it and probably never will I would imagine.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Quick Look at the Winnebago County Courthouse, OshKosh

So here I sit in the Sturgeon Bay Public Library and AT LAST!  At last I have a chance to be distraction free and sit down with my blog to attempt to get caught up.  Expect a post a day for a week at least, because all I have waiting for me in the next an hour and a half is a mosquito filled campsite...but that's a tale for another post.


Weeks ago I had appointments in OshKosh and got out of the car for a look at the Winnebago County Courthouse.  Built in 1938 it is 5 stories of Art Deco Moderne delight.  The top penthouse floor used to house a jail, but alas I did not get a tour.


Built of Indiana limestone, most of the building has a smooth look but the geometric surrounds framing the bronze doors at the entranceways are highly ornate. Alfonso Ianelli fashioned these bas-relief designs with references to Mayan art, depicting stylized images of Native Americans, families, agriculture, industry, and heads of county officials.


Bronze and marble highlight the interior, including the interesting floor design above.


Also seen in OshKosh was this lovely mural.  Nice to see the native people featured so prominently for a change!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Reedsburg and Park Falls Post Office Murals

Thanks to my new job I've knocked 2 more New Deal Post Office murals off my list for Wisconsin.


It doesn't get any more Wisconsin than the one in Reedsburg.  It is a oil on canvas entitled "Dairy Farming" painted by Richard Jansen in 1940.

Mural was covered in what appeared to be plexiglass to protect it from curious, oily hands

The one in Park Falls was definitely different than all the others I have seen.  James Watrous depicted a river fight said to have taken place in 1888 at the junction if the North Fork and South Fork of the Flambeau Rivers.  Two rival logging crews fought savagely for days for the privilege of driving their logs into the main river ahead of the other.  Stories of this fight have been told and retold by the old "River Pigs" as the log drivers were then called until it has become a legend of the North Woods.  Or so the plaque says!

Historical "Main Street" mural in downtown Park Falls

Park Falls has a long history from the Native Americans to the 17th and 18th centuries when the river became a highway to fur traders carrying pelts from the forests of the north.  And then in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Flambeau was one of the great Wisconsin rivers that carried the white pine logs downstream to the mills of America.


Currently downtown Park Falls is under a bit of road construction, hopefully that is good news for the small town.  Once up to 4,000 people it is just over 2,000 citizens now.


For over a hundred years Flambeau River Papers has produced quality paper products including art paper and has recently made improvements to their mill so business must be good still in this digital age.


I see piles of trees that were logged all over the place in Wisconsin and trucks loaded up with them as well but it is often hard to get a picture so I couldn't pass up this opportunity at the paper mill.

Linking up to Monday Mural.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Marquette and Then Laughing Whitefish Falls Hike

I am so very far behind!  I do have things to share, including a quick peek at some architecture from downtown Marquette.  Marquette, like a lot of other cities, tore down a lot of old buildings in the 1970's, but luckily the old City Hall which was built in 1894 was saved and is now an office building.


Not many of the Lake Superior sandstone buildings are left, their dark stone was left behind for lighter colored material after the turn of the century.  The Savings Bank Building on Front Street is a beauty, and it made me wonder what the area looked like when more of them lined the streets.


Lots of interesting shops line the streets of the old downtown district, including Boomerang Retro & Relics where I was tempted by a one of a kind brooch.  The price was fair, I just don't know if I'm a brooch gal or not.  Maybe next time I drop in I will cave in and buy it.  They also carry a lot of retro fashions that are cut to fit a lady with curves, and I'm thinking next time I will try a few on.


The U.S. Post Office in Marquette houses a New Deal WPA mural, I think the first I've come across in Michigan!  It was painted in oil on canvas by  Dewey Albinson in 1938.


And of course the iron ore dock is a great piece of history, here's the scoop from the City of Marquette website: once a cornerstone of the regional economy, was constructed in 1931-1932 for the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railroad at a cost of $1.32 million. Iron extracted from mines in western Marquette County was transported via rail to the top of the dock, emptied into the structure’s pocket chutes and loaded onto vessels docked below. From the dock’s first day of service on June 3, 1932 until its closure in 1971, nearly 24 million tons of ore left Marquette through the Lower Harbor.


After my appointments in Marquette I drove towards Munising to check out Laughing Whitefish Falls, one of the many falls in Alger County that I hadn't seen yet because it is about 30 miles from Munising.


The short hike to the falls was easy and the woods were full of birds including a soaring bald eagle and a pair of woodpeckers chattering to each other.


Also spotted was one of whatever this guy is.


It's a bit on the early side for wildflowers that far north, but I spotted a handful of Bloodroot.


At a height of 100 feet it is pretty impressive for the Midwest.  Those of you from Oregon will be unimpressed, but I'll forgive you for it!  If you're in the area and want to see the falls from the bottom there are exactly 150 stair steps to descend and then climb back up.  I was grateful for the workout after my long winter of absolutely zero exercise.


Not far from the car I spooked up a grouse, and then a few feet farther along I caught sight of another one who was trying to fool me by holding absolutely still.


Great camoflage and check out that beautiful design on its back!


I was so pleased with my adventure I took a selfie, and just look at how happy and relaxed I was!


I spent the night in Manistique, where the day turned from warm and sunny to cloudy and then rainy.

Manistique Light

I came into town from a direction I wouldn't normally travel and so I came across the 200 foot tall water tower which is listed on the National Historic Register.   That's twice as high as the waterfall!  It was pretty massive.


There was a museum on site so it may be open to the public during the summer, I'll have to look into it next time I go through on business which will probably be in early August.


I started the day with a view of Lake Michigan from my campsite at Kleinke Park just outside of Menominee.  For $15.00 I didn't mind sleeping in my car, making it my first "camping" outing of the season.  It should be warm enough at night to sleep outside soon, I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wimpy and WaterWorks

Spring is here to stay, and even the fountain in downtown Lake Geneva is turned back on and celebrating the warm days.


In Marinette where the Menominee River divides Wisconsin from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan two carved youths take the plunge, but I'm guessing the water is way too cold to swim in for live people.


Crossing into the U.P. there is less art to see, but besides lots of trees and big lake views you can catch Wimpy from Popeye hanging out on the corner in Escanaba.


This is my second trip up to Yooper country in the last two weeks, and yesterday afternoon I finished up appointments in Marquette and headed to Manistique for the night with a hiking stop along the way.  I busted out my Canon 70D and put on my hiking shoes for the first time in many months and have real photos to share tomorrow and a whole day off to explore today!

Lighthouse in Manistique, Michigan


Manistique Water Works