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!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Too busy to write again, been putting in some extra hours at work learning how to submit Medicare claims.  Scary stuff.

Hope everyone has a fun Halloween, be careful where you end up!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Quaking in Scuppernong Prairie

By the time I left Delafield and got over to Ottawa Lake campground it was pretty much dark, but there was nothing wrong with that.

In the morning I got to see the campground dressed in flaming red.  When I got out of my tent I was surrounded by red trees, it was quite a shock visually!

One of the hikes I took while hanging out at Kettle Moraine was on a portion of the Eagle segment of the Ice Age Trail which makes its way through the Scuppernong Prairie.

You can catch that gorgeous view right from Hwy 67, also known as Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive.

I parked at the little parking area and joined a few other folks out enjoying peak color.  We had a lot of wind and rain last night, so it's probably been stripped of its glorious cloak of gold and russet.

What was really great was seeing the small clusters of Quaking Aspen, we don't have as many of those around here as they do out in Colorado.

The trees shivered and danced in the light wind, their leaves making a rustling sound that was delightfully delicate.

Even the boardwalk trail underneath them benefited from their bountiful golden gifts.

Out of the prairie and in to the forest there were more aspens and majestic oaks, and everyone was smiling freely, overflowing with joy at the sight of nature's last spectacle before retreating in the face of winter.

Soon we'll all be quaking in our winter boots, shivering and huddling and waiting for spring.

Monday, October 26, 2015


How has it been 9 days since the last time I posted?  Life is a little hectic right now with a little less "me" time, but on this crisp Monday morning I'm sitting in the Delafield Public Library enjoying the view of the pumpkins on display for the Grand Pumpkin Illumination for the second time.

I saw them for the first time last night when I met Katrina at Milwaukee Street Traders for a latte and a stroll around downtown. They had a great menu full of gluten free and dairy free options so I went a little crazy and ordered two different soups and two different kinds of pound cake.

I had a few more of Katrina's things from the house to bring to her and it was a good place to meet since it's only 20 minutes from her new place in Waukesha and only 15 minutes from the Ottawa Lake campground and great hiking at Kettle Moraine...but we'll get to that later.  For now you'll just have to enjoy the pumpkins carved by kids from local schools.

The night before the town had them all lit up.  I bet the local kids had a great time carving them and then coming out to see them.  Of course Katrina like the ones carved to look like kitties.

I thought whoever came up with the bleeding pumpkin was pretty clever.

But my favorite one was The Winker.

Even though the shops were closed we walked around looking in windows and saw enough to bring me back this morning when the shops open.  That's saying a lot since I'm not much of a shopper.  There were a few scarecrows scattered around downtown too, including this fella who looked like he had a few too many apple ciders.

We even used a strategically placed railing to get a shot of the two of us, something we don't do that often and probably should do more, right?

Katrina had to get back home, but I walked around a little more, exploring a footpath behind the shops that led me to the Bark River.

My wandering led me to a little millpond with some nice reflections.

Here's the story on the millpond:
The DNR ordered the property owners in 2008 to either remove the dam or repair and rebuild it to meet DNR dam safety standards. Zerwekh opted to remove the dam because she did not want the expense and burden of rebuilding it and she preferred that the Bark River be allowed to return to its natural course, running through the Nemahbin lakes and southwest to the Rock River.

Neighbors who lived along the dam millpond, including at one time a city alderman, objected to Zerwekh's plan.

They argued before city officials, DNR officials and numerous judges that removing the dam - and consequently, the pond - would significantly reduce the value of their property and deprive them of the advantages of living on a lake front.

To make a long story short the dam removal has happened and efforts to restore the area are underway.  The 93 year old woman who owns the property that the dam sits on fought court battles for 10 years to allow it to be removed.

On the way out of town I even caught the moon framed by oak trees.  What a great way to end an illuminating meet-up!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tempting Hartman Creek

Hartman Creek State Park is a new one for me, it's not on the way to anywhere in particular and is 3.5 hours north of my home which is why it's taken me so long to check it out.  I was afraid I'd get there and be bored, but I found out that in addition to the IAT there is plenty of other hiking in and around the park.  Much nicer than fighting the crowds at Devil's Lake!

Hartman Lake

Ten miles of hiking trails give many opportunities for fall color viewing, including walks around some small spring fed lakes.

Before being established as a state park in 1966, Hartman Creek was a fish hatchery, where dams were built to create Allen, Hartman, Grebe and Middle Lakes.  The campground is located next to Allen Lake, but yesterday morning I walked around Hartman Lake and caught some great morning light.

Ducks and geese scattered on my arrival, used to having the lake to themselves at this time of year.

I scanned the water in the lake and the adjoining creek looking for some reflections or leaves to photograph, but the shore of the lake was lined with cattails and the creek was mostly shaded by the overhanging trees so I only got one shot.

After my short walk along the lake I made my way to the Ice Age Trail, picking it up from Winfeldt Lane which runs right by the campground.  There is a kiosk with information about the Ice Age Trail at the parking area, including explanations of the glacial topography in the park.

The picture below shows the outwash plain from the melting glacier in the foreground.  The higher ridge in the background is where the glacier paused, depositing sediment and forming the Elderon Moraine.

The spur to the IAT crosses a field and makes its way to the moraine, sharing the route with a bike path.

Before entering the woods it skirted a field full of Milkweed.

I try to resist getting a Milkweed shot every fall, but I just can't.

Nearby was a colony of British Soldiers that finally photographed the way I want.  I used the zoom lens that I had on the camera for the Milkweed shot instead of extension tubes and got a much better result.

In the woods the maples put on a great show with color in the trees and on the ground.

As I walked toward Emmons Creek Barrens State Natural Area the trail rolled gently up and down the moraine passing from deciduous forest to pine.  The sandy soil was springy no matter what part of the forest I was in, but the pine needles were a fragrant bonus.

I walked all the way to Emmons Creek Road and turned around for a round trip total of about 5 miles.  I was pretty tired after all the weeks I've spent lying around recently, but the views were worth it.

I worked 20 hours a week since we've come back from our trip, and with being sick and all the chaos surrounding the remodeling and Katrina moving out I'm a month behind on blog reading again.  How is it possible that someone who only works part time doesn't have enough time to get things done?

Any chance Judy will tell me what bird this is?

Maybe because I just can't resist the temptation to drive all over the state for days at a time?  In addition to hiking the park offers access to 12 miles of off road bike trails, places for horse riding, fishing, and even a beach on one of the lakes.  There is also Pope Lake State Natural Area to the east and Emmons Creek State Natural Area to the south. I think it's a pretty safe bet that I'll be back again.

Today it's more remodeling on the agenda.  While I was driving around earlier this week Wayne got the basement room we've been working on for Cory finished enough to start moving him down there.  We have walls, a ceiling and lights, now it's time to go shopping for a new bed and TV stand and get him all set up in his roomier digs!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hummocky and Erratic at Hartman Creek

The fall color on the drive from Door County toWaupaca actually got less and less, and I was worried I'd be camping under a canopy of green but the trees at Hartman Creek State Park are just starting to hit their stride.

Site 9

The campground is laid out nicely, but I wouldn't say it's "big rig" compatible.  The shower building looks older but the showers themselves have been re-tiled and fitted with new shower hardware, including a faucet that stays on which is a rarity in our state parks.

One of the largest erratics on the entire trail

The Ice Age Trail passes through Hartman Creek State Park and is an example of outwash from a melting moraine that formed hummocky topography that wasn't as difficult to walk along as in the area of eskers.  Most of it was fairly level, with some hills making sudden appearances here and there.  The outwash included lots of erratics, and the IAT winds through them and the trees.

A crew is out working re-routing the trail as you can see in the above photo, but I missed them for the day since I didn't get out there until almost 5:00.  That's okay with me, I prefer my forest quiet except for the rustling of the treetops in the wind and the patter of chipmunk feet as they run along downed trees.  I got in a quick hour hike before the end of the day, enjoying the fading sun peeking through the trees.  I tried to catch it so I could photograph the leaves backlit, but it just kept getting away from me!

example of "hummocky" section of glacial outwash 

And boy is it nice to go tramping around the woods without picking up ticks or hearing the whine of mosquitoes!  I wish fall lasted just a little longer....

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pumpkin Pals in Door County

I zipped on up to Door County yesterday, hoping to get some fall color, but it's a little early yet.  I'd say the area is running between 40-60% color, and it's better on the Fish Creek side of the peninsula than on the Bailey's Harbor side.  I was quite disappointed when I drove through Jacksonport and Bailey's Harbor, but secured a campsite at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek before dark fell.

Some of the park's campgrounds are closed for the year, and midweek in October is a great time to have some elbow room here.  I got site 813 in the Nicolet Bay area, and no one was in the non electric rows except me!

In the morning I headed out of the park and drove down Hwy 42 through Fish Creek and Egg Harbor, stopping at an antique store where I got some craft and decorating ideas.  Those chenille pumpkins were adorable, and there were chenille Christmas trees and even hearts for Valentine's Day too.  I love the texture and patterns, especially the criss-cross one on the bottom shelf.

When I scanned those pictures earlier in the week I found a few that were from pumpkin farm visits.

Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty - 1977

The cousins made an appearance in 1979 at an Alice in Wonderland scene.

There aren't a lot of pumpkins on display in Door County, surprisingly.  But I did find a few cute ones in Egg Harbor.

pigs in front of Casey's BBQ

I helped the Pirate Mr. Potato Head guy up, he'd fallen over in the night.  Too much rum, maybe?

In front of another shop I spotted the egg that floated in the harbor during the Eggstravaganza in 2014.

But the bees stole the show, painted with a variety of facial expressions and even cool shades.

The eggs up by the visitor center are still there to amuse and delight too.

I'm heading out of Door County now, but not for home.  I'm determined to find that stunning fall color, I wonder where it is?