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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Another Excursion

The other day we were on our way to Iowa and decided to make a stop along the way.  Actually, we had several stops planned but we didn't make it to all of them.  I'll explain why in just a minute.  Anyway, the first stop was at the Falk Wells Sugar River Wildlife Area, just outside Paoli, Wisconsin.  This looks like a newer wildlife area the county is working on.  It is hard to visualize it as much of a wildlife area because its so surrounded by agriculture land, residences, and a business or two.  But the county is working on it.  Maybe its a restoration project.  At any rate, one little portion of it is accessible and pretty nice.  I figure its new and in development because as I was checking it out in advance I noticed the "street view" and the satellite view were different.  One showed a parking area, the other did not.
And neither view showed the little bridge we found when we stopped.  I had thought we were going to have to hike a short distance to get to the pond but it turned out it was right there off the parking area.
You could tell the bridge was fairly new.  The lumber still had the markings from construction on it.  It was a nice little bridge.
We had the mutt with us so we walked around a little bit, taking in the scenery.
Over the bridge there was a trail.  Hadn't seen that in the satellite images at all.  But then again, sometimes its difficult to see features like trails, especially in wooded areas.
I had hoped that, being farther south than Timms Hill, that we'd still be able to see some of the fall colors but that didn't happen so much.  Most of the leaves in this area were down and on the ground.
Still, here and there were remnants of the foliage and the beauty that had recently been all over the area.
What had looked like a pond turned out to actually be a wide spot in the river.  The Sugar River.
Still, it was a nice, quiet, peaceful place to visit.  Except for the bridge, trail, and parking area, it was pretty much undisturbed, what we could see, anyway.
And the mutt enjoyed stretching her legs and checking out the smells in the forest.  She doesn't get into wooded areas very much.
Then it was time to head back to the car.
When we pulled in there was a tractor and trailer so we had to stop and get a picture.  We have a couple of little grandbaby boys that would have loved to be in this picture.
The next stop wasn't too far down the road, in New Glarus.  We were getting hungry so we made our dinner stop a little earlier than originally planned.
It was a fun place to stop.  They were an ice cream place with a grill so of course they had a cow bench out front.
Inside it was like a 50's diner.  A small counter, the whole place was pretty small. 
But the food was good and we were hungry.
Dessert of course, was the best part.

By the time we'd finished eating and went back outside it was getting pretty dark.  Our side trip was in the hopes of seeing some more of the fall colors but it was already too dark to see anything more so we decided to cut it short and beat it on to Iowa.  I guess we should have known there wouldn't be much time for sight-seeing because the days are getting so much shorter.  We'll have to save the rest of the trip for another time.  So instead of traveling a winding trip west across the bottom of the state we cut back up to the highway and hurried on.  Still, it was a nice trip and we enjoyed it.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Fall Foliage Excursion 2017

We decided to take a trip across the state to see the fall colors this year.  Actually, we decided to do this way back in the early spring.  We picked the date and have been protecting it from schedule conflicts all summer only to have it arrive and get rained out.  So we just moved it back a week.  And as it was, it was still pretty "iffy" as we watched the weather forecast as the weekend approached.  The forecast said it wasn't suppose to rain until later in the afternoon so we decided to take a chance and make the trip.  And at the last minute we also threw in a stop at a sky resort that hosts a fall foliage event each year.  They let you ride their chair lift up to the top of the hill and back and see all the fall colors along the way.
The day arrived and, because this was just the first stop, we decided we wanted to get there pretty much at opening time.  Good thing we did.  We got there and there was already quite a line.  Apparently this is a pretty popular event each year.
Finally we reached the front of the line and bought our lift tickets.  Ours were yellow because we got on at the bottom of the hill.  Had we got on at the top they would have been green.  That gives you the option of getting off and looking around, and then getting back on for the second half of the ride.  That's what we did.
So we got out passes and finally were able to get on the chair lift.  Its been a long time since I rode a chairlift.  The last time was when I was on my mission, in Germany.  We rode a chairlift up a mountain to a small castle that was at the top but that's another story.
The ride up the hill took probably 5 or 10 minutes and it was really pretty, slowly floating passed all those trees.  It was so quiet.
At the top we got off so we could look around.  Blaubeere's oldest, Hero, went with us.  That was fun.
We found some rocks to climb on.
Lots of those.  And all set in the middle of a park, lots and lots of trees, lots and lots of colors.
And lots and lots of rocks to climb on.  This park had fun rocks all over it.
Lots and lots of rocks for climbing.
There was also a pretty tall observation tower in the park, 60 feet up to the top, 96 steps. And a spectacular view of all the colors all around in all directions.
Any direction you look, as far as you could see, the foliage was in full color.  If it was not peak colors it was only just barely passed.
Any direction was really pretty.
It was an amazing sight, to see all those trees with all their leaves in full color.
Down off the tower there were lots of trails through the trees to hike around.
Trails that lead up and over rocks, all set in the amazing colors.
Even though there were lots of people wandering around the park on the trails and roads, it still didn't feel crowded.  A lot of the time it felt like we were to only ones there.

And even without being up on the tower, because the whole park is set on top of a good sized hill, there were still some very nice views.
Finally we decided it was time to head back down the hill.  So back to the chairlift and down we went.  This time we had a real good view out over the city by the hill.
Then it was off to the next stop, lunch.  We drove to the small city of Omega to the place we'd decided to have lunch, a small cafe in the middle of town.
The cafe gets its name from the fact that it sits next to the Pine Line Trail.  Not a state trail but still one that is on an abandon railroad line.  I had looked to see if there was anything of particular interest along the trial but hadn't seen anything.
This was an interesting cafe.  As we parked and walked toward the building we weren't entirely sure the place was open, or even still in business. There wasn't a whole lot of activity around. But it was decorated for Halloween and at the door we saw the "open" sign and went on in.  It turned out to be really good.  The building originally was the general store years before.  Now it was a pretty nice little cafe.
When I saw they had Reuben sandwiches I knew what I wanted.  And it was really good.
And they were all decorated for Halloween, too.  That was nice.
After a leisurely lunch we headed for Timms Hill, which is supposed to be a really good place to see the colors from.  There turned out to be a bonus, too!  The little road, where you turn off the main highway, is designated as Rustic Road 62.  A narrow, scenic little road that was densely surrounded with trees growing right up to the shoulder of the road.  All of them in full color. There are over a hundred of these little rustic roads all over the state, each of them very nice, pretty little roads.
Timms Hill is set in a small county park and also has an observation tower.  You just have to hike 300 feet up the tallest hill in the state to get to it.  So we made the hike.
One nice thing about the hike is they had a few benches along the way for those that need or just want to stop and take a break.  We stopped for the photo op.
Here and there the trail was marked by some short rail fences.
A funny thing happened as we were on our way up the hill.  We had been trying all morning to call Erdbeere's house, her oldest was having a birthday on this day.  We had called and left a couple of messages, left a happy birthday song on his daddy's voice mail, but just hadn't been able to connect with them.  Then, quite unexpectedly, they called back while we were hiking up the hill.  I was amazed that we got enough signal to get the call, being out in the middle of nowhere and all.  But the call came through so we stood there in the forest, surrounded by trees, and sang to him again and wished him a happy birthday.
Then it was on further up the hill, to the top.
Hiking through the woods - really nice.
This tower was the same height as the other way but its a bit up higher on the hill than the other one. 96 more steps to the top and we made it!
And once again we were rewarded with a spectacular view.
So we spent a little while at the top, soaking in the marvelous view.
Being a little farther north the colors were a little farther along, a little passed peak.  But still really nice.
If you know where to look, they say you can see the first tower we climbed from the top of the tower on Timms Hill.  I guess I didn't know which way to look.  But then again, I didn't spend a lot of time looking for it.
Back down from the tower we signed the guest register and made the hike back down the hill.  We didn't leave any too soon.  As we were making our way down the trail back to the car the rain finally started.  It had been kind enough to hold off all morning but now it started up.  Not real heavy, at least not at first, which was probably a good thing considering the trail was all leaf covered and would have gotten pretty slick once the leaves got good and wet.  By the time it started getting heavy we were in the car and on our way home.
Then there was the drive back home, with a stop at our favorite ice cream place, of course.  It was a very good day.  I am always amazed at the colors around here in this part of the country.  We need to make this an annual thing, a Fall Foliage Excursion!