Saturday, August 17, 2019
Today was a beautiful day in our part of Wisconsin. It was 58 degrees when we woke this morning to a sunny sky. Since we did not have any team members arriving today, we took the day off. We got our walking in before breakfast and after breakfast decided to head out to explore our area.
We see numerous sandstone buttes and mesas as we drive around the area. Everything is very flat and green and then there is this big rock formation sticking up. We have talked and laughed about these formations since our arrival. Today we decided to go to Mill Bluff State Park which is an “ice age national scientific reserve” and only 11 miles from Winding Rivers. We planned to do some hiking and learn more about this geology. Just as we were entering the park, Max looked into our rear view mirror and saw our team members Stel and Jodi and two other NOMADS, Gary and Avis behind us. Didn’t expect that. With the park’s big title designation, we expected exhibits, and lots of information. We were somewhat underwhelmed by the hiking and education. We did get some good exercise climbing to the top of one of the buttes. However, the park is beside I-90 and rather than a peaceful, quiet state park, there was interstate noise everywhere we went. There were no exhibits and we found one small handout with a map on one side and about 6 paragraphs about the formations and the scientific reserve designation. We hiked the nature trail, climbed the one butte and then decided to move on to something else.
In looking at what else was in the area, we found the Necedah (neh-CEE-duh) National Wildlife Refuge which is about 17 miles north of New Lisbon. The refuge welcome center was very well done. Beautiful building and helpful staff. There are numerous trails and wild life viewing areas. We did the one mile loop trail at the visitors center and then drove to Sprague and hiked in that area of the refuge. Beautiful day to be out in nature listening the frogs, and birds. We saw 3 gorgeous swans peacefully swimming on Sprague Pool along with sandhill cranes, Canada geese, great blue herons and other birds.
After leaving the refuge we drove to Tomah and on the way drove through an area of a lot of cranberry bogs. Wisconsin is the number one producer of cranberries in the world. There is a big harvest festival in September and we would love to be here for the harvest in late Sept and October, but we will have moved on by then. We did learn a lot more about the bogs and growing cranberries. Interesting. In Tomah, we bought a saw blade, bought some groceries and of course got some ice cream. You can’t hike seven miles without having ice cream. It was a good day!
Other car-trapping sights we saw today: