Seeing Things in New Light

One of the reasons that I like to travel is in order to see and experience new things.  It's easy to forget that there are still a lot of new things to discover close to home.  

There's a town just east of Lodi called Poynette, which isn't that different from Lodi.  The two towns have a lot in common. Most of the people in both towns are conservative Republicans. Both have a Piggly Wriggly grocery store.  Both are small towns surrounded by a lot of natural beauty.  

However, many people choose to focus on things that separate us.  

Callie and Elvis, barely tolerating each other


Our schools are better.  Our sports teams are better.  Those folks are rednecks.  These are some of the things I've heard over the years. 

This week I went to Pauquette Park in downtown Poynette to start my daily hike.  Somehow, despite visiting that park countless times, I never noticed the small stone next to the parking lot.

Huh.  Poynette should have been Pauquette, except for someone's bad handwriting.  When I got home, I got on the Wisconsin Historical Society website and found out a few things about Mr. Pauquette.  He was half-Indian and born in Missouri in 1796.  Pauquette moved to Portage, Wisconsin in 1818.  For several years he worked for the American Fur Company and operated a trading post.  He was fluent in French, English and several Indian languages.  Serving as a translator for General Dodge, Pauquette was killed by an Indian in 1836.  

Pauquette Park leads to the trailhead for the Rowan Creek Fishery property.  It was a beautiful day, so I was concerned that the trail might be more crowded than I liked.  As it turned out, I didn't need to worry.  Recent rains left significant parts of the trail underwater.  


But the trail was better than it looked. Once I tiptoed through the water and mud, the ground rose a bit and was mostly dry.  We didn't see another soul during the entire hike.  We did see something else that I have never seen before, despite hiking this trail dozens of times.  

In my defense, there was no sign or stone to mark the spot.  There was an unmarked path that I probably never noticed when the foliage was full.  Even with the leaves fallen, I almost didn't see it, blended in with the trees.

I have no idea what the story is with this wood carving in the middle of the woods of this public property, but finding it made my day.  We hung out for a bit there and then here.

Another great day for a hike.


  1. It's amazing how fast what is really pretty recent history can disappear. Years ago I was hiking in an area that within the past 100 years had hosted a small community of about 300 with school, store, and blacksmith. I went off trail and managed to stumble across a foundation, but not enough of it remained that I could figure out what it had been for, except that it wasn't a forge. I just got back from a trip to that same area but had no luck finding that foundation again this time.

  2. That carving was a great find. One can only hope it lasts and some nimrod doesn't destroy it.

  3. That's beautiful! What a find!

    How far off the main trail is it?

    Any ideas of who to ask to learn its maker? It'd be interesting to see what else they've done.

  4. The carving has very little graffiti or damage done to it. On the chest, there are a pair of owl eyes that look to be original. I don't know anyone else who hikes or maintains that trail. It is state-owned property that primarily exists as a trout fishery. There is a sign that indicates the Poynette High School Outdoors Club conducts activities on the property. If I ever find out who the maker is, I'll do a blog post on it. Without revealing too much, the carving is less than a two minute walk off the main trail. I was surprised at the lack of any signage by the carving because the main trail has lots of educational signs and posted maps of the property/trails.


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