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July Update

We interrupt your previously scheduled programming to provide a current update. We've been at home for awhile now since our trip West in the Scamp. About a week after arriving home, there was a  celebration of life for Gene, Julia's Dad, who died in hospice earlier this year.  In many ways, it was lovely; I'm not a big fan of funerals.   About twenty people gathered for an outdoor fish fry on a Friday afternoon at one of Gene's favorite restaurants on Lake Wisconsin.  Lots of people told stories about their experiences with Gene, and there was a poster board of photos from throughout his life.   Later, some of his ashes were spread on the water, where Gene loved to fish.  This week, Julia was kayaking on Lake Wisconsin, and a big perch jumped into her kayak.  Coincidence?  She thinks not.   Allie was home for a week.  I did some hiking with Allie and my niece Anna around Devil's Lake. Justin is home off and on for the remainder of the summer.  This is always an unce

The North Country: A Day of Snowshoeing

Day Two of this trip was the best.  After a hearty breakfast, we drove into the Nicolet National Forest. The roads were snow-covered and slippery.  Julia's Subaru was up to the task, but there were a few challenging moments on downhills where all-wheel drive is inconsequential and at the trailhead's unplowed parking lot, where we nearly high-centered.

The parking lot was off of Fournier Road, which appears on the map to the left edge just above center.  We were the first on the trail, and we did not see another human in the woods that day.  

Like a lot of trails in the National Forest, this one was lightly maintained.  We got lost a couple of times, and there were lots of downed trees to clamber over.  

We took the Butternut Trail, continuing on Ash Meadow until it looped around to the Gulch. Our plan to take Gulch to the Roller Coaster failed when we couldn't find the continuation of Gulch.  Eventually, we had to backtrack on Gulch to Ash Meadow again, where we retraced our steps to Butternut.  It was a five mile hike through some fairly deep snow.  

After a quick lunch back at the cabin,we drove across the Brule River into the Upper Peninsula.  Our destination was Alpha Michigan Brewing, which proclaims that it's the smallest village in America with a brewery. 


Interesting trivia, but how was the beer?  I'm pleased to report that it was really good.  After enjoying a stout and Christmas Wit on the patio (the temp was in the single digits), we took a half-growler of IPA home. 

The tap room was closed due to covid, but true northerners don't let the cold interfere with a good beer. 




  1. MMMMMMM, Stout!

    Can we get some close-ups and details of/about those "new-fangled" snowshoes Julia's wearing?

    I tried snowshoes in January of '82 when I hitch-hiked (from Albuq) to visit friends on the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario. I'd been married a few years and was still in half-decent shape...or so I thought. The snow was powder and 3 feet (and more) deep. I made it all of 300' off the road before giving up. Chicadees flew down and sat on my extended hand!

    1. Julia and I are both using Redfeather Hike snowshoes, which we received as a gift from my mother about ten years ago. They've held up well. I wish the bindings were quicker to put on or off, but otherwise, we have no complaints.

      There's no question that hiking in snowshoes is harder work than hiking without snow, but they let us get to places that we couldn't otherwise get to during the winter It was so quiet and so beautiful that day. There's a significant population of black bears and timber wolves in that area, It's about as wild as Wisconsin gets.

  2. Ahhh, memories of northern winters. But don't get me wrong! I'm perfectly content, standing here in the 60 degree shade of the barn, to let them remain memories.

    Oh, and I think you might have your terminology a little wrong. Y'all weren't lost out there in the woods, just temporarily misplaced.

  3. Yeah, you're right. We accidentally wandered off trail somehow, but weren't really lost. In this case, it was easy to retrace our steps.

    I wouldn't mind some 60 degree weather, but it doesn't look like that will be in the cards for awhile.


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