We recently made a camping trip to Vilas County in northeast Wisconsin. This is an area filled with forests, lakes, and welcoming community towns. We took our bicycles with the intent of riding the Heart of Vilas Bike Trail. This 52-mile paved trail was a gem to ride. At times we were in the thick of the woods following a curving and winding trail, and at other times we were riding along the shore of beautiful lakes. We rode trail sections that were relatively flat and then we also rode some short rolling hills – perfect for gaining enough momentum going down to get you almost to the top of the next hill. We rode over bridges spanning streams and wetlands. We saw deer looking at us from within the woods and we saw turkeys crossing the trail. With hot sunshine and warm breezes we made a stop for ice cream (twice). On the second day the late afternoon clouds rolled in and the rain began, but we were under a tree canopy and protected from the heaviest drops. And as quickly as it started, the rain passed out of the area. It was a memorable trip and we’ll look forward to a return trail ride in the future.
My holiday cards and 2022 desk calendars are now available for purchase. Each year presents a new challenge in determining which images to use for the cards and calendars. Some photographs I think of as my “favorites” and they certainly rise to the top. Others are “hidden gems” that I have overlooked in previous edits. The images for the holiday cards remind me that our snowy and cold winter is just around the corner, and the images for the spring and summer months of the calendars have me pining for those now-distant sunny and warm days and for the color that has since disappeared from our landscape.
The images here are samples. You can see more details about the cards and calendars by going to the tabs at the top of my website page or to the dropdown menu.
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I sat on the opposite side of the lake watching the shoreline come alive in the sunshine. The clouds had lingered throughout the day, but an hour before sunset they parted giving the light a truly golden color. And as the clouds parted, the lake calmed to a sheet of glass; everything on the shoreline was reflected in the mirror-like water. It was a magical few minutes, long enough to absorb the colors of a brilliant fall evening and to wish the season would linger much longer before we head into winter.
Across the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wisconsin is a celebration of hot air balloons called the Hudson Hot Air Affair. Begun in 1970, the festival brings pilots, hot air balloon enthusiasts, and lots of spectators out into the wintry morning air. This morning’s temperatures were around 25 degrees – mild for early February, but the winds were too strong and the cloud deck was too low to allow the balloons to launch into the sky. When the weather conditions do not cooperate, the balloons are instead filled with air and up righted. Some were tethered to vans and trucks, others were held down by multiple people at the ends of long ropes (at times trying to keep their footing as the balloons pulled and tugged and their feet slid over the compact snow and ice). The balloons were plentiful and colorful, and the spectators were many and all seemed adept at keeping warm on a cold winter morning. It was all a bright delight in the gray midst of winter.
With my previous posts of fall I’ve shared some brilliant colors, and we continue to see those in our landscape now. But there’s a quieter side to this season too. This is the side that speaks of the upcoming change to winter, the coolness that is evident in the air, and the slow turn into the dark of winter. We were at Wild River State Park early one morning recently. The park sits along the St. Croix River which divides the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. It’s a lovely, and quiet area, especially in the morning. The air was cool and yet the river temperature was still a bit warmer causing the fog to hang low in the river valley. This layer of fog seemed to soften the sunrise, to quiet any sound on the river or land, and to soften the golds and browns that were evident from the seasonal change. Eventually the sun rose high enough over the bluff to burn away the fog, and the light became much brighter and sharper, as did the sounds of the day too.