Lost phone, wasp stings and weather
Traveled to the property with Bryan, Dave and Fred on Friday. We would meet John, who had gone up on Thursday night.
We had been debating the weather the entire week. Our intent was to do the work that needed to be done, but also fit in a kayak trip also. The uncertainty of the weather had us at about a 60% leave / 40% stay odds going into the trip. As such, we decided not to haul up the kayaks, and we would just use the two up there to kayak the short trip to the canoe landing. We didn't even do that.
I hauled the enclosed trailer up after Nathan and I did the initial outfitting of it for the property.
After dealing with a lost phone, we made our way up to BRF and were on-site around 11:00 AM. After our initial setup, we cooked up some lunch, and wrapped that all up about the time the Bobcat arrived. I am able to rent this from Scholze's Ace Hardware (I want to give them a plug here because they are so great to work with!).
While Bryan, Dave, Fred and I got to work on extending the bluff trail to where the stairs will be installed, John worked on getting some video with the drone he brought. Bryan ran the Bobcat while Dave, Fred and I chained and hauled out trees we plucked out of the ground. Trees is a relative term; most are just saplings no larger than 1" in diameter. We were along the bluff line, so wanted to take extra care not to remove anything that was aiding in erosion control. All of these saplings and trees are what holds the soil in place along the bluff.
Needless to say, I am quite happy with the extended trail. What is also nice is that there is a natural drop in that direction, so we are taking out 6-8' of drop that we don't have to fill with stairs. I can now start to be in a position to have the stairs installed at some point in the future.
We also did some clearing of downed trees for firewood, and expanded the reach of the clearing/camping site right to the edge of the property line.
So, I really want to get back to the video that John was able to take with the drone. We really were hitting peak fall colors in southern Wisconsin, and the colors kept getting more robust and vibrant the closer we got to BRF. While it is true that there were many trees that had already dropped their leaves, there were still enough displaying their colors.
When you are in a forest looking up, you can see the colors. However, you are looking up at the underside of the leaves, and it is a bit duller and shadowed. When I could see the videos from above the trees on John's computer, it took my breath away; it was absolutely beautiful! You can see his drone videos below.
We had a good supper of chili with the fixin's, and enjoyed the warm (60-70 degree) weather, too warm for this time of year. I prefer it cooler as it is nice sleeping in the cool weather. Nick, my neighbor, joined us for the night.
We awoke the next morning to Brad's breakfast burritos and Fred's coffee. Fred's method of coffee-making makes me want to never cook coffee in a percolator coffee pot on the campfire ever again. I'll give an update on what that is when I can track it down and buy it.
We did have rain in the middle of Friday night, but it was nothing major. So Saturday morning after breakfast, some more light rain rolled in. Phone reception was limited and I could see a big blog of weather, but could not tell which direction it was heading. So, we scrambled to tear down camp to avoid all of our "stuff" getting soaked. That pretty much sealed the deal that we would be leaving on Saturday and not staying until Sunday. The risk of heavy rain in the evening pretty much pushed us this direction.
We took off a bit before noon to go to Castle Mound Pine Forest State Natural Area, right on the edge of Black River Falls. I have been in this area for over five years now, and never visited Castle Mound prior to this. I waited way too long; it is spectacular and I would highly recommend this to anyone who visits this area. The only downside is that when we arrived at the top, there was a viewing platform..... but there was a swarm of small wasps, and one of them stung Dave. So after some attempted first aid (wet clay will relieve and draw out the poison, but wet sand won't really do this, so we used peat), we descended a bit more subdued since someone in our group was injured.
We then traveled down to Warrens, the cranberry capitol of the world, to check out Nick's cranberry operation. Very impressive. We live in corn country, and I don't think I could excite any of you with taking you on a tour of a corn field. But raising cranberries is very interesting, and it was well worth the side-tracking on our route back home.
All in all, a good, but shortened, weekend. We were able to get some work done, enjoy the fall colors, have some beautiful weather, and share some good laughs. On top of that we were able to check out Castle Mound and a cranberry farm.
John is now the only other person who has stayed by themselves camping on the property, and he did it for two nights. With me being the other person who has done this, I can say that it is different staying there by yourself but a very peaceful experience. Not too shabby, John.
Most of all, we created more memories. Now that we've been at this for a bit, every single trip we make creates more memories and more good times. You can't beat living for a bit out in nature; it helps you see what is important, and our friends who help us with their minds and physical work are also helping us create those memories, and that is the part that is most rewarding for us.
Here is a video of some of our work:
The Bobcat is quite useful in carving a new trail, as we can chain to the saplings/small trees and pluck them, roots and all, out of the soil.
Here is a video of a flyover of Clearwater Dells with John's drone:
When you are on the ground, much as you can see in the Bobcat video, you are seeing the underside of the leaves. It is amazing how the colors pop when above the trees, with the drone and with the sun shining down on them. I was blown away by the colors.
Finally, here is a video of Hall's Creek:
This video starts north of Clearwater Dells, moving downstream past Clearwater Dells (to the left as you approach first bend), past the County Road E bridge, and almost all of the way down to the waterfall. Once again, the colors are amazing.