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Critter damage

We were looking forward to a long weekend trip with the immediate family. I had left the Jay Feather and the Coleman at the property since the last trip, so all would be able to sleep on a mattress in some form.

The primary purpose of the trip was to grind stumps, but we'll get back to that later. We headed up Thursday morning and arrived shortly after lunch.

When we had the guys' trip three weeks ago, we had hot water and a shower which were amazing. I had drained the fresh water system prior to leaving for home, but the drain valve just would not close when I was done. So I had ordered a new one to replace when we got back up to the property.

While this is a long story, I won't drag it out. While crawling under the camper on the tick-infested ground (I did lay a tarp down, however), I noticed a critter had chewed up all of the fresh water lines. Not happy. Off to Scholze's Ace Hardware via the detour (Highway 12 is closed). We picked up a new line to replace one of the lines, and some tape repair to repair the other line. After I repaired those lines, I found when I was crawling out the a faint smell of gas, looked up, and saw they had chewed thru the gas line also! Less happy. More looking = more damage... wiring also. Needless to say, I was slightly agitated. No shower or refrigerator on this trip with no propane.... but we still have a place to sleep.

However...... since I was in to Scholze's, I was able to get the stump grinder. This would allow us to get started early the next morning. Just makin' lemonade out of lemons.

I did some weed-whacking back at the clearing. It will be nice when David and Jeff can start mowing that clearing, because weed-whacking tick-infested tall weeds is not something I enjoy doing. The ticks seem to be kept at bay in the areas that are mowed. I hate ticks.

Molly and Nathan arrived with some supper around 7:00. We just chilled by the fire for the night, and they stayed in their tent instead of the camper.

Nathan and I started grinding stumps as soon as we were up and moving. I should say that Nathan did 75% of the stump grinding while I did the remainder. He found the right touch to where he could do it better than I. We ground over (20) stumps (mostly smaller ones), but completely opened up the ability to pull into the clearing and do a turn-around (as defined by Dave and Bryan on the trip before) so we can maneuver much easier back at the clearing. Thanks for your help, Nathan.

Lorraine and Molly made our breakfast... french toast and sausage. Yum, yum. Food just tastes better when it is made and eaten outside.

Josh, Chelsea and Allie, my niece, arrived later in the morning. I scrambled to get the stump grinder back to Scholze's, get a few groceries (including a fried chicken snack for us!) and get back to the property.

We set up the pop-up. Mice. Ugh. I had used dryer sheets, and some new stuff called Grandpa Gus's mouse repellent. Yeah, none of that worked. It was not horrible, but any mouse in my stuff creeps me out. So we got things cleaned up and patched up (they keep chewing thru the tent fabric) so they could sleep in it.

There were storms skirting us, but the group decided to tube down to the canoe landing. This is a nice leg to tube, with no major rapids or drops and a nice waterfall half-way down. It started raining as soon as they left. I stayed back due to one of my many head/neck pain events, something I'm sure was related to the stump-grinding activities of the morning.

But the rain was one of the coolest things I have seen. The line of storms was running such that we had sunshine during the entire rain event. It was not down-pouring; it was a nice gentle shower that lasted forever, as did the sun. And they loved it on the tube trip, with the rain splashing off of the water and cooling them in the heat. Wish I would have gone with them. I picked them up about an hour later, but they wanted to swim/wade in the Black River for awhile, so I did a little fishing. Didn't get anything, but still cool to just hang out. The Black River is beautiful, and it is why I looked for property in that area due to its grip on me.

Sunny rain

While I had seen this before from the milespaddled guys, the rock formations at the landing are something really cool to see. I love some of this geological stuff in the Driftless Area.

Rock formations at canoe landing

The humidity was high after that, and with the smoke from the campfire created some beautiful sunbeams back at the property.

The night was just chilling out by the fire and enjoying family time. Of course, chilling out is a relative term. We are constantly cleaning up things to burn, and over the entire weekend we made quite the dent in cleaning up more of the clearing area. Now that the stumps are gone and the area cleaned up, maybe the mowing can begin in that area.

The next morning was typical breakfast and enjoying the morning. We planned to go up to kayak Hall's from Trow Lake to Garage Road, so I had to start lining up our supplies so we could get going in the late morning. I love this trip. It is beautiful, does not have any major drops, is around two hours long, and is just a fun little trip.

We had some mice issues with one of the kayaks. Not happy. Lorraine and I spent nearly an hour trying to get it cleaned out after chasing three mice out of it. I hate mice. Mice are what carry Lyme Disease and the ticks just carry it from the mice to humans. Needless to say, I was at the end of my rope with critters.

We all took off to Trow Lake to put in, only to realize I had forgotten the paddles. So I had to run back to the property to get them. When I arrived back I was told there was still a mouse in that kayak. Wow. So I chased it out, but Molly did not want to use that kayak so Nathan took it. What I didn't realize is that the thigh pads were a bit smelly and dirty once they got wet. I did not realize until the end of the trip that Nathan had been dealing with this the entire time. Sorry, Nathan. Nice reward for helping me grind stumps.

Josh caught two smallmouth bass on the trip. Nathan also saw a fish struggling in the water and said it almost jumped in his kayak. I actually found that fish while they cleaned out Nathan's kayak. It was a beautiful Brown Trout, although it had a gash on its head and was near death. But it sure was a pretty fish and good to see a trout in there. Hall's Creek used to be a trout stream, but the dams that make the two lakes up in Merrillan cause the water to be too warm to suit trout. There are a few feeder creeks that are Class I trout streams, but the main channel of Hall's from Trow Lake down to the Black River does not have a strong trout population. But seeing this does show me that there are some trout in there. I have seen them at the property, but this was the best view I have had of one.

It was a fun trip, but I felt bad about the kayak Nathan had to contend with.

Saturday night consisted of packing up so we could get on the road in the morning. I was not going to be able to pull the pop-up back because I had to pull the Jay Feather instead so I could get things repaired.

Up the next morning for breakfast burritos and final packing, and on the road. Even tho critters consumed my weekend and caused me massive frustrations, I always enjoy spending time with my family.

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