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Trails and bags and UFO's, Oh My!

A small-group trip with Dave and Ron. Bryan could not make it due to work responsibilities and I just wanted to keep this trip to the small group, even though I have others who want to come.

Ron and I departed before 8:30 AM; Dave had departed sometime earlier than that. It was a fairly un-eventful trip, at least until we arrived in BRF. Potable water supply at the Cenex was not working, so we took off to the Flying J, supposedly an RV-Friendly organization. Not so much so. A half-hour of my life I'll never get back. We ultimately went up to the West Lake Arbutus Campground to get our water. While it was a pain, when you can take a nice hot shower at the end of the day to wash off all of the sand/dirt/bug spray…. It is all worth it. And, it helps keep the camper a bit cleaner with peeps going in and out and sleeping in there.

We arrived at the property in the early afternoon. There had been some rain, so things were a bit wet. I felt cutting a new trail was where we should spend our time. Outside of the trail we cut from the camping clearing back to where we installed the stairway, we had not really cut any other trails. I would like to have multiple trails… what is the good of having that much land if you can't go exploring on it? I wanted to cut a trail from the new large clearing along the lower-level-land back to the fire lane. So we started at the fire lane and started working our way back.

Ron and I worked the trail while Dave hauled the debris to our camping area for burning. Dave also did some cleanup of high branches that were growing into the fire lane. You have to stay on top of the growth taking over and push it back once in a while. We were able to get the new trail cut about half-way, and then it was time to prep for supper.

BBQ pork, baked beans and chips were on the menu, and it was a pretty tasty supper.

We decided to go to Paddy's Landing to do a little fishing, but no luck there. I do love that place, however, and there were other people there when we went; not ideal. We decided to go over to Oxbow Pond where he had some hits, but no landed fish. Back to the property to chill for the night.

There were really no mosquitos on this trip, which I found very unusual. They, along with gnats and deer flies, normally swarm you as soon as you step outside your vehicle. Not this time. It was very bug-free except for the ticks that I will talk about later.

A good night of sleep with very comfortable temps. Dave, normally ready to turn in by 9:00, actually made it to 10:30. Ron and I made it to midnight.

Since the three of us are early-risers, we were all up pretty early on Saturday morning. I cooked up a breakfast scramble and we had some breakfast tacos. Then it was time to get to work.

Ron and I started our bagging at the bottom of the stairway. We had filled and loosely placed about twenty bags from a month ago, and had fifteen more to fill before we were out of bags. We made good progress getting all of these bags installed, and we are now about half-way to the wooden staircase. But I need more bags now. The bags we installed last year are fully vegetated and look really good….. You wouldn't even know there are bags there which is really what they are intended to do. We'll eventually have stairs made from the bags that will blend in and look like they have always been there.

Dave did some weed-whacking for us down there, and then he took off to clean up the edges of the driveways and the walking trail from the clearing to the fire lane. Boy, what a difference that made!!

We wrapped up our bagging work, took a small break (Nick, Tiff and Maddox stopped by), and then it was off to finish the new trail we had started the prior day. We finished our work there by mid-day. It is amazing how you get a whole different perspective on the land once you can get into it. And having clear walking paths should, over time, allow you to walk the trails without dealing with the ticks as much as you would just walking through the raw woods. The ticks are everywhere.

I had no intentions of kayaking on this trip. I have one kayak repaired (hole in the bottom), one kayak I am re-fitting, and didn't want to bring the other two kayaks I have at home on this trip. I also have one more at the property with no issues, so three at the property and two at home. In any case, I thought we could just keep things small and simple on this trip and just tube from the property to the canoe landing. So after a quick lunch (Ron brought some Lake Michigan trout he had caught, processed and smoked from a few weeks ago) we decided to tube from the property to the canoe landing…. About a one-hour trip. Ron wanted to paddle it, so he hauled the hole-repaired kayak down the stairs just to test out my hole repair. Dave and I tubed.

I just love this little trip. It is a good length (one hour), has beautiful scenery, has no rough water (just a handful of light rapids) and no deep water holes. When the water is low, there are many hang-ups, however, on the rocks that make up the light rapids. This trip was pretty smooth with only a few hang-ups. This is also the first time the waterfall, about half-way through the trip, was not running at all. Zero water coming over. While the creek was flowing "good enough" to tube, it would have been at the lower end of acceptability to paddle. But no water over the waterfall is probably an indication that it is pretty dry in the area. We did make a short pit-stop along the way and Dave did notice a "warm spring of water" in the creek, but we'll leave leave that story for another day.

Came back to the property and started general packing for departure. I wanted to get on the road first thing the next morning, and I have learned that doing all of the packing you can do the night before really has things organized the next morning so it does not take so long.

Dave cooked up his potato concoction to go with cheddar/jalapeno brat patties and baked beans for one of the best meals we've ever had on a trip. Chillin' out by the fire and having a good time, Dave made it until 10:00.

About 10:15 I look up and see two lights. Then a third. Then a fourth. Then I tell Ron to look up, because I am not sure what I am seeing. Dave is in the camper and can hear us talking, and by light #15 I yelled to Dave that he needed to come out and see this. 35+ lights right above us, travelling WSW to ENE, equally spaced, flying fast with no noise. It's the invasion! We were literally amazed at what we were seeing and not understanding it at all. UFO's? Jets from Camp Douglas?

What did it turn out to be? StarLink internet low-orbit satellites launched by SpaceX (Elon Musk). Did I ever think I would mention Elon Musk in one of my blog posts related to being sustainable on a property in Wisconsin? No, but here it is.

Up the next morning with Brad's breakfast burritos and on the road. I found a tick on my arm while driving back. Ron found three or four on him after he got back home. Due to the lack of flying insects, we were not as diligent with our tucking and spraying-down as we normally are. Heck, Ron was wearing short shorts and tennis shoes and I was walking around shirtless (scaring the local wildlife), so we were just inviting the ticks. I have also read that 2021 is to be a bad tick year, particularly in the upper Midwest. So yeah, they are there and you need to guard against them. I hate ticks.

It was an excellent trip with Dave and Ron. We got a lot of work done, had some good laughs and a general good time. All things just seemed to "click" on this trip and go as planned. Now I need to order more Envirolok bags so we can do the final push on the stairway bottom. We are planning for rock to be brought in to smooth our driveways. We can continue to work the new trail. All is good!!




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