It's been ten years......
t seems that trips to the property involve many different people, but it is very seldom that Lorraine and I travel there alone. But Labor Day weekend was a date we put on our calendar to shoot for a trip with just the two of us. It has been a very busy year. So, we planned for a Friday through Sunday trip, giving us Monday (Labor Day) to clean up and wind down.
We departed close to 7:30 AM on Friday. Thankfully it was an un-eventful trip, but we did stop at Ski-Hi Fruit Farm for some apples and apple cider doughnuts..... the absolute best.
We arrived in Black River Falls and did our normal water-fill and lunch-grab at the Cenex. Then out to the property, setting up the camper, and doing our normal initial clean-up. We did not do any major work outside of the normal collection of downed branches and limbs, but still worked up enough of a sweat to warrant a dip in the water..... probably due to the mouse-nest-in-my-chair adventure. It is always nice to have your own little swimming spot with nobody around.... although the neighbors to the north were seen upstream when they came down to the water. I met her once and never met him.... but they are over 600' upstream from us, so it is not like we run into each other when we are both up there.
Towards suppertime, we took off to head into town. Lorraine had seen some cool cement birdhouse/birdbath at Scholze's Ace Hardware, so we decided we would go take a look at those. They are really cool, but heavy, expensive and subject to damage/breakage so we took a pass on it. On to Hansen's to get our supper of fried chicken, potato salad and coleslaw, and back to camp to have some dinner.
Days are getting shorter, so it was getting dark by 8:00. But it was a nice evening by the campfire. There were storms heading in from the north, and as they got closer we could hear the thunder getting louder and louder with the lightning flashes that continued to grow more intense.
We turned in around 10:00 PM, and being able to take a hot shower before jumping into bed is wonderful. The storms rolled in around 10:30 PM, and man, did it rain hard. We had to have gotten 2" of rain.... I had never seen it rain that hard at the property before. But we were warm and dry in the camper, and it was cool listening to the storms. But I am always aware that we are under some tall trees, some with dead branches, that could come down in a bad storm.
A good night of sleep, but as usual I was up and about around 6:00 AM. Everything was soaked, even the chairs and other things we put under the awning. It rained so hard it went right through the awning.
I keep a tote of dry lumber scraps in the Bravo trailer, so I proceeded to try to get some fire going to dry out the chairs and other items.
A good breakfast of breakfast burritos, and then it was to work weed-whacking and trimming up the driveway from the camping clearing back to the fire lane. We have to keep beating the edges of the forest back as everything tries to grow into that space that now gets sunlight. It was a lot of work, but we hit it hard and were happy with our work.
After a quick lunch, we headed up to Trow Lake with the kayaks. I have spoken of this before. While I like moving water, rapids and drops, I am learning to appreciate the quiet waters also. Trow Lake is "mostly quiet", as it is still Hall's Creek in all that water and the current is apparent. But it is easy to paddle "upstream" in Trow Lake and then just sort of float your way back to the landing when you are done for the day.
It never disappoints, and did not this day either. We paddled further up the East Fork of Hall's Creek than we had before. The two branches of Hall's Creek come together at the northern edge of Trow Lake.
On our way to Trow Lake, County Road K was pretty much all tore out and replaced with, what seemed like, two feet of limestone gravel. There was a bad accident up ahead, so we had to re-route to get to Trow Lake by taking "Old County Road K". While we were on the lake, a helicopter flew in, so it seemed that the accident we saw must have been pretty bad.
We had a good supper of BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with our leftover potato salad and cole slaw from the night before. I packed up for the trip home, and then it was just chillin' by the fire and to bed by 10:00.
Up the next morning, clean and pack, and head for home. We departed around 9:30 AM.
We did stop at an art fair in New Glarus on the way back. I bought a really cool fall picture taken up near LaCrosse, WI. We arrived at our home around 3:00 PM.
It was a nice time for Lorraine and I to spend together. This weekend was exactly ten years since we first owned the property and could not even pull a car into it. So while we think it is taking a long time to evolve our dream, sometimes we need to take a step back and look at all we have accomplished.
But at the end of the day, she and I did not accomplish this. It is the many people who have come to the property and helped out in whatever way they could. This property isn't the land or the water or the structures or the clearings. This property is the memories we all have and all of the stories we can tell. You can't put a price on that. The property is an adventure that we share with others. And without the others, it is a pretty boring story. I am indebted to everyone for their contributions and their willingness to go with us on this ride.
Ten years later...... I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. It's been a blast.