Tonight I tried to take my cat for a walk. We had limited success. He was pretty happy until I wouldn’t let him sit in the weeds all night. Then we had a bit of a tiff, which I won after several minutes of coaxing, pulling, cajoling, and hissing (him, not me).
You might be wondering (most normal people would) why I was walking my cat, and the best explanation I can come up with is that we were both bored and we both wanted to be outside, even though I am currently covered in bug bites and smell like chemicals. But that’s the point of tonight’s blog – I would rather swat mosquitoes and beer bugs than sit safely indoors. For me, that’s the point of summer – to get outside and explore the world. That would be Midnight’s point too, but he is not allowed unsupervised outdoor visits due to neighborhood garden pooping and baby bunny decapitating.
Do you think she can see me? I don’t think she can see me.
I have had several outings since my last photo blog. I even took a break from sunsets to switch to wild flowers and waterfalls for a bit. My traipsing around snapping photos has earned me 280 miles on my Cannondale and around 30 on my Townie – not a bad start, although I would like to finish up the season at 2000 overall. We will see how ambitious I get, and who wins my weekends – the bike or the beach. Of course, if I bought a Burley, I could throw my cooler and lawn chair in it, and bike TO the beach…hmmmmm…
My first pictures are not outdoor explorations. My friend, Joe, the captain of our mTT (My Team Triumph) Bellin Team from last year came to my day job to rally the troops about mTT and tell his story (always worth repeating – you can read it here). Any day I get to see Joe is a good day, and it’s wonderful to see him spreading his wings as the race ambassador for mTT. If you are looking for an organization to add meaning and heart to your running, check them out and sign up to be an angel. Life changing, I’m tellin’ ya. DO. IT.
Left Picture: From Left to Right – Joe’s Grandma Marge, Mom Dee, Aunt Do-Do (Doreen – my bestie so I get to make fun of her), Joe, Christian Jensen (Wisconsin mTT Director) and me.
Right Picture: Joe, myself and Christian.
My first excursion took me on a 25 mile circuit thru my ancestors old stomping grounds. I purposely mapped my ride to run the entire length of Conard Road, because the dork in me found it exceedingly cool to ride down a road named after my ancestors, even if it’s just an old farm road. It was also cool to find an ancestral headstone in the local cemetery, although it seems to be one stone marking the very short lives of three children. Two of them died within a couple of months of each other (April 1882 and May 1882 – if I am reading the stone correctly. It’s a little worn so hard to tell), so now wondering if there was a local illness that year, and if so, what? May have to have a little discussion with my dad on that one.
As my ride continued, I noticed storm clouds in the distance, so had to hoof it a little, but I did take time to stop on Mary Road to grab some pictures of blooming wild flowers, including our beautiful state flower, the trillium. I think the small yellow ones are marsh marigolds – notice how they are thriving right next to an old plastic bottle. Gotta love man’s mark on this earth, and nature’s ability to thumb its nose back at us. Does anyone know what the single yellow flower is? Wild or accidental cultivation?
Incidentally, my mother tells me it is not illegal to pick trilliums – just illegal to dig them up and transplant them. I’m not sure if she investigated this or if she is just covering her tracks from all her illegal trillium picking. She’s a little shady, that one.
My next ride took me to Red River County Park, so named because of the color of the river that runs thru it, feeding into the Bay. I’m not sure what causes it – it looks like iron to me, but my dad thought it might be from the clay in the earth or from the bark of local trees. I tried to find something on the internet but Google failed me, so a trip to the library is in order. I supposed I could randomly ask a local too, although the “weirdo factor” kicks in when sweaty strangers in spandex start asking questions.
Red River County Park, Wisconsin
Notice the shells? When I first visited this park with my Grandma Conard way back in the day, this was all sand. I swam in the river with a bunch of other kids – I was a little freaked out by the water, which is probably why I remember it so well. The shells are from an invasive species called the zebra mussel. These little buggers have taken over the Bay and many other local waters, and are causing ecological issues such as avian poisoning and smothering native clams and mussels due to the sheer number of them. My intention is not to start a dissertation as to why the zebra mussels are tiny evil crustaceans, especially seeing as we have so many other ecological issues going on that zebra mussels seem like they would be pretty far down the “should we be alarmed” list.
This picture shows two sides of the same tree at Red River, taken on the same day at the same time. What a difference a little perspective makes. Kinda like life.
My next adventure involved a hike in the woods. There is a bird preserve that has a trail used by birders and forestry students at the local college. Dave and I heard about it thru his cousin Jeremy, and ventured down it a short bit back in April. It was too wet then to continue, but I knew I wanted to come back and explore it. Given the current bug population, Dave declined my invitation. Apparently he is rather attached to his blood.
It was still a little wet – in fact it reminded me of some southern bayou. It occurred to me that it would make a great place to hide a body and I started nervously looking around for the serial killer. And giant hair Shelob spiders. And bloody-muzzled slavering dire wolves. Right about this time I scared up a deer and nearly wet my pants. The beauty below is not imaginary, though.
Memorial weekend Dave and I visited Wequiock Falls, and then Matt and I returned this past Monday night. The difference in foliage in a week is phenomenal, but so is the water volume. Monday’s photos were taken after 2 days of heavy rain – the current was crazy.
This is just a pretty shot of the falls from when Dave and I went over Memorial.
Saturday was spent lounging on the beach at Bayshore, which is primarily crushed zebra mussel shells and rock, but enjoyable anyway. When I got too hot and was tired of dozing in the sun (although honestly, who ever gets tired of dozing in the sun?), I stone hopped along the larger shoreline rocks, occasionally dipping my feet in the Bay to cool off. Notice the “peace” rock.
The rest of these are more sunset pictures – some taken at Bayshore and some at the local boat landing. I also experimented with the panorama function on my iPhone for the first time. Turned out pretty cool, I think. I also really like how the dock and the rocks have a pink hue from the setting sun, and how the one sunset has a cloud that looks like a giant space ship. Oh, and a random flower picture thrown in for good measure.
I did enhance a few of these – the camera never seems to capture the vibrant colors as well as my eyeballs. Hopefully I didn’t over do it!
Stay adventurous my friends!
Until next week,