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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Our trip “Up North”..The good, the bad, and the algae

Do you know what silence truly sounds like? It can be “heard” in Northern Wisconsin. It actually is almost like a sound, not the same quiet as here, but almost like you are covered with a dome. I have heard it before in the area. A person almost feels they have done something wrong if you speak or make a noise.
Fran and I stopped at Holcomb Flowage on a point of land extending into Holcomb lake. We parked the car in the almost deserted parking area. The only other car was far away from us and unoccupied. As we walked to the water's edge I couldn't remember locking the car and without thinking I pushed the button on the key again and the horn sounded. It may as well have been a thunderclap in the silence. I felt very guilty. We stood looking over the lake for a time then quietly walked as a black squirrel scampered between limbs high in the tall oaks. It was beautiful and very relaxing.
From there we drove through the city of Chetek, going past the lake but not stopping. Chetek is the lake from which I posted the pictures of the algae scum a couple weeks ago. It was still very green but as I said, we didn't stop to look more closely.
Next stop Rice Lake, where we rented a room at the Holiday Inn for a couple nights. The next morning we went to Hayward to of course buy some fudge that I need so badly for the calories. While in the area we made a couple stops at landings on the Namekogan River, which is part of the Saint Croix Waterway. It is beautiful and Crystal clear. The water rushes over exposed rocks making a swishing sound. We left Hayward and headed north toward Superior. Just south of Superior is Pattison Park, where Manitou Falls is located.
We could hear the falls as soon as we got out of the car. We walked down the path of poorly spaced steps then over a very steep half moon shaped bridge to more of the steps up to the overlook. The falls are majestic with the black rock background and the pines to frame the scene. I believe Manitou is the largest falls east of the Mississippi. We saw a decent amount of color on the trip in general but it was not concentrated. We drove in and out of it.
After driving about seven hours in the area we arrived back at Rice Lake. Fran likes to go for walks so I Googled to find the location of a park in the city. I found Veteran's Park nestled right along the lake. It is a beautiful park with life sized statues of veterans from the different wars and tributes to individual fallen soldiers. The statues include the rifles used in the wars and it was interesting to see the evolution of weaponry through the years right up to the Gulf War.
A nice metal swing was down close to the water so we walked toward the swing and I then saw it....extending out maybe twenty feet from the bank was exactly the same blue/white scum we had been fighting here! The breeze brought the scent and it was the recognizable odor identical to Fisherman's Cove at it's worst this summer. A lady happened to be walking by and I asked her about it. She said the bay didn't get current and the scum wasn't always there. (sound familiar?) I asked her if they were told not to swim in it. She said no, but no one does because of swimmer's itch. The lake is about five times the size of Candlewick and has a river running through it. While we were there I saw two or three boaters and one fisherman on the lake. It was about seventy degrees so perfect weather for lake use. That is just sad on such a gorgeous lake.
Anyway, a nice and informative get-away. I'll post a couple pictures if you care to see them. Ken
Fran @ Manitou Falls

Manitou Falls

Namekogan River