“Yep, pretty, isn’t it,” I replied in my all-knowing grandfatherly voice.
The Driftless area astonishes us like this during the winter, more so than the similar flatlander experience, perhaps because the unglaciated landscape rises up to greet our eyes. Towering hillsides and snowcapped ridge tops poke up into the sky. Like watching the curtain rise for grand performance, it is, well, hard to look away.
And there’s plenty to look at. If you’re cross-country skiing at Wyalusing State Park near Prairie du Chien, you’ll catch panoramic views of the river and valley from Mississippi Ridge Trail, or flush a turkey or deer while skirting the meadows and woodlands along White Tail Meadows Trail.
And if just looking is more your style, the 87th Annual, 2010 Snowflake Ski Jumping Tournament will surely grab your attention. Located in secluded Timber Coulee outside Westby , Wisconsin , the competition attracts jumpers from around the world on February 5 and 6. Watching a ski jumper hurl into space, leaving all common sense behind him on the hill, is a jaw-dropping experience. Don’t worry; participation is not required.
But you’ll want to participate in other Driftless winter activities: ice fishing on the backwaters of the Mississippi River might just land you dinner, while snowshoeing the backwoods of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve near La Farge might land you some photo ops (that’s short for get your camera out).
Or, just a back-road tour along many of the secluded county and township roads winding through the ornamented landscapes will unravel the mysteries of a Driftless Wisconsin winter. And if you’re lucky, we’ll turn the lights on.