Driftless Wisconsin is known for its outdoor recreation. For someone like me that calls Driftless Wisconsin home, this seems less a reason to boast and more an invitation to get outside and have some fun.
Yet, we are so in love with our electronic devices and in “like” with our social media, we sometime fail to heed the invitation, filing it away with those promises to our friends to “get together soon.”
I write this blog – yes, upon my electronic device – sitting in my favorite chair looking out the window where the leafy ornaments of the great outdoors sway in a gentle breeze. Perhaps it’s time to set down my keyboard and, well, step outside.
If you take that leap across the threshold into the outer limits of Driftless Wisconsin, you will find this is no ordinary backyard. If we could describe the offerings of Driftless Wisconsin, it would not be flatbread on a plate. It would be Grandma’s homemade bread, risen for the occasion, heaping with texture, dwarfing everything on the table.
We’re talking ridges and valleys, steep climbs and gentle foothills, secluded ravines and expansive overlooks. We’re talking a variety of riches, savored one slice at a time.
The best way to experience this variation in the land is to feel it beneath your feet. Sidewalks just won’t do the trick. You need a trail that follows the contours, eroded by water over eons, to get the feel for the land and how it was shaped.
There’s a horse trail across the drywash from our house that I often walk with our dog, Fargo. Cut into the hillside by a logger to harvest lumber, the path now serves horses; and hikers like me.
While Fargo explores the smells of recent four-legged passersby, I explore the trail. A hard rain has cut ruts in the path, littered with limestone rubble formed in some ancient ocean, requiring one eye on the ground to navigate.
We stop and sit a spell at my favorite rock along the logging road; a limestone slab jutting out from the hill to form a bench. I dutifully replace a piece of rock broken off from the seat, snapping it into place like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s a losing battle. Weather and water will eventually sculpt this rock into a different shape over time.
Fargo sits by my side, his nose twitching; taking in a slice of Driftless Wisconsin that I can only imagine.
Hiking boots are not required to experience the outdoors in Driftless Wisconsin. You can trade them in for hip boots and try your hand at fly fishing on one of our world-class trout streams.
About those horses that frequent our trail: they most likely carry people that spend afternoons swaying in the saddle while exploring our back country. They offer up a friendly wave going by our house; the kind of wave that’s meant to share their good fortune.
And if horse saddles are not to your liking, climb aboard a bike saddle and experience the land along our many routes and trails, earning every summit view with your legs.
We have so much outdoor fun, it takes several pages to describe. So rather than me yammering on, go here to learn more.
Don’t just read about it. Come, take it all in. it only requires that you step outside.