Just because the leaves have fallen does not mean the show has ended. If anything, Driftless Wisconsin’s stunning beauty is accentuated, revealing limestone outcroppings, subtle contours of the land, meandering creeks, and other new vistas previously hidden.
Deer, typically concealed behind a curtain of foliage, can be seen scampering across naked hillsides. Squirrels, gathering groceries to stock their pantry before the onset of winter, can be heard scurrying about in the freshly fallen leaves like children raiding a potato chip bag. It all steps into view come November.
Absent fall’s cool winds and fluttering leaves, the forest stands mute, a stillness as deep as a tranquil lake begging for you to jump in. And jump in you must.
There are many ways to enter this season of tranquility descending on Driftless Wisconsin; many ways to experience and enjoy this prelude to the holiday season.
If a brisk walk in the woods still beckons you, as it does me, then Driftless Wisconsin’s parks await discovery. Kickapoo Valley Reserve’s trails explore the Kickapoo Valley landscape adjoining the river. Wildcat Mountain State Park trails overview the Kickapoo River while the trails of Wyalusing State Park overlook the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers.
If shopping before the holiday rush and without the frenzy of shopping mall parking lots appeals to you, as it does me, then Driftless Wisconsin’s main street stores with friendly clerks await your curiosity. General stores and specialty shops, reminiscent of the era of bustling downtowns, are scattered throughout the region in our laid-back but vibrant small communities.
And if a quiet, romantic dinner and comfy Bed & Breakfast or Inn tickles your sensibilities, as it does mine, then Driftless Wisconsin’s inviting restaurants and lodges awaits your indulgence. Restaurants and bars, filled with the banter of locals recalling the day’s amusing encounters; and lodges tucked into secluded valleys and scenic landscapes, are sprinkled throughout the region.
The trees may know something we don’t: the less you have to show, the more you reveal of what’s behind you. Best to jump in and take a hard look.