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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

South Padre Island

Picture a small strip of God's earth where you can watch the sun rise over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, play in the sand all day and then watch the sun set over the beautiful calm water of the Laguna Madre Bay.

Picture a place where the warmth of the sun, the tang of salty air, the squawk of sea gulls, the quiet stillness of herons, and the antics of pelicans all blend together above the waters that are home to dolphins and critters of all descriptions.

Picture towns where Texas friendliness blends the cultures of the Rio Grande Valley and welcomes residents, Winter Texans and visitors.

Picture palm trees and flowers that bloom abundantly to provide beauty and restoration to people, nectar to birds and bees and a resting place to birds of many different feathers.

Picture a land on the migratory flyway where birds stop to eat, drink and rest before continuing on their biannual journey.

Picture me there!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Chippewa Flowage in Northern Wisconsin

Chippewa Flowage

If you’re looking for a vacation in northern Wisconsin, the Chippewa Flowage offers great opportunities for fishing, birding, boating, primitive camping, and Wisconsin history.

Sure to delight those who love nature and the outdoors, the flowage encompasses nine lakes and several rivers and streams. It covers more than 15,000 acres, boasts a couple hundred islands and a 233-mile shoreline that is more than 90% undeveloped.

We visited in September when the leaves painted multiple Fall colors across the countryside. We visited Treland Resorts and spent a day on the water. Cheryl Treland, our guide and owner of Treeland Resorts, provided great commentary on the geography, history and nature of the area. She regaled us with stories about the islands that have been named.

 Skull Island earned its name because a young boy found a human skull when he was digging in the dirt. Church Island, the home of St. Anthony’s Church, was home to a community of Lac Courte Oreilles Native Americans. The creation of the Chippewa Flowage flooded their town including the cemetery. Although most of the graves were moved, a few remain on the island. We took advantage of the great photo opportunities.

The best story is the naming of Squirrel Island. Seems a man drank too much product from a still on the island. He believed that killer squirrels were chasing him, ran into the lake to escape from them and drowned.

The flowage is home to many floating bogs which move with the wind and lake currents. The bogs attach to an island, grow plants and trees and break away again.

Bald Eagle
Primitive campsites allow campers to have an up-close-and-personal experience with the wilderness. Although we didn’t fish, we found out that the flowage is known for muskie fishing. It is the home of the world-record 60-pound-and 11-ounce muskie caught by Louis Spray in 1949.

Even though it was late in the season, we saw several Common Loons and Bald Eagles. It’s a great birding lake with sightings of more than 130 species.

Common Loon

All in all, the Chippewa Flowage is one of those places that will haunt me until I return to learn more about it. I think it would take many trips to satisfy my curiosity about its nature, the coves and rivers, the wildlife and the natural beauty.