This morning I was wondering to myself, “I wonder what I could post to the blog that would be of interest to readers?”
Well, look no further than the video below. It is a trailer for the upcoming DVD” Heart of the Driftless”. I’ll be picking up a copy when it comes out in March.
I’m not sure how much I like the attention the Driftless trout fishery is getting. It was OK when a few trout authors put Black Earth Creek in their “Top 100” trout rivers. I just hope there’s enough water out there for us to keep from running into one another too often. I imagine there is.
Anyway, this looks like a bitchin’ movie that shows off the beauty and quality of the Driftless Region. And I think they use a remote controlled helicopter to get some of these amazing shots. Very cool.
HOTD Trailer from RT on Vimeo.
I got out this morning to do a little walking along one of my favorite Driftless streams. I could not help but notice the grin on my face as I took my little walk. I felt so at ease, all my concerns disappeared. The winter sun was beginning its slow traverse of the sky, the water to my right made its way from deep in the ground toward the Gulf of Mexico, and my mind was free to take it in.
Being outside along a winter creek it is amazing how much life continues on, even while everything appears to be suspended in time by bitter cold.
Below are some photos of my short journey. I hope you get out to enjoy the world a bit this winter.
The sun rises over a Driftless spring-fed creek in Wisconsin
What life lurks beneath the water? Driftless creek, Wisconsin.
Cedar trees over moving water, Driftless, Wisconsin
Frozen buds, Driftless, Wisconsin
Frozen Arctium Minus, Driftless, Wisconsin
Windblown tracks, glittering snow, Driftless, Wisconsin
Spring water, Trees, and Bluffs, Driftless, Wisconsin
A confluence of spring-fed creeks, Driftless, Wisconsin
Nightshade and Cedars in the light of the rising sun, Driftless, Wisconsin
Nightshade, aka: "Devil's Berries", streamside, Driftless, Wisconsin
Cedars lit by sunlight reflected off the creek, Driftless, Wisconsin
Cedar bark in the light of a January sunrise, Driftess, Wisconsin
Another world lives on the bark of this Cedar, Driftless, Wisconsin
A woody forest vine, Driftless, Wisconsin
Go Check it out! I’m a big, big fan of this online magazine. This will be the last issue available for free, after which point you’ll have to pony up $12 per year for the priveledge of reading it online. Seems like a steal to me.
A friend of mine has a dream to own a plot of land in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin. The land would ideally be at least 10 acres, it would abut a trout stream, and it would share a contiguous border with a large natural public space. It would be used for trout fishing, hunting (on the property and on surrounding public land), and for a getaway. Someday he may choose to reside there full time.
Driftless Land near the Kickapoo River, Wisconsin
I’m all for visiting areas that I love. I go back to my favorite places over and over and over again. In some ways I feel like I own them. Everyone feels this way when you arrive at one of your favorite spots to find others enjoying it. The thought, “Hey, this is my spot!” comes into my head. My familiarity with a place and my affinity for a place conjure up a sense of ownership.
Water flowing through a seam in the earth, Driftless Wisconsin
I have many favorite places and I like having the freedom to visit this variety of locales when the moment strikes. Ownership comes with obligation. There is a Buddhist quote that says “He who has cows is worried to see his cows; worried is the man of substance, and he who has no substance has no worries.” If I had a piece of land in the Driftless I would feel obligated to visit it, even if there were other streams, other counties, other forests I’d longed to see.
A rolling stone gathers no moss. Seeking trout in the Driftless, Wisconsin
I own a tiny piece of land in Madison. It holds everything I need to live, and it houses my family and my dog. It is obligation enough for me to own this place. When it comes to getting away, I want to explore. I want to let my itchy feet roam. I want to sleep in the woods and take in a different view when I feel called to do so. I want to drive over that next ridge and down into that next valley to see what I can find. Let me wander!
And when the time to wander comes to an end on Sunday afternoon, I’ll point my car east and return to my home. But my mind will have memories of all the places I’ve seen, with their sounds and smells and experiences. In my mind and my soul I will have owned a piece of all of those places. How can it be better than that?
Paradise Springs in Waukesha County, Wisconsin
This place, no doubt, is special. There is a good-sized spring that empties into a crystal-clear pool, and this pool holds some of the best-educated Brook Trout in the state, and perhaps the nation. The reason: These fish are captive and they are hunted, almost constantly, by trout anglers. When I arrived I expected to see a car in the lot, maybe two at most. But the lot was full. Half of the cars belonged to fishermen. The 50-degree temps didn’t help to keep the crowds down.
The two anglers I spoke with, both from Illinois, were on their way out and claimed that they had each “got a couple” of fish fooled.
So I went up the short trail, found a spot amongst 5 other anglers, and tried a copper john below a hopper. A cast into this pool is like an explosion going off. The ripples travel forever across the water and there’s no sneaking up on anything. One by one, the other anglers relented and I did too. There was one solitary fisherman left once I had decided to reel in my line and become a day hiker. I never did see anyone catch a fish, but they’re in there, and they sure look appealing.
An angler at Paradise Springs, Wisconsin
Spring House at Paradise Springs
Spring House, Paradadise Springs, Wisconsin
Water welling up from the earth, Paradise Springs, Wisconsin
Paradise Springs, Waukesha County, Wisconsin
An old cabin along the Scuppernong River below Paradise Springs, Wisconsin
Over the weekend I took a trip down to Chestnut Mountian Ski Area, south of Galena, Illinois, to do my second job as a ski coach for the Blackhawk Ski Club. We had a great weekend and our kids were second as a team in the Giant Slalom Saturday, and first as a team in the Slalom on Sunday, and we ended up winning the overall meet against powerhouse clubs Tyrol Basin and Cascade Mountain. Way to go Blackhawk!
Coaching skiers at a ski race involves standing at the bottom of the course, cheering on skiers, giving out high fives and fist bumps at the finish, and talking about the run the skier just had. It’s an interesting experience, and a lot of fun. But, I didn’t really move from my spot for two days, and if you’ve ever stood on the side of a hill for two days, you too may want a change of scenery.
So, when the race was over Sunday afternoon, I drove north through the beautiful town of Galena (it is seriously a very cool place) and headed north to Wisconsin. I decided that since I was in the Driftless I’d take in some sights I’ve not seen before. After passing through Hazel Green I checked my GPS to see that there was a river flowing southward on the east side of Benton and Cuba City that I’d not seen before. I took some county roads and made my way toward the river.
The Galena River is not designated as a trout stream, and it likely gets too warm and flows too slowly to support a trout population. I stopped at the river on Twin Bridges Road and got out with my fly rod and camera. I did some fishing with a wooly bugger, a copper john, and a hopper pattern, but didn’t get any interest from the smallmouth bass that may have been swimming there. It was nice to unwind with some casting and waiting, and it made me wonder why trout fishing has to close down for several months of the year in Wisconsin. I can’t, for the life of me, understand the science behind this law. Perhaps there is concern that spawning and reproduction will be disturbed by fishermen wading through redds. Perhaps it’s more of a cultural thing. Winter is for ice fishing, you idiot. I don’t know.
At any rate, being outside along that pretty river was a nice way to end the weekend, and I’m glad I did a little exploring.
Galena River near Benton, Wisconsin
Galena River near Benton, Wisconsin
Galena River east of Cuba City, Wisconsin
Twin Bridge Road passes over the Galena River, Lafayette, County, Wisconsin
Gravestone at Carr Cemetery near Cuba City, Wisconsin
Moonrise over Lafayette County, Wisconsin
I was perusing the website The Manzier when I came across these Bill Dance bloopers. I used to watch that show as a kid and always thought Bill Dance was infallable.
Pretty funny stuff.