Autumn Near the Wisconsin River

Have you ever traveled one hour away from home and found yourself in another world? I’m just back from two days in the woods with our child’s class of fourth and fifth graders. We had a complete 24 hours in nature. Last night we had a camp fire, s’mores and a starry hike. This morning the scenery near the Wisconsin River was fern draped, mossy, with a touch of autumn.

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All photos in this post by Rebecca Cuningham

Today we went on a pontoon boat, since the river was too fast for canoeing, to a small island. We hiked looking for signs of the season and tracks of creatures that lived there. The naturalist who walked with us found raccoon and deer tracks.

 

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Series of racoon prints on the Beach
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Deer cloven hoof print in the mud

Wolf print; many deer and raccoons for it to eat on the island! Guess it doesn’t mind swimming for a good meal.

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Wolf print in the sand

The limestone bluffs we saw edging the island were a geologist’s dream. We wondered how the odd angles in the rock were formed.

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Striated rocks shelves with one odd diagonal in the middle

We saw that trees there are noble and brave, growing on cliffs with little soil.

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Amazing tree pushing roots through a vertical cut in the bluff

Nearly all the students and even a couple of enterprising adults climbed through a cave tunnel.

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Limestone cave tunnel

We saw a heavy canopy of trees during our morning on Blackhawk Island; primarily oak, maple, and white pine.

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Fallen green oak leaf and acorn

Acorns are an excellent source of protein. They were a major food source for indigenous people of the land now called Wisconsin. Acorns are boiled three times to remove the bitter taste, dried and ground into flour for bread or griddle cakes. An acorn like the one above, with no cap on top is likely to have worms. Pick ones with caps if you’d like to try this.

Let’s check out a visitor on another plant; this year was extremely good for fungus. Any botanist know what type of mushrooms these are?

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Pine tree with two dozen shelf mushrooms

 

The Wisconsin River was lovely today. A few photos from her shores; deciduous trees reflected on the water, pines leaning from a cliff with one that’s fallen over, and more conifer images in the river’s mirror.

Kids and adults had a fantastic time exploring this piney woods in the land of limestone. Most felt the time was too short. I’ll sign off with my favorite photo of the river; with an upsidedown tree in a cleft between cliffs…

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Wisconsin River Bluffs with Hardy White Pines

What is your favorite natural setting with water?

Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! ¡Olé! –Rebecca

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8 thoughts on “Autumn Near the Wisconsin River

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