Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail ~ Part 11

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After a wonderful morning of having breakfast with our trail angel Jan and her sister Teri, we set out on foot to reach John Muir's adolescent home where he must have first pondered about glaciers while working on the farm. The interesting synchronicity for us was that earlier this year during the winter in California, my sister took us for a hike at an East Bay Regional Park which turned out to be John Muir's ranch. We had no idea that we would be hiking through his childhood home so soon.

Several days ago we were Wishing we could see a river otter up close and personal. Well, today our wish came true when we spotted the otter in a Creek directly below us. The otter then bolted through the woods, across a lawn at full speed, and out across the road just ahead of us. This sighting could not have been more exciting. Out in the distance we could see two sandhill cranes out in a field, but this time there were two very small babies walking next to them. 

Maneuvering through country roads, we made it into Portage, Wisconsin where Fort Winnebago had its home. We followed an old canal system taking us once more to and over the Wisconsin River. Tonight along with the full moon, we are receiving a wonderful light show from our first fireflies of the year. 

The locust trees were also in bloom and they seemed quite feminine especially since many of them were wearing skirts of Virginia creeper climbing high into the tree tops as a vine. The lavish color of purple was being displayed by spiderworts as we approached the Aldo Leopold Center of Education. How fascinating that Muir and Leopold who had such great influence concerning nature, but in very different ways, called Wisconsin their home and only two walking days apart from one another. 

The Devils Lake Region was fascinating in that we were actually walking up large Hills with Mountain like character. And the lake its self was nestled between to large ridges which indeed looked glaciated. One could sit for days and weeks here absorbing the essence of everything by fully letting go of a sense of personal identity. I can still feel the fun and playfulness that began here in the late 1800's when resorts and lodges ruled the day. 

Passing through oak savanna's, we found ourselves on Gibraltar Rock overlooking Wisconsin Lake and River where we had taken a free ferry ride across. In Lodi, the trail for the second time passes directly through a school imprinting the minds and planting the seeds of how a long distance trail can be used as a rite of passage into self discovery and the interconnectivity of life its self. On such a trail one can learn to let go of the little self and enter a space of wholeness within the greater self whose container can be called the universe or the collective consciousness.

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