Every Sunday in Annie world is Sunday Funday– a day for doing something special for yourself. For this Sunday Funday we decided to go up to La Crosse for some hiking and coffee shop time. La Crosse is snuggled between the Mississippi River and these beautiful, towering bluffs. The hiking trails, obviously, are located either near the river or up on the bluffs. For our first La Crosse hiking adventure we decided to try the bluffs. Before hiking, however, we stopped at Grandad bluff. From the top we could see all of La Crosse and the Mississippi! We even had the good fortune to have a train go through town while we were up there so La Crosse looked like a tiny train set!
After Grandad Bluff we headed over towards the Hixon Forest Trails where we went on some long windy hikes on the Human Powered Trails. There was no one else out there so we got to enjoy it at our own pace. The best part was playing Nature Detective.
Who’s poop is this? [Definitely deer. There are tracks everywhere]
Who dug these little holes? [Probably squirrels]
Why? [Digging out their winter nut caches!]
Why are these so many berries over here but not over there? [Birds eat the berries then sit on the powerlines and poop out the seeds!]
Why are all the tree pointed in this direction? [That hill over there cuts off most of their daily sunshine so they have to crane this way for late day light!]
We hiked for a few miles and then after getting sufficiently turned around we found a trail that lead us back to the parking lot. These trails and the land they are on is very cool because it is home to a prairie restoration project. The Driftless region used to be mainly oak savanna and prairie and prairie restoration projects are popping up all over the place. I definitely plan on going back there in the Spring.
Before reaching the trailhead we stopped to take some cheesy perspective pictures. In the parking lot there is a NOAA doppler station. The instrument used for doppler radar looks like a giant volleyball sitting atop a metal stand. When you are near it you can hear it hum. My brother and I were weather nerds when we were kids– okay just plain nerds– and read all these junior meteorologist books. We loved our barometer and would always predict the upcoming weather. We would have loved this giant volley ball station as children!
Post hiking we descended the bluff into town and read for a while at Jule’s Coffee Shop. Jamie is currently reading the Harry Potter series (which he originally started to appease me and has since gotten really into) and I am reading 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. We read for a hour or two, ate some dinner, and then headed home.
All and all it was a fabulous day and a Sunday Funday success!