FOLLOWING A GRAND sunset on the shore

FOLLOWING A GRAND sunset on the shore of Gitchi-gami, our Road Scholars awoke to a drizzly morn. The drive to Ely remained foggy and misty, and with arrival at Sigurd Olson’s Listening Point the thunderstorms and torrential rains began to roll through with a vengeance. But we enjoyed the old cabin and the writing shack, with stories and mandolin music

June Road Scholar North Woods trip

A BEAUTIFUL DAY to start our June Road Scholar North Woods trip. Heading out with rain in the morning, we drove out of the bad weather and by the time we reached Gooseberry Falls the skies had cleared (mostly) allowing a grand view of the falls and a lovely hike out to the tip of Shovel Point in Tettegouche State

Cloudy Sunday morning

EVEN ON A COOL, gray and cloudy Sunday morning, a slow stroll around the Church O’ The Island is rewarding. The view from high atop Moonlight Ledge is outstanding, while down the cliff-face pale pink corydalis flaunts its pink and yellow blossoms. White-throated sparrows and yellow warblers sing their hymns. Near Jackpine Point the blueflag iris shows its colors, and

I AM GOOD at games

I AM GOOD at games. Mostly. As long as they don’t involve math. Which actually eliminates a lot of games. In any case, our wonderful friend Alanna is visiting us on Fawn Island, and teaching me how to play Cribbage. Which in my mind is an excellent game to play while sitting on a screen porch overlooking a lake. But


ON THE WATERFRONT, there are favorite sights and sounds and smells and feelings. Reminders and remembrances. A stout old chain that moors the dock is a relic from logging days a century ago. Floating ‘spacer’ logs are the remnants of once-tall white pines. A gangplank I constructed 25 years ago with Bryan’s help when he was just a boy, facilitating

Bluff Country-Driftless Area

IN THE GORGEOUS Bluff Country-Driftless Area, gazing across the Mississippi Valley at the cloud and sun mosaic of the Minnesota hills, we find ourselves in Wisconsin. Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge is spectacular, for scenery, wildlife, and particularly birds—from double crested cormorants to great egrets, bald eagles to red-tailed hawks to barred owls to gray catbirds to red-headed woodpeckers, all of

ON TODAY’S Road Scholar adventure

ON TODAY’S Road Scholar adventure we took in Whitewater State Park and its surrounding wetland marshes. What a grand day! Including a highly unusual bird-sighting. In the park, on the Trout Run Creek trail, we found the palm warbler and eastern towhee, our first rose-breasted grosbeaks, and others, while enjoying a woodland carpet of violets, spring beauty, trout lily (yellow

AN INTERESTING Sunday at the Church O’ The Pines

THIS WAS AN INTERESTING Sunday at the Church O’ The Pines, as after morning services three congregation members we don’t always see showed up together. First there was a beautiful 6-point buck who scattered the squirrels and jays in Fellowship Hall. Just as he moseyed along, an 8-point buck arrived, and moments later a 10-pointer. These two proceeded, nose to

IF ONE OWNS or inhabits a piney woods

IF ONE OWNS or inhabits a piney woods, it is incumbent upon you to go for walks in the woods. It is a sin, in fact, if you do not. At least according to the Church O’ The Pines rulebook. And when you go for a walk it is only good form to take a walking stick. An old one.


AS THE LINGERING FALL gradually eases into winter, Koda the Forest Kitten is at a bit of a loss. It grows dark by 5pm, not 9pm. So curfew has been moved up considerably. And the same cold that has frozen the river also freezes his nose. And his toes. And his tail. And his ears. And although he is an