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Northwoods Cranberry Fest and Day Hiking the Nicolet National Forest

I haven't been up to the cottage during the fall in a very very long time. Scott asks every year if we can go so we finally made it a goal to go this year.

I know that part of the draw to the cottage is lounging by the water, but there's a lot of places to explore in the Northwoods.

We stopped at the retro playground in Ladysmith once again. Sadly, they got rid of there big merry-go-round.

I was so disappointed.

We didn't eat lunch on the way so instead we picked up some chicken at a grocery store.

Not just a grocery store, but Trigg's. I have a strange affection for that place.

Just because its chilly outside didn't mean Meadow would skip the dock. We did have to make sure she didn't dip her toes in.

This would be the only time Meadow played in the sandbox over the weekend.

G.G. does the same things regardless of the weather.

Meadow wanted to play in the tree house, but Mr. Mike had a different idea.

We were all itching to do something so my dad said he was going to take us for a drive. We first stopped at Scott's favorite lake.


I'd never been here before. I guess it was nice. We spotted a duck hunter across the lake and then hopped back in the car.


Driving through the Nicolet National Forest we saw a hiking trail and decided to try it.

 The Headwaters Wilderness Area had giant pine trees that were obviously missed by the lumberjacks.

Mother nature wasn't as kind.

Meadow walked most of the 2 mile loop herself. Occasionally she would get a piggy back ride.




The forest bed blanketed with pine needles.

When we got back I had to check out the sunset. It's kind of a tradition.

The next morning we made breakfast sandwiches for everyone.

We chose to come up this weekend so we could go to Cranberry Fest. My sister said she had gone a few years ago and got to tour some of the cranberry bogs. Plus we heard on the news there was going to be cranberry beer and cheesecake. 

When we got there we realized it was mostly a craft fair.

The pottery is always my favorite parts.

People were constantly commenting on how adorable Meadow is. When does this stop?!


It was cool to look at all the booths, but G.G. tends to look for longer than the rest of us.


Meadow didn't want to wait for GiGi either.


Then we walked by this stand of wooden bald eagles. Meadow couldn't stop looking at them. At one point people started gathering around watching her.

She also had to sit on every bench.

G.G. saw some chocolate turtles. You can guess what happened.

I was more interested in the kettle corn.

Grandpa was nice enough to buy some.

Meadow ate half the bag herself.

Mr. Mike couldn't say no to some cranberry BBQ sauce.

After spending our entire day looking at crafts we never got to do anything cranberry related.

Right after this we checked the food and beer tents, but they were both completely out. Next time we'll have to do the cranberry eating first.

We went to Trigg's again to stock up for the Packers game. We did manage to get some craisins, but it's not the same as getting them at Cranberry Fest.

We had to rush home to watch the game. My mom and I made taco dip for the occasion.

Mr. Mike had picked out some friend chicken.

Of course we drank some Hinterland Packerland. Damn good beer for a Packers' victory.

Then Blake showed up. We took Meadow for a short walk. It was 50 degrees, but according to Blake it's still warm enough for no shoes or pants.

My parents left before we got up on Monday. Actually Meadow woke up before we did too. I didn't hear her get up. I came out to find her watching TV alone.

Blake picked out a hiking trail for us to take in the national forest.

These trails took us around Luna and White Deer Lakes.

Meadow was ready to pick up some woodland artifacts for her collection.

We took only a portion of the trail, the whole thing makes a 12 mile circle between two campgrounds. I'd love to hike the whole thing while camping in between.

The campsites here were cool. Each site on this side had a path leading to the lake. 

Where are we again?

Meadow didn't last as long on this hike. She insisted on only Papa carrying her.

Then I tried to put her on my shoulders, but she wasn't havingi it.

We forced her into the Ergo and we were on our way.


I had lost my sense of direction as we circled the lakes.

Meadow seemed really out of it. I thought she would have fallen asleep.

The last hike was shorter than we thought it would be.

 Blake suggested we check out the Blackjack Springs.

That's a wilderness area to you.

Brooke thought it was chilly outside. Meanwhile Blake was wearing shorts.

The trail started out on an old logging road.

Meadow was much more into hiking this time.

Blackjack was fully removed from any inkling of civilization apart from the trail.

It was completely silent out here.

She thought it was funny when the branches would tickle her face.


Blake pointed out the wintergreen. It smells just like the gum that's named for it when you break it in half. Blake chews on it of course.

A mile and a half in we took a granola bar break.

Blake had kayaked this area last time he was up north and said there was a stone beach where you could see the springs. The trail didn't lead us there so we walked through the thick forest to try to find it.

This area didn't even have deer paths.

We stopped at some point and changed Meadow's diaper while Blake pushed forward.

Blake caught a glimpse, but said it was hard to get to.

We took another trail in hopes of finding it and instead stumbled upon remnants of an old shack.

The trail wasn't very well groomed at all so I put Meadow in the Ergo even though she kept insisting that she wanted to walk.

Hey there's the springs, but no black stone beach.

Eventually the trail went no further.

She finally napped on the way back.

I think we'll be coming back here again. Maybe we can snowshoe here New Year's weekend.

We stopped by Victor's for a snack and drink.

All that hiking made us hungry for margaritas.

Or thirsty? I guess we did eat some chips with salsa, guacamole and gooey cheese dip.

They were closing permanently in a few weeks. Their building had been sold. What a shame.

When we got back we saw some wildlife.

We kept seeing this mama and baby deer all weekend.

The next morning we had to leave after breakfast so Scott could get to an interview. See you in the winter cottage.

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