Meadow's on spring break so a trip to the cottage it is. The weekend called for rain, rain, rain but we don't care.
We all brought along our rain suits just in case it never let up. Even with just a drizzle Theo put on his suit right away.
I think this is the earliest I've seen the ice off the lake. Should have brought our swimsuits.
Brooke used to always be the first one swimming as a kid. Maybe Meadow, Brooke and Theo can keep that tradition alive. Me? Probably not.
Theo must think his rain suit is completely waterproof. He went well past his boots.
Mike and I put in the dock. Ice damaged the shore so it took a little bit longer this year.
Meadow's bridge over the swamp had to be taken down.
While at the grocery store my dad said they have mystery 50 cent items. This time it was brownie mix. Meadow whipped them up for us.
And don't forget Theo and I had birthday's since we saw them last. Theo got lots of treats and new clothes.
I got a new 8 pound hand weight, a fermentation cookbook and a cart for our canoe. Now we can walk to Lake Harriet for canoe rides.
Of course we finally get the canoe cart when we might be looking at getting a Duplex or Triplex further from water.
A winter hat with a built in light for our night walks in winter and a new book from Chelsea.
Theo would play with the sticker book the rest of the weekend whenever he got a chance.
The next day we helped dad with building out the upstairs. Upstairs has always been one big room. He always had plans to make separate bedrooms and with our growing families I guess it was time.
Mike also realized he was already paying taxes as if it the upstairs was finished. I mostly screwed in the drywall while Mr. Mike got the next panel ready and cut out electrical outlets.
We ran out of drywall and had to quit. I want to come back every weekend to help.
If only Meadow didn't have school on Fridays, we would.
With our chores out of the way and a break in the rain we decided to go for a hike.
We need to get out for at least one hike every time we're up in the Northwoods.
I wanted to chase waterfalls again but we were too busy and the weather wasn't great.
I recently read Our Living Ancestors, which is a deep dive into Wisconsin's old growth forests. A lot of the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest is featured in the book, but we hadn't been to the Argonne Experimental Forest yet.
Part of the trail has been repaired with new gravel.
Meadow did not want to go hiking and protested about it. Once we were on the trail she was so excited to find all the fairy forests.
This trail has interpretive signs throughout, explaining how the experimental forest service has been doing studies on this forest since 1952.
Argonne isn't what you typically think of the Northwoods (pines and hemlocks), but hardwood forests with Maples and Basswood were once integral to the Northwoods.
The landscape was very rocky. Today we think of birch and aspen forests as the deciduous companions to pineries, but they only became commonplace after the cut over.
While at the Red Wing shoe store we noticed they had Vasque hiking shoes for kids. $70 is still too steep for me (even for herself). While looking on Facebook Marketplace we found someone selling them for much cheaper. Meadow's hiking boots are now better than ours.
The Argonne Trail was only a mile long so we went over to the Scott Lake trail too.
This is a prime example of a hemlock forest with some pines too. Scott Lake is also featured in Our Living Ancestors.
We've now been to this trail 3 times in the last year. Kind of neat to see it through the different seasons.
There's also boggy areas around the trail with tamarack and black spruce.
And the moss. The moss is everywhere and glows this time of year.
This trail and Germain Hemlocks have to be two of my favorites up in Chequamegon-Nicolet. These massive Hemlocks are hundreds of years old.
We took a short break to make an Art Tree.
We thought Mr. Mike was saying archery. We were all confused for a bit.
Theo was in his element dashing through the forest.
We also checked out the boardwalk across the road that takes you to Shelp Lake. You park on this side of the road. Don't be confused when you get here. The Scott Lake trail is across the street from the parking lot that takes you to Shelp Lake. Actual Scott Lake just down the road is just a trail for launching your canoe or kayak.
We're becoming CN National Forest experts.
We went home and had pot pie for dinner, but I think we would've rather have been in the woods.
My dad had bought one of those circle swings for the cottage playground. The kids were so happy and didn't care that it was raining hard.