Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Minnesota Hike & More!

Our two week visit with Alan and Charlene came to an end July 30th. It amazes us that we can meet strangers on the road and end up good friends.  The hospitality shown to us has been beyond generous.  And meeting their family was a highlight!

Took a great hike through Lebanon Hills park, a wooded location with quite a few lakes and ponds.

About two hours after leaving Rosemount, we arrived in Eau Claire, WI at the University of Wisconsin for the annual World Flute Society convention.   Although several days long, I only attended on Saturday.

The convention wasn't very big, as I had expected.  Nonetheless, there was a vendor area, performances, and workshops.  The highlights of my day...a flute lesson with a fantastic flutist, Jonny Lipford and the purchase of a beautiful Native American style flute (NAF) by Tree of Life Designs flute in the key of low C.

The NAF community is very friendly and supportive.  It has been a wonderful journey so far!

Jonny Lipford 

On Sunday, the last day of July (time flies by!) we left Eau Claire for four nights in the Chippewa campground in the Chequamegon National Forest. Only $6 a night with my pass.

Enroute we passed through beautiful fields of corn and soybeans, dotted with picturesque and tumbling barns!

In the town of Thorp, we came upon a cheese-making facility called Marieke Gouda.  There was a really nice store that sold wonderful and delicious varieties of award-winning gouda, plus other cheeses, meats, candy and more, imported from the owner's homeland, the Netherlands.

We bought several different flavors of gouda cheese and had one with the spice of foenegreek, delicious on a hearty country sourdough bread we also bought!  The dairy cows are treated with care, utilizing open stalls so they can move around.  With a sprinkler system, fans, and even a back-scratcher, the cows are kept comfortable. The calves are in these in separate little "houses".  We watched the cheese making process as well.

Awoke Monday to a beautiful August day and took a walk down to the lake.  Our campsite actually has a view of the water through the trees.  We went to the water's edge and sat for awhile loving the view and delicious breeze!

Everyday, I am thankful to be doing what we are doing.  But in the evening, when I went down to the water to watch the sunset, the thought excitedly came to me...I can't believe that we are really doing this!!  What a privilege!

We sat by a fire into the night.  We were lucky that the previous campers left a lot of wood for us!  There's loads of mosquitoes here so the smoke helped keep them away for awhile.

Enroute to the small town of Medford for fuel and groceries, we saw:

Chainsaw art!

Beautiful gardens!

Nevelle fixated on hundreds of ring-necked pheasants at a local game farm!  The birds are bred here and then sent all over the country to stock game for hunting. 

Ring-necked pheasant. 

Heading north to another district of this national forest for the weekend!   It is camping among many lakes, not too far from Lake Superior.