Sometimes the misery of cabin fever requires that I make a winter escape, if not to warmer climes, then at least to where I can get outside and take photos.
I joined my old college pal, Tracey, at Wisconsin Dells, where prices are cheap, cheap, cheap in winter. A lot of places aren't open, or only partially open, but that was fine with us. We didn't come for the amusement parks and tourist traps. We came to a place of quiet, rest, prayer, and gorgeous winter scenery.
The Dells formation doesn't just show itself along the Wisconsin River, but also in the tributary stream cuts that are present in abundance. We found many such lovely places as we wandered the backroads, guided by my new GPS.
The best places to explore were the roads that followed the Wisconsin River, as the rocks became more exposed near the river. We found the far ends of a couple of the canyons that are stop-offs on the Upper Dells boat tours, where passengers get out and wander along boardwalks during the summer tourist season. We observed that the boardwalks were now covered with snow and animal tracks.
We stayed at the Polynesian. The indoor water park is only open on weekends during the winter, so the room rates were reduced considerably, and the pool, whirlpool, and sauna were all open. The place was so nice. We took a room with two queen beds and a separate sitting area. Fridge and microwave were included, along with the usuals: coffee maker, iron and ironing board, safe, TV. Just a couple doors down was an exercise room. Internet access was in the lobby, a strong signal. We were happy.
Some years ago, Tracey and I came here in early summer, just for a day, and did a Duck tour. That was fun, but my favorite thing has always been the Upper Dells boat tours. The river and rock formations are gorgeous, and I especially enjoyed the foot tours of Cold Water Canyon, Witch's Gulch, and Stand Rock. Now I'm getting the urge to return in milder weather and do it again.
The next day was sunny and clear -- totally. We got off to a slow start. The first thing I wanted to do was return to one of the tributary canyons to see what it would look like in sunlight. Though there was no chance of the light reaching the deep bottom, it did change things some.
Then my engine light came on. A check of the book said no need to freak unless it's flashing, but "on" is still a concern, so I decided to head for home. I took Tracey to Portage to pick up her vehicle, and then had an uneventful trip home. Uneventful is good.
A note about the top photo: This is one of those shots that photographers seem to look for. I wasn't looking; God just gave it to me. As I rounded a curve on a country road, there it was. There's no outstanding subject, but rather just a set of circumstances that came together perfectly: a late afternoon sun throwing long shadows across the face of a snow covered ridge, drifting that happened in just the right direction, a few naked trees and bushes, dark streaks of clouds. It was a truly gorgeous sight. A day later, traveling home all alone and spending that time with the Lord, He pointed out to me that He had made it all come together just for me 'cause He knew I'd love it. That's so cool! He also pointed out that He is able to bring together the fulfillment of the longings of my heart in much the same way.
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