Tuesday, November 24, 2020

On Thanksgiving Break

Just popping in here to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  I am taking the week off to enjoy the holiday!  

  • "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Have A Great Thanksgiving! Amy

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Hiking Chapel Gorge Trail In Wisconsin Dells

In Last Week's Travel Post  I shared our second trip to the Wisconsin Dells area.  We spent Saturday hiking the East Bluff Trail in Devil's Lake State Park, then we headed to the Dells to spend the night.  The next morning we got an early breakfast and then headed out to hike a trail that our Upper Dells Boat Tour Guide told us about.

But before I tell you all about the trail, I have to show the fun Denny's where we enjoyed breakfast.  It is a fifties retro style Denny's with statues of famous celebrities like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.

The inside was all decked out retro style as well with turquoise and red vinyl and fun chairs and lighting.  It's always more fun eating in a place like this!

Now, onto our trail.  We were heading home today but we were up so early we decided we could hike one short trail before hitting the road.  When we took the Upper Dells Boat Tour the previous weekend, our tour guide pointed to a beach on the river and said there was a trail behind the Chula Vista that leads to down to that beach.  So when we got home, we looked it up on the Internet and decided to check it out the following weekend.

The Wisconsin Dells is a tourist trap and it costs money to do just about anything there, so finding a nature trail that is free and open to the public is a true gem!  It is hard to find.  I swear, they keep it a secret on purpose.  To find the trail, just follow all the signs to Chula Vista Resort.  There is a parking lot on the left of River Road and there will be a sign with a trail map there.

The Chapel Gorge Trail is an easy 1.8 mile loop.  It is level all along the trail except for a short, steep part to lead you down to the beach.

When you start the trail it is a mix of shrubs and prairie grass, but looking ahead it appears you are about to enter a tunnel!  It was so cool!  I felt I was about to enter a mystical, magical place!

Inside this tunnel was a deep and dark forest.  It was so gorgeous when we were there because all the pine trees and deciduous trees dropped most of their needles and leaves by then leaving a soft carpet of pine needles on the ground and dark bark as far as our eyes could see.

Yet, there were still just enough leaves left on the trees to still provide us with some color to enjoy.

Once we emerged through the darkest, deepest part of the forest, I could see the Wisconsin River and the Dells peeking through the trees.  We decided to venture off the trail, to the edge of the Dells for a closer look.

The beautiful views reminded us of the boat ride we took just a week earlier.

My adventurous husband decided to climb down one of the rock formations to get a closer look at the water while I stayed up on top.  However, it wasn't long before he called out to me that "Something was staring right at him".  Immediately I started to fear it was a cougar, bear, or wolf, although I knew that was highly unlikely.  Instead, he says "I see a goat".  "A GOAT?  What do you mean you see a goat?  We don't have wild goats in Wisconsin."  Well, now I had to climb down the side of the cliff to see for myself.  And yes, it indeed was a goat!  Do you see him standing under the rock formation (Dell)?

Now I was a little nervous, not that I'm afraid of goats, especially one without horns, but I wasn't sure if this was a lost, domesticated goat or a wild goat.  The area we were standing on was very steep, as you can see in the photos below.  I was afraid if we startled the goat too much, he could lunge at us pushing us over the cliff into the water below.  

In this picture, you can see the edge of the cliff looking down into the water (filled with leaves) below.

Hubby of course was a little apprehensive too.  We didn't know what to think.  We've seen mountain goats in Utah and Colorado, but we've never seen what looked to be a domesticated goat in the wild before.  I've since googled it since I've been home, and no, Wisconsin does not have wild goats anymore.  The last one seen was in 1940.  However, in order to get rid of invasive species of buckhorn, the DNR hired local goat herders to supply goats to feast off the plants.  My guess, is this little guy somehow got away and was left behind.  That's the only thing that makes any sense to me.  But, I really have no idea and if anyone else knows the real answer, feel free to leave it in the comments below.  I don't think the goat ran off from a farm because the Dells are so commercialized there really isn't any nearby (although there is plenty of farm land surrounding the Dells).

Hubby and I kept talking to the goat, keeping him calm, so we could get a good picture of him.  Eventually hubby was able to get right underneath where the goat was standing, before he spooked and ran off.

Seeing a goat on our hike was certainly an unexpected surprise and one we will always remember.  
My husband took a video of the whole experience and in the video he is laughing at me because I was acting afraid of the goat.  My granddaughter Alethea saw the video and asked "Why is Mamy afraid of the goat?".  We had just petted goats at a petting zoo we visited over the summer, so Alethea knew goats were not to be feared.  I had to explain to her that I was standing on the edge of a cliff and I was afraid the goat might charge at me and I'd slip and fall.  

Well after our adventure with the goat was over, it was time to head down to the beach.  This area was steep and slippery because pine needles covered all the stone steps.

But the hike down was worth it for the views were gorgeous!  It would be a nice spot to come to in the middle of summer and get your feet wet.  I'm not sure how deep or safe the water would be for swimming.

After a quick stop at the beach we headed back to the trail and made our way back to the parking lot.

Here you can definitely see the loop in the trail.

Once back in our vehicle we decided to head down to the famous Chula Vista Resort and check it out.  It is quite the complex.  We walked both inside the hotel and enjoyed all the historic photographs, then we took their river walk right outside the hotel.

They have steps leading down to a private pier on the grounds, so of course we went to investigate.  It was so beautiful and peaceful.

 Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

"Praying for You" Handmade Card

I have a simple card to show today that you could use to send out to anyone who just needs to know that you care and are praying for them.

The background of tall grass was stamped with a retired Stampin' Up image from the set "Inspired by Nature".  If you don't have a grass stamp this large, it could easily be drawn with a green marker.  I stamped the grass in a green ink directly on the white card stock base.

The sentiment is also from a retired Stampin' Up! set called "Thoughts and Prayers".  I stamped it with green ink, then I cut an oval shape using Spellbinder's Nestabilities.  I then adhered it to another cut oval shape (this one with scallops) but in brown to make it pop.  Two green brads were added for embellishment.

I cut a strip of green paper just to go across the bottom.  You could also add ribbon to make it a little more fancy.  The bird is a pre-purchased felt sticker.

 Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A Return To Devil's Lake State Park

In October my husband and I took a lot of weekend hiking trips.  One of the places we went to hike was Devil's Lake State Park.  We loved it so much, we went two weekends in a row to see more!  The first weekend we hiked the East Bluff Trail starting on the north shore side to the Balanced Rock Trail (in case you missed that post, you can see it it HERE).  When we came back a week later, the weather was more than thirty degrees colder, but the fall foliage was more vivid than ever.

The main reason we came back is because I really wanted to see the famous Devil's Doorway.  Now, we didn't want to hike the same trails again, so the second time around we parked on the South end of the lake.  We took the Grottos Trail, then climbed up the CCC Trail, and hooked into the part of the East Bluff Trail that we missed the weekend before to get to Devil's Doorway.  Then to get back to our car we took the East Bluff Woods Trail back down the bluff, and once again illegally hiked the railroad tracks (ha ha).

Grottos Trail looked exactly like it sounded.  It's a 0.5 mile trail that runs along the base of the East Bluff.  Walking this trail in the fall felt like I was walking through a magical forest.  I kept waiting for the fairies to pop out at any moment, but unfortunately I didn't see any.

Here you can see fallen rock from the bluff behind me.  

The Grottos Trail is described as "easy to moderate".  I would definitely agree with that.  It's a wide, level trail through a cool forest.  I'm sure it would be very refreshing on a hot summers day.

But, the easy part of strolling through the magical forest has to come to end, as now we need to get up that  bluff to get to the top of the East Bluff Trail.  There are two ways up, and both trails are described as "Difficult".  One is the "Potholes Trail" (which is the steepest of the two) and the other is the 'CCC Trail". The Potholes Trail would have cut our walk on the Grottos Trail in half and taken us up the bluff faster, but I was enjoying my magical little forest fairy land, so we stayed on the Grottos Trail and took the CCC Trail up.

The CCC Trail is only 0.3 miles but it is a difficult trail so it takes one hour to climb.

It is a steep, stone trail.  The stones can be very slippery, especially when the pine needles and leaves fall on top of them.  There are no railings or barriers to protect you from slipping, so a walking stick is recommended.

The rock formations and sheer cliff walls are amazing!

But perhaps the most amazing thing of all on the CCC Trail is the jaw dropping views...especially in the fall.  Every time you think you couldn't possibly see a more breath-taking view you round a corner and there's another one.

All I could do was praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord for the beauty of His magnificent creation.  Praise Him for His goodness, praise Him for His faithfulness, praise Him for allowing me to just be here and see such incredible beauty.  I felt I was in heaven, as I couldn't imagine heaven being more beautiful than what was before my eyes right now.

The next two pictures give an idea of what this trail was like when we start to reach the summit.  You are literally climbing rocks on the side of a bluff, and the majority of the time, you have to keep looking down so you don't fall and slip.  But every now and then, you have to stop, and just take a breath and enjoy the view.

Here's a close up of the trail shown above.

And this photo shows how precarious this trail actually is.  You definitely don't want to take small children on this trail.  A lot of people ask why I hike with ski poles.  Although similar to ski poles, these are actually walking sticks.  They come with five different tips that you can change out depending on the terrain you are hiking on.  I have the rubber grips on the poles on this hike.  I use the poles to secure to the slippery rock and help lift me up onto the rock plus balance me.  I seriously do not think I could have made this hike without these walking poles.  My kids purchased them from Amazon for me.

Devil's Lake State Park is very popular for rock climbing and we saw several rock climbers out when we there.

Do you see the rock climber in the middle left of the picture below.  I admire anyone brave enough to do this!

Once we reached the top we were now ready to be on flat land and just enjoy the views!

This portion of the East Bluff Trail is 0.6 miles.

I love this picture because it looks like I'm standing on the edge of the world.  It is high, and it is steep, but I assure you I was very safe or I would be standing there as I'm terrified of heights!

Now I said at the beginning of this post the main reason I wanted to come back to Devil's Lake was to see the famous Devil's Doorway.  I have seen so many pictures of it in my life, but for one reason or another I was never able to see it in real life.  This time I was determined to finally see it in person and it did not disappoint! 

To get to Devil's Doorway you have to take a short, but very steep 0.1 mile trail back down the bluff.  Again, without my walking sticks, I don't think I would have been able to do it, but I did and it was so worth it!

And here I am celebrating because I FINALLY made it!  Yay!

Well, now that we made it to the top and finally saw the famous Devil's Doorway, it was now time to return back down the bluff.  Since we took the East Bluff Trail the weekend before, this time we decided to take the East Bluff Woods Trail back down.

This is a 1.3 mile trail entirely in the woods, so it's the perfect trail to hike in the fall.  It's described as easy/moderate because there is one steep incline (or decline depending on which way on the trail you're going) on the northern most end.

When we reached the bottom of the bluff, we were once again on the wrong side of the lake from where we parked our car, so we had to hike the railroad tracks back.  I have no idea why they just can't put a trail on this side of the lake.

Next week I'll be back with more fall hiking adventures!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!