Have you ever lived in an area for most of your life and discovered something near by that you never even knew existed before? Well, that is what happened to us one warm fall day. We were driving home from hiking Grandad Bluff in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and I saw a sign that said "Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge"
. I must have driven this road hundreds of times and I have never noticed that brown sign before. Out of curiosity, when I got home I googled it and discovered it was a great place to bird watch. Being the bird lover that I am, husband and I decided to check it out the following weekend, and I was so glad we did!
The refuge is a whopping 6,200 acres along the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin. It is an isolated backwater which provides resting and feeding areas for waterfowl and other birds.
The refuge is located in "The Driftless Region" which I talked about in last week's post
. The beautiful steep ridges which escaped the flattening effects of glaciation during the last ice age, provide a stunning scenic background for the backwaters of the Mississippi and Trempealeau Rivers.
The main attraction of the refuge is the viewing deck which looks out at a large body of water. There are free high powered spotting scopes available for use on this deck. I know you can't tell in the pictures above or below that there were any birds, but I guarantee you there were plenty of waterfowl to be seen. They just don't show up I far away photos, but I definitely saw them through the scopes.
You can get a little closer to the birds if you take a short hiking trail off to the side of the viewing deck. It is called the "Pine Creek Dike Trail". It is a 0.52 mile loop flat gravel trail that is surrounded on both sides by water.
On this trail you can get farther out onto the larger body of water that is seen from the viewing deck.
This area reminded me of so many of the refuge marshy lands I visited in Florida, except we didn't have to watch out for alligators!
We were blessed on this trail to not only see plenty of waterfowl in the water but also flying above in the air!
And of course the scenic backdrop of the bluffs of the Driftless Region was breath-taking.
I apologize for the grainy, over-bright photos. The sun was very harsh this day.
I brought my binoculars so I could see the birds more closely.
It was so warm on this fall day. I believe it was in the sixties, which is quite unusual for Wisconsin. But we sure have been enjoying a warm fall and it has provided a lot of extra outdoor activities for us to do. I picked up these black joggers from Amazon.
They are so soft and comfy and I love the high waist! They are thin, which works perfect for hot days or you have a warm house like I do.
In the refuge there are nine trails to choose from. We only hiked on two, so I hope to go back and hike more! If hiking is not your thing, or Grandma & Grandpa need time out of the house to enjoy nature, you can also see the park on their scenic 4.5 mile Prairie Edge Tour Loop. This loop is accessible to vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians. The drive takes you through three major areas of the refuge including sand prairie, blackwater marsh, and hardwood forest.
After driving the loop, we did get out and hike one more trail before leaving the park. It took us through a forest and several nature signs pointing out things of interest.
One of these points of interest was turtles! They looked a like closer in person than they do in this photo, so I drew an arrow pointing to a log in the water filled with turtles enjoying the sunshine.
As always, it was on the drive back to our home that we saw even more spectacular wildlife, this time it was a bald eagle sitting majestically in a tree. Bald eagles are as common as robins in our neck of the woods, but I still get excited every single time I see one!
Have A Great Day! Amy
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So very beautiful. Very lovely.ReplyDelete
It certainly is. thanks for dropping by!Delete
What a beautiful area to explore! We "discovered" so many hidden gems near us once we began homeschooling that I never knew existed near us and I've lived here my whole life.ReplyDelete
It sure is! Isn't it funny how that is. Some places really need to advertise more.Delete
Looks like such a lovely trail, and it's nice you got to see so many birds too!ReplyDelete
Hope that you are having a nice week :)
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It is, and we were thrilled to see the birds. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
It's like a secret garden, Amy. One that was always there but came about at a time you needed it. That's how it was when we would explore our area to take blog photos. The places we'd find in our own backyard were always fun!!ReplyDelete
Ha-ha, definitely! thanks for visiting!Delete
I love nature and exploring different trails/parks. You've explored so much, I always love seeing your photos. Lots of beautiful birds and my son would have loved the turtles.ReplyDelete
Yes, my husband and I do too and we love getting outside as much as we can to explore. Thanks for visitingDelete
What an awesome place and that you got to enjoy it on such a lovely autumn day!ReplyDelete
Yes it is, and the warm weather was an even special added benefit. thanks for visiting.Delete
I've been there. But it has been a long time. We were enroute to a farmshare near Viroqua, Wisconsin. We usually end up around Lake Pepin.ReplyDelete
Oh what a small world! Lake Pepin is a gorgeous area too!Delete
How awesome to find a new place that's close to home! It's gorgeous and the weather was good for you, too.ReplyDelete
Your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week is an exciting addition! Thanks for joining us!
Yes, it is! We will be going there more often now to see all the different birds of each season. Thanks so much!Delete
You guys visit the most beautiful places. Thank you for treating us with your travelogues. I feel like we haven't been anywhere but the backyard for a year.ReplyDelete
Well, like every one else, the lockdowns and restrictions have affected our lives but were trying to make the best of it by spending time outdoors and finding things closer to home.Delete
That national park look very beautiful and for me is interesting to see sun because at my place is cloudy for few weeks.ReplyDelete
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Yes, it is a gorgeous refuge and even though the sun was too bright for photos, it felt wonderful.Delete