I spent the past week (Oct 27 – Nov 3) at My Shangri-La working at The Springs and enjoying living out-of-doors. There isn’t any real wilderness in these parts but the calls of the local coyotes do evoke wild feelings. Almost every night they made outbursts of yelps, whines, howls and cries; a vocabulary that put the domesticated dogs at the nearby Skydance Kennels to shame (ruff, ruff… ruff, ruff, ruff… ruff, ruff, ruff, ruff etc…). It’s hard to describe the sounds coyotes make, calling them is an art form, and I listened with fascination imagining what they might be communicating to each other.
Pati helped me setup camp on Sunday, staying for wine and dinner as we listened to the Packer game on the radio by the fire. It doesn’t get much better than that! Men playing with balls; the circus that compliments our bread.
Monday morning I got after it cutting all the buckthorn and thinning ironwood and basswood in the area between camp sites 335 and 334 and in the area between site 334 and the pond and wetlands (please substitute Tamarack when I say Larch Pine).
On Tuesday I returned to the area just north of the old barn site to cut buckthorn along the trail to show off the mighty oaks and open the views into the cranberry bog.
Here are before and after videos and pics.
Back at camp hundreds, maybe thousands, of migrating birds filled the air with songs.
Rain was forecast ahead and I wondered when I’d see the sun again.
The clouds rolled in on Wednesday and I got in a full day of brush piling on the northeast side of the trail between signposts #2 and #1 and back further towards the parking lot.
Thursday the rain came and I sharpened my chains under a picnic shelter by Ottawa Lake. Later I delivered the rest of the oak, cherry and hickory I cut to open the views west from the sand prairie to a friend here in Milwaukee, who has a wood burning stove. I’ve certainly wasted a lot of potential firewood in the hundreds of brush piles we’ve burned, but I didn’t want to see this high quality wood go to waste (I’m using it in my campfires as well).
Friday I was back at it again cutting buckthorn on the northeast side of the trail from signpost #2 to #1 and beyond towards the parking lot. I got this view of the finished work on Sunday morning Nov. 3.
I still had some ya yas to get out and on Saturday I went back to the area just north of the old barn site shown on the map above to continue clearing the understory beneath some righteous oaks. Here are some views from north to south along the trail before I got started.
I got this video showing the results of Saturday’s labors on Sunday morning.
Pati came out to enjoy the day and help me pack up. Here are some parting shots of the great fall scenery at The Springs.
The morning view from campsite 334.
Marl pit bridge perspective.
On the cut-off trail.
The edge of the cranberry bog, where I worked on Tuesday and Saturday.
The beautiful Emerald Spring.
The hotel spring area.
The south end of the trail.
The sand prairie.
Scuppernong River views.
I was amazed to see these two railroad ties near signpost #2 that I had reported missing a while back. Did the thieves return them? Have they been laying here all this time without me noticing? Now all we need to do is lift them back into place.
There is an unmaintained trail along the east shore of Ottawa Lake that leads to the north end of the property where springs north of Hwy 67 flow into a little pond and eventually into the lake. Here are some views of where this stream merges into the wetlands. You can see campsites 334 and 335 in the second shot.
Ottawa Lake sunset.
See you at The Springs!