Journey Down The Scuppernong River Part 4

When you merge curiosity with a little experience you get curience.  Add in a dash of optimism and you get opticurience.  Etymology aside, that about describes our states of mind as Pati, Lindsay and I embarked on what we thought would be the final leg of our Journey Down The Scuppernong River.   We new what to expect just west of Hwy 106, but the Prince’s Point Wildlife Area was a mystery. Would the ice be stable enough to walk on? How extensive were the wetlands bordering the river and what would the water level be. There was only one way to find out.

Our goal was to follow the river from Hwy 106 to where it merged with the Bark River just east of Hwy D, a mile or 2 south of Hebron.

In hindsight, the idea that we could cross the Scuppernong River at some point near its confluence with the Bark wearing teva’s is pretty laughable; par for the course though, if you know me.

This area is a major thoroughfare for migratory birds and we scared up hundreds of geese, cranes, ducks and other birds from the river as we progressed west. Flock after flock of birds passed over head. We were being watched and I’m sure they wondered where we thought we were going.

As we approached the only bridge over the river, we new this was our last chance to switch sides. I don’t know if it would have been any more hike-able on the south side, but I naively insisted that we had a better chance on the north side.


As the river neared the Prince’s Point Wildlife Area and escaped the confines of the embankments, it spread out in a vast flood plain. We tried to thread a path over the thin ice to the high ground to the northwest with the hopes of rejoining the river bank further downstream. When I began “post-holing” through the ice past my knees we realized that it was not our day. We retreated north to Koch Road leaving the flooded bottom lands of Prince’s Point and headed west to cross a bridge over the Bark River and connect with Hwy D, where we headed south to the parking lot and Lindsay’s waiting truck.


We are going to wait a few weeks and paddle the stretch from Hwy 106 to the confluence with the Bark River to complete our Journey Down The Scuppernong River. This will be a lot of fun!

See you at the Springs!

Redemption at the Hartland Marsh

I’ve been looking for a word, an idea, that captures how I feel about finally burning the hundreds of brush piles I left at the Hartland Marsh.  Redemption!  It looks and feels much better now that most of the piles are gone.  You can see the lay of the land more clearly; the view of the horizon through the trees.  The scale of the big oak trees is more evident when your eye can follow their lines from the earth to the sky without being obscured by piles of brush at the trunk.

On Monday, February 18th, the Village of Hartland DPW crew (Dave, Jake, Josh, Tom) took advantage of the southerly winds to burn the most problematic brush piles right along Cottonwood Ave on the hillside just north of the gazebo.  Yesterday they helped Rich Csavoy, who volunteers with me at the Scuppernong Springs, and myself burn the 33 remaining piles on the north side of Parker Island, which is just over the river from the Parker Brothers home site (this property is now owned by the Waukesha County Land Conservancy).  There are less than 30 piles to burn on Village land to complete the cleanup!

Here is a video taken yesterday before we began burning piles on the north side of Parker Island.

And a few pictures.



I must confess I didn’t have a fire in my belly to get to work yesterday and, when confronted with the cold temperature and snowy, ice-encrusted piles, I seriously considered bailing out. But I didn’t, and shortly thereafter Rich, Jake, Josh and Tom arrived to boost my energy and spirits.  Here is a video taken after the piles were burned.




I recently posted a little tour of The Springs and Islands of the Hartland Marsh. Here is a perspective taken from the hilltop where John and Jim Parker built their homestead.

Below we travel over the boardwalk that leads to the John Muir Island and take a look around there.

Sunset at the marsh.



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I hope you enjoy this side trip to the Hartland Marsh.  This weekend we will be continuing our Journey Down the Scuppernong River.