Tag Archives: Winter

Submit Your Picture Now for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest

Now accepting photos for June for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest! Photos will be collected throughout May and I’ll begin posting them in early June.

The winner receives a $50 gift card of their choice* and one of the first copies of Forever Changed.

Don’t forget to pre-order Forever Changed today!

To participate in the 2017 photo contest, send your pictures to jimservi10@gmail.com with the title of your picture and your name.

This photo contest is focused on the great outdoors, recreation, travel, adventure, and the beauty of day-to-day life.  Please avoid selfies, family photos, and such.

Monthly winners will advance to the final contest to be held in December 2017 for a chance to win the grand prize and have their photograph featured on this website. In addition, the 10 pictures with the most “likes” on this website, not Facebook (sorry:), whether they are a monthly winner or not, will advance to the final contest.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But, in truth it is really more than that. Good pictures makes you stop and smile, while great pictures make you stop and realize how truly great life really is. And that feeling is priceless.

Stay tuned to get your regular dose of that peaceful feeling.

Rules:

  1. Photos must be your originals. Cropping is okay but no photo-shopping.
  2. Only one photograph per person can be submitted each month.

*Choice will be from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s scrip program which includes a wide variety of selections.

Disclaimer: By submitting your picture for this photo contest, you are authorizing this website to post your picture here and use it for promotional purposes.

Submit Your Picture Now for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest

Now accepting photos for June for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest! Photos will be collected throughout May and I’ll begin posting them in early June.

The winner receives a $50 gift card of their choice* and one of the first copies of Forever Changed.

Don’t forget to pre-order Forever Changed today!

To participate in the 2017 photo contest, send your pictures to jimservi10@gmail.com with the title of your picture and your name.

This photo contest is focused on the great outdoors, recreation, travel, adventure, and the beauty of day-to-day life.  Please avoid selfies, family photos, and such.

Monthly winners will advance to the final contest to be held in December 2017 for a chance to win the grand prize and have their photograph featured on this website. In addition, the 10 pictures with the most “likes” on this website, not Facebook (sorry:), whether they are a monthly winner or not, will advance to the final contest.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But, in truth it is really more than that. Good pictures makes you stop and smile, while great pictures make you stop and realize how truly great life really is. And that feeling is priceless.

Stay tuned to get your regular dose of that peaceful feeling.

Rules:

  1. Photos must be your originals. Cropping is okay but no photo-shopping.
  2. Only one photograph per person can be submitted each month.

*Choice will be from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s scrip program which includes a wide variety of selections.

Disclaimer: By submitting your picture for this photo contest, you are authorizing this website to post your picture here and use it for promotional purposes.

On Wisconsin Outdoors: Birding Continues Growing in Popularity

Birding Continues Growing in Popularity
Searching for Wisconsin’s Most Unique Birds

Birding continues to grow in popularity around the United States with an estimated 85 million Americans taking advantage of the popular outdoor activity. Interest ranges from keeping a life list of birds and travelling to find new species to those that like to feed wild birds in their yards. Wisconsinites are lucky with over 400 different species recorded and an abundance of viewing opportunities in every corner of the state. We also host some very unique birds.

Photo Credit: International Crane Foundation

Birding is a natural outdoor hobby for those that hunt, fish, and camp throughout Wisconsin because you are already near the best locations. My interest was sparked by my uncle Mark, who teaches in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, and just notched his 500th bird. Started in 2002, my list of 269 birds, spanning 11 countries and 17 states, has many more adventures to go to match that lofty feat.

For anyone interested in great birding opportunities Mark had this to say, “I’d mention Wyalusing State Park as a place to visit. I also saw a Western Tanager and Harris’s Sparrow at the same time in Gay Mills in Crawford County, along with both cuckoos. Willets and Avocets were two rare sightings for me at Wyalusing beach. Thayer’s and Iceland Gulls in Milwaukee County were biggies for me as well.” Definitely some great places to explore and near the top of my list. To find the most unique Wisconsin birds, it will take some work, but like anything that requires hard work, the reward is also greater.

Standing nearly five feet tall, Whooping Cranes instantly come to mind as a unique Wisconsin bird. At one time, there were only 15 Whooping Cranes remaining. Thanks to Operation Migration, a program using ultralight aircraft to help the cranes to their migration grounds in Florida that recently ended, and other volunteers the population is now over 600, including those in captivity. Still endangered, and one of the rarest birds in the United States, a flock that hovers around 100 lives in Wisconsin each spring and summer before returning to Florida. They make their Wisconsin home where Mark discovered his first years ago, “I was able to add the Whooping Crane at the Necedah Wildlife Refuge,” he said happily recalling the memory as all birders do when asked about a personal discovery.

Kirtland’s Warbler’s are another extremely rare bird that can be found in Wisconsin. Placed on the endangered species list in 1967, they were thought to only breed in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Now they nest in the Upper Peninsula, Canada, and Wisconsin. From only two successful nesting pairs found in Adams County during monitoring in 2008, the monitoring census has grown to observations of 30 singing males last spring in Bayfield, Vilas, Marinette, and Adams Counties. Adams County reached a high of 12 successful nesting pairs in 2015 and is still the best location to find the elusive Kirtland’s Warbler. Habitat is vital when searching. They generally only live and breed in relatively large, dense stands of jack pines that are 5 to 20 feet tall (6-22 years old).

Piping Plovers are a small, endangered shorebird that live along the shores of the Great Lakes. Only a handful of breeding pairs have thrived in Wisconsin in recent years, but 2016 saw a big announcement for the Piping Plovers. For the first time in 75 years, Piping Plovers nested at the newly restored Cat Island Chain in the Lower Green Bay area. Prior to that, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was the only regular nesting sites. Several other areas have been established as critical habitat in Marinette, Manitowoc, Douglas, and Ashland County to continue that momentum.

All of these locations are great places to begin or continue your journey. The great thing about birding is you only need a backyard or local park to begin and Wisconsin has a lifetime of destinations to explore.

Published in On Wisconsin Outdoors on May 1, 2017

Ice Age Trail Chronicles: Turtle Rock

Ice Age Trail Chronicles:
Turtle Rock Segment, Lincoln County
October 10, 2016

Another Federal holiday, another day to hike the Ice Age Trail. The Turtle Rock was our destination on this beautiful fall day. Kevin parked his truck on Burma Road, where we met that day. I picked him up and off we went to start on Highway E. When hiking a longer segment like this, it works best to have two vehicles. As it turns out though, we would only need one.

We started into the south, planning to complete the approximately four mile segment, and end at Kevin’s truck on Burma. Simple enough in theory, as long as you follow the clearly marked trail. Bright yellow spray paint illuminates the path thanks to Ice Age Trail volunteers.

A small creek, with a series of old beaver ponds, paralleled our route as we began. Rounding the corner, a wood duck took flight from his hiding spot. Here the creek crossed our path. Up the hill we went through my favorite portion of the trail. Young white birch trees grew thick on both sides to create a tunnel-like effect. Up ahead, the familiar sound of a ruffed grouse could be heard, trying to avoid us intruders. The creek, now on our left, created a deep, scenic ravine. Before long we arrived at it’s final destination. Flowing into the Wisconsin River, we paused for a moment. Another wood duck swam along the shore. Everything was familiar, yet different. As we glanced across the river, we looked at Hwy 107 where we have both driven dozens, if not hundreds of times. During those drives, we stared out across the water to the place we now stood. Same water, different perspective. On we went.

Here, the trail followed the river downstream until we reached the upper portion of the Grandfather dam system. Overlooking this area sits a Leopold chair, perfect for a midway break, thanks again to the faithful volunteers. The river diverges at this point, between the original riverbed and the carefully constructed waterway that now leads the water to two giant tubes, producing power at the lower portion of the Grandfather dam system. Here the two bodies of water converge once again to continue their journey downstream.

The water roared as it navigated the numerous boulders of the original riverbed. Our route followed this path. Before long we headed back into the woods, but paused shortly after we did. There was no sign and nothing indicating that this was the spot, but it was clear. Another one of boulders was located next to our trail, clearly the reason for the trail’s namesake – Turtle Rock.

After admiring the beauty of this mysterious creation and pondering awhile, we continued. Here, the trail was a well groomed network of old logging roads and snowmobile trail. That’s also what got us in trouble. For awhile, we watched for the yellow markers on the trees, but soon we were deep in conversation. Following the path of least resistance, we continued. Finally, Kevin stopped. “This area looks familiar and I don’t see any yellow markers,” he said. Sure enough, our original trail was right in front of us. Somehow, we had lost the path. We clearly missed an arrow, directing us off our nicely groomed trail. But, we made another discovery that we would have missed. At this point, we noticed a pond through the trees. We ventured to take a look, always wondering what is over the next hill. Ducks were everywhere – mallards, mergansers, and more of our wood ducks. It was a beautiful site. Amazing, how life is often like that. Go down a path you didn’t expect and find something better than you imagined.

At that point, we followed the path back and arrived right where we started. Kevin had to complete the segment and finished it that day. For me, that adventure awaits.

Published: April 28, 2017

Submit Your Picture Now for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest

Now accepting photos for May for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest! Photos will be collected throughout April and I’ll begin posting them in early May.

The winner receives a $50 gift card of their choice* and one of the first copies of Forever Changed.

Don’t forget to pre-order Forever Changed today!

To participate in the 2017 photo contest, send your pictures to jimservi10@gmail.com with the title of your picture and your name.

This photo contest is focused on the great outdoors, recreation, travel, adventure, and the beauty of day-to-day life.  Please avoid selfies, family photos, and such.

Monthly winners will advance to the final contest to be held in December 2017 for a chance to win the grand prize and have their photograph featured on this website. In addition, the 10 pictures with the most “likes” on this website, not Facebook (sorry:), whether they are a monthly winner or not, will advance to the final contest.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But, in truth it is really more than that. Good pictures makes you stop and smile, while great pictures make you stop and realize how truly great life really is. And that feeling is priceless.

Stay tuned to get your regular dose of that peaceful feeling.

Rules:

  1. Photos must be your originals. Cropping is okay but no photo-shopping.
  2. Only one photograph per person can be submitted each month.

*Choice will be from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s scrip program which includes a wide variety of selections.

Disclaimer: By submitting your picture for this photo contest, you are authorizing this website to post your picture here and use it for promotional purposes.

Submit Your Picture Now for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest

Now accepting photos for May for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest! Photos will be collected throughout April and I’ll begin posting them in early May.

The winner receives a $50 gift card of their choice* and one of the first copies of Forever Changed.

Don’t forget to pre-order Forever Changed today!

To participate in the 2017 photo contest, send your pictures to jimservi10@gmail.com with the title of your picture and your name.

This photo contest is focused on the great outdoors, recreation, travel, adventure, and the beauty of day-to-day life.  Please avoid selfies, family photos, and such.

Monthly winners will advance to the final contest to be held in December 2017 for a chance to win the grand prize and have their photograph featured on this website. In addition, the 10 pictures with the most “likes” on this website, not Facebook (sorry:), whether they are a monthly winner or not, will advance to the final contest.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But, in truth it is really more than that. Good pictures makes you stop and smile, while great pictures make you stop and realize how truly great life really is. And that feeling is priceless.

Stay tuned to get your regular dose of that peaceful feeling.

Rules:

  1. Photos must be your originals. Cropping is okay but no photo-shopping.
  2. Only one photograph per person can be submitted each month.

*Choice will be from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s scrip program which includes a wide variety of selections.

Disclaimer: By submitting your picture for this photo contest, you are authorizing this website to post your picture here and use it for promotional purposes.

On Wisconsin Outdoors: Disappear into the Middle of Nowhere

Disappear into the Middle of Nowhere
Backcountry Camping, Hunting and Fishing

Stars shine so bright that it nearly hurts your eyes, despite the fact that it is pitch black outside. With no one around for miles, the only sound you hear is the trickle of a nearby stream and the occasional owl call echoing through the trees. Images like this often conjure up thoughts of an Out-West or Alaskan adventure. However, there are plenty of opportunities right here in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to disappear into the woods for some backcountry camping, hunting, and fishing.

There is no better location here in Wisconsin than the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. Over one million acres of wild forest make up the Chequamegon with lakes and streams around every corner. Dispersed camping is what it’s referred to here in Wisconsin and you don’t even need a permit. Recent easing of regulations for deer transportation and registration including quartering in the field and phone/online registration, have created a perfect opportunity for backwoods hunters here in Wisconsin. For those adventurous souls, what better opportunity to take advantage.

Hilary Markin, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Public Affairs Officer, recommends that “people that want to participate in dispersed camping call the local offices before proceeding because they can point you in the right direction. Plus, they can update you on storm closures, especially this year, and make sure the area is open.” She added, “it’s best to narrow down what experience you’re after since there are so many opportunities out there.” Trout fishing, mountain bike riding, fishing remote lakes, hiking, grouse hunting, deer hunting, snow-shoeing, the list goes on and on and there are certain places that are better than others. The local offices can provide you the best places based on the experience you are seeking.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Headquarters: (715) 362-1300
Lakewood/Laona Ranger District: (715) 276-6333
Park Falls/Medford Ranger District: (715) 762-2461
Eagle River/Florence Ranger District: (715) 479-2827
Washburn Ranger District: (715) 373-2667
Great Divide Ranger District – Hayward/Glidden: (715) 634-4821

Markin stressed the importance of, “Leave No Trace.” Quite simply, when you leave the area, it should look like you were never there. According to the Dispersed Camping manual, it’s not just for hikers and campers, recreation vehicle (RV) enthusiasts can take advantage of this program as well. They are able to park their RVs at pull off areas on Forest Service roads. This is a perfect opportunity to set up a hunting camp this fall or plan an adventure next summer.

The Chequamegon may be the natural place to start given the size, but it is certainly not the only opportunity to disappear into the woods. County and State Forests as well as State Parks have been expanding opportunities in recent years. “Our members are exploring all over the state,” says Jeff Guerard, Chapter Chair for The Wisconsin Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “I’m actually going after ducks in the Chequamegon this weekend.” Formed in March 2016, this group is new to Wisconsin but one that many people passionate about the outdoors can relate to. “Our focus is on preserving public lands,” Guerard explained. “Our goal is to stop the transfer of federal land to state control, where the state sells it to private ownership. We’ve seen this a lot out west already and now with the bill in 2013 here in Wisconsin to sell state land, our plan is to lobby the Natural Resources Board not to sell.” To do that, they are currently trying to expand their membership to give their organization more clout with state politicians and ultimately protect the great places that so many of us hold dear.

Published in On Wisconsin Outdoors on November 1, 2016

Dispersed Camping Information

Never Too Late to Learn

It’s never too late to learn. Hockey, or should we just say skating, in my case.

Last fall, my son Joey showed interest in hockey so we signed him up for a Learn to Play Hockey program. The volunteers there were exceptional, getting him all geared up, and encouraging him every step of the way. He loved it. Using a chair to help keep balance, he flew across the ice. It didn’t take long before he was using the chair as his hockey stick and thrusting it towards the goal. We had a great time and it got me thinking. Knowing he was interested in hockey and this was only the beginning, maybe I should learn how to skate. I knew if my boys were playing hockey one day, I’d want to be out there with them practicing.

Later, while picking up some stuff at Fleet Farm, I just had to take a look. And wouldn’t you know it, hockey skates were on sale. How could I say no?

A couple weeks later, we found ourselves back on the ice, this time a local ice skating rink. Joey just wanted to slide on the ice with his boots that day. I donned my skates. Now, I remember skating when I was really young and I roller-bladed a lot in high school, but that was half a lifetime ago. It was pretty much like starting from ground zero. The lady running the warming shack was very sweet, offering Joey and I hockey sticks and a puck. For a hour, we raced back and forth pretending we were the Nashville Predators beating team after team. I don’t remember the score, but I do know that Joey kept track of the number of times I fell. Three. Not bad. Stopping was tricky and instead of a sharp cut, I sort of made a circle, more like a rookie figure skater than a hockey player. But it was fun, alot of fun, and I was already looking forward to going again. So was Joey. He was still talking about it weeks later. Afterwards we shared some hot chocolate in the warming house before joining my wife and other two boys for dinner.

Joey’s interest grew so we looked for more opportunities. Again we found a Learning to Play Hockey program, this time at the Greenheck Field House. This time Joey wasted no time challenging me to a race across the ice, then another, then another, about a dozen times before he was done. He won every time but one, although he would tell you he won them all. His confidence was growing. This ice was a lot more smooth than our hometown skating rink, which meant I fell more. Not a lot more, but definitely more. With several other parents watching, I’m sure they got a kick out of counting my falls just like Joey did. It didn’t take long before we were playing a pick-up game of hockey with some of the kids.

The ice may be gone for this year, and although I don’t even want to think about another winter at this point, I am looking forward to getting out skating with my boys again next year. Falls and all.

First Published Here: April 14, 2017

 

Submit Your Picture Now for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest

Now accepting photos for May for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest! Photos will be collected throughout April and I’ll begin posting them in early May.

The winner receives a $50 gift card of their choice* and one of the first copies of Forever Changed.

Don’t forget to pre-order Forever Changed today!

To participate in the 2017 photo contest, send your pictures to jimservi10@gmail.com with the title of your picture and your name.

This photo contest is focused on the great outdoors, recreation, travel, adventure, and the beauty of day-to-day life.  Please avoid selfies, family photos, and such.

Monthly winners will advance to the final contest to be held in December 2017 for a chance to win the grand prize and have their photograph featured on this website. In addition, the 10 pictures with the most “likes” on this website, not Facebook (sorry:), whether they are a monthly winner or not, will advance to the final contest.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But, in truth it is really more than that. Good pictures makes you stop and smile, while great pictures make you stop and realize how truly great life really is. And that feeling is priceless.

Stay tuned to get your regular dose of that peaceful feeling.

Rules:

  1. Photos must be your originals. Cropping is okay but no photo-shopping.
  2. Only one photograph per person can be submitted each month.

*Choice will be from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s scrip program which includes a wide variety of selections.

Disclaimer: By submitting your picture for this photo contest, you are authorizing this website to post your picture here and use it for promotional purposes.

Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest

Now accepting photos for the Forever Changed 2017 Photo Contest! The pictures that I’ve received already are beautiful and I look forward to seeing more. I know you’ll love them too. Photos will be collected throughout March and I’ll begin posting them in April.

The winner receives a $50 gift card of their choice* and a copy of Forever Changed.

To participate in the 2017 photo contest, send your pictures to jimservi10@gmail.com with the title of your picture and your name.

This photo contest is focused on the great outdoors, recreation, travel, adventure, and the beauty of day-to-day life.  Please avoid selfies, family photos, and such.

Starting in April, readers will vote for their favorite each month. Details will be provided at that time. Monthly winners will advance to the final contest to be held in January 2018 for a chance to win the grand prize and have their photograph featured on this website. In addition, the 10 pictures with the most “likes”, whether they are a monthly winner or not, will advance to the final contest.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But, in truth it is really more than that. Good pictures makes you stop and smile, while great pictures make you stop and realize how truly great life really is. And that feeling is priceless.

Stay tuned to get your regular dose of that peaceful feeling.

Isle Royale Moose

Isle Royale Moose

Rules:

  1. Photos must be your originals. Cropping is okay but no photo-shopping.
  2. Only one photograph per person can be submitted each month.

*Choice will be from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s scrip program which includes a wide variety of selections.

Disclaimer: By submitting your picture for this photo contest, you are authorizing this website to post your picture here and use it as necessary.