Regular readers will know that I spend a bit of time up in northern Wisconsin. (There’s a hint of that in yesterday’s entry.) It’s a wonderfully different and enticing environment.
The place I stay is a cabin right near a cove that is slowly filling up with vegetation.
There were glacial lakes here before, but about 100 years ago, they put in a dam that raised the level. This converted a cedar swamp into a lake cove, but the cove has been slowly filling in ever since. It is now quite boggy, but with access to the deeper lake.
One of the really nice things about barefooting here is the understory of the woods: lots of pine needles with twigs and other “gentle” stimuli. The path from the cabin to the cove looks like this.
I could walk on that stuff all day long.
This also lets me do one of my favorite barefoot exercises: walking down the path in the complete dark. With bare feet I can feel how the texture changes as I wander off the more compacted trail. It is super easy to stay on track just by paying attention to the signals from my soles.
Here’s a bit of a view of the cove.
The pines and spruces are on dry land. The stuff in the foreground is all swampy cove, with various reeds and grasses.
There are otters in this cove. (In fact, from way back it’s name was “Otter Cove”.) Here’s one of their paths (I think) heading away from the pier.
You can see all those white puffs. That is cotton grass.
One of the problems they’ve had up there are foreign invasives, and I’m afraid this cove has been attacked. This is Purple Loosestrife.
They are starting to import from Europe a bug that eats only the Loosestrife to try to control it.
One thing it does is push out native species, like this Pickerell Weed.
Fortunately the cove still has plenty of it. Pickerell Weed produces edible seeds that Native Americans used to harvest.
There are also interesting plants along the shore. Here’s an Indian Pipe just getting started.
Things are blooming late this year. In past years this would have been fully up a few weeks ago.
There are also wild blueberries.
These are quite a bit different from store-bought blueberries, which have been bred to be larger and sweeter—the growers are all about making them attractive to buyers, and it works.
Finally, being a cove, it has to be attached to a lake. Here’s one of the sunsets there from a couple of nights ago.
I can mostly get away with going barefoot here, but I’m afraid that, like most of the rest of the country, there are just enough people who have bought into the anti-barefoot myths that I am occasionally surprised.
But it is still a great place to go.