I mentioned in More Bogwalking that I’d spent the previous week in northern Wisconsin. It is always interesting to be in a place that is not one’s normal stomping grounds. Even though I go there regularly, it’s not as if the people there see me all that often, the way they do at the usual places I go shopping back home.
The week we were there was rather interesting weather-wise: it started out near 80° (27C) and in a few days went to highs of around 55° (13C) and lows of 35° (2C). That’ll adjust your feet to cooler weather pretty quickly.
In my comfort zone, there is a nearby restaurant that we’ve been going to for nearly forever. We were going there long before the present owner, whose had it for around 15 years. The owner has seen me barefoot many times and never cared. I’ve even had waitresses comment to me about my being barefoot and telling me they wished they could be, too. So we go there a lot.
We also went to another restaurant that hasn’t liked my bare feet. However, it is fairly easy to sneak in that way, and once seated, nobody seems to care any more.
There is plenty of wildlife up there. Here’s what we saw going past our cabin one morning.
We also had a gray fox go by, but I didn’t get my camera in time. And I had
the local bald eagle land on a log in the cove about 50 feet away from
me . . . while my camera was back in the cabin. Rats.
The colors were changing.
That picture was taken early in the week, while the weather was still quite warm and comfortable.
Here’s another picture; this is of the pier belonging to the place we were at.
There is something you should notice about that picture. There is only one way that that picture can be taken. It’s not “bogwalking”; it’s “covewalking”.
There is a bit of peat moss there, mixed in amongst the cattails and other cove plants, but it is not thick enough to support one’s weight the way it is in a bog. I sank down about 6 inches on every step.
Of course it has to be done barefooted.
The place we stay is on a cove. Here is a composite, panoramic shot of the whole cove, with 5 different pictures stitched together. Click on it to get the 2300×500 pixel version. (I also have a 10,200 x 2,200 version.)
Here are two more shots from before the weather changed. There is a nearby (very small) airport, and it looks like a couple of planes were practicing flying in formation.
Here’s the close-up of the same picture.
And then the weather did change. This is part of what it looked like afterwards. It was not only dreary, but downright cold.
Of course, that’s not an excuse not to keep going barefoot. (I should also add that even though it was cold and dreary, it was still better than being back home!)
Near the end there we went to a Cranberry Festival. Northern Wisconsin bogs are where a lot of cranberries are grown, so the local festivals (trying to keep tourists around as the weather grows colder) have to do something.
But it was chilly, with the temperature around 40-45° (5-7C). And rainy. The Festival was at the county fairgrounds, so the ground was cold, wet, and squishy. I found it tolerable.
Everybody was too polite to say anything to me (at least to my face), but you could tell when somebody noticed my feet. There’s be the covert nudge of a companion. Or, there’d be somebody who would kind of be trudging along just looking down. Then they’d suddenly notice my bare feet and their head would pop up to look me in the face, as if they couldn’t believe the feet they saw were actually attached to a human.
It was really funny to see that happen over and over again. And a bit weird.
Anyways, my feet survived the cold and wet just fine, and I suppose started the acclimatization process for the upcoming winter.
We also spent one day heading to a town called Boulder Junction. I’ve written before about their famous barefoot fishing guide, Porter Dean.
(That picture is probably 10-15 years old.)
I’m afraid to say that I didn’t see the statue there this visit. Now I didn’t carefully trek the whole town (it was cold, wet, and rainy, remember?) But it wasn’t prominently displayed the way it used to be. I sure hope they aren’t forgetting their barefoot roots.
Anyways, while I was there I stopped into a hardware store. As I entered, the owner took a look at my bare feet and said:
“If you walk around here and hurt yourself, don’t you come crying to me!”
I loved it! None of the usual whining about, “for you own protection” or “oh, I might get sued”. Just “you’re responsible for your own damn self”.
And actually, by warning me (even though the place was immaculate), the owner pretty much relieved herself of any liability (which is pretty low anyways) simply by warning me.
I sure wish all stores had that exact same attitude.