Last weekend, we made what has become our annual trip to the northern part of Wisconsin, to a quaint place called Minocqua. We are usually a few weeks too early to see the changing colors, but this year we hit it at the right time:
We started going up to Minocqua to right a wrong, I suppose. I spent a week in this part of Wisconsin every year as a child. We stayed at a little resort with four cabins total (indoor plumbing, of course). After awhile, the owners stopped renting out one of the cabins. My family took one cabin, the best two aunts in the world took another, and my grandma and her husband took the third. We had other configurations over the years, but it was always my family and Debbie and Brenda. Always. I have warm, loving memories of Meadowlark Resort.
When I moved back to Wisconsin in 2005, it was a difficult time. I was so overjoyed to be home, but at the same time I knew I was celebrating a lot of “lasts” with my mother. One of them was one last family vacation “Up North”. My marriage dissolved a week after that trip concluded, and I harbored bitterness for a long time because my now ex ruined that last memory of the resort for her. He did not like being there, and he made no secret of it. It was a hateful, selfish thing to do. Leaving the resort, something was upsetting me to the point of physical illness, but I had not yet diagnosed that it had been his behavior. We can make ourselves blind when we choose, can’t we?
I never thought I would see that part of Wisconsin again after Mom died, even though its majesty was something I appreciated deep in my heart. That trip in 2005 had been the first and only time I had vacationed there as a health-oriented person, and I wanted to take full advantage of the pleasures to be had that I never had taken advantage of before. My significant other was too busy brooding. My Mom and aunt both offered to rent bikes with me…but both would have hurt that night as a result, and I’m not so selfish to disregard that fact. I never went biking on that trip, and that was something that Nick wanted to change ASAP.
So, in 2007, we made our way to Minocqua, WI. We hit two bike trails that year—Bearskin and B.A.T.S.—and participated in a kitchy running event called the Rump Roast Run, or was the locals call it, “The runnin’ of the rumps.” I decided immediately that I did not care for B.A.T.S. because ohmigosh I thought I was going to die going over those steep declines. Bearskin is an old railroad track (3% grade, tops) which makes it much more my style!
Plus, Bearskin is shrouded with forestry, opening to wooden bridges over creeks, and absolutely one of the most serene places I have ever been. This year, with the vibrate colors, Nick and I were in total wonderment and peace.
We did not go in 2008 because I was feeling overwhelmed with school at the time, but we made it a point to go again last year, 2009. I think last year sealed it. We will be doing this every year because it just feels right. I finally remember what I loved about this place, and I feel like this is something very special that I shared with my family, and that I now share with Nick.
On Sunday, before heading home, we spent the morning trying to find this natural waterfall written on the information folder in our hotel room. We finally found the unmarked landmark, and we lost track of time taking it all in.
You can see the entire set here, at our Flickr site. Sadly, we had storage card failure on Saturday, and Nick lost all of the pictures he took from his camera that day. Boo. Lesson learned, don’t buy generic cards, even though they are much more affordable! Minocqua 2011, here we come!