Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Up North

I had the good luck to be hired on at a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) camp near Minong, Wisconsin as a counselor. I may not have been the best choice to shepherd impressionable youth, but some of the boys were there to atone for various crimes against humanity. I guess the judge figured the hard work would help reform them. I even had one dad tell me to “make a man out of his son”. Not something you want to hear up in the North woods with nothing but dudes around.

I don’t know if any of the kids came away reformed, but Northern Wisconsin is a great place for personal reflection. The seemingly endless forest, the beautiful lakes, wild life, and general peace and quiet makes the area a must visit kind of place. I loved it. I had fun with the kids, worked with them and a forester on various forestry projects and enjoyed the outdoors.

Being in Forestry, I spent a lot of time in pine plantations. White or Red Pine was the preferred species, but they got a lot of volunteers including Jack Pine and Scrub Oak. It was our job to work our way through the tree farm and cut anything that wasn’t one of the preferred trees. Sometimes we had to thin the rows so the trees wouldn’t become stunted from the competition for space with their fellows. Truth be told I kind of hated cutting any trees out – just didn’t seem right, but these trees were destined to become either lumber, press board, or other tree products. We had poplar plantations as well, though I never worked one of those. The poplar was most likely going to fins its way to a paper mill.

Logging operations were interesting to watch, but they left quite a mess. It wasn’t all bad, deer loved the scarred logging areas – it made it easier to find food. Burned areas were popular too – I was told the deer liked to come in and lick the ash to pick up minerals they needed.

I hope that the next time you consider taking a break from all the hustle and bustle you might consider Northern Wisconsin. The vistas are gorgeous, Lake Superior is impressive, the Chequamegon Forest almost seems primeval, though thanks to the timber barons, very little if nay of the original forest remains. Clear cutting was the order of the day and led to disasters at places like Antigo and Peshtigo. Logging companies to day realize the necessity of replanting as they cut so there is lumber for future generations and perhaps more importantly, woods for the children – there is no better teacher than the forest.

I really need to get back up there and immerse myself in the solitude. I remember walking down a sand road studded with roosting Woodcock, reaching down and plucking blueberries from plants in the pine plantations, and learning about the flora and fauna of a bog. Best of all when I close my eyes I can see the place without having to concentrate much, a very pleasant memory indeed.

13 Comments:

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Keshi said...

**I really need to get back up there and immerse myself in the solitude.

this is why I say that we r all lone travellers...we r at our bestest peace when we r alone.

Keshi.

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger jin said...

Last June for our anniversary my husband & I went up to Minocqua for several days. *SIGH* It was fantastic! That's the farthest north we've been. It's so damn peaceful! The people are SO nice! It's almost like stepping back in time. Nice to know, too, that 7 out of 10 places allow dogs up there.
Note: I can also recommend a really great French Bakery up there too! heeheehee!!! Priorities!!! ;-)

 
At 4:06 AM, Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

seeing documentary and pictures that my ex( my very close friend now ) brought back when she was in Wyoming, i can really imagine the sights u wakes up to daily...love to be there but its too expensive for us Malaysian. USD1 = RM3.7 or so

 
At 7:36 AM, Blogger Sarah Letnes said...

Sounds like Walden Pond. You should write a book.

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Keshi:

Something about the smell of the pines, the sound the wind makes as it journeys through the woods, and a feeling of history surrounding you really brings peace of mind.

Jin; You need to get on up to Sister’s bay, Ephraim, Egg Harbor - check out door county. You’ll swear you are in the Maritimes - it isn’t that far from where you live


FoodCrazee: Wyoming is nice, one of my favorite places. Yellowstone is fantastic, Devil’s Tower, the Bighorn and Rocky Mountains. Arizona isn’t too bad either – come on out, we have an extra room. You can teach me to cook some of those fantastic dishes!!

SL: Get on that book as soon as I replace the kitchen faucet

 
At 5:06 PM, Blogger jin said...

Oh, yeah...we've doon Door County a LOT! Honeymooned there, too...Unfortunately, it's changed quite a bit the last few years. After 9-11 people cut back the visits up there...places started closing left & right...they didn't make enough $ in the 'in season' to carry them through the 'off season'. Last time we went up there it was disappointing...my husband's into bird-watching & even that was very sparse...the bird population has dropped tremendously in Door County in recent years, no one really gave us an explanation.

I think it'd still be nice, quiet & cozy for a winter visit, though.

 
At 8:30 PM, Blogger Keshi said...

yes...so true.

Keshi.

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Jin: Take your husband up to Hawk Ridge in Duluth during Fall migration, it is the pinnacle of bird watching...

Duluth is a pretty place n an dof itself - superioe on the ohter hand is a scab on the ass of the Earth. Too bad abotu Door county. We used to go up to the park and hang out. It was so pretty!!

 
At 9:02 PM, Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...

I'm with Sarah. Book!

 
At 10:53 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

T&B: Baby steps, babay steps - still have to see if I can make it past the discering eye of the Unbound Press!! What an opportunity that is!

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...

Excellent, excellent!

Keep on writing, don't be discouraged, and rock on! You can do it! :-D

 
At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot! » » »

 
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