Earth Day 2012 – Birthday Weekend, The start of day #2

Earth Day is observed on April 22 and was started in the United States in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson to create awareness for the Earth’s environment and to encourage conservation efforts. In 1990, Earth Day was taken international, and today, more than 500 million people in 175 countries observe Earth Day. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.  I guess we all have an interest in mother nature.

Earth Day had a different meaning for Dan and I last year; a day when we were stuck in her grasp, so to speak.

We awoke to the sound of the alarm notifying us that we need to get up and get rolling before the sun peaked its head above the horizon.  The night spent at Justin Trails Resort was very relaxing; time spent with my honey is always special to me.  The previous night, we were amazed to hear the call of numerous Sandhill Cranes located in a farmer’s pond/field across the way.   Permission was granted from the landowner the night before allowing us to venture on their property.  Donna (owner of the resort) mentioned,  “Due to the recent heavy rains in the area, make sure to stay on the higher field road.”  Okay, we thought- no problem.

We traveled closer and closer to the sounds of the Sandhill Cranes in hopes of catching a breathtaking sunrise with these beautiful birds in the foreground.  The road became more and more impassable as we ventured closer to our targets but it was too late- no place to turn around and the only motion we had to travel was forward.  Yep… We got stuck in the muck.  The Equinox is AWD not 4WD, I think came out of my mouth 🙂 All I could do was laugh at the situation as we tried to pull the long grass, sticks, and Cattails from the side of the road and place them in the “water” so that the tires would have something to grab onto. I say “water” because there really was not a road to be seen.  With a serious look on Dan’s face, he tells me to go to the other side of the car to see if the tires are grabbing onto any of the debris we placed under them- so I did.  The next thing I know, I was covered in the black, muddy, swampy, field water -muck, YUCK!!   Dan still was not finding the humor in it all, but I had to giggle- and I proceeded to do so as we walked back to the resort which was a good 2-3 miles.  It was a beautiful sunrise, gorgeous really, but did I get photos? NOPE!  Did I think about pulling the camera out of the car to take pictures of the car being stuck?  NOPE!

We walked back to the resort so that I could get cleaned up while Dan walked back to the farmers house to see if he could pull us out of the field road with a tractor.  As our luck would have it, this farmer was very helpful and didn’t bat an eye when asked- he wouldn’t even take any compensation for his troubles.  On his travels back, Dan did get photos of the car stuck in the muck- to see and hear his take on the day visit that blog post at When life gives you mud – make a mud pie.

After we both were clean and free of mother natures gift that she gave us that morning, we were treated to a tour of the old barn on the property which they were currently renovating.  Beautiful property, wonderful owners, a great breakfast and conversation- I would highly recommend a stay at Justin Trails Resort in Sparta, WI.

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Lines, lines, and more lines… Birthday Weekend Day #1

Early Monday April 16th 2012, I received an email from Dan with an cryptic image attached stating “It will take us a little over three hours to get to our destination.  We can drive straight there and check in or shoot along the way and check in when we get there – whatever we want to do.  I’ve attached a detailed map of to our destination.  That’s all the information I can share.”
Lines, lines, more lines and a river?  Hmmmmm.

Weekend Birthday Map

My email reply to Dan… “Trying to figure out the trace of a map you sent!  Internet and the Minnesota and Wisconsin maps are in my sight; would this trip have anything to do with round barns and Monroe County?”  It turns out that the “lines” was a travel route leading us to the beautiful Vernon and Monroe Counties in an area of Wisconsin known as the driftless area.  See the detailed maps of Vernon and Monroe Counties for the location of the round barns and covered bridges.  The maps are another story for another day as the “X” didn’t always mark the spot 🙂

Off to a friends house for great conversation and a breakfast of champions (Thanks Linnae).  Hugs as we walked out the door and a wave as we headed on our way. Little did we know- we had a small stowaway named Hans.  Hans caused quite the stir back home when he was found to be missing but he was a good travel companion and enjoyed his time away from home.  Keep a watchful eye out for Hans in the images as he LOVED his picture taken.

Located in southwestern Wisconsin, Vernon and Monroe County is a land of scenic beauty and is in the Driftless Area of the upper midwest.  Glaciers surrounded but did not pass over this land.  From craggy buttes and mesas that once were islands rising from the wooded bed of a great glacial lake and grand marshes where bright red cranberries and mosses grow, Monroe County features a plethora of breathtaking views.  This serene countryside is truly an astounding sight and it’s roller coaster like roads were fun to travel.  Up, down, up, down, up, down… you never knew what your eyes would lay upon at the top of the hill or the bottom for that matter.  Our destination?  Justin Trails Resort in Sparta, WI for a long photography weekend retreat.  Check out Dan’s images from the day at his blog titled Driftless Area Weekend – Monroe County, Wisconsin – Day 1

The story behind the images

This gallery contains 4 photos.

I grew up loved by wonderful parents who not only encouraged me to be me, but who taught me right from wrong.  I remember all of the laughter, the fun, the support, and all of those little life lessons that we all learn along the way. My mother is a strong, affectionate, artistically talented woman […]