An American Journal: Day 10 (Wisconsin)

We woke up to a crisp morning in the woods of Wisconsin, the sun hadn’t broken through in the last few days and a light rain had dampened the ground overnight. A pot of black coffee sat next to the fire and we threw another log on to the flames to get it boiling again. We cupped our hands around our mugs and let the steam warm our faces while listening to the sounds of birds echo back and forth across the small valley. It will probably be little moments like this that stick fast in my memory of our time out here as the solitude is only occasionally broken by a car passing down below or a cow expressing discontent further down the valley.

One activity slowly rolls into another, coffee into writing, and writing into conversation until finally you end up back in your own thoughts. A small game of Euchre busied us for a while before we made the decision to take a trip out to Effigy Mounds, a national monument across the state border in Iowa. The bluffs mark the site where American Indians would bury their dead at the junction of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers. The burial mounds were created in the shape of different kinds of animals such as birds and bears and the shapes are still distinguishable today.

The site is situated at the top of a limestone bluff which overlooks a meander of the Mississippi river, a train line runs along side the river for part of your view and the whole landscape looks iconic. My imagination had already been lit by a casino boat parked on the river on our way towards the monument and so looking out from the cliffs over the famous river, in a holy site for American Indians, I couldn’t help but feel lost in the pages of a story book.

We made our way back down the bluff to find our way to a nearby town named Prairie du Chien where we needed to stock up on some necessities for the evening. Before we got there though we stopped in at a little bar/restaurant where of course, they served delicious beer on tap which we complimented with deep fried cheese curds and buffalo wings. The grocery store, much to Mari’s amusement, is still an adventure for me. Not only are there entire isles dedicated to beer, there is an assortment of over-sized treats, candy bars, sugar cereals and other products which had seemed mythical when seen before only on television.

Back at the cabin we closed down the evening with bacon wrapped steaks and corn over the flames while I savoured every sip of a Goose Island IPA.

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