Thursday, September 30, 2010

Favorite Things Friday - Boating the Marsh

The phone rang Wednesday while I was in the middle of stripping wallpaper.  Dad asked when I wanted to take a boat ride with him on the marsh, which I'd asked to do this fall sometime.  "How about today?" I said.  That was fine with him.  I called my sister, who just happened to have the day open, so she could come along too.  

Going for a boat ride with Dad on the Horicon Marsh is one of my all-time favorite things!

The Horicon Marsh is the largest cattail marsh in the U.S., spanning some 32,000 acres.  The northern two-thirds is federally owned and managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  The southern third, where we would be cruising, is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.  

I grew up in Horicon, so I'm familiar with this wondrous place, but Dad is an expert.  Lifelong resident (except for a the last 15 winters spent in Arkansas), avid hunter, and local historian, he is in his element on the marsh. 

When his forefathers immigrated from Germany, they settled on the southern edge of the marsh, farming, gardening, hunting, trapping, and acting as guides for the private hunt clubs whose members from Milwaukee and Chicago paid for the privilege of hunting the marsh.

This was our ride, Dad's trusty fishing/hunting boat that's probably as old as I am, an appropriate vessel for these waters.

It's been a good five years since I've taken this trip.  Long enough to notice changes in the landscape of the islands, including fewer trees, and a different policy regarding removal of deadfalls (i.e., they are left as is, not removed).

Although it may just look like an expansive cattail marsh to most people, Dad knows every one of the numerous landmarks by name and significance:  Stony Bay, Neitzel's Slough, One-Mile Island, Cotton Island, Steamboat Island, Miescke's Ditch, Clark's Ditch, etc. 

He was quizzing my sister and I on some of these spots as we cruised up the main channel.  Our answers were hit and miss, at best.

He pointed out his hunting spot this year in a little slough which promises to be well populated with waterfowl.  Duck season opens Saturday.  It's what's for dinner next weekend.

The colors weren't quite peak, but the trees made for beautiful reflections nonetheless.

On our way back to the boathouse, we followed the river back through town, past the plant that makes the pretty yellow and green lawn equipment, the company from which Dad retired in the mid '80s.

The river used to be lined with boathouses through town.  Now only a handful remain.  Remember when I said, in my bathroom redo post, that the framed picture reminded me of places I've known?  

Yes, indeed.

We passed a house with an old root cellar built into the slope of the riverbank, "Where they used to keep all the beer," Dad said.  He's been inside the cellar; it's empty now.

It was such a gorgeous, special day, and we had a wonderful time.  Hope you enjoyed it too! 

See what favorite things others are sharing today at Quilting in My Pyjamas' Favourite Things Friday.  Thanks for visiting!


  1. What a lovely day and I bet your Dad treasured it as much as you did - a day out with his girls !!

  2. Looks like a tranquil place to be on the water.

  3. What a beautiful way to spend the day. Love the photos.

  4. What a nice way to spend a day. Looks like a great place to live and play. Thank you for sharing all the photos.

  5. You know, 11 years in Packer country, and I never boated the marsh. We talked about canoeing there, but always ended up somewhere else. That's a shame. It's such a lovely place. Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. Miescke's Ditch? Named after an ancestor?

  6. It looks like you had a wonderful day! How great to be able to spend time with your dad!!

  7. I couldn't think of a better way to spend a beautiful fall day.
    Your dad looked like he was having a great time with his two daughters.
    Have you ever videotaped him on one of these trips to document his love and knowledge of the marsh? He is such a wealth of knowledge on the area.
    Have a great weekend.

  8. Gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing this day with us!

    Hey - - - the square brick building with the windows at the top looks like a paper mill, is it?

  9. Oh P what a great looking day. Just perfect. Your Dad looks like he's enjoying sharing it with you both.

    I'm seeing my parents this weekend. Your post has inspired me to do something special with my time with them.

    Thanks for linking up and showing us your fabulous Wednesday.(and a bit more of where you live too!)

  10. Thank you for taking us on your trip!! I started getting misty eyed thinking about how cool it must be to do things like this with your father. Very, very cool.

  11. JKP: Yes, it is.

    Jane: I haven't videotaped him, but others have. He's been featured in several newspaper interviews and has written many more articles himself for the local paper. I really need to sit down with him with a tape recorder, though.

    Keetha: That's all part of the John Deere plant.

  12. What a fabulous way to spend a day...much better than stripping wallpaper, right? ;o) You are so lucky to be able to share a day with your Dad. I can see why it's a Favorite! :o) Thanks for sharing. Happy Friday!

  13. What a terrific post! The marsh looks wonderful and what a great day with your dad. Thanks for sharing your favorite thing today.

  14. I don't know if your readers realize what it means that your Dad is familiar with the Horicon Marsh. I have been out there many, many times and if we hadn't been with a guide, we would have never found our way out. The river is full of twists and turns that all look alike to a non-native Horiconite!

  15. What a wonderful story! Some of your photos could be framed! Beautiful journal of a day with DAD!

  16. A beautiful post and scenary. I love you asked your dad to go back out, brought your sister along and had a good, reminiscing kind of day. I'm sure Dad thought it was fantastic.

  17. Oh, what a terrific way to spend time. It's good for the soul to be out in the fresh air on the water. Lovely Favorite Friday item!

  18. It sounds like a fabulous Friday! I wish my dad were still around. Treasure your time with him! Dads are so special!

  19. I feel relaxed just from looking at the pictures, it looks like a wonderful place to spend some time. Thanks for sharing.

  20. What a beautiful place! So lovely that you and your sister could share this time with your dad. I can see why this is one of your favorite things.

  21. P., you are so cute! Thanks for sharing your lovely boat ride. I especially loved the boathouses and the root cellar pictures. What a nice memory to record and share.

    xo -El


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