When I got up early Sunday morning, I wasn’t sure if Daniel and Crystal were going to head home or stay another day. I had to set my alarm because there were only two days left to finish the Minnesota Loon Count, and I had three more lakes to cover. All surveying of the lakes must be done before noon, and not on days with high winds or heavy rains. I told them that they were welcome to come along and help with the count. Daniel was of a mind to head for home, but Crystal was more of a mind to do something that not many people get to do. I was happy that Crystal persuaded Dan to stay another day. After all, they hadn’t even been to the visitors center yet.
Bridget and I hopped into the refuge truck and squashed the ‘youngsters’ in the back seat. We were off onto the Teacracker Trail to find Squaw Lake. (It has a more politically correct name now, but I can’t remember it.) We had to bushwhack our way down to the edge of the marsh to see the lake. Dan and Crystal led the way with Dan carrying the scope and tripod. (There was method to my madness of having them come along. ) We did find one loon, but sorry to say there were two Chippewa men harvesting leeches in their canoe. You can just barely see them in this pic. They were paddling around the edges of the lake. Two trumpeter swans thought about landing, but changed their minds when they saw the canoe.
We kind of took the long way around to the next lake so I could give Dan and Crystal a little tour of the refuge. The wind was picking up in the prairie section so I told Dan to hold the flower still so Crystal could get a good picture. Crystal was happy to have the head net I gave her to use to ward off the deer flies. You can also see that we all had our socks up around our pant legs to help combat the ticks.
These are prairie lilies, and they’ve just begun to bloom. Some of you may think the bugs are just awful here, but it pays to be prepared. They sure haven’t kept me away from this beautiful place.
For the next lake, we had to climb up to the top of a ridge for our first view. I’m glad I had my walking stick along. Once again, Daniel toted up the scope.
We didn’t spot any loons here, but there were eight trumpeter swans. This is what I mean about getting put to work if you come to visit me. Dan and Crystal live in the city of Rochester, MN, and I think this outdoor time did them good. I know we all had lots of fun.
Bridget and I hopped up on the back of the truck for a second view of the lake that was hidden from us up on the ridge. We added four more swans for a total of twelve. Refuges are very conscious about safety, so I hope you notice that we are wearing our orange vests while perched in the middle of the road.
We surveyed one more lake before heading back to the rig. The young folks needed a nap, don’t cha know.
I knew Dan wanted to give fishing one more try, so I woke them up and sent them to a different spot to try around 4:00. I figured I wouldn’t see them again until around sunset.
To my great surprise, they were back in short order with the evening’s dinner! They had caught three nice sized bass in under 30 minutes. Dan was a happy camper. I had told him before he came that I planned on his catching enough fish for dinner one night. Of course I had those butter garlic chicken brats just in case.
We invited John and Bridget over to join us for this tasty feast. What a wonderful ending to the holiday week I got to spend with most of my kids. I hope my youngest son, Andy, and his family get a chance to come up this summer too. I know two young grandboys that would love to catch some fish.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy