Our one day in Iowa was a good one. Our campground is near an overlook of the Mississippi River. We went for a walk and enjoyed that ole river ambiance. The next morning we went to Effigy Mounds, a strange area where the mounds that ancient Indians created are maintained. In addition to round and cylindrical mounds, there are mounds shaped like bears and eagles. They are large and not that high from the surrounding area, so they are difficult to photograph. Some of the mounds have proven to be burial mounds, but some of them are very large and not all of them contain bodies. The park has emphasized the mounds from the surrounding areas by mowing the grass around the mound and letting wildflowers and plants grow on the mound. Some of them look like landscaped gardens because of all the flowers.
After we returned from there, we packed up and moved on into Wisconsin. Having seen Frank Lloyd Wright’s TaliesenWest in Mesa, AZ,I wanted to see the original Taliesen. Alas, it was not meant to be. We got there too late for the final tour of the house, which was full. Since we didn’t want to stay overnight, that was it for Frank. On the good side, we saved $94; the tour was $47 per person. Wow!
We got to Baraboo and settled in. The next morning we went to the International Crane Foundation. It’s primary purpose is to save the endangered Whooping Crane. It’s a large area with various pairs of cranes from around the world that are incarcerated in fairly small areas. I assume they can’t be released into the wild for some reason. It is amazing to see how different they are close up and how different their calls are. They are going to great lengths to insure the survival of the Whooping Crane. There were so few left that there weren’t enough adults to teach the youngsters the migratory route. So various organizations have come together to raise a couple of different flocks (so that disease and inbreeding are avoided). Then one flock is going to learn to migrate, so they can teach others to migrate. This is accomplished by putting humans in crane suits to raise the young (so they don’t bond with humans) and eventually have them follow “Mama” in an ultralight aircraft to learn their route. (The movie “Fly Away Home” had this theme, though not with cranes.) I think the project is still ongoing.
From the sublime to the ridiculous: we then went to the Wisconsin Dells. It’s a beautiful area of the Wisconsin River that has been totally tarted up for tourists. We took a boat ride to see the weathered sandstone cliffs that constitute the Dells. We put into a little cove and walked up a narrow, dark, twisty canyon, staring at the dark, swirling water below our boardwalk. The culmination of the short walk was a concession stand and gift shop. We put into another cove to see Standing Rock, a tall, mushroom-shaped structure that had eroded from the neighboring cliff. A German Shepherd jumped the five feet to the rock and back, astounding the crowd. The walk then wound through – wait for it – a concession stand and gift shop. It began to rain on the way back, which left us along up top with a few other hardy souls. It’s not the best tour we’ve ever taken.
Friday and today was more driving through park-like country and lots of cornfields. We ended up in a woodsy campground outside Munising and are looking forward to seeing Lake Superior and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.