Every now and then, Wisconsin whips open its front door, sweeps its arm out over all that glorious scenery and yells, “How do you like me now?”
And we lucky residents whoop in response, dash outside and soak in all the sunshine, color and delicious fresh air we can.
These past few days have been like that.
Sunday, as the temperature rose to August and the October leaves shimmered, we headed due east to Lake Michigan. The five-year old wanted to hang at “a real beach” and I thought I knew where I could find one. Point Beach, near Two Rivers, offered everything my young adventurers and I sought — miles of white sand, rolling waves and lots of cool stones to decorate a castle.
We loved it and spent a gorgeous afternoon frolicking there. Aside from a prehistoric looking fish that had seen better days, we had most of the beach to ourselves, and the youngest in our group sprinted up and down the beach in sheer glee.
I don’t know why I’ve never been to Point Beach, but I can tell you for sure that we’ll be back.
We barely had time to wash the sand out of our suits, when my husband proposed another little adventure.
“If we leave Appleton by 4, we can be in the river by 5,” he said on Monday as the car thermostat read 86°. I had my doubts that we could make it into and down the river before the sun set, but who am I to decline an invitation to an October river float?
“Let’s go,” I said and we collected our things and our people and headed north.
I often wonder what the real residents of our land do during the week when we aren’t there. Monday afternoon on that river we found out. A white-tailed bald eagle and his companion met us in the river and tracked us all the way down. They swooped over our heads more than a half dozen times. So often, in fact, that we started to worry the raptors had their eyes on our youngest rafter.
We floated through water flecked with fallen leaves, and they swooped and perched, swooped and perched, swooped and perched for the whole float. I really wish I’d been brave enough to bring my camera or even my phone to record the encounter.
I’ve seen plenty of bald eagles in my day and they always take my breath away. But these two birds of prey were even more impressive, both by their size and the way they escorted us down that river.
Yesterday, I took a walk past another river and soaked in that glorious view.
These are Wisconsin’s glory days and I’m so grateful we took some time to enjoy them. I’m excited to see what the rest of October brings!