Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weekend in Wisconsin

I am joining up with Susan over at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.  Please feel free to click over to visit other fascinating and beautiful outdoor venues. 

Last weekend, my husband was able to take Friday off so that we might travel to Wisconsin to visit his grandmother.  Armella is 88, soon to be 89, and lives completely independently.  In fact, I think she has more energy than I do.  She's a petite thing...maybe 4'11" tall and 90 pounds, if that!  But she's got "cold living" down to a science and I swear it is what keeps her going!  (Did I mention that she takes her neighbor, Albina, to both church and the grocery store on Saturday nights?  Yes!  And Albina is 98...and lives on her own as well!!!)

Fortunately, the heat wave in western Wisconsin snapped and we were welcomed with cool, refreshing temperatures.  Almost downright cold!  Which is a good thing since Chris' grandmother does not have air conditioning in the house!

We decided to take full advantage of the beautiful weather and took the kids hiking.  Although it was cool and overcast in the morning, the sun finally shone in the afternoon.  We visited several sites and locations in both  Prairie Du Chien, WI and McGregor, IA situated on the upper Mississippi River.

First stop...the "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign.  This travel stop is located right on the banks of the Mississippi River welcoming visitors from Iowa.

Welcome to Wisconsin!

Next stop...the Lady Luck Casino.  Now, I promise you that we did not take our three kids to do some gambling...or eat buffet...

Giant paddle wheel at the restaurant.  The actual casino is on a river boat.

...rather, we wanted to get their pictures taken on the giant pink elephant!

This elephant has been around since my husband was a child!

Luke isn't sure what to think!

We also took the kids hiking at two different parks. First, we went to Pike's Peak State Park in Iowa.

"In 1673, the first white men to see what is now Iowa, explorer Louis Joliet and Father James Marquette, reached the mouth of the Wisconsin River and beheld the great, unknown river now known as the Mississippi. After the Louisiana Purchase, the government sent Zebulon Pike in 1805 to explore the Mississippi valley and select locations suitable for military posts. Pike recognized the park site as an important, strategic point, and an excellent location for a fort. The government agreed on the vicinity but selected the prairie around Prairie du Chien (now Wisconsin) for the fort. Several years later, Pike was again sent westward by the government and named Pikes Peak in Colorado." 
Pikes Peak State Park
The confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers

Next we visited Effigy Mounds National Park.  Sacred burial mounds, a replica bald eagle's nest, and a trip to the gift store made this hiking trip complete!

Eagle Scout Project
Sunday arrived and found us returning home.  But our trip through the state of Iowa would not be complete without a quick stop in Strawberry Point. And yes, they do have an annual strawberry festival!

I hope you enjoyed our brief tour through eastern Iowa and western Wisconsin.  The upper Mississippi River communities are quite quaint nestled along the river banks, and I encourage you to plan a trip at least once in  your lifetime to see these majestic river bluffs and powerful Mississippi.


  1. Wow your outdoor adventures are wonderful! I really like the pink elephant!

  2. Your Outdoor Wed link took me to last week's post, which I enjoyed, but being a WI girl I had to read this one too. Then you said you were at the casino in Iowa - my son was there this last weekend too. (Working with a musician.)
    Those few days of high heat kept us in the root cellar when we could. I hope I get to be in my 80s and going strong and independent.