When it comes to ways to mess up vacations, thinking too much is high on the list.
During visits to Costa Rica, my wife’s homeland, that‘s especially true for me. Now that we’ve returned from what we hope becomes an annual trip, there has been time to reflect on thoughts that threaten my enjoyment of paradise.
Most vacation spots are more enjoyable with a bit of knowledge about their history and culture, but that’s a mixed bag for me in Central America.
Although a spring-break dream of losing myself in a few days of backpacking hasn’t materialized, it’s easy to be grateful for Wisconsin’s outdoor treasures and those who protect them.
I’ll content myself with a few scattered day trips, and several recent ones helped me add 30 miles to my Ice Age Trail total. Along the way, I got to see a mysterious and outsized figure in Iola, which is a good reminder to recognize some giants in Wisconsin conservation.
April 14 brings another Wisconsin Hall of Fame induction ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m. at Sentry Theater in Stevens Point. The ceremony is free, along with a coffee reception an hour earlier.
This year’s four honorees bring to 96 the total number of hall inductees. They are Door County naturalists Roy and Charlotte Lukes, former Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources head and current Wisconsin Wildlife Federation director George Meyer, and former wildlife management professor Arlie Schorger.
The commitment to conservation and outdoor recreation by true Wisconsinites never fails to disappoint, as I was reminded during a business trip to Madison last week.
With a lunchtime meeting set up, I had planned a post-meal walk at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum before heading back to Point. A quick look at the map, however, showed me there was something much closer to the restaurant in Monona – in fact, three somethings in one.
My 9-year-old asked me to pull our bikes off the winter bike hooks in the garage this past Saturday, marking the passage of another season and inadvertently leading to another weekend of youngsters reminding me of life’s important lessons.
Lorena and a friend wanted to go to the library and accidentally rode off with no locks and no adult supervision. When overly-protective dad couldn’t find the two girls until about 20 minutes later, I scolded them a little too roundly, accusing them of not having been where they said would.
It turns out they had been, but finished so quickly – returning and checking out items, then apparently reaching 9-year-old boredom thresholds – that they headed back home. Their dismay at the unfair scolding was evident, so I sought forgiveness with ice cream at Emy J’s.
It’s been so cold lately that I’ve stayed inside more, nursing a tweaked knee and reading about important scientific findings I can use to convince myself to go back outside.
Some knowledge is harder to relate to outdoor recreation, such as the piece I read about Ocean Alliance researchers using drones to collect whale mucus. No kidding – they use what they lightheartedly call a “snot-bot” to fly over whales spouting on the surface, as it’s a non-invasive way to collect the expectorations of the great mammals in order to study their DNA.