Notes from the Northwoods: Happy Fourth from the North!

by Aisha Liebenow
My usual Fourth of July consists of a parade, fireworks, and everything red, white, and blue. This Fourth may not have been much different, but this time my family and I had the chance to celebrate our nation’s birthday Minocqua-style.

Min-aqua Bats with an impressive show on the water. Photo: K. Harberg-Liebenow
Min-aqua Bats with an impressive show on the water. Photo: K. Harberg-Liebenow

Minocqua is a tourist ‘hotspot’ up North known for its shops, charming downtown, and being a beautiful “island city” surrounded by water.
My family came up in the evening of July 4th, ready for fireworks and fun. They also wanted to see where I have been working for the past month and visit the places in all these crazy adventure stories I’ve been writing. More specifically, they wanted to see a bog.
Minocqua fireworks to celebrate the 4th. Photo: K. Harberg-Liebenow
Minocqua fireworks to celebrate the 4th. Photo: K. Harberg-Liebenow

First things first, though. We grabbed some pizza for dinner, and sat out in the lawn by their hotel to wait for the show to begin. Simple, and not too adventurous of an evening, but I do love fireworks. There is something about them that just captures the feeling of summer.
The next day we hit the town – after a delightful morning bog walk of course. Which, I must say, they enjoyed immensely!
 
Helping Kathy out of the bog. It was a close call! Photo: K. Liebenow
Helping Kathy out of the bog. It was a close call! Photo: K. Liebenow

Or at least they told me so… My stepmom Kathy may have had her fair share of Northwoods ‘immersion’ after taking a misstep into the water below. But she was a trooper and graciously plugged along with the rest of us for the rest of the walk.
Dad the Explorer Photo: A. Liebenow
Dad the Explorer Photo: A. Liebenow

 
 
After brunch, we went mini-golfing (I got 3 ‘holes in one’ and tied my dad for first place, no big deal), and started our wait for dinner (2 hours). It was a lot of waiting for one day to say the least, but what made the wait bearable was the waterski show! If you have never seen the Min-Aqua Bats, I highly recommend it, and is definitely a must-see attraction in Minocqua every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evening at 7PM.
Despite the long delays, between arriving at a restaurant, being seated at a table, and getting our food, it was definitely worth it! The Northwoods may not embrace a fast, ‘big city’ pace, but it definitely makes up for it in quality and a “homestyle” feel.
And maybe that is the point. When you are up in northern Wisconsin, you aren’t here to run around between business meetings, or drag the kids to games and classes and who knows where. It’s about slowing down, and taking your time to enjoy good food, good company, and a good time.
This is all something we have quickly learned here at the station. While we’re very proud of the work we do, and determined to do a good job, we also make sure to enjoy our time up North.
A lot of students on station had gone home for the holiday weekend, but we did manage to fit a few fun activities in before everyone left. Namely, water tubing, grilling out, and volleyball. The optimal triad of summer fun, with freshly sliced watermelon as the cherry on top.
Throwing Paul, Maggie, and Aisha around on the tube across Trout Lake. Photo: J. Torre
Throwing Paul, Maggie, and Aisha around on the tube across Trout Lake. Photo: J. Torre

Now our families have gone back home, us “Trout Lakers” have returned to the station, and we start another week of science, research, and adventure. Happy 4th everyone!

These are the first-hand ‘Notes from the Northwoods’, as UW – Madison undergraduate student, Aisha Liebenow, dives into the world of science, ecology, and aquatic systems. Follow her throughout the summer in her Northwoods immersion at the UW Center for Limnology – Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction, WI.

2 thoughts on “Notes from the Northwoods: Happy Fourth from the North!”

  1. Keep up the blogging. I am loving reading about your adventures. Although I live down in Madison now, as a kid it didn’t matter where my family was living we always made it Up North to camp on “North Trout” for a week or two. Many happy memories…and my dad always made it a point to show us the entrance to the Trout Lake Station and the important work being done there. My folks have now retired to the Minocqua area and love living full time on an area lake.

    1. Thank you Becky, I’m so glad you are enjoying reading my blog! I am finding out more and more how northern Wisconsin is a great place to be in the summer. Whether it’s living here for an extended time, or just for a short weekend vacation, there is so much to do and see.

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