Friday, December 14, 2012

Campus: Winter Style

The last Thursday of our discussion section was very nice. I got to sing my song for the class. I was running late that day, so I ended up parking in the 20 minute stalls with my hazards blinking. I returned to my car at the conclusion of class to find my battery dead.

I called my mother-in-law to see if she was around to deliver me a jump. I decided it would be a good time for an observation! This time around the UWSP campus was covered with snow. I swear for the first four years of my schooling this place was nothing but snow. It certainly doesn't seem that way now.
It was a very clear day. The weather was hovering around 32 degrees. It felt warmer. The day was just great! I would go disc golfing this day as well. I like the little snowman built on top of this hill.
The dog sitting in snow. I guess this statue isn't so bad after all.
After listening to the UWSP Sustainability Coordinator, I think our University pays a lot of lip service to sustainability, but the reality is we really just don't do enough. The University needs to think about really expanding their use of technologies that are going to save energy and produce it as well. Our University could offset much of it's coal and natural gas use by simply putting solar panels on a lot of the buildings. The NFAC uses so much electricity! Theaters use a ridiculous amount. I think PV panels would help immensely!

Standing Rocks Project- WRA

It was November 15th that the majority of our NRES 370 Class went out with Glen Reindl's Wisconsin River Academy to the back of Standing Rocks Park. We showed up early, So I played frisbee with my colleagues while we waited for the bus from SPASH to show up.

The weather was a beautiful 50 degrees or so. It was very sunny. The surroundings were beautiful. Wisconsin forests are awesome!

The ranger met up with us soon after we got there. When the bus arrived Glen gave us the low down and then gave the students a similar low down. They have been out here before. We haven't

We were going after Autumn Olive, an invasive species that lives around the woods behind and in Standing Rocks Park. Basically we were charged with leading student groups in cutting down and destroying the plant. This involved one person sawing or snipping the plant and a designated herbicide sprayer This Herbicide was a mix of a potent poison and diesel fuel. The diesel was supposed to allow for a quicker destruction of the Autumn Olive and (oddly enough) so that it wouldn't spread to other plants. Apparently, the diesel doesn't wash away as easily

My group was really productive and filled with really nice kids. Some of them were hunters and pointed out deer rubs and other fun tracking signs. We worked for about 3 hours sawing and snipping. I had some gloves with me, so I ran the spray bottle while the students cut down the Autumn Olive.
I noticed the ranger had a contraption on his back that basically showered the plant with the herbicide mix. I thought this was odd as we were making the students cut them. This is supposed to lower the environmental impact. Yet, the ranger had no problem just spraying plants all over the place. I wonder what the over all effects of the spray compared to the Autumn Olive itself? Is it really worth spraying so much? Though I must say, I would hate to chop and spray all by myself.

This was a beautiful pond/lake we found over a ridge. This is technically private land. The own has chosen to selectively cut his land to promote the growing of some plants/tress. I don't really know the benefit of it other than the revenue from selling the wood. Seems counter-intuitive. I guess it might be similar to control burning certain areas.


Just a quick post here. I was hanging out on Campus before Thanksgiving. This dog has always bothered me for some reason, but today it looks cool. It's overcast outside and it feels a little colder. Just a high of 35 today. There was a slight flurry last night and during the day today. It is certainly starting to feel more like a Wisconsin autumn. Not a lot of snow. Not a lot of anything percipitation-wise. Hopefully we'll get some more.

Look at this huge bug I found on the ground!!! This is crazy looking. I don't even know what kind of bug it is. It was very large...

Disc Golf Series: Big Eau Pleine

I usually don't get a lot of time to visit courses outside of the Stevens Point area.

On another clear, beautiful October day, I visited Big Eau Pleine Disc Golf Course at the Big Eau Pleine County Park just west of Mosinee, WI. I've been here once or twice before.

1. This particular day I did not stay very long. On hole 3, I biffed a throw and managed to lose a brand new disc that was actually being used by my wife at the time. Needless to say, I was a little upset. However, I decided to marvel in the beauty for a while. It was a mild 55 degrees and there was a think layer of freshly fallen leaves on the ground.

2. The course has some very long holes. For an 18 hole course, it certainly is a test of any disc golfer's range and ability. There is a lot of open space and the course is kept up fairly nicely. You can see the Wisconsin River from the first couple holes. This course is constantly being used for tournaments and other events.

3. The course is just one part of a large park complex. Big Eau Pleine has campsites, a beach, a playground, full services bathrooms, and even a ranger station. This park is well managed. I even found a couple guys mowing the lawn. This field is between the disc golf course and the river. You have a really fantasic view of the River and all that is around it. There are a multitude of rodents and birds that hang out all over the place. Though I didn't see many large mammals, I'm sure there are many around.

Disc Golf Series: Memorial Park of Wausau

During an early November weekday, I took a trip to Wausau for an interview at the Bull Falls Brewery. On my way there I stopped at Memorial Park on Business 51 south of the downtown area. It was very beautiful driving down a small little hill to get to an open grassland just next to the Wisconsin River. This park was clean, multipurpose (there was a pool!) and beautiful. The weather was mostly cloudy with a little bit of drizzle. It started to rain as I was leaving. The temperature was very mild. It had to be around 50 degrees.

1. The course was just wonderful. There was a little inlet from the river that you had to throw over. There was a great view of Rib Mountain. It was also very clean!

2. The course was only 9 holes, but there were some harsh water hazards. There was not a lot of elevation, but there were many great views. The course was slightly confusing as it was split in two different parts.

3. The course is part of a larger park, so there is a lot of upkeep from the Park District. In general, the impact on the area is sizable, but the recreation level is high. The placement of the course might be for the best. There isn't a lot of buildings you want to put so close to the water. The course can actually act as a decent floodplain (and I'm sure it does.)

Rib Mountain!

Disc Golf Series: Patch Street

The newest course in Stevens Point is the reopening of the Patch Street course on the south side of Point. However, before I talk about that, I want to speak for a moment about littering.

I HATE PEOPLE WHO LITTER. Ok, we all litter sometimes, but seriously... these next couple of pictures are all pieces of trash I picked up during one outing at Patch Street. This is extreme. I hate to blame it on Punk Kids, but I see a lot of them come out here and just drop stuff. However, the beer cans I can blame squarely on douchey college students. The hard thing is, you can't fix stupid. Then again, it's worth a shot

1.I really like Patch Street course. I've gone out on numerous occassions. This time I went out was around 45 degrees. It was an overcast day and there was no one out at the park at around 10:30am. I like to disc in the mornings. I didn't see too many animals that day, but I you can see a bald eagle everyone once in a while on mcdill pond.

2. The course isn't difficult but it can be particularly challenging. Other than Standing Rocks, Patch is the only course in Central Wisconsin that has good elevation. There are some fun down and uphill shots.

3. Lately, the course itself is doing poorly. People using it for recreation have broken basket rings and chains. Signposts have been torn down and there are no longer any signs. As I mentioned before, there is so much litter of all different kinds. It is really disgusting. Sometimes I think the free rider problem could be solved by punching stupid jerks in the face. That would just solve the problem. But noooo, we have to worry about the constitution... ridiculous!

I get mad when I go out and just see blatant garbage. People are dirty. This is the Boy Scout in me that believes in the Outdoor Code.

Disc Golf Series: Mead Park

On a fairly warm and sunny afternoon, I took a trip out to Mead Park in Stevens Point. Mead Park is across the bridge going west over the Wisconsin River. Along with a disc golf park, there is a baseball diamond, basket ball hoops, and a fully functional handicap playground. Good fishing can be found on the river during the spring and summer.

A nice shot of the river and a basket ball net. The scenery is very picturesque. The temperature was about 55 with trees that were just in the middle of turning over for Autumn.
This shot was taken looking across the river on the 8th hole towards town. That little spike is actually the clocktower to St. Peter's Catholic Church. The who course is filled with visas like this. On the summer you can find boats zooming up and down by the bridge.

Another beautiful view.
This course isn't very difficult, but it has some tricky shots that can test your throw. The course is 9 holes. It makes a great stop for lunch.
There is a beach past these trees. In the Spring and Fall, there are a lot of geese on these flatlands. It can be hazardous picking up discs, especially if you land in poop. This waste also has a lot of nasty bacteria. Ducks are also common around the area.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thanksgiving in Park Falls

Thanksgiving was a really relaxing time. My wife and I went to visit her 100-year old grandmother in Park Falls, Wisconsin. I love it in Northern Wisconsin. I spent a lot of summers as a child in Minocqua. The lakes and forests can't be beat.

I worry though. Development in Northern Wisconsin due to tourism seems unstoppable. Some of my favorite places are gone or developed. Even the owners of our rented cabin are gone and their house torn down. Things change...

The food was great. The night of Thanksgiving, my wife's family and I were playing card games. I wanted to go outside for a quick moment. It was about twenty five degrees outside and snowing quite heavily. It was the first good snow of the northwoods! The morning was even more beautiful. I love the trees with snow on them.

I think what it must have been like when grandma Rose was a child. How has the environment changed? How can we do something to positively impact it? I guess I'll just have to EARN a million dollars or something.

But I am Le tired...