This week the Cúpla Sisters took a little Wisconsin road trip and walk-about. As we headed northwest from Portage, I mentioned that we were entering the area where John Muir, father of our National Park System, spent his formative years. His memoirs, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth and Travels in Alaska have permanent places of honor on my Kindle. As serendipity willed, a few miles later we saw a sign with directions to John Muir Memorial Park and Ice Age Trail. The day was overcast and ‘soft’ as they say in Ireland. The solitude and the sweet fresh air were shared only by the birds, frogs and river otter. We leave it to John Muir to set the scene for you in words from his memoir, The Story of My Boyhood and Youth.
“Our beautiful lake, named Fountain Lake by father, but Muir’s Lake by the neighbors, is one of the many small glacier lakes that adorn the Wisconsin landscapes. It is fed by twenty or thirty meadow springs about half a mile long, half as wide, and surrounded by low finely-modeled hills dotted with oak and hickory, and meadows full of grasses and sedges and many beautiful orchids and ferns. First there is a zone of green, shining rushes, and just beyond the rushes a zone of white and orange water-lilies fifty or sixty feet wide forming a magnificent border. On bright days, when the lake was rippled by a breeze, the lilies and sun-spangles danced together in radiant beauty, and it became difficult to discriminate between them.”
Nearby, we discovered the Wee White Kirk, the church which John Muir’s father helped to establish.
The Marquette County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance provides more information about the John Muir Memorial Park and the Ice Age Trail System.