After flying into Omaha from NC around 9 pm on April 19, picking up our car in the long-term lot, driving home, and sleeping not long enough, we arose on the 20th to eat a good breakfast, do laundry, re-pack, and get back in the car to head north. Our first goal was to check on the cabin to see how it had weathered the winter and to perform any repairs that might be necessary. Traffic was light and there were lots of signs of the developing spring as we drove through Iowa, but they dwindled as we drove into the higher latitudes. Along the way CD and Squiddy took turns reading a book they had both loved as girls, one of the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy’s Wedding (more about this in my next Post).
Apart from refueling, we made our traditional stop at the prairie rest stop just south of Worthington and learned, to our great disappointment, that its days were numbered, and it would be closed this summer. We have always looked forward to a break from the drive and a walk on the path through the wildflowers here, and we will miss it very much.
We reached Aftermath with enough daylight to have a thorough look around and were very happy to find nothing remarkable that needed immediate attention—no signs of any unwanted (animal or human) visitors, and although several trees had fallen, none had caused any damage to anything essential, although there will be a lot of lumbering to done when we return. I am having visions of a new electric log-splitter on our horizon. There was still ice on the lake, though there was a clear patch of water close to shore, and we could hear and see the strain and movement, respectively, of the ice as it moved slowly with the force of the mild wind, a fascinating and meditative event to behold.
As the sun fell toward the horizon, we decided to drive quickly to the eastern edge of the lake to see if we could find a good spot to take advantage of this rare opportunity to watch it set across the icy lake. We stopped once on the private property of a resident we didn’t know, but didn’t stay long and were very quiet, then once again near the public access point.
After it had set, we finally drove into Walker and our reserved room at the motel, barely making it to the adjacent Lucky Moose for dinner before the kitchen closed for the evening. A very good day.
On Thursday morning I was up first and brought tea to CD & Squiddy. We resisted the temptation to feast on comfort food at the Outdoorsman Café, settling instead for the motel breakfast that was included in the price of the room. I made a Belgian waffle that wasn’t really all that bad. Then we loaded our stuff and ourselves into the car again and went back to the cabin for a more detailed look around. When we’d made careful assessment around the lakeside property, we headed back across the road into the woods to check the condition of everything there. There was a considerable amount of water in the roadside marsh that was a concern for us with the prospect of serious (and very controversial) road improvement in the near future, and I documented this to help with its being recognized as a wetland to hopefully reduce the amount of ecological invasion by the road builders.
Back in the woods, there was still patchy snow and very little sign of new spring growth, except for some especially eager new grass shoots. A few old trees had fallen, and some new work would be needed on the path that I have crafted there through the years, but nothing too drastic.
We stayed into the mid-afternoon, then said our farewells, already very much looking forward to our return in the warmer weather of June, and headed down to St. Paul and Schwes’s.