If you have followed my blog now for a while, you know that I am always on the lookout for new-to-me, interesting things to try. While on a recent trip to Northern Wisconsin, I saw several UTVs – or Utility Vehicles – riding around on the trails when we were there. I announced to my husband “I want to try that!”
Now, my husband may not be the brightest when it comes to getting hints from me (or listening to outright declarations of my interests) but he knows enough that when the wife announces she wants to go off-roading, he better take advantage of it. He immediately made reservations for a 24-hour rental for an upcoming weekend, no second hint required.
That morning when we went to get the UTV, the weather was beautiful, perfect. We picked it up in Laona, Wisconsin and headed north, with the goal of traveling to Michigan and back. The day gradually heated up to the mid-80s. Skies were mostly blue and clear, and dotted with a smattering of light, fluffy clouds. Later in the evening, there would be a few thick, low clouds lined with heavy gray. These would be a lovely relief from the sun’s beating rays.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of fears others have, compared to mine. I’m not going to lie. I was kinda scared about doing this. About driving the UTV? No. I was afraid of the trail ride. The northern trails go through miles and miles of nothingness. What if we broke down? There is minimal cell service, how to call for help?
Bears, mountain lions, and wolves would be waiting to pounce on me, I thought. How would I be able to relax and enjoy the scenery? I envisioned rounding a corner on the UTV and seeing a pack of wolves or a bear. The UTV had a roof so I reckon that made it semi-pounce-proof from mountain lions. I giggled as I ran a vision of a mountain lion on the UTV roof peering down at us, through my head.
Yes, I’m more likely to die from a tick bite or by hitting a deer, but sometimes if you make some simple adjustments for your irrational fears, it can help you get past them. After some deliberation, I decided to pack my Walther 9mm. It sounds silly, but I was able to relax and enjoy the day because of that. Next time I don’t know if I will feel the need to “pack heat.” Sometimes I wonder, am I the only one who runs contingency plans through their head as they try something new. Some people can run head-on into new experiences without a second thought. Not me.
We spent most of our time on the “interstate” of ATV trails called the Nicolet Trail. We also took a few worthwhile side detours. The scenery, some of which follows, was breathtaking in person. The UTV had a top speed of around 40mph, just enough to keep somewhat cool in the last of the summer heat. However, the center console of the UTV had vents where the heat from the engine dissipated. It got really hot, which would be great in the cool of the fall, but not so much in summer heat.
We crossed too many rivers to number, and we stopped on the bridges of most of them to snap a few pics.
I like to think that God was smiling at us, as I saw this smirky grin made from clouds.
We drove past all kinds of terrain – including meadows, farms, forests and swamps.
The most amazing visit of the day was to Halsey Lake in Florence County. Not a breath of wind, nor the smallest ripple to be seen within it. The lake was mirrored glass and we watched the clouds go by in its reflection for a time. I don’t know that I will ever see such a sight like that again.
Some amusing parts of the trip were to be found in the workmanship on a restaurant bathroom stall door.
And a well-made, detailed scarecrow face – sleep well, my friends.
We saw a hint of treasure from a distance, and upon closer inspection, jackpot! My guess is its an Electro-Motive EMD NW2! They were built from 1939 to 1949. Just lovely!
Ride with me, for a bit…
As I approach the one-year mark of blogging, I contemplate whether I wish to continue sharing my experiences and thoughts, such as these. That decision has yet to be made and will be pondered in next week’s blog. You should see my bucket to-do list! Yet, I just don’t know.
I’m glad I was able to deal with my initial fears before hitting the trails. This turned out to be a poignant trip, which stirred one’s senses with the fresh smells of cedar or of meadow and listening to the rhythmic melody of the waters passing through the rivers that we crossed. When I saw the mirrored lake and the smiling clouds, it touched a bit of my soul that you just can’t experience unless you get out into nature.
I would have missed this experience, had I not dispensed with my fears. With every thrust of fear, I now learn to parry. By coming face to face with my mortality, I’ve learned to fight back, so that I can experience life.
We all battle some fear.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Be strong and courageous. It’s time to overcome the “what ifs.” What adventure has life got in store for YOU? So many of you, my friends, have new challenges going on in your lives. Alleviate your fears as you are able, trust in God, and let’s hit the trail.