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Blog 13: Shewahmegon ’81

Leaning back against the old lodge siding in the screened-in, the boy looked out at the bay of the Northern end of the Lake. It was his third day of being away from his family for the first time. The scene was grey as the rain steadily came down in mid-June, but the boy knew there was something special about Lake Owen. Couldn’t help it, but the tears ran down his face, no sobbing, just silent tears.

One of the older boys noticed, threw his right arm around the boy’s shoulders, looked him in the face w/ a smile, and asked: “what’s wrong little dude?” The boy thought, nothing much to say: “oh, it’s been raining for 3 days.” “Don’t worry bud, this will be the best Summer of your life.” The boy took comfort, opened himself up to making new friends, learned how to drop a water ski, paddled, camped, and became one of the boys. Nothing quite like Lake Owen: clear water, islands, and very little change. Nothing quite like Shewahmegon either.

Shewahmegon is now long gone, but the Chequamegon and the County Forests of my youth are pretty much the same. Sparse human population, enormous natural biodiversity, they contribute a headwater to the Mississippi, and they still have boasting rights to the clearest Lake in the State. One of the last remnants of the Wild Northern Midwest.

For a day excursion with a guide who has been exploring the woods of the Cable Area, WI since ’81, contact us by phone, text, and email as stated on our website www.upnorthguidedtours.com for questions, discussion, and to book your reservations. Thank you for reading, here’s to all our health. -Josh 4/28/20

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Blog #12: Harkenings of the BMX Days

Got a message from the guy who was my best friend during our 4th and 5th grade years about a week ago. He looks back fondly at our time together throwing the football around and listening to Rock ‘n Roll. I on the other hand remember the beginning of our BMX days.

Some kids are just cooler than others. This guy had older siblings and a Dad who knew that style mattered. So he had a chrome Haro w/ black components and black mag wheels. I did not, but my Dad did get me a bike to tool around on, and that was good enough for sure. Yes we did find some primitive dirt trail others started building, yes we did enhance existing jumps and added some of our own, and yes we did have our “backwoods fun,” but that was just a bit of it.

It was really about getting out. Out of the house, out of my neighborhood, and out on bike. My buddy had a print shop in his neighborhood that had an old cooler, you know, top sliding door, reach in, grab a pop in a glass bottle, remove that cap with the imbedded bottle cap remover, and there you go, instant old school refreshment. I can just imagine how it was for the shop staff: two sweaty, smelly boys walk into the place of business, hoot’n and hollering, just to grab two $.35 sodas… Reaching in I could never see much with the sweat in my eyes and all, sometimes a Grape Fanta, sometimes a Dr. Pepper, but sometimes a frigg’n Tab! “Ty, do you have another $.35?” Knew the answer was NO by the snickering. That’s what I look fondly back at, it was the beginning of my “doing it for the good Xs” riding attitude.

Lot of years have gone by, still ride for fun, and I do Up North Guided Tours when I can to get you out for an off-road, off-the-beaten-path experience that will remind you of how it felt when it was new. Accepting Reservations for this Summer now. Thank you for reading. -Josh 4/26/2020