05-Aug-2022 -- As we were on a wonderful self guided journey through Iowa, and as the journey focused on the physical and cultural geography of the state and region, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect addition to such a journey. Plus, it would give us an excuse to visit nearby Wisconsin. Thus, after our hikes at Decorah and a visit to the Burr Oak home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, we were crossing the Mississippi River to Prairie du Chien Wisconsin, and then southeast along US Highway 18, crossing the Wisconsin River. Both of these rivers are magnificent in this area, with wide valleys and numerous tributaries, wetlands, and birds. We climbed out of the Wisconsin River valley and up still more on Fuller Hollow Road. This was a lovely valley and shortly we emerged on the ridgetop to the northeast.
I was surprised that the road became paved a bit of the way in, before giving way once more to gravel on the ridgetop.
After a slight delay due to my wrong turn, we parked atop the ridge next to some hay bales that would later make for some great photo backdrops. We encountered no fences but had the landowner permission letter with us as we hiked down the gully along the side of the field. Fortunately the field was not planted in anything this season, and we made good time to the edge of the forest. We were already within 100 meters of the point but I plunged in for the last part of the trek. Wearing shorts, my legs immediately began stinging mightily, but I was hoping it was just due to thorns and I wasn't wading through poison ivy. As expected, the GPS in the trees varied widely around "all zeroes" and it took me almost 10 minutes to obtain a decent zero-zero photograph. Plus, there were numerous tripping hazards--vines, stumps, and uneven terrain.
The temperature stood in the mid-90s F on a after-mid-summer afternoon under clear skies and moderate breezes. We saw no animals or birds. The land slopes to the northwest toward the Wisconsin River and below the trees were growing a fair variety of thorns and shrubs including some wild rose. The view is about 30 meters in the trees, but from the field to the east, the view is about a half mile to the north and 1/3 mile to the ridgetop to the east. From the ridge are magnificent views in all directions--definitely one of the more beautiful confluence points in the over 400 I have visited over the past 20 years.
This was my first confluence in Wisconsin in many years; since 2019 when I visited some points along 46 North in the northern forests. This was my 4th point along 43 North in the state; I have all of the points along 43 North now, stretching to Milwaukee on the east. It was good to be back in America's Dairyland! I have visited 43 North in many other states, all across North America, from Idaho on the west to New Hampshire on the east, in the USA. I have also stood on 91 West many times in the past, from Wisconsin on the north end to Louisiana in the south. Each was unique and makes for good stories. This was my 9th confluence visit of the year 2022, markedly different from my pinon juniper high desert hike to 38 North 109 West in June on the Colorado-Utah border and different too from 43 North 96 West in western Iowa just three days prior. This year I have also visited confluence points in a pistachio orchard in Greece, on a hillside in Austria, amidst a snowy forest in Minnesota, and in other wild places. We took photos and a video which I have placed on my Our Earth channel, here. Enjoy!
It was a bit challenging in the trees to zero out the GPS unit but overall a pretty easy trek from the vehicle. I was amazed that nobody had logged a visit here in over 20 years. After taking in the vistas one last time, we were reluctant to depart. However, our next geographic adventure awaited--visiting Pikes Peak State Park, a beautiful park back across the river in Iowa. Thus we bade the area farewell and left the way we had come in, a bit windblown and sun-beaten but feeling quite centered.