A Wonderful Weekend for All
This past weekend was one of those “classic times” when there’s was so much to do that I had to make a schedule to try and include all the outdoor events that I wanted to see and take part in. Plus, the weather for the first weekend in October was one of beauty with nature providing the brilliant colors that only nature can do! The last few weeks, I’ve been watching the slow color change on nearby Blackhawk Ridge with the colors changing from various shades of green to the colors of fall with gold, red, orange, and brown mixed in with the leaves that haven’t changed yet! I was hoping that the fall colors wouldn’t peak yet and give me some time to enjoy some of fall’s outdoor activities and photograph this awesome time of the year. Last week, we had winds of 50 miles per hour last week that blew many leaves down. But, the colors are still awesome!
October can be one of the year’s prettiest months with the changing of the leaves on many trees that give a “landscape painting” that can takes one’s breath away with its beauty and color. Now and throughout the month, try to get outside and enjoy this awesome time of the year. You don’t have to be a hunter or an angler to enjoy October’s cascade of colors and hues that can be found this time of the year. If you live in Madison, you have numerous opportunities to take a hike or walk in the Arboretum and or many of the city and state parks that surround the Chain of Lakes and the city. Pick up a state map or go to one of the local DNR offices in Madison, Fitchburg, or at the many state outlets for information. There are many beautiful state parks within a half an hour to an hour where you and family or friends can spend a day, an afternoon, or even be adventurous and spend a fall night camping. There are many state parks in the area that are not crowded this time of the year and can provide you with some of Wisconsin’s nicest locations and opportunities for hiking, camping, birdwatching, canoeing, and outdoor photography to name just a few of fall’s outdoor activities. I took a drive last week to Devil’s Lake State Park and with the lake’s surrounding bluffs covered with maples, aspen, and hickory trees changing colors made it was a sight that should have been on a postcard. The next week or two will continue to bring nature’s awesome array of colors, so try to take the time to enjoy this fall splendor.
This is probably the best time of the year for the fisherman. All species of fish “realize” that the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler which triggers them into eating and feeding much more as the cold of winter approaches. Fish have a metabolism that slows down as we get closer to winter and the hard ice time of year. But, it is also the time of the year when the biggest fish are also caught with fish going on a feeding frenzy and often reaching their heaviest weight of the year. If you’re an avid angler, be sure not to put your boat away because there’s many days of good fishing left in October and November if you dress right and fish the fall areas where fish will be congregating as they bulk up for winter.
September, October, and November are also the best time of the year for the hunter who will be out after deer, ducks, geese, pheasants, doves, turkeys, grouse, rabbits, and squirrels. All of these hunting seasons are open with the exception of the pheasant, quail, Hungarian partridge, and sharp-tailed grouse seasons which open on October 15. The deer gun season, which draws over half a million hunters to the woods, opens the 19th of November in Wisconsin.
This is a fantastic time to be outdoors watching the many birds and waterfowl that migrate through the state on their ways to warmer climates. I feed birds year-round and the number of birds that I see has greatly diminished. Most of the birds that I’m now feeding include; blue jays, cardinals, morning doves, woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens, sparrows, and crows. Most of these birds are ones that reside in Wisconsin year-round and that I regularly feed. The orioles, grosbeaks, hummingbirds, and finches have left my Wisconsin River home about two weeks ago just before our first few nights of chilly weather. I have fewer numbers and species of birds now, but the ones still at my feeders are eating just as much as when there were larger numbers of birds. Birds must be doing a “bulk up” for colder weather too! With the numerous lakes in our area, there are many locations where you can go and watch migrating birds including waterfowl and shore birds. I’ve also seen many cranes feeding in fields in my local travels.
You have to realize that you don’t have to drive far to find wildlife and areas for hiking, biking, photography, and birding. There is so much to see and enjoy in the immediate area of Madison and Dane County that traveling far is not necessary. If you’d like to drive a little farther, you can go to the Horicon Marsh where hundreds of thousands of geese gather, or drive out to the Mississippi River and drive the River Highway along the Mississippi northward. There’s also the Goose Pond on the Arlington Prairie for bird and waterfowl watching.
Saturday and Sunday were “tough” days because I wanted to enjoy the beautiful October weekend and also watch some sports on television. The Badgers were playing Nebraska, the Brewers were playing Saturday and Sunday, and the Packers played Denver on Sunday. Somehow, I figured out a way to get some yard work done, fish for a few hours on the Wisconsin River, take some fall photos in the area, and still find time to watch the Badgers, Brewers, and Packers all who won. What a weekend!
The last activity that I’m going to mention is what a magnificent time it is to canoe down the Wisconsin River for an afternoon, day, or for the hardy camper an over-night trip. There is little if any activity on the Lower Wisconsin River this time of year. But, I did have some canoes and kayaks float by my house both Saturday and Sunday taking advantage of the sun and the river’s innate beauty. There still are canoe liveries open if you don’t have your own canoe or kayak. The scenery is breath-taking, wildlife is abundant, and Sunday the high temperature was 69 degrees. The nights may be chilly, but the days are wonderful and well worth an afternoon float down the Wisconsin River. This week looks especially nice to be on the water or anywhere outdoors in Wisconsin.
October is one of the nicest months for anyone who likes to be outside. No matter what you like to do, get outside this month and enjoy the fall before its winter. Take your choice of activities, there’s always something to do in the Wisconsin outdoors.
WI River Outings, canoes and kayaks. 1-866.41.CANOE or 86641CANOE.com