Vacation time! We spent a delightful week (entirely offline and unplugged) chilling in the Boulder Lake Campground, part of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, in northern Wisconsin.

After the long drive up from Chicago, the last hour was a joy, winding along hilly roads through dense woodland. We could happily live here. Maybe someday…

The camp has hiking trails, a small lakeside beach that was really pleasant (before the crowds moved in), and squillions of trees. We tented, hiked, biked, swam, rested and campfired.

We didn’t take many photos in the forest, as there weren’t any remarkable features – and how many photos of just trees does one need? We did take more photos during two splendid days at the rapids on Wolf River, which we wish we’d discovered earlier.

Wolf River, Wisconsin

Wolf River’s rapids are popular with rafters, kayakers, canoeists and inner-tube riders. We liked the scene best on its own, sitting right at the water’s edge and cooling our feet. We also enjoyed a fine hike along one section of the river, through more forest.

Wolf River Rapids

We saw lots of big birds overhead, hawks and eagles. I got an exciting bit of musical inspiration one morning at the beach, when we saw four hawks circling in overlapping orbits. (I’d never seen more than one before.) That sighting (unfortunately, we couldn’t get a good photo) immediately sparked a musical idea, which I hope to include in a top-secret collaboration project. Failing that, I’ll solo it.

The only music I listened to was that playing in my mind all week, my favorite pastoral tunes from Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumbel (Woodlands (w/ David Lanz) and Legends) and Will Ackerman (Returning and Sound of Wind-Driven Rain).

Wolf River Eddy

As nice as Boulder Lake park is, it was still too noisy at times, due to people who brought their noise with them. It’s no secret that most people are uncomfortable with quiet. In fact they’re terrified by it, and feel the need to shout it down. (What we have here is a failure to relax…)

So… our priority next summer will be a wilderness trip to Quetico Provincial Park in northwestern Ontario, and the nearby Boundary Waters in northeastern Minnesota, both old friends of Dasi’s from her Girl Scout days. Two weeks up there will probably make us allergic to Chicago, which is becoming intolerably noisy (thanks to its 1% mayor, O’Hare and the FAA). We’ll just chalk it up as more Relocation Motivation.

Next up: reports on my two performances in June and July, each with audio highlights and a photo or two. There is some cool news to report…. stay tuned!