One thing I had not yet considered in our new location is the closer proximity to the La Crosse area and all the beauty surrounding Mississippi River Valley, an area which I’ve visited but not spent a lot of time. It turns out that in his new position there are occasions when Mr Knitting Sarah has meetings just outside of La Crosse and one such occasion was earlier this week. Since the kids are finished with school and we didn’t have anything on our schedule that day, we decided to tag along for the ride, drop him at his meetings, and do a little exploring before picking him back up.
There so much to do in the area, but I finally settled on starting with the Trempeleau National Wildlife Refuge (keep reading for the ulterior motive…). My thought was that we’d go and enjoy a nice little hike. We arrived and it was just incredible landscape…
The big ‘ol Mississippi with abundant lily pads and surrounded by river bluffs. We watched Black Terns and Red-Winged Blackbirds and Pelicans across this vast expanse. We saw a couple bald eagles grasp talons and fall toward the river only to release their grip and catch themselves just before impact. And we saw a muskrat with duckweed comically plastered to his face as he chomped away on something in the water.
We attempted that hike. We chose a relatively short jaunt out onto a dike…
Which would have been amazing save for the deer flies that drove my son to insanity. We turned around after just a few minutes with a resolve to come back next time armed with long sleeves and bug spray. Or we’ll just come back after a good hard frost. One or the other.
The wildflowers, of course, we beautiful.
I swear I will never get bored of these types of pictures because they are all so unique to my eyes. I love capturing one delicate moment in a precious life cycle. No matter how many pictures of flowers I take, they just seem to sing to my eyes.
The kids also spotted this photo on an information board…
With the kids anxious to escape the bugs, we piled into the car and headed out…
And shortly after 10am, we made it to our destination, a new-to-me LYS, Yarnology in Winona, Minnesota. I told you there was an ulterior motive for heading a bit north of La Crosse! This little shop is a true gem and I was so happy to have a little time to spend there. Within its walls lie a really nice combination of yarn standards as well as indie & local dyers. I also got to meet Jennifer, also known as Driftless Knitter, an employee in the shop and from whom I’d learned of it via her Instagram feed. It was such a great shop that although I went in looking for bent-tip tapestry needles and rosewood cable needles, I didn’t leave with either. It wasn’t because the don’t stock those items — they do — it’s because I got totally and completely distracted by everything else.
When it came time to check out, I had some Heidi & Lana stitch markers.
I have loved these markers for years and some of mine are getting pretty worn. I’d just been looking at these rose gold wire ones online so when I saw them in the shop I grabbed them.
I also picked up this skein of Vesper Sock Yarn from Knitterly Things in the colorway ‘Happy Accident’. I love the colors and once I saw the name I couldn’t pass it up.
I also picked up this skein of Authentic Sock from Three Sister Fiber Co, dyed right there in Winona. I’d been ogling their recent ‘Sea Glass’ in their Summer Series since it came out and while I didn’t indulge in that colorway, I just had to see how this yarn knit up. The colorway I got is from the “A Day In A Life” series (you can read about it here) — it is March 11, 2017 and I love that it feels like a complex mix of the end of winter and beginning of spring.
And last but not least…
I brought home a Hinza bag. Made in Sweden, I’ve been looking at these for a good long while now. I had a feeling it would be a great way to hold prepped fiber. The bins I used to use for this purpose are mostly occupied now and the idea of having one that I could easily move from the living room out to the porch or tuck away into a little nook seemed perfect. I’m ecstatic to have finally found one I could look at and see before I buy and even happier that I could bring home this pretty blue. It’s probably time to prep some Tour de Fleece fiber, after all.
I only took two wrong turns on the way to pick up Mr Knitting Sarah, but eventually the GPS chirped, “Welcome to Wisconsin” again and we made it in plenty of time. My being late meant we all got to grab our to-go lunch together which by request was from my favorite chain of sandwich shops that we no longer have locally. Mr Knitting Sarah even bought me two sandwiches so that I could have one for dinner as well. ❤
Sure, it was a lot of driving. Sure, there were some bug-related setbacks. And sure, I splurged a bit at a new LYS &, you know, sandwiches, but instead of a day apart from our beloved Mr Knitting Sarah we got to spend most of the day all together and the kids and I enjoyed a beautiful day of adventure in a brand new place. There are loads more places I can’t wait to check out in the area — bike trails and parks and landmarks. And you can bet I’m definitely looking forward to the next chance we get to hear “Welcome to Minnesota” again, too.