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Grandad Bluff

by Judy Gull

590 feet above the town of La Crosse, Wisconsin is a greenery-covered mesa. It stands to the East of the town, as though watching over its citizens, timeless and unchanging. Grandad Bluff has indeed stood over the La Crosse area through the ages as it’s almost as old as the Mississippi itself. In fact, its formation may have directly impacted the Mississippi’s course as we know it.

Any timeless monument makes a mark on the people who live around it, or who visit the area. Mark Twain, for one, thought the bluff significant enough to mention in Life on the Mississippi. Grandad Bluff is significant because it embodies both the stoic beauty of a mountain and the exotic visual appeal of a mesa.

Mesa formations are characterized by their flat, table-like tops. Sheer cliff walls reach skyward, ending abruptly at the tabletop. Atop Grandad Bluff are a multitude of trees, which gives the mesa a look befitting its namesake: a grizzled, noble grandad.

One of the best things about any mesa is the uninhibited view they afford those with the gumption to climb them. Atop Grandad Bluff you will enjoy views of La Crosse, the University of Wisconsin and the Mississippi River weaving through the land.

For the city of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Grandad bluff has become a beacon of community pride. Many of the area’s festivals and gatherings take place in its shadow. Through snow and sun and rain, Grandad Bluff stands, watching the life of the citizens of La Crosse decade after decade.

In 1912 they opened Grandad Bluff Park. Here you can enjoy covered picnic areas, hiking trails and, of course, the spectacular views.

Winter Rec-Fest in La Crosse

by Judy Gull

Winter in western Wisconsin means sub-freezing air temperatures, Arctic wind chill blasts and blizzards that have the power to shut down the entire region for days. The good folks who call this seasonally frozen tundra home need something to look forward to have fun and stave off cabin fever.

Winter Rec-Fest in La Crosse provides residents and visitors with the perfect avenue for winter fun. Beginning in mid-January and running to early February, Winter Rec-Fest offers a diverse selection of frigidly fun activities, all designed to make citizens and visitors of all ages and interests happy.

It’s all about fun at Winter Rec-Fest. Thumb your nose at Old Man Winter, pitch in $2 for an all-inclusive button and embrace the season by participating in one or all of the events and activities.

The events kick off with the city-wide Snowflake Medallion Hunt. Then, you’ll want to get all your friends together and join in one of the competitive team sports tournaments, such as the Frosty Feet Kickball Tournament, Co-Rec Snow Volleyball Tournament or the One-Pitch Snow Softball Tournament.

Delve Into New Fun for 2012

* More than 230 hopefuls entered the Button Design contest this year, establishing a new record in Winter Rec-Fest history.

* Just when you thought Friday Night Family Fun night at Forest Hills couldn’t get any more fun, Rec-Fest organizers found a way! They’ve added games for the kids, a torchlight hike, fireworks, a snowman-making contest and a snow sculpture-creating contest.

* This year you will get to enjoy games, movies and food at the Hood Park Skate Day.

* Events brought back by popular demand from last year’s Rec-Fest include the Chicken-Que, the Frosty Feet Kickball Tournament and the Curling Event.

You can purchase your official 26th Annual Winter Rec-Fest buttons at the Green Island Ice Arena, the Parks & Recreation Office in the La Crosse City Hall, the Southside Neighborhood Center and the Black River Neighborhood Center.

For more information, like a detailed listing of show times, and activity registration and participation requirements, all you have to do is surf over to www.cityoflacrosse.org or call 608-789-7533.

For a detailed schedule of events for the 26th Annual Winter Rec-Fest, which will run from Wednesday, January 18 to Wednesday, February 1, click right here.

La Crosse River State Trail

by Judy Gull

La Crosse River State TrailLa Crosse River State Trail is a 21.5 trail along the La Crosse River, a tributary of the Mississippi River here in the La Crosse area. It is one of four state trails; the other three are The Great River, Elroy-Sparta, and the “400” state trail. Together, the state trails cover more than 100 miles.

La Crosse River State Trail links the Great River State Trail with the Elroy-Sparta State Trail. An active rail line runs parallel to a portion of the trail. The river trail was developed from abandoned railroad lines from the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.

The trail’s countryside comprises prairies, wetlands, forests, streams, and farmlands. There are also a number of parks and campgrounds along the way. The trail itself is composed of packed limestone screenings and bridges. Bicyclists, hikers, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the river trail from spring through fall, with snowmobiling and cross-country skiing popular in winter months. Guided prairie tours are available, and begin in Rockland.

La Crosse River State Trail connects the villages of Sparta, Rockland, Bangor, West Salem, and Onalaska, from east to west.

Sparta is known as the “Bicycling Capital of America” and Rockland is a small agricultural community.

Bangor was home to Winnebago Indians and later to Welsh residents. An inscribed sandstone cliff runs along Dutch Creek south of Bangor park.

West Salem’s historic locations include the Hamlin Homestead, which belonged to Hamlin Garland, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and the architecturally-significant Palmer-Gullickson Octagon Home.

Onalaska is surrounded by wooded bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River Valley in the Coulee Region, which is known as a “driftless area” from the time when glaciers bypassed the region. Lake Onalaska is a four-mile wide reservoir on the Mississippi River.

The villages that lie along La Crosse River State Trail have a number of amenities for trail trekkers, including bed and breakfasts, motels, bike repair and service shops, and restaurants and cafés.

There are more than 100 camping sites along the La Crosse River State Trail which include shaded areas, electrical hookups, sanitary stations, drinking water, hot showers, a camp store, fishing pond, playground, and canoe landing. Veterans’ Memorial County Park & Campground is located between Medary and West Salem. State trail passes and camping permits are available through Wisconsin State Park System.

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Contact Information

Photo of Judy Gull Real Estate
Judy Gull
RE/MAX First Choice
757 Sand Lake Road
Onalaska WI 54650
Direct: 608-781-7714
Fax: 608-783-4263