Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wisconsin mountain lion sightings

The Northwoods is more remote than I thought.  Traveling to Wassau and surrounding area, and then further north, I was quickly immersed in vast - and I mean *vast* expanses of wilderness.  What immediately struck me was how heavily forested the area happens to be after a good bit of it (mostly near Lake Superior, but also where I was) had been logged out during the late 1800s.  

During the turn of the century after the loggers had left, Woodrow Wilson granted that much of the land be turned into state forests and parks and restored (Wilson was also instrumental in conservation efforts with Maine state parks as well).  Now, 100 some years later, the forests have grown back in full force.  Save for hunting camps, a wilderness bar & grill, I was astonished to drive through hours of small mountains, wooded areas, and swamps.  I was pleased to see white spruce, red cedar, balsam fir, black ash, maple, oak, and birch.  It was a strange combination of Maine and Pennsylvania - but with smaller hills and lower "mountains" (more like very, very steep hills that stretch upwards for miles before descending again).  Hopefully my photo in the post below communicates the nature of these huge hills that seem to stretch endlessly.

Another surprising thing I encountered was the warnings about wolves.  Supposedly some of the access roads go pretty far back into the forest, and if one isn't armed, or if one is alone, you would question your intelligence to venture into the wilderness of the Northwoods.  As well, recently there have been more and more mountain lion sightings.  These are not escaped pets.  They are wild animals looking for food.  Again I was quickly reminded that we often "sugar coat" the great face of nature, when in fact, it is quite indifferent to the human.