Friday, August 22, 2014

La Crosse, Wisconsin

We have moved up river to Goose Island County Park, which is part of a National Wildlife refuge.  It is located three miles south of La Croose.  This area is all about majestic bluffs, coulees and marshes, and has some of the most spectacular scenery along the Mississippi River.  Besides the Mississippi River, the Black River as well as the La Crosse River flow through the city.  Yesterday we drove up the largest bluff around here,which is called Granddad.  It rises 700 feet above the river, most of the other bluffs are at an average of 600 feet. 
From the top of the bluff we had a wonderful view of the city, rivers and valley below.
Situated around the top of the bluff are interpretive signs relating to the history of the city.  French explorers had observed the Ho-Chunk Native Indians playing a game with a ball and long sticks which had a wicker basket at the end.  We now know that game as la crosse- which became the name of the early settlement, and later the city.  At Riverside Park, which is located at the waterfront of La Crosse, we saw a sculpture called the LaCrosse Players. It depicts two Native Americans playing the game.
There is a third Ho-Chunk on the ground between the two players.  The river front was quite active while we were there.  The river boat American Queen had just arrived and was going to be docked for five hours while its passengers toured the town.  Pictured below is a A Simpler Time,  a life-size sculpture of children and their dog greeting the boat.  The American Queen has a passenger capacity of 436, it cruises between New Orleans and the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
There is a number of other attractions besides boats and barges at the river front.  The Riverside Museum features a large number of artifacts brought up from the steamboat War Eagle which sank in 1870.  Behind the museum is the Riverside International Friendship Garden featuring typical gardens of La Crosse's sister cities in France, China, German, Norway, Ireland, Russia and Africa.  In the Germany garden I saw an awesome succulent which really does look like the name given it; Mouse Ear.
While waiting for John to finish at the museum I sat at the riverfront where a man pointed out to me a river snake of about 3 feet long.  What was very entertaining about that sight was the presence of a large flock of sparrows surrounding the snake and chattering excitedly about the strange creature.  They followed the snake to the edge of a hill and then very perplexedly watch him slither down the hill and into the water.  I could just imagine the sparrows asking: "where did he go?"  I know, there are so many more wonderful sights to show you in the city of La Crosse, and it did seem silly to post one of sparrows.  But I thought that the sight of those birds peering down at the snake was a bit comical!  It was like "where did he go?".

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