We headed out this morning and had no trouble finding Sax-Zim bog. As always, it was absolutely nothing like I expected. It was about 20 times more gigantic than I would have thought. I wish I had set my trip meter when I entered, but we did a large loop that was recommended on their website map and I'm pretty sure I drove over 40 miles! As I said before, there was very little snow, so we had a very slim chance of seeing great gray owls and we didn't. We did see LOTS of eagles, ravens, crows, hawks, chickadees, common redpolls, northern shrikes, a very cool black and white bird I have yet to identify and the bird of the day- a ruffed grouse. By the time we FINALLY made it back to the road we entered on, we were both pretty bored and TEN MILES west of where we entered! I could pretend to be disappointed in the lack of snow, but if there had been any real amount of snow we wouldn't have been able to drive much of the area since it was 95% unpaved. I didn't expect much, but really wanted to say I'd been there. It was worth the trip.
We then headed back into town and went to the Lake Superior Zoo. I was impressed that the majority of their outdoor animals were very cold tolerant and on display. We saw our second snowy owl of the trip, but it was captive. Logan was thrilled to see one up close and get to study it for a while. The zoo grounds were beautiful, with a natural waterfall and creek running through. We had a good time.
We had time for one more thing so Logan chose to go back to the lakefront to skim rocks across the ice. While he did that I talked to some birders who were scoping gulls and added some new birds to my list. I have to admit, I NEVER would have bothered to scope the gulls on my own. Gulls bore me. Maybe in a few years when I can identify everything else, rare gulls will be the thrill of my life. Until then, I'll happily add to my list when others do the work.
We were sad to leave Duluth. It is one of my favorite areas I've ever been. I loved the beautiful lake and hills, the birch and pine forests, the casual attitude of the people, everything... I asked Logan what he hoped to get out of the rest of our trip and he really wanted to swim. I plan to go to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge tomorrow and it's ~ an hour north of Wisconsin Dells. I couldn't remember any hotels between the Dells and Eau Claire that FOR SURE had pools. We decided to play it safe and stop at the same hotel in Chippewa Falls we stayed at our first night. Then we saw a billboard for an AmericInn with an indoor waterpark and went there instead. It's no Great Wolf Lodge, but it has a slide pool, a basketball pool, a baby pool and a hot tub. I swam for a bit and soaked in the hot tub for a while which was great for my foot. Then I begged Logan to come back to the room with me for a few minutes while I showered and changed. Now I'm watching him swim and writing this entry. He's having a blast! Totally worth a little extra driving tomorrow!