Return to Nicolet

The Thanksgiving holiday has often been a time for light travel for me. Even back in the day when I attended family dinners, we would sometimes travel to Chicago on Black Friday to check out the Christmas store displays. After I moved to Green Bay, I began to go deer hunting over the holiday with my neighbor and best friend.

The last year I went hunting was in 2014. When we returned, I adopted Remy. Since then, I’ve made a point to do a little scenic travel for Thanksgiving. Last year we stayed in Duluth and drove through Superior National Forest.

Return to Nicolet

This year, I thought a return trip to Nicolet National Forest – where we had camped just 2 months earlier – would be an ideal setting for a holiday drive. I had actually intended to return in October, during peak autumn foliage. There were stretches of NFR 2176 that looked like they would be breathtaking with colored leaves. Unfortunately, other obligations delayed our return until now.

This was a much shorter trip – we only stayed for a couple of hours, not overnight. I don’t have much to say about this trip, so I’ll keep this entry mercifully short.

Absolute Privacy

I wasn’t sure what to expect during this trip. We were in the middle of hunting season, and I believe our campsite was within legal hunting grounds. I worried that there would be other hunters around and accidentally left behind a blaze orange bandanna that I intended to have Remy wear.

Nicolet National ForestOn the other hand, it was Thanksgiving, and many sportsmen do take that day off from the hunt. And fortunately – that seemed to be the prevailing factor. A storm had rolled through the night before dumping about 6″ of snow on the ground. Based on the fresh tracks, it looked like only one or two cars had gone down Road 2176 since the storm. And once we got to Road 2140, there were no tracks.

That meant that we had at least one square mile of forest (and probably a bit more than that) all to ourselves. No other vehicles came down Road 2140 during our entire stay.

Hiking to Butternut Lake

Because of issues with my cell phone during our last trip, I wasn’t aware then of our proximity to Butternut Lake. It turned out to be a lot closer than I thought. During this trip, Remy and I went back into the woods where we had hiked before, but continued hiking a bit further, down toward a small creek that flows into Butternut Lake.

Nicolet National Forest

Butternut Lake

Remy spent quite a bit of time exploring the creek, which had not yet frozen over. Then we walked back toward the old campsite. I encouraged Remy to go sprinting back and forth through the woods, which was entertaining. By now, I pretty much have complete faith in her abilities off-leash.

The fresh-fallen snow made the drive both to and fro extraordinarily beautiful. It was a pleasant outing.

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