Engage the Weekend : Trolls, Ducks, Boats, and the Mississippi


Or I should say a trip around the world in 1.5 hours??

This past Saturday, we decided to get the bike tires pumped up, Hattie’s trailer hitched to the Santa Cruz, and head out to a local park/flower area known as the International Friendship Gardens. It’s located on a crux of what is known as a three river merge; an area where the waters known as the Black and La Crosse Rivers empty into the Mississippi. If you remember this area from a while ago, this is also the area that the James gang would have chosen to flee through had they allegedly robbed a local bank way back in the day. So yeah, lots of history here!


The park is built around the idea of friendly, sister cities partnered with La Crosse. Each area of the garden is identified with a sister community from somewhere else in the world. For example, there is an Irish garden, German garden, Norwegian garden, a Russian garden, French Garden, and most recently, a Cameroon Garden. It’s actually a nice quiet spot to Zen out to and to enjoy the flowers, the wildlife, and the rivers. The best part about it all is that it is in the heart of the city, so access is very easy, even for bikers

Upon arrival, the first thing we did was check out the coy fish. We found the fish last year during one of our COVID escapes from the house, and it looks like they are back for the summer. FYI: thank you for bringing the fish back; this adventure would have been a complete disaster had they been missing!



There are plenty of flowers that artists like to stop by and sketch out/paint out…maybe someday I’ll get back to some proper art, grab a sketchbook, and give it a go. Accounting and spreadsheets can really suck the life of you know, you know??



We always love water fountains, and putting our hands in them; this one is located up against a historical US Government National Fish Laboratory.


Time to give Catwoman (a little rubber doll Hattie brought along) a bath!


Up next was a quick walk through the Irish Gardens and cool shadows provided by the trees.



Right on the side of this spot is where the previously mentioned three rivers meet. This area actually is an interesting spot; I am hoping to share a post with the #weekendengagement community this summer. It’s actually a historic spot where an old riverboat started ablaze, sank, and saw two people drown on the river in 1870. I started sketching out a little history about the incident to share last summer, but let it escape with everything up in the air then…I’ll get back on it this summer, I think.

Up next was a trip to the Cameroon Garden, the most recent addition. There are couple of cool sculptures that were added last fall. Catwoman agrees!





One more new addition…a chess board with rocks painted as pieces. This is pretty cool, actually. I can’t wait to play chess here with her when she’s older.


Oh yeah, time for another Catwoman bath!


Ahhh…but where are those trolls I mentioned above…I’m sure you are wondering where they might be? Well, as fate would have it, the Norwegian Garden has a few wooden trolls that some folks donated from the old country. They are tucked away between a few smaller waterfalls that were constructed here years ago.




All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend our Saturday morning together as a family. A little bit of exercise, some fresh air, and lots of Catwoman baths. Ducks were seen too, but I didn't get a picture of them. More importantly, we again beat the sun and the high heat, as it continues to swelter up here in the North as we approach mid June. Honestly, it is days like this one wishes (well me, anyway), that I too had a pontoon boat to take out on the river and relax. It’s definitely a lifestyle up here, but finding the time to use it 4 months of the year seems stressful. Someday, once that Digibyte flies to the moon, perhaps? Will that be me, below, someday?? Out on the river, with my binoculars, telescope, looking at the night sky above? Someday, me thinks!


Thanks for stopping by, as always, and checking out our adventure! I do hope everyone else had a (cool) weekend too, and enjoyed an early June bookend to the week. Until next weekend, hoping everyone in the community is having a wonderful start to the new week.

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