Skip navigation

Category Archives: Wisconsin

This past weekend we drove over to Hudson, Wisconsin to attend the Hudson Hot Air Affair 2020 balloon rally. Launch time was scheduled for 7:35 am. We were up very early so we could make it to the morning launch. When we arrived in Hudson it was still dark out so we stopped at McDonald’s to get a bite to eat and wait for the sun to rise. When we arrived at the launch site some of the balloons were already starting to setup. The balloon is packed in a large bag so they have to empty the balloon on to the ground, untie it and then spread it out. They then attach the balloon to the basket. The next step is to start to inflate the balloon with a large powerful fan. Once it is inflated far enough they then start the burners to heat up the air causing the balloon to rise.

More photos from the Hudson Hot Air Affair can be found on my website.

 

Once the basket is setup they test the burners to make sure they work.

As the balloon inflates several people control the top of the balloon with a long rope. this prevents the balloon from wandering back and forth during the inflation process. As you can see in the first photo the crew member in the blue jacket is giving hand signals to the crew membersĀ  holding on to the rope. In the last photo there was only one person holding the rope and a gust of wind pulled him to the ground. Fortunately he held onto the rope while server other bystanders jumped in to help him control things.

Did I mention it was cold out? It was -15 and most people were bundled up. The person in the first shot looks like she was freezing to death. Oh, that’s my wife and she was freezing to death.

Fortunately it wasn’t long before some of the balloons were inflated and ready to be launched. The basket is tied to a vehicle so it doesn’t take off until they are ready. Once it is untied from the vehicle volunteers hang on to the basket until they are ready to launch.

After the launch we drove back to McDonald’s to get some coffee and warm up before heading to our next event.

 

 

With fresh snow I’ve been able to ski to the ice wall on the Red Cedar Trail. The recent cold weather has formed a very nice wall.

 

During the winter Trumpeter Swans gather on a small pond in Hudson, Wisconsin. We like to stop periodically to watch them. I was watching one swan chasing another when I noticed that the swan being chased had a fish in its mouth. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a swan eating a fish.

When we go down to Red Wing searching for eagles we usually stop at Nelsons on the Rush River to see how the ice formations are doing.

 

I’ve had a few Northern Cardinals show up at the feeder. They usually turn up when it is snowing out.

 

It was a beautiful fall day for a hike on the Ice Age Trail. The fall colors were mainly the rust colors of the oaks. One of my favorite subjects for fall photography are reflection shots.

 

After visiting Perrot State Park we drove over to Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately there was very little wildlife but the colors were nice. We did notice that the water was very high. Lots of rain this fall has made the rivers high.

 

It was a beautiful fall day so we decided to drive down to Trempealeau, Wisconsin to visit Perrot State Park. When we arrived we discovered that the river valley was covered in fog.

 

We arrived at the Blue Hills mid afternoon. There were dark storm clouds right behind us. There were quite a few campers in the area and they were quickly evacuating their campsites.

 

The morning started out with a visit to Copper Falls State Park. It had been a number of years since we visited the park even though it was only a short side trip from our normal drive back to southern Wisconsin.