May 15

We made it a slow morning before heading out to our next campground. Once we’d secured our site we had lunch, then rested before driving to check out Necedah NWR. This was a very nice refuge. We made a few pull over stops and saw some sandhill cranes, and far off in the distance we spied a whooping crane. I was so excited to see one of my favorite birds here, and we saw many more, even one on a nest, as we explored the refuge. 

Behind the visitor center, which was closed due to Covid, we walked out on a boardwalk, then accidentally walked a one-mile trail that angled off of another boardwalk. We saw a few more cranes along with Baltimore orioles, yellow warblers, and hairy woodpeckers. 

Further in the refuge, at at a spillage area, we watched a pair of muskrats as they took grasses to their lodge. 

At another location we checked out a three-story observation deck. From this vantage point we could see wood ducks, a sandhill crane on her nest, swans building a nest, a swan nesting on a huge beaver lodge, a whooping crane in the distance, and another on a nest. There were also a few teals, Canada geese, and mallards.

Further along we found a small flock of Canada geese with lots of goslings, and then a turkey along the drive. As we were preparing to leave the refuge we spied a small porcupine walking near the maintenance area. 

Back at camp we finally had those bbq ribs for dinner and boy were they worth the wait! Tender and moist and tasty!

Campground: Woods End Campground seemed like mostly a seasonal RV campground, but they also took overnighters like us. The bathrooms were clean with a fresh coat if paint, but could have used some sprucing up. The site we had was perfectly level.

May 16

Since our next destination, Milwaukee, was only two-and-a-half hours away, we decided to go back to the observation tower at Neceda for an early morning look-see. There wasn’t much going on, so we went to see if the muskrats were out and about, but came up empty there too. As we prepared to make a turn at an intersection, Alan called out, “Deer?”. I looked, watched it walk a little bit out of the woods, and said, “That’s not a deer.” As we both squinted to figure out what it was it began to cross the road. Alan grabbed up his camera and started shooting. It was an eastern gray wolf! We watched in awe as it made its way into the woods and disappeared. Wow! We grinned at each other and repeated, “A wolf, we saw a wolf!” the rest of the way to Milwaukee. 

In Milwaukee we stayed at the Best Western Plus near the airport and met up with my old friend, Debi, for dinner. Debi has been a flight attendant for 30+ years and she related some horror stories pertaining to passenger behavior on flights lately. Her emphatic “do not fly!” cautions have made us rethink flying in the near term.