Sunday, May 10, 2015
On Saturday, May 9, 2015, our Chippewa Valley Motorcar Club took a group called The Prairie Enthusiasts down into the Tiffany Bottoms south of Durand. Each Saturday in May and September our group escorts nature groups into the nature preserve to view nature, mostly birds and grasses/shrubs/trees. The group brings experts to explain to the riders what they are seeing.
We stop the train in several places for the riders to get off. We had an ornithologist (bird expert) with us. The group was able to identify 61 different birds, either by sight or sound. On past trips, when we have had two experts, they have come up with over 100 birds.
One of the stops was at Erickson, the site where a family by the name of Erickson once had a farm.
Note the port-a-potty for the convenience of passengers and crew. At this location there is a large native prairie. Beyond the prairie below and before the bluff is the Chippewa River. This hillside is magnificent in the fall with the trees in their full colors.
We stop at the Pony Truss bridge. Here is my daughter Crystal, my book editor! Note the gash on the left side of the bridge. At this bridge, in January 1977, a train derailed. The Milwaukee Road then closed down this section of track between Durand and the Mississippi River.
Even though the group had been down here the previous Saturday, we had to stop four times to remove trees that had fallen during the week.
But the trees form a natural tunnel in many places.
One of the stops was at Hargraves Prairie, the site where another family had tried farming in the 1940s. Two experts explained the grasses and trees at this location.
Daughter Crystal and husband Bill Mulry enjoyed the ride on a beautiful May morning.