Looked like the weather in La Crosse was going to be a bit of a downer today...but that was alright since we were off to Prairie du Chien for a guided wildlife eco-tour with Backwater Cruises! It was certainly a bit of a drive and supposedly a much more beautiful one in the fall, but good company made it enjoyable. We stopped by the CVB to get some information before heading on the cruise. Very comfy contraption this, with covered seating all through and some uncovered vantage view seats up front and out. They do give a nice commentary so you get to learn about some of the buildings you see along the way and learn of the history of the area. Spotted a few different varieties of birds and little itty-bitty turtles as well. Lunch was in the area, at Simply Coffeehouse & Eatery and we worked it all off after with a hike exploring Wyalusing State Park in Bagley, one of Wisconsin’s oldest state parks. The rain finally did catch up with us though so our evening activities were cut short rather soon. Since this was the last day of this media trip, we had a farewell dinner at Piggy’s in La Crosse, one of Wisconsin’s favorite dining establishments. I managed to sneak in a walk by the river front before that to get some nice snaps in the evening sun. Dinner was a 3 course affair, well-planned by the chef and busy with catching up on all the fun everyone had been up to and starting out on the goodbyes with some folks leaving for the airport in the wee hours of the morning. Couple of us at the Marriott took this opportunity to try out their lobby lounge bar before bidding adieu. I am glad to be one of the later departures tomorrow, I don't have to be out until after 8am :)
7am early morning checkouts and breakfast in a box on the go was first on the agenda. (Breakfast box had one boiled egg, one sugar croissant and one banana! Simple and sufficient!) We started driving to Trempealeau, to see Lock & Dam #6 where we watched the dam work and sailboats pass through, then Perrot State Park where we checked out the viewpoint and spoke to the park ranger, followed by the National Wildlife Refuge where we spoke to the park rangers and checked out the culmination of two types of forest land in one expanse. A visit to Elmaro Vineyards brought on a bout of wine tasting. A hurried lunch at Hungry Point Bar & Grill (where I tried fried curds) paved the way for ample fishing in Onalaska. My first time fishing so I was glad to have a few pros with me. After a long wait that drained out all my patience, accompanied by several false starts, I caught one fish! (Special thanks to travel writers Rebecca and Ed for their fishing advise). We were then all checked into different hotels at La Crosse. I luckily got a Marriott to stay in for the next two days - nice to have a coffee maker in the room. Dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant in La Crosse with just the folks from our group living at the Marriott was a fun affair. Not too crazy a day, and not much strenuous activity either. Mostly a lot of driving around so happy to get in a good night's rest before tomorrow comes around.