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Retired fishing guide Dick Lapp shares his knowledge of the Lac Vieux Desert area.
Retired fishing guide Dick Lapp shares his knowledge of the Lac Vieux Desert area. / Marilynn Nash/For
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Marilynn Nash/For


I walked the trail to the park at the headwaters of the Wisconsin River Saturday, where retired fishing guide Dick Lapp shared his knowledge of the area with Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association (WMSPA) members, who were on their annual fall tour.

I learned that the Wisconsin River was named before the Wisconsin Territory or the state of Wisconsin was named. Near the Michigan border north of Phelps it flows out of Lac Vieux Desert, then through the Dells, and joins the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien. At a length of 430 miles it is Wisconsin’s longest river. And because of the more than 50 power and storage dams on it, it has been nicknamed “the hardest-working river in America. “

Anyway, I soaked in the sun, wind, and fall colors that day while appreciating the wisdom and example of Dick Lapp, who has retired after 72 years of work as a fishing guide.

And I just thought it was ‘cool’ to see where the Wisconsin River starts.

Before visiting Lac Vieux Desert I had already visited two sugar bushes as part of the tour, one of which was Jackl’s Whataview Farm, a combination of a sugar bush, honey bees, sheep, a weaving studio, gardens and gift shop. Lunch at Sunrise Lodge and a tour of historic Hazen Inn filled out my day.

What a way to enjoy fall!

Read more from Marilynn Nash.

Marilynn Nash writes about her exploration of the outdoors in Wisconsin -- a variety of outdoor experiences -- hiking, biking, snowshoeing, trailbuilding volunteer work, boating, ski hill tubing and more. She'll probably try a few things she hasn't done before.

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