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So what will your summer vacation be like this year? More of the same old, same old: Sitting around the cabin in a haze of cigar smoke and DEET with Uncle Percy and a platoon of his euchre buddies, trying to turn two bluegills and some leftover minnows into bouillabaisse for 12? Or will it be a time to challenge your physical limits, expand your mental capacities, develop a flickering desire into a fully-fledged passion, experience – dare we say it – adventure?
The choice is yours, and Nicolet College in Rhinelander is going to make it easy for you. This year the college's Outdoor Adventure Series offers more than 60 inexpensive summer courses, trips and outings for you to enjoy. You'll savor the surprises and thrills only an up-close encounter with nature can provide, and learn outdoor skills to enhance all your future ventures into the wild.
To help you choose which courses suit your physical condition, the classes are ranked on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the least strenuous (a talk on tying fishing knots, for instance) and 5 the most physically demanding (like a 5-day sea kayaking trip.) Course instructors are experienced in their chosen fields and enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and love of nature with others.
TRAVELER will give you just a brief taste below of what Nicolet has to offer. For the full meal of courses in the Outdoor Adverture Series, call 1-800-585-9304 or (715) 356-6753.
Fly fishing: Under the auspices of Nicolet, fly-fishing world-record holder Bill Sherer will host a number of evening classes on selecting proper equipment and honing technique at the We Tie It Shop in Boulder Junction. Offerings include "Fly Casting: Beginner and Intermediate" on June 16, July 12 and August 16; "Knots & Leaders" on July 19; "Fly Fishing for Trout" on June 28; "Fly Fishing for Bass" on July 26; and "Fly Fishing for Musky" on August 9.
Sail the Apostles, June 17-18: All hands on the deck of the Sandpiper, a 35-foot classic wooden ketch, will have a turn at the wheel and the chance to trim the sails, jibe and tie a clove hitch during half-day sailing lessons. The Sandpiper will shove off from Bayfield at 9:30 a.m. for the morning sessions and 2 p.m. for the afternoon classes. (Degree of difficulty: "2")
The Voyageur Canoe, July 20-22: Buff up your French and your paddling technique during a 3-day, 2-night expedition on Lake Superior in a 36-foot voyageur canoe. You and 13 hearty companions will ply the waters near the Apostle Islands in the big birch-bark craft capable of carrying four tons of fromage, vin, and beaver pelts. Guide Ron Hobart, clad in the authentic garb of a 17th-century voyageur, will regale his canoemates with saucy tales of life in the woods and on the waterways of the New World. The trip (ranked "3" on the challenge scale) will begin with safety training to familiarize all crew members with the operation and handling of le grand bateau. Bonne chance et bon voyage!
Great Northern Rivers: Day-long canoe trips down four northern Wisconsin rivers offer four very different landscapes for paddlers to admire. Trace an old fur-trading route via the Manitowish River on July 6. Follow the shimmering flatwater of the Flambeau River on July 13, but be prepared for three small rapids – this trip is ranked "4". Explore the Ojibwa history of the Bear River on July 27. Drift along the mighty Wisconsin River to observe eagles, otters and other water-loving species on August 10.
Hiking Old Growth, August 10: Join author Chad McGrath and naturalist John Bates for an all-day hike through three stands of northern old growth forest, each representing a specific type of forest community. It's a wonderful opportunity to experience living history and walk among giants.
Fall Mushrooms, August 21-22: Learn about edible wild mushrooms – and the species to avoid – during an overnight workshop and forage walk culminating in a grand gourmet mushroom feed at the Kemp Field Station on Lake Tomahawk.