Spirits of the Past - 2009

The day before the Spirits of Wyalusing Past, the weather forecast, indeed, looked gloomy; windy, scattered thunder-showers, and cool weather appeared to be the weather forecasters mantra. Throughout the month of September, the weather had been unseasonably warm, dry and sunny. (Photo: Provided by Jason Paske)

Plans had been made. Pumpkins were carved by members of the Ann and Kevin Kleinhans family and Girl Scout troop# 189 of Prairie du Chien. The park staff had prepared the spirit pathway. Tiki torches and luminaries were ready. Candles were in the pumpkins. The meeting places had been made ready: firewood stacked, picnic tables cleaned, benches arranged. Friends of Wyalusing had baked enough treats and goodies for an army! Items were displayed for the silent auction. Spirits had been booked and ready. In short, the Friends of Wyalusing were ready for the September 26, 2009, Spirits of Wyalusing Past.

Luckily, the Spirits had performed their magic. Saturday evening turned into a wonderful fall evening. Clouds rolling across a moonlit sky made for a perfect evening walk with the Spirits of Wyalusing State Park.

The audience, separated into five groups, walked along a torch lit path leading from the Peterson Shelter to Point Lookout and back along the bluff overlooking The Wisconsin River and Prairie du Chien. Each group was lead by a Friends of Wyalusing volunteer. Four of the five stopping points had a warm fire in the fireplace, The meeting places were surrounded by lanterns and glowing pumpkins.

Spirits of 2009 (Left to Right) Colin Stiemke, Faye Stone, Bruce Klang, Mary Elise Antoine, Paul Kosir

Five Spirits greeted the audience Saturday evening. The Spirits of Wyalusing were a lead miner, a voyager, an Indian storyteller, a singer of French songs, and a cook preparing period French cooking over a fireplace. Each of the 'Spirits' related stories of their past related to the Prairie du Chien and Wyalusing area. The spirit re-enactors were Bruce Klang, Paul Kosir, Faye Stone, Colin Stiemke, and Mary Elise Antoine.

The Friends of Wyalusing also held a a silent auction during the event. Donated items were an eagle wildlife photograph donated by Donna Higgins, a camp lantern and handmade hiking staff donated by Bruce and Ruth Klang, a donated bird feeder, two handmade quilts and pillows donated by Kathy Paske. The quilts and pillows made from park recycled sweatshirts and T-shirts. The quilts featured fabric photographs of Wyalusing State Park.

The audience enjoyed the evening's Spirits of Wyalusing program, the silent auction, and the treats. The event is always scheduled for the last weekend in September.

Additional Photos here....