The Local Coffee House

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Hi friends! A quick update on this beautiful Friday. My photography is now available for sale at Knapp, Stout, & Company Coffee House in picturesque Downsville, WI.

I stopped by today and dropped off a few more things, including this beautiful fall metal print and a calendar of photos taken right in Downsville.

If you find yourself in west-central Wisconsin, stop by and do a little shopping! Grab a cup of coffee and browse the unique consignment items while waiting for your breakfast or lunch order. The food is delicious, and they have excellent gluten-free options.

On an unrelated note, my good friend is visiting me and we’re going on an adventure next week! Make sure you follow me on Instagram and Twitter for fun vacation photos. @josie_siler

Until we meet again,

Josie

The Secret Staircase

The Secret Staircase

The Secret Staircase

The beautiful fall day called us to exploration. It was the perfect day to go in search of fall colors. My mom and I grabbed our cameras and set off for an adventure to Irvine Park & Zoo in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

Even though there was beauty all around us, we were in search of a few special things. I searched a map of the park before we set out. Our first destination was Glen Loch Dam. We parked at a pretty overlook and after getting a few photos we trudged through the crunchy fall leaves to get a closer view.

We took our sweet time exploring the area before we headed over to the duck pond to get some scenic shots of the water and changing trees. From there we walked up and over the hills behind the duck pond and again had fun crunching our way through the pretty fallen leaves.

Taking the path to our left we went in search of the grand prize, some sort of secret staircase. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when we rounded the corner I wasn’t disappointed. The fall colors were stunning and completely covered the path and the stone stairs that wrapped up the hill. It was glorious!

I haven’t been back to the staircase since that day, but I have a feeling that this year when the leaves hit their peak, my feet may find themselves walking this path yet again.

And that, my friends, is the story of how I captured The Secret Staircase. (Click to Tweet.)

Until next time,

Josie

The Grandest View

The Grandest View

The Grandest View

Our summer of fun was about to come to an end. My cousin Aubrey was heading back to her home out west all too soon, but there was more fun to be had. We all decided to meet up at Hoffman Hills to watch the sun set.

Dad, mom, Aubrey, and I pulled into the lot at the bottom of the hill; Ike and Janell were already there waiting for us. We unloaded ourselves, grabbed cameras and water, and doused each other in bug spray. We were ready!

Up the little hill we went, along the flat path that passes by the pretty flowers, up and down the big dip, and finally up the biggest hill.

I was slow. I had to stop and rest a lot, and dad hung back with me and waited while I chugged water and tried to breathe. Eventually we made it to the top of the big hill where I collapsed on the bench with the rest of my crazy family. After a little more resting, we all tromped up the many stairs to the top of the fire tower.

Again, I made it up the stairs last, but I made it! I collapsed in a pile on the floor and ever-thoughtful Janell came and laid next to me while I recovered. After a decent number of awkward selfies, we got up and checked out the view.

It was golden hour and the sky was beautiful. The rolling green hills of Wisconsin were aglow, showing off every shade of green. The farms looked small and picturesque. I would say it was serene. But – it wasn’t!

It was my family up there so things were a little… humorous! Lots of laughter, silly jokes, funny pictures, and overall noise. We heard some other people coming and tried to scare them away with obnoxiousness. It worked! Oh, and how could I forget about the spitting contest from the top of the tower? It was a lot of good clean fun – if you were in need of a spit-shine!

We were close to getting locked in the park so we hustled back down the hill. Aubrey and Janell disappeared in the woods for a while and I kept thinking they were going to jump out at me any second and scare the snot out of me.

We taught Aubs how to braid some local weeds (not weed, weeds!). Eventually we made it out of the park, late, but not locked in. We headed back to my house to light off some giant sparklers and fireworks Janell got us for the 4th. She had been saving them until we could all light them off together.

That night we officially made Janell part of the Siler family. Her initiation was some memorable stargazing. It was another fun night of summer fun that we thought would be one of many. It is now a cherished memory as we mourn the loss of one gone too soon.

And that, my friends, is the story of how I captured The Grandest View. (Click to Tweet.) But you know what? That photograph wasn’t really the grandest view that night. This was the grandest view.

Front: Ike Siler, Josie Siler Back: Aubrey Wait, Janell Javis, Annie Siler, Randy Siler

Front: Ike Siler, Josie Siler
Back: Aubrey Wait, Janell Javis, Annie Siler, Randy Siler

And maybe this!

Hmmm, I don't remember who won the spitting contest!

Hmmm, I don’t remember who won the spitting contest!

This Sunday, September 11th, we celebrate Janell’s life. She was a treasure and we miss her so much. If you’re in the area, please come celebrate with us. Information on the memorial service can be found here.

Until we meet again,

Josie