Hospitality is a second career for me, and I wish that I had found it sooner. It is hard to explain the joy, fun, and connection that it gives me with people from all walks of life. Our cabins and campground is located at the southern end of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, so guests come for the relaxation and recreation. Some of them enjoy ATVing, some bring horses and enjoy horseback riding or driving, some bring boats and/or fish poles and enjoy fishing and being on the lakes. Many guests enjoy the hiking and the parks, some enjoy bringing their dogs to the great outdoors. Many of my guests are repeat guests, coming one, two, three times a year. After a period of time, you naturally build a relationship with people, a connection. Let me share one of my most fun stories with you.

James and Mark started coming up to Mountain with their dad years ago. They had stayed in a few different cabins through the years, but the Birch seemed to be their favorite. I am not sure who in the family got everyone interested in ATVing, but if I had to hazard a guess, I would say that it was dad. He was a fun loving sort, a self- professed hippie of sorts and proud of it, he enjoyed partying and having fun. He also enjoyed spending time with his boys of whom I know he was extremely proud of. They came several years in a row. Then one year dad had a rather nasty ATV accident up here, and really never wanted or perhaps could not bring himself to ATV any longer. Dad no longer came to the ranch, and neither did the boys. You might say “wow” that was a sad story, alas, but wait the story did not end there.

Several years passed, one day I got a call from James, I was happy to hear his voice, but I could tell it was more than a “hello, how are you” kind of called. James told me that dad had passed away, and that James and Mark, and sister Meagan wanted to come back to the ranch for a weekend in the Birch Cabin. Their thought was to bring dad (who had been cremated) for a final ride and perhaps a final resting place. I welcomed them back with open arms. They had a great weekend, and without stepping out of bounds, had a necessary life stage moment.

James and Mark started coming up a little more regularly. James even voicing the fact that he was interested in growing up now and having more stability. There are girlfriends in the picture now. Recently, I got another call, this one with a little remorse initially, then just sheer excitement. Turns out Mark was cruising real estate ads in the area, found several acres near here where they would like to establish a cabin or cottage of their own. I was thrilled for them, told them no worries they were number 7 that we knew of, guests who had found land, cottage, etc. in the area. Last weekend, Skip and I visited their little piece of heaven, they could not have been excited and happy, and I am sure dad is smiling down on them. What a great legacy for him, and like dad they enjoy clowning around.

You do not have to wonder why I love what I do!