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  • Andrew Pritchard

Quieter moments at the lake

In between the heavy weather forecasting load of the growing season and storm observation opportunities I was able to spend a few quieter moments with my family at our summer get-away spot in Wisconsin. The blessing of being able to escape to the north during the summer started long before I was a twinkle in anyone's eye yet.

My grandparents bought a small lot on a lake in the woods of Adams County, Wisconsin in, I want to say the 1960s? Early 1970s at the latest. I'll share this on social media and see if any of my family can deliver some facts from their story. When my mom was a kiddo they would drive up from Illinois after school let out and they'd spend their entire summer there, returning in August. They'd drive up there in their hot & windy VW van and just be up there, unplugged and away from everything. They'd just wake up and leave the house, meeting up with some friends on the lake, and do summer kid stuff.

This place is incredible. It's tucked on the side of a hill, surrounded by tall oak and white pine trees. You walk down a hill on a flight of 80 stairs to the dock, and look out across a glacier made, spring fed lake that is about 65 feet deep at its center. The lake is pristine. It's unreal. I don't willy nilly swim in lakes, but this thing feels cleaner than swimming pools to me. It's spring fed, and crystal clear. You can see straight down to the bottom, even at about 30 feet deep. It's refreshing and feels healing.

When I was a kid, we'd spend chunks of the summer up there. My grandparents would be there, still spending their entire summer at the lake. My grandpa was now retired from his time as a Lutheran pastor, and my grandma a retired nurse. My grandma would take me and my siblings to the Wisconsin Dells to play minigolf and ride carnival rides, and then we'd swim with her all evening. At night she'd sit in the recliner and tell us stories, or pick out a movie to watch with us before bed. Sometimes my parents would leave me and my younger brother & sister there for a few weeks just to swim and play in the woods all day long.

As a teenager, my siblings and our best friends would drive up there without our parents to bond and blow off steam in what I'd have to say is a pretty safe and controlled spot for teenagers to be blowing off steam, hah! Just hanging out at the lake with grandma, you know? Sleeping in, spending too much time in the sun, drinking too much soda, grilling, sitting by a fire and freaking ourselves out until the early morning hours, repeating it all the next day.

My grandpa passed in 1995, and then my grandma slowly declined with Alzheimer's in the 2010s. Her last summer up there was 2009, and she passed away in 2019.

As a college student I'd drive up there in October when it was quiet and chilly for an escape and a mental health break. And now as an adult it's a place for my family to get away and spend time together. With COVID cutting us off from our work, school, and local communities it's been a place for us to change our scenery and take a breath. I can work remote so it's been easy to take our Monday - Friday show on the road. I'll get up early early, make coffee and do my work in the last hours of darkness and first hours of daylight, and then I have the day to spend outside with the wife, kiddo, and dog. There is space for everyone to do their own thing, or we can spend hours together swimming in the lake. The kiddo and I like to swim, but my wife and the dog prefer to be on a paddle board. Either way, everyone's happy.

What a gift from my grandparents that I'll be forever grateful for.

When in Wisconsin...

Cumulus being reflected by a still lake one afternoon. It stormed for about 12 consecutive hours that night.

Some hail on the morning side of those 12 consecutive hours of storming.

Updraft base on an elevated storm comes into view at sunrise:

Foggy morning the day after a cold front moved in over a warm lake:

Updraft base on a storm over downtown Oxford, WI on a trip into town:

Morning after storms:

Whole family on a canoe ride in the morning:

Wife and dog out on a paddle board ride in the afternoon:

Paradise at dusk:

Jaw dropping sunset:

A meat medley on the grill:

Some to enjoy until next time:

Lighting a fire to enjoy for the night as the sun gets lower on the horizon:

Early summer lake view:

An entirely staged photo of my office while on work vacation:

"The Cloud mobile" in vacation mode:

Casual reading:

Quiet morning coffee:


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SKYDRAMA | Meteorologist & Atmospheric Photographer Andrew Pritchard

I'm a meteorologist born and raised in the American Midwest passionate about forecasting and observing severe storms.

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