The final leg of our boat trip: The Upper Dells
In this, the final leg of our trip, I will be including a gallery of some photo highlights. I will also be pulling out a few of the best parts of the trip to share with you!
Up to this point, we have covered the long car trip, the pool and the festival. We have started our boat trip and this is where we find our “heroines” on the Joliet (our sea-worthy boat) enjoying the many things to see on the tour of the Upper Dells!
The Wedding: Staged or real?
Along our ride, we passed a resort pristinely located on top of one of the cliffs. On the dock on the river below we passed what appeared to have been a young couple who were being photographed for their wedding. The bride was wearing a fine backless, lace… Just kidding. All I know is she was wearing white!
As far as any of us know, it was a real wedding. The only thing that made me suspect that the photo shoot was not real was the way the photographers were moving around. They did not seem like real photographers—at all.
Having taken hundreds of photos at a wedding, posed and candid photos, I never moved like those two photographers did. The only time I had ever seen a photographer move like that was in the movies and mainly when they were doing a parody of real photographers!
From the way their fingers were flicking they had to have taken over 100 photos each during the few seconds that we were in view! That’s a lot of photos to look through!
That’s just my take on the situation. Either way, it sure was a beautiful day to take photos and a beautiful day for a wedding!
Worn out Granddaughter
We hadn’t gone very far into the tour when I glanced over at my granddaughter. She was out! My moving around woke her up shortly thereafter, but she was one tired girl!
I knew when she woke up we would have to make one of the shore excursions to help her stay awake and interested in the tour.
When they mentioned the incredible jumping German Shepherd, I knew I had to see this and I knew my granddaughter would like it, too!
We could hardly wait for it.
The Incredible Jumping German Shepherd at Stand Rock
When our tour guides mentioned the steep grade that we would have to walk up, I started to have second thoughts about disembarking. My legs aren’t what they used to be and I was very nervous that I might need medical assistance! (Well, not that extreme, but certainly a wheelbarrow or wagon to get me back to the boat!)
When I mentioned that maybe we shouldn’t do it, I saw the look of disappointment on my granddaughter’s face and knew I couldn’t back out.
We took a few photos of ourselves near the big rocks that kind of resembled the faces of a dog and then waited for the real attraction.
When nothing happened and nothing happened, I thought maybe it was a joke on us, but then I saw it! There was the incredible jumping German Shepherd!
He leaped the area between these two towering rock formations with ease. Then he leaped back. You could feel, more than hear, the collective sigh of relief from the crowd of us watching this.
According to our guide and the official guidebook, people used to jump this, but in recent years, trained dogs perform the leap today.
A little about Stand Rock
According to the official guidebook, Stand Rock is the most legendary of all the Dells rock formations. You have to go off the river to see it, though.
“Stand Rock is a spectacular outcropping standing 47 feet high. It’s topped off by a 12 by 20 foot flat slab of rock supported by a tapered pillar of layered sandstone. This hardened, overhanging shelf is resistant to wind and water erosion, while the softer layers below are naturally whittled away creating an amazing column of rock.”
H.H. Bennett made the rock formation famous through his photography. He took the first stop-action photo of his son Ashley jumping the five-foot distance. The image went “viral” for the 1930s-1940s and became known as the “Trademark of the Dells.”
In the 1940s, the practice of tourists jumping the span was put to a stop by the insurance companies. Now only the trained dogs take the leap. I also noticed there is a net down below the rocks for the safety of the dogs should they fall.
“Our” dog made the leap easily!
The ride home from Stand Rock
After our excursion, we headed back to the Joliet and were soon on our way back to the return ride home. It was kind of neat because we took the same path back to shore so the things we couldn’t see on our way there, we got to see on our way back. In a way, I hated to go back because that meant our trip was nearing its end and we would be in the car soon enough heading home, but I enjoyed what we got to do and see. Especially being able to spend a little time with my in-laws! We don’t get to see them often enough and really enjoy our time when we can.
My granddaughter really enjoyed spending time with her great-grandparents and seeing all of the sites along the way. She didn’t even nap on the way back home!
We saw quite a few pretty things along the ride back which you can view in this gallery! I hope you have enjoyed our little trip to the Wisconsin Dells!
The Boat Tour
My next post will be getting back to some resources for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Some of them will be local or regional resources, but the majority will be resources that are available in many places.
Watch for it, coming soon!
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About the author
Karin Nauber, “G.G.” is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 27 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. G.G. has five grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. She began this website with the hope of helping other grandparents who may be struggling with their role as parent/grandparents. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: email@example.com.
What a great trip with your granddaughter! My kids are in college now, and I miss them as little kids. But I can’t wait for grandkids now.
Have fun when you have grandkids. It is something they will remember. I still remember many fun adventures with my grandparents going camping or the time my grandma (who never did learn to drive) taught me how to ride the city bus! At 8 years old, that was an adventure for this country girl!
I’ve enjoyed your reports from the trip immensely! Your granddaughter is super lucky to have you! Family trips will be one of her best childhood memories, I’m sure.
Loved the picture of the jumping dog – great shot!
By the way – what is the best season to visit this area? We might consider it for our next vacation.
All the best!
I am glad to hear you have been enjoying the tales of our journey! I am hoping she will have very fond memories of our travels.
I would say the best time to visit The Dells is in the summer or early fall. Many of the water parks were already closed for the season when we were there around September 15. If you want to go to use the outdoor waterparks and pools, go in the summer. I would actually recommend early fall when the leaves are starting to change for the boat tour, however. We were a little early to see a lot of good fall foliage, but it was sure pretty and I can just imagine how pretty it would have been with the many colors of fall.
Hello Karin, another wonderful post about the dells. I have being following the series so far and I got to say I’m loving it. My favourite part of this post is the wedding section.
It was planned out differently compared with traditional weddings which is normally down in churches. This really makes the wedding more authentic and more special for the couples. Thank you for sharing this adventure you are having with your grandchildren with us. Looking forward to your next post. All the best.
So glad you have been enjoying the stories. We sure did have a nice time. It was too short, though! The wedding looked like a beautiful event.
Thanks for following!
You made me want to come and see the leaping dogs, I am sure my kids would love it. Another great post Karin, you know I love reading your stories as they bring back memories. You mentioned your granddaughter’s great-grandparents and guess what! You reminded me of mine. I only got to know one of them 8 and I loved one in particular, my beloved granny’s father… He was definitely one of the sweetest guys I have ever met. Sadly he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his final years yet he was as sweet as they come in his few moments of lucidity. I wish I could have spent more with him, so reading about your granddaughter enjoying spending time with them just put a smile on my face. Oh and the part about the awkward photographers just cracked me up… I saw a similar scene when my female cousin got married… In that case, they also lacked humility and for this reason they were even funnier (if not ridiculous).
Looking forward to reading your next article! 🙂
I am so glad you have enjoyed reading about our trip to the Dells! We do have a lot of adventures (well, as many as we can anyway)! Being able to spend time with the older generation is good for our granddaughter, too. She enjoys spending time with so many people. We just love that child! Yes, this photographers! I still laugh when I think about it or when I look at the photos!