Left For Dead in Hixon…Again

It happened again.

Joe and I went hiking in Hixon Forest and barely made it out ALIVE!

Hixon Disaster

See that? That’s the end of me crab walking down an 80° incline.


Later That Day…

Jessica J. Witkins, 27, and Joseph L. Gantzer (31) were discovered dead off the trails in Hixon Forest. Their bodies had been half masticated by rabid deer. The corpses were identified from a shredded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack known to belong to Gantzer. Witkins, though allergic to the sun, suffered no marks and looked gorgeous, even without make-up on. Her grace and beauty is a loss to us all.

The couple leaves behind an imaginary dog named Ron Burgundy, some unfinished laundry, and one slice of pizza in the fridge.

Services will be held on the lookout point at the top of Bicentennial Trail for anyone who can make it there without a compass.


Ok, that’s not what happened!

But we TOTALLY got lost and had to scale the side of a bluff with loose soil for, like, EVER! And that was after walking through a teeny tiny “trail” uphill where the bugs surrounded me, and a snake slithered away, and there was long grass, and VELOCIRAPTORS!!!

Ok, I lied again, it wasn’t long grass, it was prairie grass.

Hixon Forest is described by the Myrick Hixon EcoPark as:

an 800-acre nature preserve within the city limits of La Crosse with more than 13 miles of hiking and ski trails that meander through diverse habitats, including forests, prairies, and blufflands. Connecting trails through the 1100-acre Mississippi River Marsh add more wildlife viewing possibilities. The trail system allows hikers to travel from the Mississippi River to the top of the bluffs without ever crossing a city street.


Hixon Forest is big. So big in fact, that if you are lost, no shred of society will find you, but rattlesnakes will! Good luck, hikers!

I’ve taken it upon myself to draw out our hiking journey. Please see the map below.


See where the skull and crossbones are? Funny thing that… There was a trail. A very clear, wide trail. It wasn’t on the map, but it was a big trail. We decided to take it. But that wide trail became an itty bitty trail, and one that started scratching up my legs and looking like we were going to just dirt surf our way down the bluff.

I was NOT ok with this.

For the record, I didn’t pick this trail! This time it wasn’t my faulty directions that got us there. Therefore, I’d like to have my 1% voting rights back.

The last time Joe and I got lost in Hixon, it was my fault. He took away 1% voting rights leaving me with 49%, and him at 51%. I’d like that percent back now.

You decide!


An outside party wishes me to note that they “had a blast. The adventure was great!” Said other party shall remain nameless.

Oops. How did that get there?

Hixon Forest View

That was my weekend! How was yours? Do any hiking I should know about?

Love and Rattlesnakes,


Miss the first time we got lost in Hixon? Read all about it!

38 responses

  1. This is the most entertaining blog post I’ve read in a long time. Thanks for starting my day right. 🙂

    Seriously, I’m really glad you guys are okay.

    1. Lauralynn, I’m so happy I could bring a smile to your face today. And I’m also happy we didn’t fall down the side of the bluff!

  2. You didn’t learn from the first time? You didn’t wear your compass ring?

    Now that I’ve gotten my motherly comments out of the way, I’m so glad you’re OK!!! {{{HUGS}}}

    I think you should get 2% back.

    No hiking here this weekend. I wrestled the tomato plants though.

    1. Oooh I am so consulting you regarding matters of point upkeep in the future. You are now my official point monitor.

  3. That’s the cool part, you made it out alive to tell the story and to hike again! How dull would it have been if you just walked around on some boring old trails and then went home?!? Right?

    1. Um…right. Totally. Boring. 😉

  4. So what kind of pizza did you leave in the fridge?

    Glad you made it out alive! I can’t wait to hear about you killing that bear!

    1. It was pepperoni with black olives. I ate it last night. A little on the dry side, but the moscato next to it helped with that.

      And please, notify me when you see a bear and I’ll rush right over. Best to get it over and done with. I’ve seen The Edge. If Alec Baldwin can do it, so can I.

  5. The ring, Frodo, remember the ring! This is why I don’t let my wife take me hiking. I send the kids instead. Much safer. For me, anyway…

    1. Smart thinking. There is safety in numbers. There is also safety in being able to run faster than the number of people around you. 😀

  6. So glad you made it out alive! And with a blog story to boot.

    I think you and Joe should get lost hiking next in the Los Angeles Forest. Having lost my way there countless times, I can vouch for the awesomeness! I’ll bring snacks. 🙂

    1. I’ll bring the wine in a canteen!

  7. Wait. But you forgot the part about how you killed that bear! Is that for part 2?

    Glad you’re safe. See, this is why the outdoors and I have a pact . . . I don’t traipse around in it, and it doesn’t try to kill me. Might wanna try it. Surviving is really fun. 😉

    1. Parts of hiking were quite fun. Up until the bugs. The bugs are what really did me in. The buzzing by my ear was INSANE! I started having daymares that they were trying to lay their eggs inside me and I’d become all Sigourney Weaver 2013 alien hatcher and no amount of wine or pepto bismol was going to fix THAT!

  8. What a hoot! I didn’t do any hiking this weekend. Closest we’ve ever gotten to Hixon is Prairie du Chien, which is equally beautiful, I’m sure. Happy trails!

    1. Ooh I’ll have to check those out. The trails in Perrot State Park are also gorgeous!

  9. In honor of the certification date of the 19th amendment (today), you should most certainly get your 1% voting right returned to you for an equal share in the planning of your (mis)adventures. I’m glad you are safe — although cleaning out your fridge doesn’t sound like it’d be too much of a chore.

    1. Well, I forgot to mention in the obit all the illegitamate condiments we left behind. I leave that financial problem to you.

  10. Brava, Jess! Reminds me of my brush with death on a Jet Ski. I still shudder thinking about it, but it did give me a great scene to weave into my recently completed book. So look at it this way…fodder. 🙂

    1. I had one of those too! On an ATV!

  11. Did you at least remember your canteen of wine? I’m sure that would have (did?) take away some of the panic from being lost in the wilderness!

    1. Surprisingly enough we did this without our trusty canteen. It was still morning. We are capable of SOME propriety!

  12. You scared me there. I really don’t think I could live without your grace and beauty. (Stupid velociraptors!) I’m glad you made it out alive. Maybe you and Joe need to go mall-walking or city-park-hiking for a bit. And I already have proof that you killed a bear (or at least stood next to a stuffed one–potatoh or potatah).

    Thanks for the laugh (even though it was, sort of, at your expense)!

    1. That’s right! Technically me and a dead bear were in the same place at the same time! I’m soooo getting my points back!

  13. YOU HIKE??! Doesn’t your superpower get seriously overtaxed out there in the forest? (This is the one where you can spot a spider at 100 paces.)

    All that being said, I’m glad you survived. We need you here on Earth.

    1. Yes, the map shows a bee, but that’s because Pixlr didn’t have a spider photo I could add to the map. They were EVERYWHERE and I was like hopscotching my way through the trail. So ridiculous…looking, I know. *sigh*

      1. *snorting with laughter…trying to control it*

        1. Aww I miss your laugh. We should get together sometime and go hiking. 😀

  14. Jess, I’m sorry that was a true story but it was beautifully hilarious. Loved it! I’m glad you are safe and around to share it.

    1. So uh…when are you planning to contract me as the tour guide for your next reader’s retreat? 😉

  15. According to that map Jess, the park is a big area. Scary and big apparently. So glad you made it out. Yes, a compass would be a good thing after getting lost twice. lol. Sounds like you did have a good time regardless. Have a great week! 🙂

    1. Yes, we had a good time but we’re still itching the bug bites on our legs! They’re horrible this year!

  16. How did I get unsubscribed? I haven’t been getting your blog posts. So sorry I haven’t been here lately. Anyway I resubscribed. Love this adventure, Jess! You’re hilarious! Though I’m sure you weren’t laughing during the last leg of that hike!


  17. […] And on the sunday before we were to watch Speed, my husband and I decided to go hiking. This usually doesn’t end well for us as you’ll see here and here. […]

  18. […] I know, I know, we all know how THAT goes. One of us ends up missing.  […]

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