What's on the Other Side of Coon Lake?

By Mike Johnson

It was a mystery for 45 years. What was on the other side of Coon Lake?

As a kid, you go where your parents go. In this case, it was Frederic, Wisconsin, to visit mom's brother & family. We picnicked in the pavilion overlooking the lake.

The Wilder's had five kids so my brothers & I totaled eight cousins frolicking around. The adults jumped in & organized a baseball game.

The day was magical so the location imprinted. I fell in love with Coon Lake.

45 years later, I went back to explore.

A road led to the far side of the lake. Heavy forest hid it from the side I knew. There was another park. A walking trail disappeared into the woods.

I eyed Margie. Margie eyed me.


We followed the path as it twisted through foliage & over a hill. We rounded a bend & jolted to a stop.

The forest opened onto a hidden pond. Light diffused scattershot through the canopy. Turtles dozed on fallen logs. Random fish crested the surface launching bullseye ripples.

We'd stepped into a living painting. There was magic within magic at Coon Lake. We took it all in for 15 minutes.

The path continued but we did not. We couldn't imagine anything more perfect. So we left.

Now I wonder. Have our imaginations since grown to perceive greater perfection?

What's past that hidden pond at Coon Lake?


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