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Old Cowbelle: El Paso, Wisconsin

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Five roads all lead downhill and converge to a wide spot in the road that is known as El Paso. It might be just a teeny dot on the map (if it is on the map at all), but this little area is full of surprises!

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The famous Rush River runs right through it, and its banks are often lined with cars bearing license plates from far and wide. The spring Fishing Opener brings fishing enthusiasts back year after year to fish, for competition, for prizes, to visit, and to enjoy good food at Hugget’s El Paso Bar and Grill, located in the very center of the activities.

Hugget’s is one of the year-round attractions of El Paso, known for their food, to eat in or take out. Facilities are also available for hosting receptions, reunions and catering, and their Saturday and Sunday breakfasts.

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Less than two miles from the Hub of El Paso, a talented little lady performs magic, creating beautiful and original “tiles” in her workshop. Her endless designs include EVERYTHING, flowers, abstracts, beautiful eagles, animals and designs by request. She recently installed a group of tiles featuring dairy theme, cows, barns, rural scenes, at a large clinic in Rice Lake.

To view her creations, visit her website, go to :www.handmadetiles.blogspot.com.

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El Paso’s largest event is the annual “El Paso Days,” that brings in thousands of visitors, local people, former residents and the curious who have heard about it. All kinds of activities are planned for the weekend celebrations.

It even includes an ecumenical church service on the hillside overlooking the valley, on the site of the former St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The church has long since been removed, but in the center of the area a huge cross bears a figure of Jesus, with arms outstretched. I like to think of His presence, blessing the people who come.

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On another hillside about a mile west of El Paso is the Apple Ridge Orchard, owned by Duane and Theresa Odalen, a busy spot during the apple season. In the spring, when the apple trees are blooming, the hillside provides a beautiful scene and scent to those who drive by on CTH G.

A restaurant serves the public during apple time until mid-December, featuring their famous apple pies and turnovers, and a wide array of other foods, including Chicken ala King and Baked Potato soup. Dining on the patio gives a view of the valley below.

In late summer, besides apples, garden produce is also available as well as homemade jams and jellies, and a variety of pickles. (I really enjoy Teresa’s homemade beet pickles since I no longer do gardening.) There is also a gift shop for browsing after shopping for apples.

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The El Paso Community Club and the Sportsmen’s Club are active, with ideas and methods of keeping the area clean and the river stocked with trout. Space does not permit listing all the various activities they are involved in.

This is only a little part of what El Paso means to those of us who live near.

Since moving here about 65 years ago, I cherish my memories of bringing our four little children down by the river to what was once Herman Jones’ Fisherman’s Rest, and letting them wade in the shallow part of the Rush, trying to catch minnows or frogs. And of Husband taking them with their cane poles down through our coulee trails to fish in the Rush River.

I have been so blessed and fortunate (and still am for as long as it lasts) to live on the top of the El Paso Hill, in my little log house with my aging dog Bailey.

Viva, El Paso!

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Happy Birthday to: Sandy, Terry, Travis, Sarina, Sharon K., Pastor John, Adeline, Yvonne.

--Ina Murray

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