Paddling The Chain O Lakes in Waupaca, WI-Summer 2017

We finally made it to my favorite place to paddle…. Waupaca, WI and the Chain O Lakes. Upon waking up Saturday morning we had originally planned to head to Door County.  Although, after watching the weather forecast, I quickly changed my mind and suggested we head to Waupaca. You see, when its hot here in Green Bay then Door County is typically 20 degrees cooler and that would put their temps right about 70-75…..too cold for me to enter the water. And I had my heart set on paddling and doing some lake swimming. I suggested this quick change of plans to my husband and he said….let’s do it! So we did!

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Upon arrival, we were not surprised to see some very large trees down between the chain of lakes since we saw some big trees along the highway while driving. However, everything down and in the path of the lakes is easy to get around in both kayaks, canoes, and standup paddle boards.

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As usual, I go to paddle/swim and my husband never forgets his fishing pole. Three casts in and he caught his first northern pike of the day. It was going to be a good day;-)

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Since we arrived by 9:30 Saturday morning the parking lot was still easily doable and I made my way immediately to the public dock on Marl Lake to get in my swim I was hoping for. Marl is probably my favorite lake here…..it’s crystal clear and has the most turtles which I love. However, the public dock where we beach our kayaks to swim fills up quickly on nice days so I wanted to get this in before it was too busy.

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Next, it was time to make our way back through the water path to another one of the lakes.

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At this point we passed by where we were parked and noticed that the number of people starting to show up had nearly tripled. Wow, they just kept coming and the lot was nearly full with cars, trucks, and trailers.

Making our way through Beasley Creek was once again a pain in the butt as always. We were hoping with the amount of rain we have had in the area lately that there would be enough water to paddle the entire creek but no luck. Although, this time we planned ahead just in case and my husband grabbed a piece of kayak strapping and threw it in his kayak. This way I held his boat, stayed in mine, and he pulled me and his kayak through with little effort.

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I enjoyed the ride and captured a beautiful hawk hiding out in the trees right next to the creek edge.

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Arriving at the next lake in the chain he again caught a fish after a few casts and this time it was a nice bass.

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Our entire day was a success. No rain, abundant sunshine, warm water, and great fishing. And I even had my first swim of 2017 in a lake…..it was a great way to spend a Saturday.

 

 

Photos Speak Louder Than Words-Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Since photos often speak louder than words…..let me recap Memorial Day weekend for you simply using photos and very few words.

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Wow, what a weekend!!! We finally dusted off our paddles from the long winter, had a little fog one morning, rain another morning, and relived a place that we use to take our son every year when he was smaller. We enjoyed dinner outside at our favorite place….the front porch and we all are feeling rejuvenated and ready for a great summer ahead.

Did you do anything fun you care to share….if so feel free to comment?

 

 

 

Some Of The Best Places Are The Places You Never Planned To Visit

While on road trips we have stumbled upon some of the greatest areas in our state. On our way home from camping recently, we visited Big Falls county park that really made me want to dust off my kayak paddle and relive 5 years ago in the whitewater rapids.

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Instead, I settled for dipping my feet in for awhile since it was freezing cold. It’s also been awhile since I have tackled any sort of rapids with my kayak. Although, we may give it a try this summer since our son may have the time to join us and be the chase vehicle.

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At this county park we visited it was lined with huge rocks along the river and offered hiking, fishing, and even pothole excavation for treasures.

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I can only imagine this place in mid summer being packed with people with all the sand, swimming, and fishing that could happen here. We can definitely add this to the list of one more amazing place we have stumbled upon while we escape the big city where we live.

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***There is a $3 fee to park and enter this park.

Primitive Camping Actually Means Four Wheel Drive Camping

When I booked our campsite for our weekend near Interstate State Park I knew I wanted a site away from all the action, the entrance, and the shower house. Plus, I needed a site that could accommodate three tents since their were five people in our party. Typically, campgrounds do not let three tents on one site plus two vehicles but this campground had a sight away from all the action and big enough for us all. Perfect…..right? The lady said it was a quiet site and primitive…..she forgot to mention that we would need a vehicle capable of making it to the site. Thankfully, we did not have our Honda Civic for this trip since that would have been even funnier than it already was.

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We arrived mid afternoon and began setting up immediately. Three tents up, gathering wood for campfires, and organizing camp.

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I then left to find the nearest bathroom since the middle of the night was not that far off. Needless to say, it was quite a distance to walk at 2a.m. in bear country, so I knew if need be it would be a quick trip to the nearest tree. Life goes on…I did ask for primitive.

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After camp was set the guys were all itching to get in some fishing. So after a quick lesson for one of our friends on how to tie fishing lure knots, we headed to the river.

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I wandered around the park we found while the guys tried fishing. However, it did not take long to see that the fish were not biting here so we headed back to camp for dinner and a campfire. Our son taught our friend how to light a campfire with flint and steel which is always fun. Some succeed and some do not….he did very well.

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Saturday morning I climbed out of my tent to see this beautiful sunrise before we visited Interstate State Park both in WI and MN to hike. You can read more about that adventure here.

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After a day of hiking and fishing at the parks we headed back to camp once again to clean and prepare their catch.

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For those of us that were not into the “cave man” type of eating…..roasted fish on a stick (that would be me) they also made some fillets. All while I threw together a quick cheesy taco casserole.

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And just as I watched the sun rise on the day I also watched it set feeling like we had a pretty fun day.

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Interstate State Park -St. Croix Falls, WI/Taylor Falls, MN

Hi, we are back from our extended weekend adventure to Interstate State Park located on the border of WI and MN.I had been looking forward to this park for quite some time and in all honesty, I was quite disappointed. Not so much in the park itself but in the hiking trails.

The park itself was gorgeous….but if you are looking for a good hike, distance is not to be had here at all. Most hikes seem to be over before we even started. Even the hard rated hike of Summit Rock was quite easy. A beautiful hike but not difficult by any means.

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We also combined the Echo Canyon trail since they basically intersect. This brought us low and right next to the St Croix.

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After this we then added the River Bluff trail and the Lake O the Dalles trail to make our total hike a whopping 2.65 miles of hiking. However, we did find a few geocaches along this trail which added to the adventure.

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Like I said, someone could easily do this entire park in a few hours since nothing is very long. All these trails were accessed from the Summit Trail parking lot.

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After these we headed to another parking lot to do the most popular trail in the park according to the park ranger I spoke to before leaving home regarding hikes and fishing regulations. By this time, I was pretty much hoping for a spectacular hike since so far I was not thrilled. We arrived knowing it was a short hike(less than a half mile round trip) but apparently there are some amazing pot holes to see. Which there were when we got to them but nothing I would call amazing. At least not on the WI side of this park. Here is one picture I took of our friend standing inside one of the potholes.

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We then packed up and headed across HWY. 8 to the Minnesota side of the park and took the small hike of 8 city blocks to see their Pothole trail. This was much more impressive even if it was only 8 blocks long.

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The guys even resorted to making there own fun by doing pull ups on a pine tree branch.

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All in all both sides were very short, nice views but short. And by far if you are looking to see potholes in the rocks make your way to the Minnesota side since it is much more impressive.

The rest of the day we spent fishing on the WI side of the park and then headed back to camp which I will share this part of our trip next….when I have time to type it. Let me just say, camp was much more fun and we had some great laughs that’s for sure!!!!

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*****Yes, to answer the first question I will surely receive by many people looking to visit this park….you do need to pay on both sides if you do not have a WI state park pass and also a MN state park pass.

***** Yes, fishing rules are different on WI vs. MN sides so do your research and make sure you know what you can fish for and how to transport them over the state line if you plan to keep your catch.

Let’s Go Outside Shall We

My Mothers Day weekend starts today. What about yours?

I plan to spend mine with my husband, son, and some friends in the best place ever….outside!!!

I can’t wait to share the outcome with you next week but until then….

Happy Weekend Everyone!!!!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there also.

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A Trial Run Camping In Our SUV

This past weekend I threw out an impromptu camping trip to my husband where we would sleep in our SUV. Back when we purchased the vehicle the salesman laughed at me when I asked to see all the back seats lowered down and I then crawled in to make sure we fit in the back length wise. I simply looked at him and said, “I plan to sleep back here while camping.” My husband and the salesman then both looked at me with an expression of your kidding right? Ha, would I ever say something I did not mean…NEVER! So, a few months after having the vehicle my husband and I made a trip to the hardware store for a sheet of plywood and he got to work.

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And then life happened and we never had to opportunity to test it out due to his back injury and then my surgery. Which meant, this weekend seemed to be the perfect opportunity to finally do so. Campgrounds are not full yet since it’s too cold, which meant we could easily show up at any park and be guaranteed a site without a reservation. After throwing a few needs and some quick food into the vehicle we headed out. We picked a state park about 45 minutes from home.

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Upon arrival it was cold…and windy…..very windy. He gathered wood around our campsite for heat and I made up our sleeping area.

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Then we did some exploring nearby, did a little fishing, took a drive, and came upon a new park we had never seen before. I can see us returning here when it’s paddle season.

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By this time the wind was starting to calm down a bit so we returned to the campground and he made a big fire to keep us warm.

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We later took a short walk around the campground and it was so great to see the leaves finally emerging from their pods. Summer is coming:-)

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As evening progressed we started to get hungry. Our choice for dinner were freeze dried meals we had on hand from home that we quickly grabbed. Two, new to us, meals that we each chose were chicken and dumplings…super yum and chicken fried rice….again, a winner.

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After dinner we relaxed by the fire and later turned in for our first night of SUV camping.Ohhhh, what an adventure this was.

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We learned a few things during the night. #1SUV camping is quiet…we hardly heard anything from area campers unlike in our tent. #2 you cannot unlock the SUV from inside and open the door to exit if the SUV was locked with the key pad…the alarm goes off(this was so funny at midnight of all times) #3 our sleeping pads do not stay put in the SUV which meant we kept sliding down toward the door. Frustrating, but we figured it out and turned the opposite way to sleep which was much better. This little transition happened about 2a.m.. #4 down sleeping bags and comforters are priceless when temps are in the 30’s and winds are 35mph off the Bay of Green Bay….brrrr!!!! It was freezing outside but we were quite cozy inside.

All in all, we were surprised we were not cold. We have one adjustment to make with our sleep pad but this is already worked out, I just have to go buy the item we are going to use. And I know without a doubt this will be the way to camp in the spring and fall here in WI. I loved not having the damp, wet, clammy feeling of sleeping in a tent. Plus, there was nothing to take down, dry out or fold up. In the summer however, I will still take my tent. There is nothing quite like falling asleep in a tent staring at the stars above.