Amazing Trail Discoveries

The trail is normally a great escape for me. It’s a time to reset, enjoy nature, savor the peace and quiet of falling leaves, and just be in the moment. Unfortunately, even when I am on a trail I sometimes may run into something/someone that just takes me by surprise (besides a snake)!

Recently, a friend joined us on a hike and we came across a few of these “surprises” and I was quite happy to hear not only do they surprise me but others also.

  • Lack of people. We recently hiked two separate days a total of 7 miles on a very popular trail in a state park. The sun was high in the sky, temps were perfect and bugs were tolerable. It was also a weekend when you would expect most people out doing something fun. Don’t let me forget to mention, the campground at this state park was almost full. During these two days and 7 miles we came across a total of 13 people! I was shocked, I could not believe we ONLY saw 13 people in two days.
  • Flip flop hikers. Clearly they had the urge to hike but it was not in the game plan initially or they would have had better options for footwear. I could never pull this off but they did and I was impressed.
  • Trail maps. “YOU ARE HERE” may not always mean “YOU ARE HERE.” I have only hiked in a few states and WI is by far one that needs some work with their trail maps. Whether it be updating, repair or even placing the red star in the correct spot stating “YOU ARE HERE”, they just need some attention. I would highly recommend a GPS if you plan any elaborate hikes in the area.
  • Food taste better on the trail. Truth be told, I never thought I would ever consume a freeze dried meal. However, after a long hike, they are quite appetizing to say the least. I may even go as far and say that I even look forward to them.
  • Hikers texting. OMG, put your darn phone in your pocket and look up!!! You are missing the best part.
  • Smokers on the trail. This took me by surprise. This person was just ahead of us on the trail and instead of taking in fresh air we had to breathe second hand smoke. Happy…. I was not! Irritated…. extremely! The trail was not that long but apparently they just could not wait and had to light up before the hike was over.
  • Age groups we come across. This is my biggest shocker I think. Most hikers we come across are middle aged to older adults and I am just so happy about this fact. I think it is fantastic!!! We have so many people we know that we have tried to get to join us on fun hikes and everyone says the same exact thing…..they’re too old! I just wish they could see they really are not too old, because we see it on the trail all the time.
  • Kids exhausted. As scary as this is for me to see it is also very frustrating for me also. Kids should be able to do anything I can do and much more. However, we come across kids 10-16 years old that have to sit, rest, and simply force their bodies to hike further down a trail. What is happening to our youth?
  • Pack it in/Pack it out. Dispose of waste properly! This is what that means. Let me be more specific. If you carried it in with you, you also carry it out with you. If you did not find it on the trail, it does not belong left on the trail.
  • Strenuous/Moderate/Easy. This can mean different things to different people. Do your research and make sure it’s what you can handle.

Do you have anything you can add?

I would love to hear what you have come across while hiking.

Can you relate to any of mine?

Advertisements

While On Dry Land We….

This was a water free weekend for us and I can assure you we do not hope for many of these. Even though we did have some fun this weekend, it just did not happen in a body of water anywhere.

After planning all week to finally get our son to a beach and let him see if he was able to paddle a recreational kayak (not his whitewater kayak quite yet) mother nature seemed to have a better idea for us. He has not touched a paddle since his accident and misses kayaking so much. However, with storms predicted mid afternoon, cloudy conditions  and wind on Saturday…this all meant the beach was not a good idea. That was ok, but then Sunday mother nature thought it would be funny to predict a high of 72 degrees (which it never reached) in the middle of August….which also meant the beach was off limits. I would have froze. And in our home, when mom is not happy no one is happy.

Instead we made a trip to our favorite veggie market Saturday.

IMG_2394

Stocked up on cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, corn, zucchini and one peach for my hubby. Then we came home and started cooking. First we made fire roasted salsa,

IMG_2411

then refrigerator pickles,

IMG_2301

and I used a wonderful idea from Jen and decorated a store brand hummus for a get together we had planned for Saturday night. I also plan to make our favorite zucchini bread this week with my daycare kiddos. They love to do cooking activities.

While we are on the topic of food, let’s talk about our dinner plans that happened Saturday. We invited our neighbor over for some taste sampling before our camping trip we will be taking together for the first time in the near future. She had never had a freeze dried meal and we have an entire case for emergency purposes. You know, in case I have a bad day and feel the need to hike up a cliff away from it all….not the natural disaster type of emergencies, we are not that organized here:) Anyways, we picked out three of our favorites and prepared them at home for dinner and we each had a little of all of them. Along with the meals, I also served that jazzed up hummus, salsa, chips, veggies, and spinach dip.

IMG_0886

Her reaction to the meals before preparing them were amusing but when she was served a sampling of each she was even more skeptical of the outcome. Much to our surprise each meal passed her approval.

IMG_0903

She is even talking about trying a few of her own now that she has a little experience with this form of food.

Switching the topic from food to camping brings me to my wonderful buy of the weekend. Since our last camping trip at Copperfalls State Park, my husband and I decided to invest in two self inflating sleeping mats. I think we are either getting old or the ground is getting harder, either way we needed something to make us feel more mobile in the morning. Well, I am proud to say, I came across a spectacular buy and could not believe it when I found them. We shopped around locally testing out various mats and had our minds set on Therm-A-Rest  Basecamp mats.

IMG_0880

Although, at our local sporting goods store they were quite costly coming in at $109.00 each, so I came home to research how cheap I could find them online. The best I could do online was $98.00 for the size we wanted and that was still to much for my frugal mind to spend. Then I just happen to drive past another store near the grocery store I needed to go to on Saturday. I thought, what the heck, it does not hurt to check, right? In I went, found the correct size right away and saw a red sale sticker for $69.99 and could not believe my eyes. I even had the sales associate do a price check and he happily came back and said, yes that is correct….SOLD I took two immediately. So of course we had to do a trial run and see if they would be comfy all night on hard ground. So hubby and I camped out on the floor Saturday night and could not have been happier. No hip or back pain at all. I was thrilled:)

As for Sunday, we decided to take a drive to one of our favorite disc golf courses. It’s a little bit of a drive but worth it. I will share all the good information later this week regarding the course and how we did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copper Falls State Park

Copper Falls State Park is where our summer vacation began. It is located in Mellen, WI.

IMG_0097

Upon arriving we were surprised to see they offered carts to help with hauling our supplies to our hike in campsite (August goal # 1). This was nice and very helpful.

IMG_0299

We arrived mid morning and got all settled into our site before changing into our hiking boots and hitting the first trail on our agenda.

IMG_0111

Typically, I do quite a bit of research before taking any hiking trip just to see what others have had to say. I knew the trail was 1.7 miles long and a loop. From the reviews I read, I was expecting a much more strenuous hike than it was. This turned out to be a very easy walk, with a few steps to climb, and the entire trail is crushed rock which made for a nice stroll along the Bad River.  The trail started behind the concession stand which is easily located upon entering the park and picking up a park map. If you venture off to the observation tower (you will see a sign pointing to it on the Doughboy Trail) you will encounter many more steps. We did venture off to the tower and were very disappointed because the trees have grown almost taller then the tower and the view was literally the tree tops. Not worth the climb in my opinion.

On the Doughboy Trail you follow the Bad River and Tyler Forks seeing some amazing waterfalls throughout the entire gorge. Make sure you bring your camera!!!!

IMG_0223

IMG_0202

After finishing the Doughboy Trail you can treat yourself to an ice cream cone in the concession stand which is also where this trail ends.

Our next trail in this park we really wanted to see was the Red Granite Falls Trail. This trail was a 2.5 mile loop which brought you through a hardwood forest to the Red Granite Waterfall. We encountered four people on this trail the entire time. Much less populated than the Doughboy Trail. The water fall was beautiful and we climbed onto a big rock and sat and enjoyed the scenery for some time.IMG_0261

We also were able to find a few geocaches in this park. A little side note for anyone geocaching, GPS satellites are very inaccurate in this area. Good Luck!

IMG_0287

Then it was time to call it a day for us. We made our way back to our campsite, made a wonderful freeze dried meal, and then headed to the shower house before crawling into our tent and sleeping under the stars. We had a big day planned for our second day of hiking.

IMG_0297

More to come…..

 

Weekend Highlights: Devil’s Lake Spring Hike/Glamping (glamorous camping)

I often wonder if my husband is afraid to read his email at work when he see’s it’s from me. Although, when we first got married I was not a “pick up and go” kind of person. I would plan everything out weeks/months in advance. Well, those days are over.

So, after spending such a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend outside and enjoying it so much, I was sort of sad to see it end. Which got me to thinking last Monday morning, why don’t we go camping? It’s still too cold to kayak and water levels are still very high so that sport is completely out of the question. Our son was not scheduled to work and it’s not too hot yet so the bugs will be tolerable. So, I quickly sent a little email simply giving it a title of CAMPING?? to see my husbands thoughts on this plan. He answered quite quickly with a YES and the ball was now in my court.

Typically, when you plan to camp you would normally take a quick peak at the weather forecast. Although, I did and knew the highs for the weekend were looking pretty nice (60-65) I never thought to look at the lows. By Wednesday we had made a few adjustments to our plan to tent camp and ended up renting a basic cabin with heat near the park we planned to hike. Our son told me to man up, but when I mentioned to him that he would have to be the one to listen to me complain how cold it was…. he then agreed to the cabin arrangement pretty quickly.

IMG_4473

Friday night after work we left for our destination. We rented the cabin at Fox Hills RV park and Campground in Baraboo,WI. We wanted to get there Friday night so we could have the entire day to hike at Devil’s Lake State Park. We were the very first tenants in this brand new cabin. Very nicely built. Even my husband could not find a flaw anywhere in the design. Now that is a miracle!

We arrived, checked out the grounds, played a little chess,

IMG_4479

made smore’s, and went to sleep in our HEATED cabin.

We started our day of hiking early. I had a goal in mind to finally hike the entire loop around the lake. Every time we come here to hike we do one bluff or the other because we drive home the same night. So this was it. My day to cross something off my bucket list.

We started at one end,

IMG_4491

climbing to the top of this bluff,

IMG_4534

past Devil’s Doorway

DSC_0009

then around the entire lake to the other side and up the second bluff.

IMG_4524

IMG_4535

We even found Croc Rock along the way.

IMG_4511

We made it in just under 5 hours with a break for lunch on the trail included. Sweet success, a total loop!

IMG_4540

What a day! The sun was shining beautifully. I had the opportunity to try my new trekking poles. We did some geocaching.

DSC_0034

As always, the view from the top took my breath away.

IMG_4516

And again, I got to watch some rock climbers do their thing. Maybe someday I may try this….or maybe not.

IMG_4530

After all this, it was back to the campsite for pudgy pies and more smore’s. Yum!

We had so much fun as a family hiking this beautiful park that I hope you will all consider doing something like this with your family. It really does not get any better than this.

DSC_0024-1

Happy Trails Everyone 🙂