Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cooper Falls State Park–Mellen, WI

I came to this area because of all the waterfalls in the area.  If you don’t like waterfalls, you might not like this blog!

After setting up in the park, I noticed a weird looking contraption across the road from my camp site.  I didn’t know what it was until I saw the sign on the back of it --

A “Problem Black Bear” in this area, this could make for an interesting trip!  I wasn’t too far from the trash receptacles so I am guessing that some bear was trying to get into the trash.  Luckily it didn’t happen while I was there.

About 1/2 mile from my campsite was a 1.7 mile hike around several waterfalls and a gorge.  I enjoyed it so much that it became my morning walk. 

Copper Falls -

Brownstone Falls -

Tyler Cascades -

An interesting tree stump seen on the trail--

During one of my morning walks on this trail,  I saw a Bald Eagle and during another I saw a deer and 2 fawn.

One day I visited 2 other state parks in Northern Wisconsin – Pattison and Amnicon.   At Amnicon, the river falls quite a bit in a short distance.  There are several waterfalls within just a few minutes walk.  I looked at the campground in this area and decided this would be a good place to camp.

Pattison State Park is also known for it’s waterfalls.

Pattison Waterfall -

To get an idea of the the size of this waterfall, note the overlook on the left side at the top of the waterfall.

Little Manitou waterfall is also at Pattison State Park -

From Copper Falls State Park, I made my way into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  This is where I am publishing my blogs as I have internet access.  While I don’t spend as much time on my PC as I used to, I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I couldn’t use it for almost a week. 

Bayfield, WI

My reason for going to Bayfield was I wanted Full hookups for a change.  Also, I wanted to take a boat trip around the Apostle Islands.

The first day I was in Bayfield, I went into town and enjoyed lunch on a bench beside Lake Superior.   The view from my lunch spot -

The rest of the pictures are from the cruise around the Apostle Islands. 

This was a nice, quick stop before I head to Copper Falls State Park in Mellen, WI.  I did discover a great jewelry shop called Donalee Designs, I bought too much!!  Jewelry doesn’t take up too much room in the RV, so that’s one of the few things I buy these days. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lake Wissota Falls State Park - Chippewa Falls, WI

I came to this area to attend my niece’s wedding.  I have previously stayed at this state park and enjoyed the hiking and biking trails.  So in my free time I did some hiking and biking.  On one of my trips, I was riding my bike back from the ranger station and rode 10 – 12 feet from a black bear.  Of course, I didn’t know it was there at the time.  A car happened to be coming up behind me and pointed it out.  After moving a bit further from the bear I watched it eat for a while. 

Nearby is the Old Abe Trail.  Part of the trail crosses the lake and there is an interesting bridge.  When I saw a picture of this, I thought the bumps in the bridge would make for a rough bike ride.  But after crossing it on my bike I realized that the bridge was so long it was ok.

Below is a view just a quick walk from my campsite.  This was a great place to sit and read.

Several pictures of the wedding are below. 

The usher (my nephew) escorting another nephew to his seat!

I learned that if you want to take good pictures you need to sit on the “wrong” side. We were seated on the bride side so most of my pictures show the back of her head, this is one of the few where you can see her face. 

Above is the bride and groom along with my sister and her family.

I thought Morgan’s wedding bouquet was beautiful.

While here, I had some bad luck.  First, I broke my eyeglasses and had to get a new pair.  Then a few days later, my cell phone decided to die.  I had been thinking about getting a smart phone, so since I had to get a new phone I went ahead and got one.  I love it!!  Being able to look up things on-line where ever I am is great.  (As long as there is service!).  If anyone knows of good camping/rving apps let me know.  I’m in the process of reviewing some campground apps for a Droid and will be downloading one in a few days.

From here I headed to Cooper Falls State Park, which is where I wrote the last several blogs since there is no TV, phone or internet access. 

Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

Before heading up to Chippewa Falls for my niece’s wedding, I stopped in Baraboo, WI and stayed at Devil’s Lake State Park.  While there I hiked a few of there trails.  One of these was the Tumbling Rocks trail.

You can see why it is called Tumbling Rocks.  Along the trail, I ran into some wildlife.

I think they are Northern Water snakes.  Several types of wildflowers were blooming, one of them is below. 

It rained a good bit while I was in Baraboo.  I’m not much of a campfire person, but many people think it is a requirement when they camp regardless of the weather.

I just don’t think sitting by the fire in the rain would be fun, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves. 

While in Baraboo, I visited the International  Crane Foundation.  According to their brochure, this is the only place in the world to see all 15 species of Cranes.  Of course it rained while I was there.  Below is a picture of our tour guide in the rain.


I hope I got the names of these right --

Black Crowned Crane -

Blue Crane -

Wattled Crane-


Whopping Crane sitting in nest-

I liked the gates to the parking lot-

I had been to Wisconsin Dells one time before, but I wanted to ride the Wisconsin Ducks.  These are the boats with wheels or trucks that float.  When I got there, I was the second one on the boat and got what I thought was the best seat.  At least I thought that until it started raining and I got wetter than anyone else.

This trip was ok.  If you go to the Dells and want to see scenery, I would suggest another trip.   When I was here several years ago I went on the Wisconsin Dells Upper River boat cruise and enjoyed it.  But if you are curious about these strange vehicles, then this trip is for you.  


Heading from the water to the road

Some of the scenery was good!  And I would have probably enjoyed it better if it wasn’t raining.  The picture below came from a brochure just so you can see the vehicle.

From Baraboo, I headed to Alma Center, WI.  This stop was mainly just to dump the tanks and refill the water.  But I stayed here a couple of days to take care of chores and relax.  The nearby town of Black River Falls has a great biking/walking trail that I took advantage of. 

My next stop will be Lake Wissota State Park in Chippewa Falls, WI. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Natural Bridge State Park–part 2

As mentioned in part 1, the Red River Gorge is known for it’s arches.  One morning I did several short hikes to a few of these arches.

The first arch I hiked to was Sky Bridge Arch.  The trail leads over the arch before you actually see the arch.

People have etched initials, dates and other things all over the top of this arch.  They had posted several signs about the fines for this, but it doesn’t seem to have helped.

The arch was very long.  The above picture is on one end of the arch.  Kind of a mini arch within an arch.  The plant below seems to have found an interesting place to grow. 

Across from this trail is the trail that leads to Chimney Rock.  The person in the picture below is standing on Chimney Rock enjoying the great view.

Angel Windows is another trail I hiked that morning.  This trail ends in 2 small arches. These opening in these arches/windows are 5 – 6 feet high.

I saw this wildflower several places along this trail. 

The Princess Arch trail was a nice trail that led over the arch.  But to get down to see the arch required a bit of work.  Once down at the bottom I saw a large bear (third picture).


Ok, probably not the bear you expected.  I don't like seeing writings, drawings or  etchings on natural things, but I liked the bear (just not where he was).  The black dots on the bear are handprints, so you can see this is a big bear (at least I think it’s a bear!). 

I went on another trail to Whistle Arch.  It ended up being a rather small arch or what I would call a hole in the rocks.  The picture below is taken looking through the arch.

Another day I hiked a couple more trails.  One of these was Rock Bridge Trail.  A sign explained that this was the only true Bridge since it has water under it.  I thought it was called a Bridge if it was formed by erosion caused by water and an arch if it was formed by erosion other than water.   In other words, the name came from how it was formed and not it’s current state.  I guess I need to look that up. 

I had to get my feet a bit muddy for the above picture, but I think it was worth it!

A bonus – A small waterfall just up from the bridge.

One day I decided to explore by car.  I wanted to check out some of the Campgrounds in Daniel Boone National Forest.

When I got to Zilpo Campground I found out that part of the campground was closed due to flooding, but I did get to see some of it.  It looks like it would be a nice area to relax a few days.  They have a beach, but due to the flood it was closed.  Some people just don’t pay attention to signs. (It’s hard to see but there are a few people standing/sitting and a couple getting out of the water)

On the way to the above, this old house and farm equipment caught my attention.

From here, I headed up to Wisconsin.  I’ll blog about that next.