Saturday, May 16, 2015

Backpacking Shakedown Trip at Buckhorn State Park

To prepare for our upcoming Smokey Mountain backpacking trip, our family spent Mother's Day weekend doing our shakedown. We hiked just under a mile to our campsite on Castle Rock Lake. If you're new to the sport or looking to  shakedown gear, Buckhorn State Park is a great spot for a trial backpacking experience. Not far from the car for an easy bailout should things go wrong, but far enough in to enjoy a little more peace and solitude than the campground provides.

Our gear held up nicely. Our permethrin-treated clothing kept us tick-free in spite our finding ticks on our gear and even in our tent. As usual, it turned out I packed entirely too much food. Once again we were off adventuring causing a late lunch and poor dinner appetites. We never prepared our planned dinner meal. 


We spotted wildflowers, eagles, cranes, a porcupine, butterflies, jumping fish, and many fantastic songbirds. We hiked, paddled, and stopped at the playground. We enjoyed being together away from the distraction of electronics and household chores.

Heavy logging throughout the park left behind a few interesting totems and sullied the views, particularly, but not exclusively, along the Turkey Hollow Trail.

Camping with a sand beach along the camp sight made the trip fun for our daughter who wants to return to the same campsite again one day. We enjoyed nice views and lake breezes. This park is not as busy as others, and offers a number of waterfront campsites and plentiful wildlife sightings. Buckhorn State Park provides a nice family weekend getaway not too far off the beaten path.


Meals:                        Food Planned:
Snacks                           Granola Bars, Cashews, Beef Jerky, Marshmallows for Roasting
Breakfasts                     Oatmeal with Nuts and Dehydrated Fruit
Lunch                            Freeze-dried Mac and Cheese, Dehydrated Taco Meat, Apples
Dinner                           Dehydrated Beef Stroganoff, Freeze-dried Peas

The hiking trails run well under two miles (3.2 km) each. By hiking the outer perimeter of the Central Sands, Turkey Hollow, and Partridge Trails, the hike can be lengthened a bit. These easy trails provide a well-maintained and easy hiking venue.


Canoes may be rented and launched in the park. However, we brought our Prospector 17 along and drove to the nearby Yellow River State Wildlife Area to put the boat in. Buckhorn State Park is located near Necedah, WI on County Highway G on a peninsula on Castle Rock Lake. Wisconsin State Park vehicle admission fees and camping fees apply as in all Wisconsin State Parks.

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