Monday, October 31, 2016

Spooky Halloween Fun Camping at High Cliff State Park

Sometimes the stars align and present wonderful camping weather. This was one of those times. We enjoyed a wonderful, spooky, fun October weekend camping at High Cliff State Park. Highlights included trick-or-treating along the Halloween Walk, hiking the trails, and a visit with relatives to admire their award winning pumpkins and long gourds.

High Cliff State Park is a popular spot for a picnic, hike, or jog near the Fox Cities. With beautiful limestone cliffs alongside Lake Winnebago, High Cliff State Park features about 16 miles (25.7 km) trails including an 8.5 mile (13.7 km) horse and bicycle trail. It also features a marina, beach, lookout tower with a 30 mile (48.3 km) view, great views of the lake from the cliff top, Indian burial mounds, a statue of Chief Red Bird, and a general store museum. 

Update: Added link to video

We arrived after dark, set up camp, and my brother and his son showed up to start an awesome campfire. What a beautiful cold, crisp night to be alive. The next morning I hiked around the park and the haunted campground trying to warm up. Back at camp, I decorated our site before my family woke. When they crawled out of their warm sleeping  bag cocoons, I cooked a feast of bagels, oatmeal, bacon, and eggs. The nice thing about car camping is the ability to eat like royalty - as compared to wilderness trips. 

Video of award winning giant pumpkin and long gourds.

My daughter, now awake, fed, and warmed up, took me for a walk around the campground to admire the decor. After we got an eyeful, we hopped into the car to visit a nearby relative and admire his award winning pumpkins and long gourds. Some mighty impressive gardening goes on in Northeastern Wisconsin.

Video of spooky, fun High Cliff Halloween Walk through the 
haunted campground.

After a late lunch of dehydrated spaghetti, we hung out around camp waiting for our relatives to show up. Squeals of delight filled our ears when my brother showed up with his 2004 pound pumpkin carved into a jack-o-lantern. The kids couldn't get enough! As the day grew late, extended family arrived and the kids headed out trick-or-treating.

We had a fantastic time trick-or-treating around the well-decorated campground, and a nice time roasting hotdogs around the fire when the kids returned. Very nice to see family and watch the the kids enjoy a fun, frightful, family outing.

Sunday morning came all too soon. I enjoyed another nice hike around the park watching squirrels, turkeys, and migrating geese. I returned to find my family already awake. After whipping up another bacon and egg breakfast, time to bring another camping weekend to a close arrived. Our daughter played atop the great pumpkin until go-time arrived.

Inviting loved ones to come by and join us for the Halloween Walk and to share good times around the campfire made camping super fun. The addition of a 2004 pound pumpkin from our favorite award winning pumpkin grower decorated our campsite in fine style. 

A morning walk around the campground and trails.

That's all for now. Get outdoors, and keep our wild places wild!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Family Backpacking Trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Famous for its gorgeous rock formations and cliffs along the south shore of Lake Superior in Upper Michigan, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore can be visited by tour boat, kayak, driving tour, or on foot. We chose the latter. With both campgrounds and backcountry sites available, we opted to backpack which may be done by permit at $5 per night per person. Pictured Rocks is located between Munising and Grand Marais on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.