Wisconsin’s Potawatomi State Park — Campsite Review, A Ton of Sites and Limited Privacy

While many terrible things came out of the pandemic, one positive thing that emerged was the chance for people to discover new, socially distant hobbies. One activity the people flocked to was camping. It’s perfect, right? What could be more socially distant than moving your pandemic circle of contacts into the secluded forest? By some accounts, one in five people who camped during the pandemic were trying it for the first time ever, and another one in five people reported camping again for the first time in many years. The rise in camping was clear. Campsite reservations were harder to come by, parking lots were full, and trails were packed with people. (I know there were downsides to the extra strain on natural areas, but I’m focusing on the positives for now.)

Memorial Day weekend was always a busy time for campgrounds, pandemic or not. This year, kind of sort of coming out of the pandemic, it was even busier. Suddenly the knowledge that you can book campsites 11 months in advance was critical.

This year we camped at Potawatomi State Park in southern Door County. This 1,200 acre park sits on the southern shore of Sturgeon Bay. The park as a whole is a gorgeous, water focused park. I’ll get to that in another post. For now I want to focus on just the campsites.

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Campfire Breakfast Tacos with Chipotle Sauce

If I had to eat only tacos for the rest of my life, I think I would be totally fine with it. Health wise, though, I might end up with some deficits of vital nutrients. My love of tacos knows no bounds, so much so that my sister spoke of how my affection for tacos rivals my love for my husband in her maid of honor speech at our wedding. My husband fit right into this preexisting relationship and we now eat tacos 2-3 time per week.

Tacos have it all, protein, carb, veggies, heat. They are versatile and allow you to let your creativity shine. I could go on about tacos, singing their praises, but I’ll get down to what I came here to talk about: campfire breakfast tacos.

It’s hard to get me out of my sleeping bag some mornings, but I’ll do it for tacos.

These tacos had turkey sausage, eggs, onions, green peppers, and a homemade chipotle sauce. To make an early morning at the campsite as easy as possible, I started prepping these tacos at home, cutting veggies and cracking eggs.

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Wisconsin’s Pike Lake Campground, Site #3 Review, Kettle Moraine State Forest

It’s official, the 2021 camping season has begun and the first camping trip is already in the books! I have camp sites booked on weekends from May through October but this one wasn’t even on the calendar. Spontaneous bonus trip! That’s to be expected though since the weather can be so unpredictable, evident by the frost advisories this entire week. Being a weekend in May with a nice forecast, we took advantage and booked a site.

The season started at Pike Lake, one of the numerous units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. This park is an easy 45 minute drive from Milwaukee and an hour and twenty minute drive from Madison.

The first thing I noticed about the park was it’s proximity to Hartford, Wisconsin. This town is small, but not that small, and is immediately outside the park’s boundary. (See the map below.) It’s so close that a gas station and strip mall are visible from one of the hiking trails. This location is either a plus or minus, depending on your view and what you’re looking for in a camping location. The town is right there if you need anything but also right there so you’re camping a minute outside a town. Some of our campground neighbors took advantage of the proximity and left their breakfast and campfire coffee to Dunkin’ Donuts.

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Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Forest North, Zillmer Trail System — Hiking and a Lesson in Geology

State parks, state forests, state recreational areas, and state natural areas, despite the differences in name and funding, what really distinguishes them? (Asking rhetorically unless someone has a legit answer.) No matter the title, all of these areas have been deemed special, beautiful, and worth sharing with everyone.

This adventure brought us to one of Wisconsin’s most well loved state forests, the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Spread across over 100 miles, this state forest is divided into several sections, all in southeastern Wisconsin. The forest is named for the Kettle Moraine, which stretches from Walworth to Kewaunee Counties (so like Elkhorn/Lake Geneva to Algoma areas.) Digging deeper, the Kettle Moraine is named for being a moraine that is dotted with kettles. Unfamiliar with those geological terms? Don’t feel bad, I had never heard of them either outside the context of the state forest. Let’s learn together.

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Wisconsin’s Governor Dodge State Park — Pine Cliff Trail, A Spring Hike with Birds and Views Abound

Just like that, the trees are budding, the flowers are sprouting, and the grass is green. Spring, you’re a beautiful beast and we welcome your presence, the sunshine, the storms, and even the occasional snow shower.

As antsy as spring makes me, there’s always a waiting period from the time the snow is done melting to the time trails aren’t completely made of mud. Spring rain factors into this too. I’ve definitely lost my patience a few times before and made the mistake of getting out on a trail too early, which always ends with boots full of mud.

This year seemed to be different. The snow melted pretty early and we had limited rain. (Evident by all the wildfires and burn warnings.) I took a gamble and decided to get out on a trail at the end of March. The park of choice? Governor Dodge State Park, which is always a familiar favorite of mine.

We parked at the Enee Point parking lot to access the Pine Cliff trailhead. We planned to hike the Pine Cliff Trail with the optional loop portion and part of the Lakeview Trail.

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Wisconsin’s Mirror Lake State Park — Winter Edition, My Second Winter Hike

This year was the first time I attempted a real winter hike. I know, that’s kind of sad and disgraceful for someone who loves to hike and lives in Wisconsin. The experimental winter hike took place at Lake Kegonsa State Park on a 31 degree day. Looking back, it was a pleasant enough experience and I didn’t totally hate it. (Honestly, I kind of thought that I would.) Well, I’m happy to say that I completed yet another winter hike the following week!

Winter hike number two took place at Mirror Lake State Park outside of Baraboo. Mirror Lake is a park that I’ve been to before, back in May 2016 to be exact. I even have an old blog post about it. (Looking for this post I discovered that I started Hiking Hungry in 2015. That’s nuts!)

I reviewed the winter park map before I left and planned a route, making sure to note which trails were for hiking and which were for skiing. (The winter is their time to dominate the trail systems.) We planned to hike the Lakeview Trail to the Echo Rock Trail, maybe including the Sandstone Trail if we weren’t too cold.

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