Wildcat Mountain — Hot and Humid, Hiking the Hills of Wisconsin,

Hello there, stranger. It’s been quite some time since my last post (just over two months, yuck.) Between beginning a new job and trying to get the most out of the last warm months of the year, time flew by. The good news of my posting hiatus, I have a small stockpile of photos and memories to keep me (and you) warm through the winter with thoughts of better, greener days.

Anyway, let me pick up where I left off.

Late July we took a trip to a park situated on the Kickapoo River, halfway between the Dells and La Crosse, Wildcat Mountain. You are probably well aware that Wisconsin doesn’t have any true mountains. What we lack in mountains, we make up for in big hills that we call mountains. Hey, Wildcat Mountain sounds much better than Wildcat Hill. Read More

Mill Bluff State Park, Wisconsin — Short Hiking, Tall Rocks

This summer my quest for day adventure hikes brought me to several parks I’ve never heard of before. Driving on the interstate north from Madison a ton of times, there was always one area that stood out from the rest of the landscape. North of the Dells, just off the highway, rock formations jut out of the ground toward the sky. “That would make a great park,” I said. Well, lo and behold, it was.

An hour and a half drive north from Madison on the interstate brings you to the park. With 21 campsites, no flush toilets, and less than 2 miles of hiking trail, this park is small.

Links to follow along:
Park Map (This shows one of the trail)
Campground Map (This shows the other trail)
Trail Descriptions
Park Website Read More

Wyalusing State Park, Ridge Campground — Site #127, Camping With a View

Now for the final part of the 2018 Wyalusing State Park adventure.

In addition to hiking many of the trails in the park, we also camped in the Wisconsin Ridge Campground. The views from the campsites lining the ridge are unforgettable. Having camped at numerous state parks throughout the state, I can say with a small (maybe tiny) degree of authority that these campsites are some of the best (if not the best) in the state. Let me tell you why.

First, if you missed the hiking portion and would like to catch up on it, check out the two-parter of Wyalusing Hiking 1 and Wyalusing Hiking 2.

So the first reason why this campsite is my favorite becomes obvious pretty fast. Driving into the campground, the road first passes by a bunch of campsites not lining the ridge. These campsites are pretty typical and look like campsites you could find anywhere else. However, Once you reach the end of the road and start driving along the ridge, it’s a whole different level of campsites. Read More

Wisconsin’s Wyalusing State Park, Part II, Down to the Mississippi River and Into the Cave

Now starting part II of the Wyalusing State Park Birthday hiking and camping trip.

If you missed part I, catch up on it here. The first part focused on the initial hike, which featured the scenic lookout points over the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers.

Links to follow along:  Trail Map and Trail Descriptions

At the end of the previous post, we had just made it to the lookout points and were resting with an incredible view. Remember this? After resting and refilling our water backpacks and bottles, we were off.

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Wyalusing State Park, A Birthday Hike Overlooking the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers

 

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Picture it. It was a Monday morning in January in Wisconsin. The high temperature for the day was in the single digits and it was going to be dark by 5pm. (I’m also picturing this in black and white, even though I’m sure there was some color.) Everything felt bleak, as it often does in winter. Then I remembered, as I sat there in my super thick and probably unflattering sweater, summer is coming.

So I logged on to find a campsite. Not just any campsite, but one of the most impressive, most awe-inspiring campsites around, a Wyalusing ridge site. (This should say something about the pure awesomeness of these sites. Reservations for Wisconsin campsites can be made 11 months in advance. When I logged on in January, all of the ridge sites were booked for every single summer weekend. I ended up getting a site for Sunday – Tuesday as a birthday camping trip celebration. Even writing this now, in August, many of the sites are already booked for 11 months out in 2019.)

Oh well, what better way to spend a Sunday birthday than a birthday camping trip!
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Maui’s ‘Iao Valley State Park and ‘Iao Needle — Beautiful Backdrops, Historical Significance, and Guy Fieri (?)

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I’m switching gears for a minute and taking a break from my Wisconsin summertime posts to travel back to the lush rain forests of Maui. While I only had the chance to complete one true hike on the island, I did get to explore Hawaii’s unique natural habitat in other ways.

A short drive west of Wailuku is the entrance to an area of Maui rich in natural beauty, ‘Iao Valley State Park. Located in the West Maui Forest Reserve, this area is home to the ‘Iao Needle, an erosional feature that dramatically shoots 1,200 feet from the valley floor.

This area is also rich in island historical significance as ‘Iao Valley is the site of the Battle of Kepaniwai or the Battle of the Clawed Cliffs. Super brief history, in 1790, King Kamehameha invaded Maui during his attempt to bring the Hawaiian Islands under one ruler (himself, of course.) Kamehameha’s army and the Maui army clashed during a three day battle, which was eventually ended by the use of cannons. Despite losing this battle, Maui’s Chief Kahekili II regained control of the island and held it until his death. Kamehameha would not have full control of the island until five years later.

The park today is managed by the State of Hawaii and requires a small, $5 admission fee per car. Check out the park’s current conditions before you go as the area is prone to flash flooding and washouts.

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Campsite Review, Peninsula State Park, Falling Asleep to the Sound of Waves

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A few weeks ago I posted about the hiking at Peninsula State Park in Door County. If you missed it, I encourage you to check it out.

Peninsula State Park Part I and Peninsula State Park Part II

The hiking alone is enough of a reason to visit this park, but if you want to make it more of a trip, or are looking for a more cost effective lodging option in Door County, the park offers plenty of camping opportunities.

Peninsula State Park has an impressive 468 family campsites across five campgrounds and several group camp locations. All of the campgrounds offer showers and flush toilets in addition to the standard vault toilets and drinking water. Read More