Category Archives: Camping

Camping Southern Wisconsin

May was quite a traveling month for me. Three days after returning from six days in Dallas, Al and I took off for vacation. Every year after tax season, we try to take a trip somewhere. Somewhere quiet, peaceful, and with as few people as possible. We’ve gone to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Florida, and Cancun.

Wyalusing State Park is located where the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers meet.

Wyalusing State Park is located where the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers meet.

This year we decided to forgo packing suitcases, driving to the airport, standing in security lines, hailing taxis to hotels, and hoping our room would be ready so we could collapse. Instead, we went camping for nine days. I must add here that I love camping. Load up the camper, hitch it to the truck, and take off.

Since our first weekend was to be over Memorial Day weekend, our original thought was to head to southern Wisconsin and spend the weekend at Wyalusing State Park. Then on Monday, we’d head to Ames, Iowa.

Since we left on a Thursday, our hope was to get a spot before the weekend campers arrived. Our plan worked and we got the last electric site available.

You can see vultures flying.

You can see vultures flying.


Once we were set up, we sat in our comfy chairs and soaked in the quiet that was only broken by the many, many birds. Now to many this may not sound exciting, but to Al and I watching and trying to identify birds is fun—and relaxing. Unfortunately we forgot the bird book and, with limited internet access, figuring out what the birds were was difficult, especially since with many we only heard their calls.
Don't know what they are, but they're pretty.

Don’t know what they are, but they’re pretty.

By the afternoon of the second day, after a hike, we decided we didn’t want to leave. We went to the ranger’s office and managed to extend the stay on our site until the following Friday. By Thursday, we were able to switch campsites so we could stay until Saturday.

Even with the rain, we had a great time. Wisconsin States Parks are wonderful. Quiet with quiet hours and mostly families. Lots of hiking trails. Beautiful scenery. We love to camp in the fall when kids are back in school. This has been the earliest we’ve camped in the season.

Not all campgrounds have biking trails near them. We spent one day looking for a trail, only to end up somewhere in Iowa and a rough, gravelly trail where we biked eleven miles. We got lost coming home—actually we got lost going, too.

View from bluffs in park.

View from bluffs in park.

Another day was spent being tourists. A nearby town had an arts and craft fair along with a flea market. Didn’t buy any fleas, but tasted and bought some very good local wines. Another day we just got into the truck, turned right out of the campground and kept driving. Southern Wisconsin (well all of Wisconsin) is gorgeous. Bluffs, rivers, lakes, streams, trees, and wildlife.

Our biking started in Belmont, Wisconsin. This is their welcome sign.

Our biking started in Belmont, Wisconsin. This is their welcome sign.

Another day we drove to a different bike trail, only this time in Wisconsin. Once again we had trouble finding the path, going three miles the wrong way only to end up in some farm fields. Once we were going in the right direction, we biked through some beautiful land. Farm fields. Cows. Rivers. Dead skunk. Dead snake. Including the misdirected trail, we biked 25 miles.

We ended up in Calamine. Yes, Al did say “I was just itching to go there.”

Poor snake. Neither of us hit the snake, but it scared the daylights out of me when I rode toward it. I thought it was alive.

Poor snake. Neither of us hit the snake, but it scared the daylights out of me when I rode toward it. I thought it was alive.

We had to navigate around some fallen trees on the path. We moved what we could, but the trees were too big and heavy.

We had to navigate around some fallen trees on the path. We moved what we could, but the trees were too big and heavy.

View from path.

View from path.


The rest of the week, we simply spent time together. We both got a lot of reading done. One entire day we were stuck in the camper because of the rain. I finished a short story.

While many of our vacations have been wonderful, I’d have to say this was the most relaxing. This morning as I was leaving Al said with a sigh, “Vacation’s over. Damn. I had fun.”

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