Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wisconsin & the Closing of the Loop

When we crossed the Mississippi River it really hit us: we're on our way home! We stopped for an overnight at a park just over the Wisconsin border, in the town of Holmen. Upon arriving at the large, busy park, we were alerted that even though it was only October 1st, there was a Halloween party underway, and that all of the campground kids would be making their rounds for Trick-or-Treat. We dropped off the Whale and immediately drove into town to stock up on treats. You know, olives, anchovies, pickled eggs, beets and saurkraut. Back home we always get the same exact number of trick-or-treaters every year: ZERO. At Whispering Pines campground in Holmen we went through four bags of candy in an hour!

The next day we had a nice, short drive to Devil's Lake State Park. This place is one of my friend Duncan's favorites, and he actually drove out from his home in Waukesha to spend the afternoon.

Fall colors were near peak at Devil's Lake:

Duncan's favorite thing to do at Devil's Lake is scramble on the boulder fields. Nearly 500 vertical feet of boulders make up large sections of the bluffs surrounding the lake. We had a great time picking our way up to the top, only risking our lives a few times in the process:

The view from the top of the bluff is gorgeous (click to enlarge):

There was still plenty of beautiful day left, so we also went for a paddle on the calm waters, enjoying the scenery from a different perspective:

I baked up a couple of pizzas for dinner, then Duncan returned home to his family. The next day I took to the trails, enjoying a very New-England-esque ride through the woods and along the bluffs:

And Nancy, Toby and I hiked the trails all along one side of the Lake, first high up on the bluff edge...

...and then back along the lake edge, where the trail weaved amongst the giant boulders:

Our next drive Closed The Loop. We intersected our own path from just over one year ago, when I first visited Duncan and stayed at Ottawa Lake campground in Kettle Moraine State Forest. From now on we'll be retracing our steps right back to Middletown.

The campground at Ottawa Lake was one of my favorites back then, and it still holds up as one of the best of the entire trip. Big, private, level, grassy sites, with electric and strong Verizon signal, quiet and access to good trails - that's what makes a good RV site.

While there I re-visited the Emma Carlin mountain bike trails which I enjoyed so much a year ago, and we paid a visit to the Elegant Farmer to get some more of that sinfully delicious apple pie. In the evening we got together with Duncan, Sheri, Sarah, and Sarah's friend Abby, for dinner at Peking House in Waukesha. It was great to see Duncan and his family again. We hope to see them again, perhaps one summer up in New Hampshire or Ogunquit.

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