Monday, July 6, 2015

Wisconsin - 2nd stop


We are staying at the Sky High Campgrounds, we arrived here on June 22. There motto is Family Camping with a View and they are not kidding.
The campgrounds are on Cascade Mountain. It is a large campground and has sites for any size RV, camper or tent, plus cabins to rent and there is plenty to do on site. They have two pools, a regular one, plus a small 1' pool for toddlers.

There is a poolside bar that is open on the weekends. They have putt-putt golf and a 3 par chuckers golf course that wanders through the campground. A large playground with a sand box. They have a game room with game machines, pool table and air hockey. The store is very well stocked with food items and other necessities. The grounds are maintained fairly well, not the best we have seen but doable. Not impressed with the laundry facilities. The floor had puddles of water on it that you could tell had been there for awhile, and there was a great deal of lint around all of the machines, and two of the four dryers were out of order. The bathrooms were very clean. The staff is friendly, but it is not the personal service we have found at the other camps. Taking out the laundry the place is pretty nice. A little glich the last morning, in the midst of cleaning we discovered we had no water when Nancy went to rinse out the bucket. They had shut off the water in our section of the campground for maintenance but didn't let anyone know - would have hurried things along if we had known. There were only 4 campers left so it wouldn't have been that hard to notify us.

On our way to Wisconsin Dells, we had to drive through Baraboo, love that name, it is home to the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum. We didn't find time to get to it, but one of our neighbors in the camp took their teenage granddaughters and they had a blast.

Nancy always thought that Wisconsin Dells was an area, and was surprised to find it is an actual town. It is definitely a tourist town. There is a Ripley's Believe it or Not, and wedding chapels, candy, fudge and T-shirt and souvenir shops line the streets. There is no end to the hotels, motels and resorts either. Not to mention wall to wall people. Some people love all of that but it is a bit much for us. We did find the River Walkway, which was the calm in the middle of the storm. Short cement walkway with benches and chairs, plus two checker/chess tables to enjoy the river from. There is a nice view of the river and you can watch the boats go by.
Yikes - that is a very high ride
The walkway ends at a bridge over the river and under the bridge is a giant rock that looks like a beach. While standing on the bridge we could see a salt and pepper type ride over the tops of the trees, the amusement park is two or three miles away.

 After the craziness of the Dells, we ventured back into nature at the Devil's Lake State Park. Our intention was to do an easy short hike. Well that didn't happen. We hiked for 3 1/2 hours and covered roughly 4 miles of very rocky and steep trails. We wanted to see the Devil's Doorway and the Balancing Rock so off we went.
Our view from the trail as we started
The trail turns here and continues to head up - nice view though
When we started out we were marveling at the rock wall we were hiking next to - little did we know that very soon we would be climbing it. About half way up the mountain side as we made our way through the twists and turns of the path we came to a turn where the edge was a sheer drop. Nancy's fear of heights kicked in about this time and she was stopped in her tracks. There was a large boulder at the corner and she hunkered down next to it, to let people coming down go past her. The kids that went by were very encouraging and as they got past, the girl said to her companions, "Wow, my mom would never do that". Those were the words Nancy needed to hear to help her along. Les came and stood towards the edge to block her view and she crawled up the steps to get past the corner. She has the bruises on her knees to prove it. It might not have been the most graceful climb but she was pretty proud of herself for doing it and only shedding a few tears in the process. Once on top of the ridge it was worth all the effort. The views were spectacular. Every turn in the path brought a new view and they just kept getting better and better. We spent a long time at each one, just soaking in all the beauty, there just are not enough words to describe it and the pictures just don't do it justice.

We made it to Devil's Window and the Balancing Rock and are so glad we did.

We found a Hippo tree
This was the path - had
to take off our backpacks
to get through
Butt crawled these steps
 The hike down wasn't as bad as the one going up, but it was hard to tell sometimes where the path was. There was a spot that Nancy did it on her butt. Again not graceful but whatever it takes. If you ever get a chance to go there - do it.

Mielikki loved jumping from rock to rock and found herself a resting place at Balanced Rock.
You would think we would be done for the day but oh no. We checked out Spring Green, a small town south of us and then went to Portage for an outdoor concert at the VFW Hall. Thankfully they had food because we worked up an appitite and had no picnic dinner this time.

There is an area near here that is called Amish Country and we needed some Amish butter, so we went to check it out. After two food/general stores and a cheese shop we are still without butter, when we asked at one of the stores if they knew where we could buy some they looked at us like we were crazy. Guess it's back to regular butter from the store. We did find some spices and seasonings at one store and we stopped at a bakery and got two small pies, cherry for Les and blueberry for Nancy, some of the best pie we have tasted. While driving around the area we kept seeing cows in the ditches along the side of the road, they were just laying there eating the grass. Never seen that before.

Stopped in Portage on our way back and hiked a small portion of the Ice Age Trail, a National Scenic Trail that is a thousand-mile footpath that highlights the continental glaciation sculpts that were left behind as the glaciers retreated. It travels through some of the state's most beautiful natural areas. The Trail is entirely within Wisconsin and is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails. There were lots of bugs so we didn't get far. We saw another turtle, we have seen one in just about every place we have been. Adjancent to the trail was the Historic Indian Agency House, so we checked out the museum. The house was built by the U.S. government for John Kinzie in 1832, who was the Indian Agent to the Ho-Chunk Nation. John and his wife Juilette lived there from 1832-1843. John and Juilette were the grandparents of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts.

While back in Spring Green for an Arts and Craft Fair and Farmers Market we went to the Franklin Lloyd Wright Museum, to check on a tour, but the next one wasn't for three hours and it is 2 hours long. Would need to leave the dog at home if we are gonna do that and not enough days left to get it in.

We also went to the The House on the Rock, and that tour is 3 1/2 hours long so a no go there as well. The driveway of the House on the Rocks is lined with huge flower planters and metal sculpture birds. If you get a chance check out the photo gallery on their website - the place is insane.

Before heading home we stopped at the Natural Bridge State Park and hiked to the bridge. It reminded us of the Arch on Mackinaw Island. A nice hike, not to long and only a slight incline at the end.

There were outcroppings along the way, as well as spiders and leaf shadows to enjoy

Black Hawk Rock - Sam the tour guide
One of the best things we did this visit was to take a Dells Boat Tour. It is really the only way to get to see the rocks. We went out on the Red Cloud, with Chris as our captain and Sam as our tour guide, both have some really cheesy jokes to tell.
Center picture is Louis Bluff - named after one of the areas first white settlers. 
Picture on the top right is High Rock (L) and Romance Cliff (R) Indian weddings were performed there
Bottom left is The Palisades
The center photo shows the measuring rock - at times the water has covered the rock
We had two land stops while on the 2 hour tour.

One at Witch's Gulch, with a wooden walkway through the splits in the rocks. There is a small water fall under the walkway. As you pull into the dock the small bay is neon green with algae, and where you can see through the water it is crystal clear.
The second land stop was at Stand Rock. It is a large columned rock with a flat platform on top. They have a viewing area where you watch a German Shepherd jump across the opening onto the platform and then back again. This location was used by photographer, H.H. Bennett. He invented the first stop-action camera and he had his son Ashley leap the five-foot gap so he could prove his invention worked. It took 17 jumps to get the photo below.

The path has some amazing rock formations. One looks like a table and is called Visor Ledge and another like mushrooms called Toadstool Rock.
There are numerous cave like sections, and foxes live in some of them.

The Demon's Anvil is shown from the water side and the trail side.

A boat tour is highly recommended. If you stop at the visitor's center and pick up a coupon book, you can get one ticket free.

Of course we found many Roadside Oddities. Once again we found some on our own and some from the website.
Pinkie the Elephant - Sissie the Cow and the Climbing Mouse
Some we found on our trip to Madison for a stop a Camping World and Trader Joe's. While trying to find Trader Joe's we got a picture of the Capitol building.

The rest we found in Wisconsin Dells and Baraboo.

The Largest Flamingo, and the Largest Steer, plus a cowboy Muffler Man. As you are traveling down Wisconsin Dells Parkway, you can see this Trojan Horse for miles.  

Denny's Dinner for our friend Denny Rasch. The small Helicopter is at the entrance to the airport and we loved the Moosejaw place and their delivery cars are wild. Our friend Nigel Berry, worked at a sports and outdoor store in Ann Arbor, MI called Moosejaw, so this made us think of him.

You can sit inside the large Teddy Bear although we wouldn't suggest it because it was rather gross. The large moose is in front of a furniture store and you get to walk under the large dinosaur to get into the store.

There is plenty to do in this area. There were Farmer's Markets almost every day in the surrounding towns. We found an Artisan and Antique market that is held every Sunday in Baraboo, we also discovered an Indian Antique Show, lots of arrow heads, leather, beaded work and rocks and crystals.
We made our first visit to a Menard's. Oh my gosh what an amazing store, they have everything, yes everything, from milk to riding lawn mowers. If you haven't been in one, you should check them out, but wear comfortable shoes because they are big.

Until we meet again...

Happy Trails to you

Tips and things we have learned along the way
~ when you have done a lot of cleaning and have emptied your bucket of water a number of times, and then take a shower, you should empty your grey water tank before running any other water. If you don't it will back up into your shower that you just scrubbed.

1 comment:

  1. Cascade Mountain had me at 'poolside bar.' LOL
    Thanks for sharing all your gorgeous pictures. And isn't it amusing how so many touristy towns look the same? Jack was most impressed by the McDonald's when we drove through Gatlinburg.. Hahaha