Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekend Update: Devils Lake, WI (part 4 - the finale)


The four of us were up early again this morning. (Our site mates are going to be glad when we're gone.) They go to bed late, get up late.....when camping, we're the exact opposite. :-)

In the summer, I'd much rather get up early in the am, and enjoy the cooler temps before it gets hot.

Although, I can't tell you how lucky we were all weekend, when it comes to weather. Blue skies, cooler temps....perfect!!!

Because this day was supposed to be the warmest of our trip, we planned to get some kayaking in. The beaches at this park are INSANELY full because of the holiday, but our goal was to head to the lesser used South Shore.


The lake is crystal clear!! Because of that, it's a destination spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and kayaking. It's also known for it's hiking, camping, mountain biking and rock climbing.

I stopped paddling a couple of times to watch climbers scaling the cliff faces along the lake shores. Quite a few people in the group we are with are rock climbers. I'd love to try it....but the falling to my death thing keeps getting in the way. Some day I'll meet someone that will be willing to show me how. :-)

I have quite a few of these pictures. Guess what it is? The inside of my PFD (life jacket) pocket.

(giggle) Whoops!! :-)

After kayaking, Sheila and Mike grabbed their gear and went snorkeling, while Mel did some fishing with her new pen rod...a gift from Sheila for the Glacier trip.

Everyone had a great time!!! I'm not a fisherperson, nor a snorkeler, so I stayed back and watched the boats and gear...and did some people watching.

Mike came back before the girls and took a nap on the ground by our table.

Once the girls were done, we all loaded the boats, packed up our gear and stopped at the concession stand for food before heading out to hike again.

Nej "I'll have a vegetarian burger, please."

Concession Kid "Are you a vegetarian?"

Nej "Nope, do I need to be?"

Concession Kid "Oh, you're one of those healthy people, aren't you?"


The hike we planned to take that afternoon was on the opposite side of the lake. We were going to take the East Bluff Trail up to see Balanced Rock and Devil's Doorway, then head back down.

Balance Rock.

Devil's Doorway

After Devil's Door, we decided to continue on and take the Potholes Trail back down. Just as the trail up was, it wasn't so much a trail, as a set of stairs. A long, tall, grueling set of stairs. :-)

I'm glad we decided to go back down the other way, FAR fewer people!!!!

At the end of the hike, we all plopped ourselves down in a nice shaded area...and vegged out for a while. The heat and humidity had finally caught up to us all. :-)~

Back at camp, the other members of the group weren't back yet, so we went ahead and made dinner.

And then, if there was any question about how full we were....we had a little birthday cake for dessert. It was Sheila's birthday!!!!

Sheila, you lucked out...the one picture I have of you blowing the candles out will not get posted. You can thank me later!! :-)

After dinner...and cake....we all rolled ourselves down to the shower house to remove the 4 pounds of dirt, grime, bug spray and sunblock. When we got back, because it was forecasted to rain in the morning, I started packing up some of my gear (to make the morning go a little smoother).

Earlier in the day, we'd talked about the raccoons in the park. Sheila (being a non camper) was a little worried about them.

As she and I are in the tent packing up our clothes and such...I hear Mel outside "Hey you! Get our of here!!!!"

I was totally stoked! I grabbed one of my hiking poles (those little b*stards can be mean sometimes) and ran out of the tent.

"Don't scare it away yet!!!"

Mel looked at me like I'd grown an arm out of my ear.

I rushed towards it....grabbing my camera on the way.

After I took his mugshot....I shoo'd him away.

The little guy (or gal) had managed to tear a hole in our garbage sack....but that's ok!!!! :-)


The forecasted rain didn't show up that morning. (thank goodness - like I said, we really lucked out with the weather on this trip!!)

Mel and I woke up early, again. She left camp without a word to go get one last fishing trip in....while I hung out at the campsite reading, and packing.

When she returned, the three of us started making breakfast.

The breakfast of all breakfasts.

A "not for the faint of heart" breakfast.

The breakfast "motherload."

I'm not was nuts!!!

Pancakes, omelets, fried spam, corned beef hash.

Protein and carb it's best!!!


Anyway.....once we'd finished stuffing ourselves to max capacity...we started packing up the gear to head home.

The packing to go home process went much quicker than the packing to leave process did. We knew where all the puzzles pieces fit this time around! :-)

The drive was pretty boring...a pretty typical "leaving paradise to go home" drive.

Boring, that is, until we get about an hour or so outside of Des Moines.*****

The floodgates opened, a dam was lowered, a valve was opened....SOMETHING!!!

We got rained on...and not just any normal, run of the mill rain.

No, this was a "Noah, where's the Ark?" type of rain.

And there was a small amount of wind to go with it.

A "knock Jen's kayak off the rack on top of the truck not once, but twice" type of rain.

By the time we got to Des Moines, Mel and I were soaked...and everyone's nerves were a little frazzled.

We got all my gear into the Jeep, we got all their gear into their garage...and I headed home.

Two more hours of driving....(sigh).

But, no more than 2 minutes outside of Des Moines, I was wearing sunglasses, and the road was dry as a bone.

Gotta love that Midwest weather!!!

At least, that's what they keep telling me. :-) :-)

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July weekend as well!!!!!!!

Nej out!

***** (Why does Blogger spell check not like the way Des Moines is spelled? It's a state capital for crying out loud!!!!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Weekend Update: Devils Lake, WI (part 3)


"That's it! I've had it. I can't stand it any longer!!!! I'm outta here!!!!!!!"

It was then that I finally pulled myself out of the tent, and walk down to the pit toilets.

I love nature, but will never deny missing flush toilets. :-)

I thought this place was nice last night.....whoa Nellie....last night had nothing on this morning.

The sun coming through the trees is amazing. The bright green contrasting with the dark morning shadows. The birds chirping...

...and this other noise.

This downright annoying noise.

What IS that??

It's a mid-range hummmmmmm. Like a mosquito, or a distant tornado siren...but worse.

As I sat there in my chair, it slowly drove me completely insane!!! I had to go investigate.

Some campers came in last night, maybe one of them has a noisy water pump on their camper or something??

Nope, it's the vent on the top of the pit toilets. (sigh)

Maybe we can climb up there tonight when no one is looking???? :-)

After breakfast, the four of us cleaned up camp as quietly as we could (we were sharing our site with one other couple from the group), and headed out for some hiking around the lake.

Our goal was to take the West Bluff trail along the top of the bluff.....and then return on the Tumbled Rocks trail down along side the lake. When we were unable to find the trail head for the WB trail, we figured we'd find it on the other end and reversed our route. (successfully finding the WB trail on the other end)

The hike was gorgeous!!! Amazing views of the lake, both from lake level and from the top of the bluff.


Part of the trail going starting to head up the bluff.

Do you see that outcropping there? It's straight down...sheer cliff.....really, really high up there! Do you see that little ledge to the right of the round boulder? Do you see how that would look like an awesome place for me to go??

I think I scared the daylights out of Mel....but that's exactly what I did.

The view, while standing on the other side of that round boulder, was amazing!!!!!

Good thing we didn't need help. :-)

(read the white sign - click on the picture if you need to make it bigger)

We arrived back at camp around noon to eat lunch.

(mental note.....mixing the Garlic and Butter side dish, with the Dirty Rice side dish isn't as bad as you'd expect - giggle)

After lunch we went into town to find a snorkeling mask for Mike.

From there we headed to the Lost Canyon tour, and activity Mel found online.

Was it touristy? Yes.
Was it fun? Yep!!!!!!!

That's Barnaby, our tour guide.

Pardon the blurry pictures. My little waterproof, crushproof, freezeproof, Motproof camera just doesn't do very well with fast action shots! :-)

This is Dick the horse. His buddy Jed is standing right beside him (you can kinda see his ears above Dick's head).

(Oh, I can only imagine how many blog hits that sentence will bring.)


After the canyon tour, we decided to find a boat tour of the Dells. I mean, we're there, we may as well.

Mental note: When putting in the address on a ticket booth, confirm that you also enter the correct city. 107 Broadway in Wisconsin Dells is a ticket booth....107 Broadway is Baraboo is a thrift store. :-)

Since we missed the boat (literally) we went back to camp to eat dinner. Hobos over the campfire...yummy!!!

We spent a little time roasting marshmallows over the fire...then headed to bed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Where there's a will.....

....there's a way.

I saw this guy collecting firewood for his campfire at Devil's Lake. :-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Weekend Update: Devils Lake, WI (part 2)


Mel and I got up early for a 3 mile run (yep, I'm still doing that....23 lbs down so far!). After our run, we sat on their back deck enjoying the cool am temperatures. She watered the garden while I drank my glass of "way to go! you got your rump out of bed early and ran like you should have" chocolate milk.

We both knew we should head inside and start packing up things for the trip....but neither of us wanted to just yet.

That is, until a bird pooped on my leg.

Oh was gross.

And apparently a bird that enjoyed a berry enriched diet. :-)~

I took it as a cue to get my rear in gear.

I took a shower, Sheila packed up her clothes for the weekend, and Mel took Mike (their son) to his driver's ed class. When Mel got back, the three of us ate breakfast and stopped by a store to pick up an extended stinger for their truck, so we could use the bike rack I brought with me.

We loaded up all the gear, picked up Mike, and were on our way. we come!!!

Interstate travel...ugh!!!

Mike lasted about 10 minutes before falling asleep.

Stopping at a rest area to check the straps on all the boats.


6.5 hours later

"Get me the ___ out of this!!"

We drove and drove, and drove....and drove.

At one point, the GPS told us to do this.......

There were no detours on that road, no bridges out......retarded!!!

When the GPS (I call her "bitchin' betty) told us we had 7 minutes before we arrived....we all looked around. Like every other state park I've been to, there's no warning. One minute you're driving with nothing to see...and then WHAM!!

As we drove into the park, and to the campground, no one said anything but "Whoa!" or "Holy cow!"

All I could think of was how much Mot would like it!

We got to our campsite and just stared.

Think of the cover of Bill Bryon's A Walk in the Woods....just without the bear. :-)

We were nearly set up when other members of the group started arriving. (Iowa Outdoor Unlimited)

Mel and I are going on a week long backpacking trip to Glacier National Park in August, so we thought going on this trip with them would be a good way to meet some of the people we'd be traveling with.

It was still daylight, when we met our fist local.

A raccoon.

A very ballsy and brave raccoon. He walked right up the road, lifted the bottom of the screen tent at the site next to us, and climbed right up on the table. They'd left all their food out. (sigh)

Tammy, the organizer of the trip, stopped by our site with the ingredients for dinner. We started cooking while they set up camp.

After dinner, we sat around the campfire for a little while, walked down to the shower house to throw our garbage bag away in the dumpster, then went to bed.

(to be cont)