First Trip to Wisconsin State Park — Kettle Moraine State Forest

(Disclaimer: Seems I’ve used up all my photo space for WordPress. So you’ll have to use your imagination until I figure out how to add them.)

We finally got our 2021 State Parks’ sticker this week, so decided on Friday, with the temperature at 31 degrees, to do some exploring. We went to Scuppernong River area in the southern unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest. OK. It’s not actually a State Park, but a State Forest, and only about 30 minutes from our new house in the Milwaukee area. The last time we were at Kettle Moraine was 39 years ago. We were the lone April campers (tent) in that campground, with our 6-month-old baby, and ice covering our water containers overnight. We do look forward to camping there this summer with the grands in a bit warmer weather. It’s a lengthy park, with loads of trails, so lots to explore in the future. This trip was just dipping our toes in.

Being new to the area (so to speak), our first assignment was to find bathrooms. We went to the Ottawa Lake Campground, where there were several campers set up in the light snow, and located the men’s winter toilet. I walked around the building across the road searching for the women’s. Guess what? It was behind the men’s. No sign until you reach the backside. Ha. At least I found it.

We checked out the trailhead to the Scuppernong River area, across from the campground. It was Carlson-crowded, with 4 other vehicles in the parking lot. We took our hiking stick and poles, and decided to walk to the first bend. The start was entirely ice. Poles and hiking sticks were worthless, slipping at every touch.

But we are always up for a bit of adventure, so stayed along the side of the trail, off the ice as much as possible, until we reached the bend. Then we decided to go to the next bend…and the next. As the trail loop is only a mile and a half long trail, we continued on. We both admitted afterwards we were thinking how to help each other (especially me) if we fell on the ice and hurt ourselves. Normally, Jeff carries a first aid kit on hikes, but since we were “only going to the first bend”, that kit remained in the van. My poles could shorten to be used as splints, but our paracord was all back in our vehicle. Because we took it very slowly because of the ice (as well as stopping for photos, and allowing unmasked hikers pass us), it took 50 minutes to hike through the marshland and over the boardwalks.

I was glad to experience this trail during the winter, to become familiar with it. Thankfully, the trail in December wasn’t all ice. There were sand and frozen dirt and leaf-covered parts to the trail as well — times to casually walk without having to watch every step. Were it summer, though, we would have completed the trail in about 15 minutes — chased onward by the notorious Wisconsin mosquitoes, with our shoes soaking wet from the soggy marshland.

Now that we have our WI parks sticker, we look forward to 2021 adventures in Wisconsin.

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