Wisconsin Hiking: Nordic Trails

Recently, I had the pleasure of hiking 9 miles of the Nordic Trails with my wife and best friend. We spent the day laughing and swapping snacks, while walking. We were blessed with gorgeous weather, a challenging hike, and a fantastic post-hike meal at img_9430The Picnic Basket. I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday!

The Nordic Trails feature extra wide, grassy paths lined with tall, skinny pine trees and plenty of easy-to-read signage. Wooden benches are dotted along the trail, and at the trailhead you’ll find a large parking lot and bathrooms with vault toilets and hand sanitizer.

img_9419Difficulty

The DNR website says that the 9.5 blue loop is an intermediate-level hiking trail. I would definitely agree. This has been the one of the hilliest, and most difficult trails I’ve been on in Wisconsin, second only to the John Muir Trail (which is right across the street!), and some parts of the Ice Age Trail.

If you are a beginner, enter this trail with warning. There are a lot of hills, so expect a challenge. Seasoned hikers, this trail doesn’t compare to the intensity of the hiking you might do out East, or in the West, but it takes full advantage of the uneven landscape of Wisconsin’s kettles (the result of glaciers that have melted long ago).

Nordic Trail Loops

Easy Trails: img_9439

Brown – .7 miles

Purple – 1.7 miles

White – 3.2 miles

Intermediate Trails:

Red – 2.1 miles

Orange – 2.7miles

Green – 3.9 milesimg_9408

Blue – 9.5 miles

Activities

Hiking and cross country skiing and sledding

Limitations

No Bikes

Nearby Trails

I was so excited to find out that that the John Muir Trailhead is located right across the street. There, you can bike or hike, but don’t expect to have any alone time. It is one of the most popular trails in Wisconsin!

Directions to Nordic Trailhead:

  1. Drive South on US-41
  2. Take exit 4 onto I-43
  3. Drive 22 miles and take exit 38A onto WI-20
  4. Drive .3 miles and turn right onto state road 20
  5. Drive 7.8 miles and turn left onto state road 20
  6. Drive 1.6 miles and take a slight right turn onto US Highway 12
  7. Drive 2.0 miles and turn right onto county road H
  8. Drive 1.6 miles to the destination on your right

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Address

N9084 Cty Tk H

Whitewater, WI 53190

Fees

Entrance to this (and every) Wisconsin State Park will require a day parking pass or img_9423an annual parking pass. You can find information about sticker prices on Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources website.

Leave no trace

Recently, Wisconsin’s state park tax budget has been decreased to zero. This means that park entrance and camping fees will go up. The possibility of some parks workers losing their jobs or having their salaries slashed, is a real possibility.

This means that it is time for the volunteers and the visitors to step up. Please respect these beautiful parks! If you come in with trash, leave with the same amount of trash. If you see trash, consider picking it up and walking out with it. Practice the “leave no trace” policy. Basically, respect the park by being courteous to the plants, animals, and fellow humans.

Further Readingimg_9444

Trailville.com

 

Travelwisconsin.com

Nordicskiclub.org

 

I would like to pay tribute to the volunteers and park workers who put in hours upon hours to maintain these trails, for little or no money. Your efforts are appreciated by me and hopefully by anyone who uses the trails!

Thank you, thank you to my readers! I welcome you to return, anytime!

If you need me, I’m Two Tents Down!

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Wisconsin Hiking: Bong Recreation Area

The famous sign on Interstate-94

So you’re heading south on I-94 and you see that giant brown and white sign that says “Bong Recreational Area: Exit 340”. At some point in your life, you may have giggled a little. I certainly have! Weird thing is, I never actually knew dscn3000what this sign was all about. Recently a friend recommended I check out this so-called “recreational area”, so I did just that.

What is “Bong Recreational Area”?

It is exactly what is says it is: an area for recreation. Here, you can hike, ride horses, tear around on ATVs and snowmobiles, camp, swim, kayak, boat, canoe, hunt, fish, and more. Richard Bong State Recreational Area could appeal to anyone from a casual camper to an avid outdoorsperson.

Our hike

It was a mid-August afternoon, hot and sunny, when my wife I hiked the blue loop of the “South of Highway 142” trail section. Bong is definitely a dscn2940popular park. There were people everywhere! On the way to the bathroom, we saw a group of people chatting and walking. In the parking lot at the trailhead, we saw many more people, including a woman getting her horse ready for trail riding.

Humans were only some of many creatures we shared the blue loop with. We weren’t on the trail for more than two minutes before we spotted a handful of turtles and bull frogs in a murky pond. We enjoyed the view from the beautiful wooden foot bridge that stretched across the marshy area.

Hiking Trail Segments

North of Highway 142

  • Gray Trail (1.7 miles)
  • Yellow Trail (4.4 miles)
  • Orange Trail (6.4 miles)
  • Red Trail (8.3 miles)

South of Highway 142    

  • Green Trail (1.8 miles)
  • Blue Trail (4.2 miles)

Trail Difficulty

Like I said earlier, we hiked the 4-mile blue loop, South of Highway 142. This loop was very easy. It was well-marked and relatively flat. Even the most inexperience hiker could manage this trail.dscn2978

Address

Richard Bong State Recreation Area

26313 Burlington Rd.

Kansasville, WI

53139

Phone Number

262-878-5600

Trail information line

262-878-5600

Directions to Richard Bong State Recreation Area

(50 minutes from the East Side of Milwaukee)

  1. Follow I-43 South
  2. Take exit 312B to the right for I-94 / US-41 / I-43 toward Lincoln Ave./Becher St.
  3. Keep left onto I-94 E / US-41 S
  4. Take exit 316-319 to the right for I-94 E / US-41 S toward College Avenue (Follow for 20.4 miles)
  5. Take exit 337 to the right toward Mt. Pleasant
  6. Turn right onto 1st St. / CR-KR (Follow for 5 miles)
  7. Turn left onto US-45 / 200th Ave. (Follow for 2.5 miles)
  8. Turn right onto WI-142 / 15th St. / Burlington Rd. (Follow for 4 miles)
  9. You’ve made it!

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Trail Fees

A daily or annual admission sticker is required to enter the park. We already had one on our car, so the park worker just waved us in.

dscn3015All state parks require a daily or annual admission sicker on each vehicle in the lot. These fees go to maintenance of trails and facilities, and other things within the state parks. You can find information about sticker prices on Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources Website.

There are multiple ways to purchase your sticker. You can go to a participating local business, or purchase a pass online, but I think it’s easiest to do it right at the park. To do this, try to find an open park office, fee collectors at the park entrance, or a self-service payment tube on the premises.

The self-service payment tubes are usually located at the entrance to each trail section. You just grab a form and a pencil, fill out the form, put it all in the provided envelopes, and drop it into the tube. Lastly, put your ticket stub in your car window, and wait for your amazingly-designed Wisconsin State Park sticker to come in the mail.

Have you ever been to Bong Recreational Area? What do you like to do there?

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading!

If you need me, I’m just Two Tents Down!

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Wisconsin Hiking: A Hike of Fireworks and Ice

Fourth of July on the Ice Age Trail

Fireworks? Definitely. Ice? Not so much. We started the Loew Lake segment of the Ice Age Trail in the early afternoon. By the end of mile one, I was glistening as a result of hard work on a hot day—in other words, I was a full-on sweaty mess!

Let me paint a prettier picture. We were hiking the Ice Age Trail in the Pike Lake Unit of Wisconsin’s gorgeous Kettle Moraine State Forest. The Oconomowoc River flowed parallel to the trail for the first mile, or so. Tall grass and cat tails decorated the river banks, and bullfrog-inhabited, green, bubbly swamp patches separated the river and the trail. The frogs generously sang us a song as we passed through the area, so we snapped a few photos and kept on walking.

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We hiked to a lovely soundtrack. Among the many voices were the calls of bullfrogs, the chirps of birds, the pattering of chip monk feet, and the random bang of fireworks in the distance.

After exiting the area along the river, the trail opened up to a spectacular field of tall grass, dotted with rainbows of wildflowers. To our right were patches of berries. There were quickly ripening raspberries low to the ground, and bushes of bright red round berries above them. To the left was a great field with a big, white farmhouse in the distance, and a line of old trees behind it. Way beyond them, was the beautiful Basilica of Holy Hill.

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Trail Difficulty

Easy/moderate for a few hilly spots

Trail Fees

  • No trail fees
  • Vehicle sticker not required

Pros

  • Variety of scenic views (Oconomowoc River, Holy Hill, etc.)
  • Good level of trail maintenance
  • Low traffic on trail
  • Beautiful, donated wooden benches located in scenic viewing areas

 

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Cons

  • Horrible mosquito pockets

Location & Directions

GPS Coordinates

006

Address

6186 County Line Rd

Hartland, WI

53029

Detailed driving directions:

  1. Take I-45 North
  2. Take County Line Road/HWY Q Exit
  3. Turn left (West) and follow HWY Q for 11.2 miles
  4. Turn right onto County Road K (Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive) and enter Pike Lake Unit parking lot

002

Reference Materials:

Every Trail

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Ice Age Trail Alliance

Wikipedia

Discover Wisconsin

Which Ice Age Trail sections have you hiked?

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As always, thank you so much for reading!

Please direct questions, comments, or concerns to the comment section or to my email address: twotentsdown@yahoo.com.

I’m active on social media, so click on one of the links below to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, or Bloglovin’.

If you need me, I’m just Two Tents Down!

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Wisconsin Camping: Mauthe Lake Campground

My first camping trip of 2016 came the second weekend in June. Of course my wife and I had already camped in the yard several times this spring, but our trip to Mauthe Lake was the first time we’d picked a campground, made a reservation, packed up all of our gear, and took a weekend away from our everyday norm.

It was a lot different than pitching a tent at home. This camping weekend was a blur of weather and activities. We braved temperatures between 50 and 100 degrees, wild bolts of lightning, insects-a-plenty, kids-a-many, neighboring camping groups by the dozen; all the while enjoying a much-needed adventure!

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The Arrival

The night we arrived, we were barely able to finish setting up camp before a massive thunderstorm hit. We couldIMG_8912 see the thick clouds rolling in from a great distance, while shades of blue and gray flooded the sky. Then the winds arrived and blew our tent into a horizontal position—putting the poles to the ultimate test! The storm reached down and plucked several of our bent and worn stakes out of the ground, leaving our protective ground tarp exposed to the elements.

Meanwhile, the last members of our group were arriving. They were in mid set up of their tent, when the winds started hacking away at our campsite. While Rhesia ran to reset our tents stakes, I helped our friends get their tent in an upright position. Then Rhesia and I spent some time restructuring of our tarp shelter, which we had originally jimmy-rigged to hang over the picnic tables with bungee cords, rope, stakes, and found sticks.

It was a wild arrival, nothing short of fantastic. You see, this wasn’t the first time my wife and I camped in crazy weather. Our camping trip in the Lake District of Northwest, England was a doozy.  That weekend we slept next to a river that doesn’t actually exist, and hiked over three miles in footy pajamas and cheap Wellies—while carrying a waterlogged double sleeping bag, leather jackets, and a borrowed, broken tent. Luckily, this time around we were prepared with more experience and better gear.

Campsite detailsDSCN2786

Site number: 536

Cost: $23/night

Site type: Standard; Non-electric

Check-in time: 3:00 P.M.

Check-out time: 3:00 P.M.

Site amenities: fire pit, picnic table

Max # of cars: 2 compact/full-sized cars

Max # of people: 6

Distance from facilities:

  • Male/Female (multiple stall) bathroom: 1 min walk
  • Female (personal) bathroom: 1 min walk
  • Showers: 5 min walk
  • Water source: 1 min walk
  • Beach: 20 min walk

Neighboring areas:

  • North: walking path to showers; neighboring campsite
  • South: trees
  • East: grassy field of public space
  • West: trees

Campsite Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Trees on two sides
  • Close to bathrooms/water source/path to showers/Ice Age Trail entrance

Cons

  • Lack of privacy
  • Very small: This site could accommodate two cars and two tents, tops. With one car, you could fit three tents.
  • Excessively deep fire pit: We struggled to get air to our fire, causing it to keep dying out.

Overall campsite comments:

Our group was a little disappointed with our campsite (not the campground). We were out in the open, with a path to the showers on oneDSCN2790 side and a field directly in front of our site. This was the spot where groups of kids would come to play.

All of the campsites in the 530s surround the grassy field, and seem perfect for groups with children. Most of the 540s are in a separate section surrounded by trees. They have more privacy, and are even closer to the entrance to the Ice Age Trail (but further from the beach and the showers).

Reserve America suggested that site 536 could accommodate up to two cars and six people. I think this information was a little misleading. With two cars in the campsite, we definitely couldn’t fit more than two tents. I think the site description should [more accurately] suggest that you can either have two cars and two tents, or one car and three tents.

IMG_8909

Mauthe Lake Campground

(Information obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.)

Name: Kettle Moraine-North: Mauthe Lake Campground

Address:

N1490 County Rd. GGG

Campbellsport, WI

53010

Phone Number: (262)626-4305

Campground Details

Amenities in camping areas:

  • Vault toilet bathrooms with toilet paper and hand sanitizer
  • Private shower rooms with locking doors
  • Water source and water fountain

Amenities by lake:

  • Public beach
  • Picnic area
  • Flush toilet bathrooms with running water and soap
  • Changing room with shower stalls
  • Concession stand with deep-fried appetizers/ice cream/soda/chips/burgers/hot dogs
  • Hiking trails
  • Parking areas
  • Boat launch ramp
  • Firewood vending machine (No, I’m not joking!)

Campground pros and cons

Pros

  • Clean, well-stocked bathrooms
  • Clean and easily accessible shower facilities
  • Friendly park workers

Cons

  • Very busy in the camping areas, and even busier at the beach

Overall campground comments:IMG_8915

We had a fantastic time at Mauthe Lake campground, from the moment we arrived. Check-in was a breeze, and the park workers were friendly and helpful.

On the second night, we were approached by two park workers. They checked our ids and asked us to turn off our music. They were very polite and we had no problem complying.

Making a reservation:

I reserved the site on ReserveAmerica.com. It was a pretty smooth process. I searched for a site within the Mauthe Lake Campground by looking at a map of all the campsites. Then I picked the dates, and paid with my credit card. The hardest part was finding an available site, because I waited so long to make my reservation. I’d recommend reserving your site at least three weeks in advance.

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Until next time…

Campers, I hope you’ll make time to visit this lovely campground! Of course, If you have any questions you can leave a comment below, contact me on social media, or email me at twotentsdown@yahoo.com.

I’ll leave you with a question: What is your favorite Wisconsin campground?

Thank you so much for reading!

If you need me, I’m just Two Tents Down!

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Wisconsin Hiking: Glacier Hills County Park

Last weekend we wanted to go hiking, but we had a limited amount of time. State park trails were out of the question, because even the closest ones were at least 45 minutes away. So on the hot and sunny Saturday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, we headed over to a Washington County park nearby.IMG_8896

Glacier Hills County Park is just two miles East of Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, and it is a perfect place to spend an afternoon hiking, playing in the jungle gym, hanging out in the picnic area, or going swimming in Friess Lake. It’s such a beautiful spot, many people choose this park to host weddings or have family photos taken.

Saturday marked the second or third time I’ve hiked this trail, and it was every bit as beautiful as the first time through. The beginning of the trail hub leads away from the entrance driveway, near the south end of the parking lot. It winds around to a grassy hill, strapped with a wooden bench and a breathtaking view of a great, green meadow, surrounded by a forest of trees. Even if you’re not into hiking, that view alone would be enough to draw anyone to this park.

IMG_8876

Trail Difficulty

I chose to hike the black loop. I would give this 2.6 mile (4.18 km) trail an “easy to moderate” difficulty rating. There were a few mild hills, but I think the hike would be manageable by most people.IMG_8888

Trail Maintenance/Navigation

I was really satisfied with the width and overall accessibility of the whole length of this trail. I appreciate the level of care that goes into keeping this park beautiful, and I find the trail maintenance to be a happy medium between manicured and overgrown.

Navigation was not an issue, and I’d encourage anyone to take a stroll down the black loop. The markings along the trail were easy to spot, and located fairly close together. There was only one moment along the path where we were questioning the direction. Of course, there were definitely areas along the way that made me want to get lost!

Fees

Free to enter, park, hike, play, and enjoy!

IMG_8900

Address

1664 Friess Lake Rd

Hubertus, Wisconsin

53033

Location & Directions

Here are the GPS coordinates to Glacier Hills County Park:

IMG_8849

Directions from I-45:

  1. Head North on I-45 (towards Fond Du Lac)
  2. Take Holy Hill exit (Hwy 167) and turn left
  3. Drive 5.6 miles and turn left onto Friess Lake Road
  4. Drive .4 miles and turn left into Glacier Hills County Park

Here are the Bing maps directions to Glacier Hills, taken from the Washington County website.

Glacier Hills reference materials:

Washington County IMG_8892

 

Travel Wisconsin

 

Facebook

 

The Knot

 

Washington County Parks

Where is your favorite hiking spot in Wisconsin?

IMG_8877IMG_8881

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all who read my blog! I’ll be back with another one, soon!

Until next time, I’m… Two-Tents-Down-Logo-Color-CROPPED

Wisconsin Hiking: Kettle Moraine State Forest – Zillmer Trails

  “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” -John Muir

Hiking the Zillmer Trails

Winter is finally over, and spring has been periodically gracing us with its presence throughout the last few months. I have had the pleasure of going on two hikes during that time – The first hike was weeks ago on Wisconsin’s John Muir Trail, and the second was in the second week of May on the Zillmer Trail.

img_8797These trails are packed with beautiful scenery, dozens of species of birds, and plant life galore! I hiked the yellow segment for the third time last weekend. Each hike has been a little different, with varying levels of traffic on the trail, and an array of wildlife sightings.

DSCN2741 There is one thing that stays the same on all of the Kettle Moraine State Park trails, and that is the fantastic trail maintenance. So here is a gigantic thank you to the volunteers and park workers who have dedicated their time to making our parks so beautiful and welcoming to visitors of all species!  

img_8826Hike Difficulty

The 5.4 mile (8.6 km) yellow loop is the longest hiking/cross country skiing loop in the Zillmer area, but not the most difficult. I would consider it a very low-exertion hike, with comfortably wide paths and gradual slopes.

My favorite part about this hiking area is that you can rely on mile markers to track your progress. This is not a feature I have been able to find on trails in the Southern Unit of Kettle Moraine State Park.

Trail Fees

The Zillmer area is located in the Northern Unit of Kettle Moraine State Park. All state parks require a daily or annual admission sticker on each vehicle in the lot. You can find information about sticker prices on Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources website. img_8835

There are multiple ways to purchase your sticker, but I think it’s easiest to do it right at the park, at a park office. When the park office is closed, you can still purchase a sticker by filling out an order form and putting money into an envelope located on the premises. This type of payment is based on the honor system.

As I have said before, the conditions of the state parks are great, and the beauty you will find within them is immense. These aspects alone will hopefully be inspiration enough to support the parks by honoring the system.

Driving directions: I-45 to the Zillmer Hiking Trail Area

Here are the GPS coordinates for the entrance area to the Zillmer trails:IMG_8839

And these are Siri’s directions, with my little tidbits added in:

  1. Go North on I-45.
  2. Highway ends (near Sunburst Ski Hill) and turns into Fon Du Lac Ave.
  3. Continue North on Fon Du Lac Ave. until you enter Kewaskum village center.
  4. Turn right onto Main St. at a T intersection.
  5. Drive .4 miles and turn left on Hwy G (before Citgo gas station).
  6. Drive 7.0 miles and turn left on Hwy SS (by big black and white building).
  7. Drive .4 miles and turn right into Zillmer Trail Area.

Zillmer Entrance Area

Here you’ll find the hub of several trails leading away from a large parking lot surrounded by trees. Also in the entrance area are some well-kept bathrooms with vault toilets and hand sanitizer, and a large fire pit with benches around it. img_8836Finally, there is a big, log cabin-style building, available for groups to rent.

img_8834This is one of many amazing hiking areas in the state of Wisconsin. I know I have only dipped my feet into the large pool of hiking possibilities, but I plan to keep sharing them with you as I discover them!

Thank you so much for reading! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email me at twotentsdown@yahoo.com, or click on one of the buttons below to connect with me on social media.

If you need me, I’m… Two-Tents-Down-Logo-Color-CROPPED

About

DSCN07505B15D

Hello fellow adventurers!

I assume you’re here for adventure stuff. Are you looking for tips? Advice? Reviews? Stories? Entertainment? Well, I can safely say that you’ve come to the right place.

What is Two Tents Down all about?

At ease, friends! Two Tents Down is a lighthearted camping and travel blog, carefully written and well-researched, with tips, advice, and exciting adventure tales.

Anyone should feel welcome to peruse my Two Tents Down blog, but a beginner or intermediate camper or traveler might find it most useful. Take a look at Two Tents Down’s first entry, if you’d like to know more about the blog.

The Proof is in the Puddin’

To get better acquainted with this blog, you are welcome to read one of the entries below. This is a short list of posts that readers have really enjoyed:

  My Vision

Well I do have a lot of them, but my “Two Tents Down” goal is to share advice and stories about camping and traveling that will educate, inspire, and enable people to spend their precious time exploring!

Here is one of my inspirational adventure moments, and the story that goes with it:  

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Who the heck am I, and why should you trust me?

Well, let me introduce myself. I’m Lauren. I am a Wisconsinite, and I LOVE cheese! Wait, that’s to be expected. Okay, I really do DSCN0923love cheese! Actually, I love food in general, as well as the outdoors. I hike, bike, camp, and travel as much as I can.  

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a journalism degree in 2012, I chased love to England. There, I resided for seven months, hiking and camping, and visiting several cities including Manchester, Liverpool, and Edinburgh, Scotland. 

On a whim, my wife and I moved to Taiyuan, China to teach English. We lived there for a year, getting to know the culture, learning Mandarin, eating authentic Chinese food, and exploring places like Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing.

In 2014, we returned to America to reunite with my family and plan the next trip. We currently reside in Milwaukee, hiking and camping as much as possible on the budget of an assistant teacher and a food service worker! Read about what I’ve been up to since I’ve been home in my article called “Traveling on my Mind”. 

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During the time in between adventures, I dream through reading and writing. I am proud to say, I created and run the Two Tents Down blog. It is a constantly evolving project — open to ideas, and subject to change. Each entry is based on my adventure successes… and of course my failures! What’s more: all articles include the perspectives of fellow adventurers.

Social Media-ness

I like to interact with readers and other explorers on social media. Through these platforms, I share my latest blog posts, photos, stories, and my favorite articles written by fellow adventurers.

Add, follow, like, and peruse to your heart’s content:

Facebook  

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest    

Bloglovin’  

Email

Professional bios and profiles

I’m not just a blogger! I’m a freelance journalist. Connect with me, professionally:

Professional Website 

LinkedIn  

Google+   

Safe travels and happy camping!

Lauren

P.S. If you need me, I’m just Two Tents Down!

2Two-Tents-Down-Logo-Color-Cropped2

Traveling on my Mind

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I’ve been thinking a lot about traveling, lately. Creating a blog and 47 (I exaggerate) social media accounts about camping and traveling will have that effect.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m back home. After all the time I spent away from home, after all the belongings I hate to part with, and after all that I’ve experienced, I can’t believe that I’m back home, in the same place I was before. I’m residing in the same house, working the same type of job, doing the same things in my free time, and living in the same city I lived in for the seven years before I left to travel.

These things didn’t change. My house didn’t change. Milwaukee didn’t change. But, I changed. After coming back home, I realized that I’m different. I don’t quite fit the life I was living before I left.

I don’t think I’m the only person to realize this. I have fewer people in my life now. Upon my return, I realized that many of my friends moved on while I was away. That’s one of the downfalls of travel. Friends’ lives keep moving and building in one place, while your life grows in a different way.

My point is here, somewhere.

I’ve been back home for 16 months now. In that time, I:

Newbie #2

Newbie #2

  • Reconnected with family and friends
  • Made my travel partner my permanent partner in life (Yay! We got married!).
  • Traveled to Virginia Beach for my cousin’s wedding (Congrats, Cuz!).
  • Attended two other beautiful Wisconsin weddings.
  • Played three seasons of softball.
  • Joined a soccer team, for the first time!
  • Convinced an old job to hire me back, then convinced a new job to hire me on.
  • Got a promotion!
  • Lived at my mom’s in the suburbs, then moved back to Milwaukee.
  • Said goodbye to two very special family members, and then said hello to three very special, new family members (Newbies, you know your names!).
 Hiking Kettle Moraine
  • Went on many hikes and bike rides.
  • Went camping a few times, and bought an obscene amount of camping gear (Thanks REI, for relentlessly tempting me!).
  • Explored two incredible national parks.
  • Visited two states I had never been to before.
Me, as Professor Trelawney for Halloween

Me, as Professor Trelawney for Halloween

  • Became Professor Trelawney for one glorious night!
  • Devoured 17 books (and counting).
  • Started this blog.
  • Made a solid plan to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2017.
Even after reminiscing on all the adventures of the last 16 months, I can’t help but feel like the monotony of daily life is stifling my wanderlust needs. I got a taste of traveling. I got a taste of a wildness that I had never felt before. Now I’m home, and writing about those experiences.
Though my travels were far from perfect (and even farther from easy), I know that I need to get back out there again, soon. And once my home life is in order, I’ll be planning and saving for future exploration.

To put it simply, more adventures are calling!

Dear Readers,
Do you feel the pangs of unfulfilled travel? Have you grown tired of the day-to-day grind? What do you do to ease the wanderlust, while you’re doing the home life thing, and waiting for the next big trip?
Feel free to leave a comment, send me an email (twotentsdown@yahoo.com), or contact me through social media (twotentsdown on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).

If you need me,

I’m just Two Tents Down!

 

Wisconsin Hiking: Kettle Moraine State Forest – Greenbush Trails

Hiking in the Greenbush Area

A few weeks ago, my wife and I headed out on a day hike in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Park. The park is filled with picnic areas, scenic views, winding hilly roads, and beautiful trails used for a variety of sports. Needless to say, we love going there!

Unfortunately, we have gotten lost on our way to this park almost as many times as we have been hiking in it. The directions on the DNR website are so basic, I’ve ended up miles out of my way, and had far too many minutes stolen from my hikes.

So this time, I decided that I would document our route to the Greenbush area (from Milwaukee), so that other people don’t have as much trouble finding it. Oddly enough, we did not get lost this time, and instead found our way perfectly, with no wrong turns or hang ups. Murphy’s Law, right? Not really!

Rhesia went out of her way to figure out the basic area we needed to get to, looked up a map, zoomed in, found an intersection, typed that into Google maps, and finally Siri took us to where we needed to go. Not so simple.

GPS Coordinates of the Greenbush picnic area

Here are the exact coordinates I expertly triangulated (Just kidding! I just used the compass app on my iPhone thanks to theses instructions.):

You can enter these GPS coordinates into Google Maps or a maps app on your Smartphone. If step-by-step street directions are more your thing, I’ve also included some of those below.

Directions to Greenbush picnic area

I took the photo to the right, as I was getting out of the car. This is the view from the small parking lot. A short walk up that path, are bathrooms and a bulletin board with a map of all the trails in the area, and some ever-changing park alerts.

But you have to get there first! Below, I’m going to offer you Siri’s directions, with my own little tidbits added in.

These are directions from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to the Greenbush Area parking lot on Kettle Moraine Drive in Campbellsport, Wisconsin:

1. Head North on I-43 (towards Green Bay).

  • Stay on I-43 for about 23 miles.

2. Take Exit 97 (towards Plymouth), which is called Hwy 57 North.

  • You’ll be on this path for another 23 miles.

3. Turn left on 23 West (towards Greenbush).

  • This turn will come about a half mile past a Fleet Farm on your left hand side.
  • Stay on 23 West for about 7 miles.

4. Turn left onto County Road T.

  • This turn comes just after a quarry on the right and a trailer park on the left,
  • Look for a green sign that says “Greenbush”.
  • Stay on County Road T for about 1.2 miles (through the tiny town of Greenbush)

5. Turn left onto Kettle Moraine Drive.

  • Follow this road for 1.7 miles until you see a picnic area on your right hand side.

Greenbush Picnic Area

You’ve made it! This quaint and beautiful picnic area is a hub for so many trails. There are tables and bathrooms, and plenty of space to spread out.
Note: If you’re parking a car in the lot, you must have a Wisconsin State Park sticker on your window. If you don’t have one, you can apply for one on the spot. There are applications and a deposit bin available for the convenience of last-minute visitors of the park. This method is based on the honor system. When you see how beautiful this State Park is, I hope you’ll be as inspired to honor it as I was.

Pictures on the trail

I’ve had the pleasure of hiking in this area last winter, during the summer, and again in the fall. It is beautiful in any season!

Thank you for reading!

If you need me, I’m just Two Tents Down!