The predicted weather was almost unbelievable, not only for the end of the week but actually for the entire week. There were enough vacation hours in my bucket so I asked for 8 of them, making my already long weekend a day longer. Easily justified with the expected weather. Normally in this situation and with my schedule, I'd have left Wednesday right after work but with late afternoon darkness, there was no way I wanted to spend the hours driving through that many miles of deer-populated countryside. A reasonable start pre-dawn on Thursday was going to be early enough.
We are not to buy firewood great distances from where it will be consumed so I waited until I was mostly north to pick some up. Normally supplied at my favorite convenience stores of which there are a few, I had to speculate that the tourist season was over because none of them had their wood racks out. A stop was made at one of the hardware stores instead and 4 bundles of dry oak were stacked in the van.
Quite a bit of thought went into where I planned on camping but there were options based on how busy and available I might find things. First choice was going to be Perch Lake Campground, one of the National Forest non-reservable locations. I carry a couple of blank personal checks for the Self - Serve camp registration boxes and with my Senior Pass, camping at Perch Lake would be $7.50/night with my old folks rate. When I drove in, there were Campground Closed signs, covers over the pay and registration boxes. Camping was still allowed but there was no water available.
There are two sections at Perch Lake, a small South section and a larger North section. Guessing that the smaller South side would be less desirable and therefore less busy, it was my first choice. 6 private and nicely spaced sites, only one taken when I arrived around 10am Thursday morning. Those folks, 3 generations of deer hunters, were at the other end of the loop, very quiet and as such, I literally didn't really know they were around. As things turned out, through Saturday, we were the only two campers and late Saturday afternoon, even the hunters had left leaving me all alone.
These benches were made from trees cut on-site the way it looked. There were many old and dying large trees around the camp area and my hunch is that these were cut to prevent deadfalls from hurting someone. In fact, one of the benches is covering the stump where the chunks must have come from. Over the weekend I visited another nearby N.F. campground, Wanoka and multiple sites there were closed as the forest service was removing other big trees that were weak and tip-prone. A lovely, spacious, private, level and quiet campsite.
Normally I'd have setup my lean-to tarp right away but there wasn't much point since the sun wasn't going to overwhelm and the rain what rain wouldn't be falling. If conditions were to change, setting everything up wouldn't have taken 10 minutes. It was not necessary.
These boots still have the region's dirt on them from our end of September Lake Delta trip and I'm not the least bit ashamed of the fact, 'Stich pants as well!
Curious about the columns....
I turned around to go back for a better look. Did a lot of it that day.
Another CCC camp, I lost count of how many I rode past and/or stopped at over the 4 days.
These little Forest Roads off to the side were shown on my GPS and when the lake was shown as well, more often than not there was a lovely very basic boat landing at the end or along the way. I followed many of them.
After the 4 corners stop (239 and 245) I headed up to my Undisclosed Campsite location, one of the places I thought I might stay for my long weekend. Conditions on the way up there.....no deep sand, but this was predominant everywhere I went.
So the above was consistent and then....on my Undisclosed Road, the conditions were the worst I'd seen all weekend. So glad I didn't try and get back in there with the minivan and trailer.
Looking at this, you'd think I should have been riding there on the 'solid' along the shoulders since right here it looks to be much improved.
Oh contraire my friend!....I was there and done that.
Icy, frosty, muddy moosh.
In Cornucopia, the big new Halvorson Fishery building, next to Ehlers'.
One more time...in front of the Twin Sisters.
From Corny I rode west over to Port Wing and out to the Marina.
Back to camp....
I'm normally not the guy that cooks and then eats in the dark but after Daylight Central fades away, a guy doesn't have much choice.
Lots of time for contemplation on a November evening in the north woods. Some music, some distant AM radio, some map studying and mostly, the sounds of wind rustling the bare branches.
And....that which would eventually happen...
More Posts to follow...Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Coming soon!