Monday, March 23, 2015

Governor Dodge State Park : First Timer

Welcome to my first throwback post of sorts.  I wanted to share some of my past adventures here since it was because of all of these adventures, mishaps, and shenanigans that have brought me to this place.  Plus I am not sure if or when I would get back to these places...since I truly love exploring new places.

Governor Dodge : First Time "Backpacking"

How did I get here?  Where did I find my stuff? That constitutes a whole blog post in itself.  For now I will just be focusing on our very first experience "backpacking".  Let me introduce Forest.....

All that stuff we had jammed into the car for our little "backpacking" excursion screams inexperience.  Now let me get to some of the details:

Date: June 2009

Site Information:   Backpacking Site #806

Duration: 3 nights / 4 days

Trail Length:   Approximately .5 mile to the campsite

Altitude/Elevation Conditions:  For this only being a .5 miles, the trail was fairly hilly. Governor Dodge is located within in an area that was not touched by the glaciers.  The area it resides in is called the driftless area.

Nature and Critters:  Call me slightly obsessed, but it was all about the butterflies.

 And the best creature that came to our camp every single night.

 Trail Talk:   For our first time out, the hike was a little rough.  The hike to the campsite was basically  uphill.  Our site was one of the last ones and set apart from the others.  This made a huge difference when people came in on the third night. 
    The very first night was horrible and scary.   We basically did something that looking back now was a bad idea.  As we lay sleeping, rain began to move in.  Then the storms.  In the distance, we heard tornado sirens.  At that time we decided to walk out in the middle of night during a storm with the tornado sirens blowing faintly in the distance.  Our though process was to at least get to some lower ground.  It was a crazy scary hike out.  Once we made it to the car, we decided to head to the hotel down the road for the night where it was safer.  A huge shout out to my son who was completely cool, calm and collected threw the whole ordeal.
    On Day 2, we hiked back to camp only to find it appeared untouched by the weather that came thru and nothing was soaked.  We went ahead with our days plans of going to House on the Rock. (I will be doing a side story of the trips on this adventure).   With Day 2 looking like it was going to progress into a night like Day 1, we opted to stay in the motel for the second night.  
     Day 3 was a hiking day.   We did the 3 mile lost canyon trail.  It was certainly a showcase of beauty.  Here we are in front of Stephens Falls.

The hike on Day 3 was wonderful. On it made you feel so very small amongst the landscape. We stayed the night in the tent on Day 3 and everything went perfectly.  Well except for a moment when I thought I lost my son.  Somehow he turned himself around in the tent and was laying by the door on his pack...weirdo.

Overall we survived our very first "backpacking" experience.

What would I do different aka What I learned:  One of the biggest things was the importance of a weather radio.  Shortly after this trip I bought a weather radio.  It also gave me a perspective on what I thought I needed versus what I really needed.  Since this was basically a walk to site, I invested in a garden cart to aid in carrying wood to the site. Also, the importance of keeping a pair of back up clothes in the car.  My son ended up wearing some of my clothes since he basically walked out in his undies.  The last thing was to create a small jam bag.  Basically put absolute necessities into a small bag or butt pack in case you have to go.

This was such a great learning experience for us.  I hope that I will be able to visit Governor Dodge again someday.  There were so many trails that we did not get to hike. 

Hope you enjoyed the first trip recap...and if there is anything you would like to see, please let me know.


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