Thursday, July 23, 2015

Black River State Forest, WI

For today's adventure we shall venture to Black River State Forest. Black River State Forest is located close to Black River Falls, WI.  The forest is perfect playground for any outdoor enthusiast whether it backpacking, hiking, skiing, car camping, or even ATV'ing.
Our adventure of choice was backpacking.  This was my steppie's first real backpacking excursion.  We did this in conjunction with one of her girl scout badges.   We went in July during the week.  We did not see another soul while we were out in the woods.
Day 1 we set out on the Norway Pine Trail.  This was part of the Wildcat trail system. They have the Norway Pin Trail listed as difficult.  I understand this as the terrain is pretty hilly.

We hooked up with the Wildcat trail loop for an additional 3.5 miles in day one. Our late lunch/dinner stop was at an overlook off of the Wildcat trail.

The Wildcat loop then reconnects with the Norway Pine Trail.

Enjoying various overlooks and did I mention, July is hot.

Our campsite for the night was behind the shelter on the Norway Pine Trail.
There were two make shift campsites up the hill behind the shelter.  Each also had little fire pits that were "built" by people prior.  We were a little nervous during the night as we read that there were some wolf packs that call this area of the forest home.  Thankfully we did not have any run ins with them...and only almost cooked a poor little toad. 
The next morning we hiked back to the parking lot to learn our number one lesson from the not rely on the water information that is provided.  Always bring your own.  The pump in the lot did not work, so prior to heading out to hike the lower area we had to drive to town to get some water.
Day 2 was a hot one to say the least.  We found out later that a storm had blown thru weeks earlier and took out quite a few trees.  So the shade was sparse.  We parked in the Smrekar lot and then hiking the ridge, north and central trails.

Where the forest used to be...

The shelter a very welcoming site with the heat of the day

 At the point of arriving here everyone including my Bullet was exhausted.

After a review of the map and check on the time of day, we opted to finish the loop versus staying at the shelter.

Instead we stayed our second night at the Pigeon Creek Campground.

It was beautiful plus there was a lake to take a quick dip in.

Bonus ending is that the steppie survived her first backpacking trip and loved it to the extent that she looks forward to doing this with me.  Hence why she has now become my crazy adventure girl.

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