Friday, August 20, 2010

Camping at Pattison State Park, Wisconsin

A few weeks ago we took our very first family camping trip. While browsing the photography website flickr years ago I found some picture of waterfalls in Wisconsin, and set out to someday see them. The time finally came this summer, with both kids old enough to camp and us finally having all the essential gear to make it happen.
The drive up to Northern Wisconsin was 6 hours. Our dog, Laura, sat in the back with the kids, although with all their bedding you could barely see her!

We left our house at 4 am, so round about 8-9am we needed some real food. This diner was on the side of the road, and we simply could not resist the huge cow and rooster statues.
Ben loves restaurants. They are a rare treat for us. This one reminded him of his toy diner at home, so he loved it.

Love the way Hunter is looking at Theo here.

Had to get a picture of them on the barstools in his cute place. Hunter fell off his and bumped his head on the wall. He got up and laughed, though.

Love this rooster!

It was pouring rain when we got there. Literally flooding; Theo even saw a house and car under water. This water was all around our campsite.

We unpacked our tent in a brief break from the downpour, set it up and unloaded. I was so proud of us, no fighting of being bitter about the rain, just hard work and a smile when it was all through. Hunter and I set up the inside of the tent, then the camp area outside, while Theo and Ben went and got firewood.
When Ben got in the car this dragonfly was on the his window.
In the tent!

I truly could not be happier.

Here, Ben is sitting in his camp chair having a snack.
So proud to pass on the tradition of camping to my boys.
When the rain finally subsided we drove over to see Little Manitou Falls.
Ben and Hunter loved the bridges.

The beauty of the falls was more than I expected. The DNR website explains the water has a root beer colored tint because of the leaves and roots that are in he water throughout the Black River.

A photo of the kids in front of the 31 foot falls.
Cute little trail. Theo walking with Laura and Hunter ahead of us.
Ben with me, enjoying all the cool moss and foliage.

I took this picture form the top of the falls, looking down.
The kids loved that the water looked like a bubble bath. Very sudsy.

Pictures of me with the boys at the top of the falls.

And Theo, looking quite svelt and sexy, I might add, holding up Hunter.

Next, we drove over Big Manitou Falls. You could view the falls from several different angles, and they were all spectacular.

Ben loves nature as much as me. I caught him saying, as he was leaning over looking at one of the falls, "God, I love this. I want to live here." He also said some of the same things I said as a child viewing Yosemite Falls, like, "Wouldn't it be awesome to go swimming down there!"

The water was unbelievably strong and fast, no doubt from the downpour we had just witnessed.

So beautiful!!

At the top of Big Manitou Falls there was another bridge.

The boys at the top of the big falls.

The view from an overlook point just below the top of the falls.

I read this sign to Benjamin and he recited a synopsis to the next person he saw on the trail.

Back at the campsite, ready to warm up by the fire.

Eating dinner at our campsite.
Before our trip we found these huge marshmellows at Farm and Fleet. They were hard to roast all the way through!

Hunter eats a jumbo s'more.

Ben, too.

The kids kept asking about bears, which are common in this part of Wisconsin. Dad made up this elaborate story about a bear named Ooga Booga who didn't like loud little boys. In an attempt to keep them quite at camp, he referenced this Ooga Booga bear repeatedly throughout the trip. The boys know better than to believe anything Dad says, so it was pretty funny.

First thing the next morning the boys were looking for Ooga Booga. lol. We walked over to the Big Manitou Falls for another look at it's roaring waters. This peaceful Interfalls Lake is right by the campsites. It has a great beach, if the weather had been warmer we could have gone swimming.

This tunnel takes you under the damn that seperates the lake and Big Manitou Falls.

We then took a short drive (12 miles) to the neighboring Amnicon State Park. This place was even more beautiful! the covered bridge you see behind us here seperates upper and lower Amnicon Falls.

Lower Amnicon Falls

Upper Amnicon Falls from the bridge.

In the far left of the this picture you can see Theo, Laura and Benjamin standing by Upper Amnicon Falls.

Hunter and I climbed down on that little deck, too. Here is his by the falls.

Looking up at Theo, Laura and Benjamin.

The covered bridge from the top of upper Amnicon falls.

Tucked back in the woods at this park we also found Now and Then Falls.
Next, we drove a little ways more to Wisconsin Point to see Lake Superior. I didn't expect it to be so beautiful, and yet again, I was stunned. The kids skipped rocks, and played in the sand.
Ben loved the color of this rock.

Back at the campsite Hunter played ladder ball for hours.
We picked up these cool Junior Ranger booklets and backpacks for exploring available at the State Park offices. If the kids completed a book (geared at their age level) they could earn a patch. Both boys dilligently did all the assignments in the books, with our help. Their favorite was Rabbit and Fox, where one perons pretend to be the fox sleeping in front of his food, and othe pretends to be a rabbit and sneak up as quietly as possible to get the food. Teaches the kids how foxes use their ears to guard their food. We also had to take a nature walk. the boys and I ventured off on a trail that dogs were not allowed on. We enjoyed the lake, and saw an eagle.

Love this picture of Ben working on his ranger booklet.
Hunter also got tons of baseball time in with dad.
Hope you enjoyed hearing all about our trip! I crossed several Summer To-Do list things off!
Happy Summer!


leena! said...

This looks like it was an awesome trip. Way cooler than the boring, cheapo trips my parents took me on growing up. I love the little ranger booklets and creative!

Jamie said...

Thanks. I learned about the ranger booklets on the park's website before we left. The backpacks were free, and we could keep them as long as we wanted while we were there. We plan on getting the boys all their ranger badges. Every state park in Wisconsin has the booklets and badges. I think by the time they are 18 they can have dozens of them.
The whole trip cost us gas money and I think about $12 a night for the campsite. We bought normal groceries. By far the best vacation we could have had for the price.

Misty said...

1. Maybe it's because you've been posting older photos lately, but I'm telling ya Hunter is looking like a grown man all of a sudden!

2. Please share any/all camping and camp cooking secrets with me! We're going down to Florida in the spring and I'm nervous about feeding us on an open fire. :)

3. May I request a care package from Moe's Diner? Those roadside places are my favorite dining spots!

Jamie said...

Misty, I think he just went through a huge growth spurt.I noticd it, too. Length-wise only because he's as skinny as a chicken knee.
Eatin': We kept it super simple. We have a coleman camp stove from our wedding registry. We did bacon, eggs, and toast (using a little camp toaster) for breakfast, sandwiches from the cooler for lunch, and brats/hot dogs over the campfire, pasta salad from the cooler, and chips for dinner. We had go buy new ice about 4 times in 3 days.
They have whole cookbooks on camp cooking, and I plan on getting more and more creative next time. We were on a tight budget this time.
Moe's was okay food wise. We stopped at another family- restuarant-type place on the way back that was actually incredible, but I was all photo'd out. lol