Sometimes misadventures can be the best or at least interesting adventures.
I had noticed a lot of online chatter regarding the Perseid Meteor Showers and heard they were supposedly ripe to peak this weekend. This same weekend was also supposed to be one of the most beautiful and pleasant of the summer with temperatures in the low 80s.
A wild hair begin to spring, and I decided the best way to see the showers was to go camping in Wisconsin. I selected the New Glarus Woods State Park since it was a place I had never been to, and it was relatively close just over the border.
I got there somewhat late in the afternoon, but I did not think I would have a problem getting a camp spot since this area is a little out of the way from the tourist crowds. Turned out I was wrong. When I asked the ranger for a camp spot, he said “sorry folks, campsites are booked.” I felt like Clark Griswold.
He said he would call Yellowstone Lake, Wisconsin (not to be confused with the National Park in Wyoming) to see if they had a spot. They had one spot left, and he gave me directions. They were printed on a piece of paper with a myriad of turns. He said they can’t guarantee they will hold it, but they will he said.
I motored down the county roads of Wisconsin eclipsing 70 m.p.h over hair pin turns through the corn fields of southeastern Wisconsin. I pulled into Yellowstone Lake State Park and they said “sorry folks, parks closed.” They said they just sold the last spot to someone from Alaska.
Alaska? What is some crazy camper doing in southern Wisconsin when they can camp in Alaska. Dejected, I pondered what to do with my wild hair. What happens to an unsatiated wild hair? I shuddered to think.
The rangers said as an afterthought there was a private campground just outside the park. They said it would not be the same experience, but they should have spots open. I pulled into the Yellowstone Lake Chalet Campground (they have 14 likes on Facebook), and it was my worst fears. It had virtually no shade, kids were running around everywhere, and country music was blasting.
Then a silver lining developed. If I was going to look at meteor shower a no shade campground would be ideal. Yellowstone Lake campground and New Glarus Woods are both in the woods. At either spot I would have had to walk out of the camp to see the meteor shower.
Also, I was only planning on being in the campground to eat and sleep as I was going to hike the rest of the afternoon and then wake up and hike some more in the morning. I paid for the site and found a secluded spot in the corner of the campground. I realized later it was secluded because of the stench from the nearby dumpsters. I then headed off to Yellowstone Lake to hike the Wildlife Loop.
I had never heard of this park before in my life, and I was impressed. The lake was beautiful, the trails were nice, and the wildlife was impressive. The wildlife was not as amazing as the Yellowstone in Wyoming, but for Wisconsin it was not bad. I saw bald eagles, egrets, kingfishers, white-tailed deer, Baltimore orioles, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, and wood ducks to name just a few.
Once the hike was over it was back to my campground for a campfire, leinies beer, bratwurst cooked over the fire, and some kick ass meteors. It was not to be though. Around midnight, the clouds came in and turned off the light on the Perseid Meteor Showers.
Despite the failure seeing the showers and the not so good campsite, I had a great time. I woke up the next morning, hiked five miles, and then took a refreshing dip in Yellowstone Lake. I lost a meteor shower, but I found a new park.
For those who do not want to follow in my misadventure footsteps, Wisconsin State Parks does have a reservation system through Reserve America.
The goal of Traveling Ted is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then enter your email in the box to get email notifications for each new entry. Daily travel photos are excluded from your email in order to not flood you with posts. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).
At least your humor shines through even though the stars didn’t. Glad you found a new place to explore near home!
Erika recently posted..Canoe camping on the Lower Wisconsin River
It was a fun time nonetheless.
Very interesting story. Your biggest tip from this experience may be your last sentence. Good information about reservations for camping in Wisconsin 🙂
I do agree that the best stories are the misadventures. I try to remind myself of this when things aren’t going according to plan 🙂
Jeremy Branham recently posted..Hiking Mt Tamalpais, wrong turns, and visions of Ewoks
Yea, sometimes it is hard to do when you are in the moment, but the worst case scenario here is I drive back home to Chicago. Glad I stayed because I had a great day the next day hiking.
Haha love your pictures of the taunting wildlife! It looks like you still made a good time out of your trip. We agree with Jeremy. That tip will help save a lot of people from the same experience.
Tawny- Captain and Clark recently posted..N Seoul Tower is Quite the Trip. [video]
You just never think of reserving a campground, but it is necessary on busy summer weekends.
Sometimes misadventures can be the best. It looks like a beautiful lake – and how cool that you got to see a bald eagle.
John recently posted..Travel Rinse Repeat Roundup August 14th, 2012
Actually got to see two. Another flew up while I was taking a photo of this one. A man came by while I was taking the picture and pointed out their nest.
We had clouds, too. It was a cosmic joke as we have over 300 sunny days a year here. You at least, good some great bird photos and got to discover a new place.
santafetraveler recently posted..Tidbits: Santa Fe Indian Market Week and more….
I made the best of a disappointing experience.
Thanks for sharing this story. What a beautiful lake to visit. I will keep this in mind when I visit that area some day.
There are a lot of places to see in Wisconsin, but if you are in the area, it is a nice spot to visit.
Sorry you didn’t get to see the meteor shower, had a similar experience in Iceland last November when the Northern Lights failed to make an appearance – least you made the best of it – great turkey illustrations too;)
Fiona recently posted..The Photo Edit: Lake Como, Italy
The northern lights are really finicky. I have seen them driving in northern Minnesota when I least expected to see them and have not seen them when camping in Canada.
I got all excited to see the shower also, but it was cloudy here as well. Next time maybe… Got a laugh from your pics:)
D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..The Lodge at Pebble Beach Resort
Glad you enjoyed the turkeys. They will be back in a few months.
Great story, Ted! Good job of lemonade from lemons. Except for the dumpster sounds like a great weekend.
I did not spend much time in the campground, so the dumpster did not bother me much. I could not smell it when I was miles away hiking an photographing bald eagles. It would have been better camping in the park, but it may have been noisier there since it was full.
That is a good tip indeed – not sure Mrs O would have a go at camping 😉
Loved the pic of Lake Yellowstone – you and your water pics.. I love them!!
@mrsoaroundworld recently posted..So hard to leave San Diego, California
I am sure there are hotels nearby for Mrs. O 🙂
That lake picture almost made me want to go camping. Almost. Since you’ve agreed to paddle on our canoeing adventure, I assume that you’ll carry all my supplies and put up my tent if I go camping too? Ted, I need to be acclimated to this sort of living.
Leah Travels recently posted..It’s my Birthday and I’ll Write What I Want to
Yep, it is best to take baby steps.
jeez, someone REALLY didn’t want you to go camping, huh? at least you made the best of it!
the lazy travelers recently posted..going for the gold: our top three travel memories
The travel camping Gods did not align for me. It has been such a brutally hot summer and this was one of the first pleasant weekends in awhile, so I think a lot of people were feeling cabin fever from the heat and finally got out.
Wow, you are Mr. Adventure. After the second camp being full, I would have turned around and headed home! I hope some day I have that spirit of adventure to risk going places without knowing where I will spend the night!
Raul (ilivetotravel in Twitter) recently posted..Photo of the Week – Lovers in Dubrovnik
The thought of just driving home did occur to me. With gas prices the way they are, I did not want to waste the $100.00 I spent driving to come up for nothing, so I persevered.
i love that you look on the bright side of this misadventure. it would have been great to see photos of the meteor shower but your photographs are lovely, nonetheless.
lola recently posted..Cambodia Countdown – week 1
Some of my best memories of travel have been disasters, debacles, and misadventures.
I so agree, misadventures are sometimes the best because we often need to stay adventurous…
as for this adventure… for me any “hardship”would be worth it to watch the perched Bald Eagle for a little bit… great stuff there.
stay adventurous, Craig
ps – still 14 likes, thought you’d want to know…
Craig Zabransky recently posted..Two Local Drinks to Enjoy in Amsterdam
Seeing bald eagles is always a pleasure and an adventure.
What an amazing lake shot! Good for you for being flexible and making the most of the outing. That’s the spirit!
Pola recently posted..Photo of the Week: A street in Oaxaca City, Mexico
It was either that or return to Chicago. With gas prices the way they are I was not going to waste the trip.