Saturday, July 27, 2013

Camp Host

Most parks establish a Camp Host to assist fellow campers with some of their needs. From providing area information to firewood sales.

Camp Hosts are volunteer positions, you begin by filling out an application. What makes a great camp host? First a love of meeting and helping people and secondly an appreciation for the outdoors.

Camp hosts at Perrot State Park for July are Bill and Linda Pike.

Bill and Linda
As retirees they are on their 4th year as camp hosts for Wyalusing State Park and July is the first year joining the camp host family at Perrot. You'll also find them in the spring time in the Smokies, early summer in Canada, then into the fall hosting at Wyalusing. Then Bill needs to return home base for deer hunting season in Manitowok, WI.

Their travels take them on the backroads, boondocking and best of all meeting fellow travelers. They enjoy sharing their knowledge and experiences, so be sure to stop by and meet your camp host next time you go camping.

Before retiring Bill was a volunteer paramedic and fireman, as well as a fire inspector, Linda a Medical Assistant at a hospital. As goodwill ambassadors of the parks they share their talents as fishing guide, first aide provider, history buff, camp concierge, mechanic, and many a meal with fellow travelers. Their blueberry puggie pies are delicious.

They began tent camping together without the comforts of cots or blowup mattresses, Bill was a little reluctant at first since he had just finished up a two year tour in Vietnam sleeping on the ground. Their passion for camping has evolved to include a  26 foot trailer, fishing boat and scooter just to name a few of the amenities. For the Pikes it doesn't mean giving up the comforts and pleasures of life. They travel with their two kitties Ellie and Abby who also enjoy the outdoors and meeting new people.

The Pike Family
As July is coming to a close we will be wishing them safe travels until next year.

Favorite camping tip to protect your firewood.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Snakes on a Prairie

Snakes are prevalent in the park. An integral part of the ecosystem they need to be respected and not feared. As they evolved from their lizard ancestors, losing their limbs to take advantage of narrow spaces, they come out of the rocky outcroppings in the park, especially on warm sunny days. They often know you are coming because of the vibration from walking and retreat before you come across them. Always give the snakes in the park the respect and space they deserve, it's their home.

Some of the varieties of snakes you may find in Perrot are:

Gopher Snake-also known as the bull snake-one of the loudest hissing snakes-protected.
Western Lizard Glass Snake-their tails can shatter and break off-endangered.
Timber Rattlesnake-venomous-protected.
Queen Snake-rare, feel lucky if you get to see one.
Milksnake-their babies are scarlet red and white.
Eastern Massasauga-venemous-endangered.
Eastern hognose Snake-flares it's neck looking cobra-like. Often flips over to play dead.
Bulter's Gartersnake-around wetlands-threatened
Easter Racer-one of the fastest, climbs trees to escape-protected.

These photos are courtesy of the Ranger Chris on her hike through the park this spring.

Eastern Racer
Racer escaping up a Tree.
If this information hasn't scared you off.

Join the Nature Program at Perrot State Park this Saturday, July 27th, 2013 at 7:00-8:30pm for "SNAKES ALIVE" special presentation including live snakes and reptiles at the Nature Center. It's a FREE program provided by the Friends of Perrot, remember a park sticker is required to enter the park. Hope you can make it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy Campers

The variety of people who use the state parks is endless.  Here are just a few of the personas that I've meet.

Mr. and Mrs. Retiree who just bought an RV,
can't get enough of life but sit and watch TV.

Teenage lovers of one sort or another,
underage drinkers and young soul searching thinkers.

Guys from college days out for some purple haze,
Girls night out with daughters for sleeping out.

Native americans searching for a care again,
finding a special place in the worlds rat race.

Family get togethers, engagements and weddings,
a place for memories without big spendings.

European travelers on their long holidays,
Austrailians, Kiwis, all making their way.

Homeless, phoneless people,
in between life and sorting things out.

Nature lovers and tree huggers,
birding seekers and hikers in sneakers.

Adventurers and Geo-cachers,
Hunters and fish catchers.

Religious retreaters to Shaman wannabes,
some even Moth Man Desirerees

Which one are you. Share your camping adventures.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Brady's Bluff

Every hiker puts this trail on their list at Perrot. It's magnificent view of  the river valley reveals the true nature of its power. You'll see how the Mississippi River hugs the west side of the park dividing two states.

Imagine a million years ago the river flowed to the eastside of the Park putting Perrot in Minnesota.

I guess change can be good.

Goat Prairie 65 acres
turning point-Tremp. Mountain revealed
Brady's Bluff was named after the settler that owned the land before the park. One trail to the top of the bluff is a natural terrain path that winds up the bluff passing through the woodland and Goat Prairies.

View at the top 460 feet above.
The other trail consists of over 500 steps made of wood, stone and platforms. Both lead you to the shelter at the top of Brady's Bluff created by the CCC.

One path take 30 minutes, the other a half hour, your choice. I prefer up the natural path and down the stairs since I can take in the vistas going down the trail better than with my back when going up the stairs.

Summer view from atop Brady's

Shelter on Top of Brady's Bluff

Early spring-view from Brady's of Bay

Another Peak at the Mississippi

Down the Stairs

More stairs over 500 steps

Stairs hugging the rock exposure

Tree roots hugging the Bluffside

Fern gully

As you come down off Brady's Bluff stairs you enter a great ravine, loaded with spring wild flowers and water trickling off rocky formations

I suggest a walking stick since some paths are narrow and drop offs are steep. A stick  also helps you steady your camera and point out beautiful blooms.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

State of A Fairs

Every town and burb in the State of Wisconsin has a special day they celebrate. You can find a fair going on anywhere in the state, on any weekend. Trempealeau, Wisconsin, the Village next to Perrot State Park has it's big weekend coming up.

On Friday July 12 through Sunday, July 14
it's Catfish Days.

The locals have a wide variety of activities for everyone. From Guess the weight of the Catfish and catfish crafts, too catfish sandwiches and catfish face painting. Try your skills at catching a catfish, stone skipping contest  or participate in the egg toss contest.

For those who like to party, enjoy the entertainment. The lineup includes, Freezers, Sucker Punch Sally, Ronnie Craig-Elvis Tribute and the Dweebs. Love the names of bands. The weekend finishes off with a fireworks display of course.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fur Encampment

One of the great things about going to a State Park is the activities they provide from nature programs to live encampments. 

At Perrot this Friday and Saturday, (during the 4th of July holiday) join the fun and experience a Fur Encampment, you can meet two French marines and hear about the gritty lifestyle. Learn about the clothing, the gear and see a musket demonstration.

Friday, July 5th at 7pm
"Life of an 18th Century Soldier"


Hear fun nature tales at the encampment next to the nature center.

Saturday, July 6 at 7:30pm
"Blueberry Jack and His Fabled World"

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Flora Abundance

Had a great hike up Bradys Bluff with my friend Julie. We share a love of plants and found so many it's going to be awhile til I can get identification on them. Any help is appreciated.

Red Grass?
Wild Rose
Harebell-Campanula rotundifolia to the left
Butterfly-weed, Asclepsia tuberosa
Hoary Vervain-Verbena stricta

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Take What You Can Get

Been busy working on the garden at Midway for the Great River Bike Trail. Finished up planting the second and largest bed at the site. One more to go.

Corner of OT and XX
Recent rains had damaged a huge cottonwood tree nearby so I went looking at the pile of remnants from a large limb that crashed into the street. I introduced myself to the neighbor and she said help yourself. So I took what I could get.

hollow logs for planters

Only a gardener would love digging through a pile of twisted and lichen covered tree parts. The garden was in need of some definition. Future plans include bike art, but first I need the bike parts. So I got creative with stumps and limbs. Now people will see some of the paths around the space It caught the curiosity of several passerby. People are beginning to take notice and ask questions.