Friday, May 22, 2015


Summer seems to start with Memorial Weekend. If you go by the camper index.

Yes this weekend Perrot State Park is full. Since reservations  can be made up to 11 months in advance those seeking refuge in the woods were anticipating getting out the gear some time ago. With 90% of the 100 campsites due to arrive this Friday it's going to be a busy place.

It got me thinking of how many campfires will be lit tonight and all those marshmellows roasting over an open fire. I decided to dedicate my cupcakes to that very theme.

Note: Did you know our modern version of the marshmallow has some serious roots. Going back to ancient Egypt they used the Marshmallow plant (Althacea officianlis) roots and sap for medicinal pruposes, mainly to cure sore throats. Then the French whipped it into something more refined resembling our todays version. Of course now this favorite camping companion is made from other stuff. I won't go into it so I don't spoil the mystery.

For those serious campers with a flair for culinary challenges, you've got the whole summer to work on your special dish. Check out the 2nd annual Camp Cook-Off. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stormy Weather

One thing you can say about the Midwest is we have lots of weather, and it varies considerably. We have days that can range almost 100 degrees from morning to night and the thunderstorms, well you have to experience one to believe it.

We are in that stormy weather phase as I write this blog. The rain that we expect and appreciate, can come on like gangbusters as the days begin to heat up. Storms this spring brought some "Severe Thunderstorms" to the park. Rain, hail and especially lightning can put a damper on campers.

Lightening left its mark on a tree by site 84. The vertical scar caused by less than an inch of electrical charge superheats the sap in the tree and the steam explodes causing the bark and wood to blow off.

Did you know oak and elm trees are the most frequently targeted trees. Well actually they are not truly targeted as the lightening starts from the earthbound object and connects to the cloud more often then the other way around. That's why if you feel that tingling feeling on your scalp or your hair is standing on end you are charging up for a potential strike.

Campers and park users are notified when severe weather is threatening and signs are posted in common areas and at the bath houses. If you should need to seek shelter the bath houses will provide the safest surroundings. Although not a true storm shelter it would be one of your best options. Fortunately no one was injured as a result of the storm damage.

When thunderstorms approach keep in mind lightening can strike up to 10 miles away. So if you can hear thunder you may be in striking range. You can use the old fashion gauge of counting the seconds from visual flashes of lightening to the sound of thunder and divide by 5 for the number of miles away. Keep in mind strikes can still happen up to 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder. 

Park neighbors tree struck too!

I'd like to dedicate this article to my sister, she'll get a charge out of this article as she once had the hair raising experience of being the target. Plus todays her Birthday. Double target.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Love those Birds

Just north of Perrot State Park is the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. This Saturday, May 9th is the Annual Bird Festival. The celebration from 8am til 1pm will feature activities from Coulee Wildlife Rehab Center with live animals,  Bird Banding demonstrations, special hikes and canoe tour in the refuge pools.

You can meet with Fish and Wildlife Service experts for advice on habitat restoration. Plus area businesses like Prairie Moon Nursery and Coulee Region Ecoscapes for ideas to make your yard a haven for birds, bees and butterflies.

A special presentation on Friday evening, May 8th, will be given by Laura Erickson, at 6:30pm at Elmaro Vineyard. Check her out at  If you love birds you'll love her. The Friends of Trempealeau Refuge are hosting this affair with Elmaro beginning at 5:30pm with wine tasting. Also be sure to purchase a bottle of the special commemorative wine "Bird Day Red".

For more details contact Jennifer Lilla at or call: 608-539-2311. ext. 6.