It's been a month since our vacation at Copper Falls State Park, and I've really wanted to share these photos ever since.
I chose Copper Falls State Park for a few reasons. I haven't been to the area since I was really young, it was far enough away from the Dells to avoid crowds from Illinois, and there were a number of parks in the area that promised good scenery (mostly waterfalls). As it turns out, Copper Falls SP has several waterfalls and plenty of good hiking trails. We visited other parks in the area and I would choose to stay at Copper Falls again because is has good hiking, a lake, nice facilities (and concessions), it's close to Ashland if you need anything, the campsites are nice, and there's good biking (more details later).
These images are all from Copper Falls State Park:
I have no idea how anyone could hike one of these trails. Nevermind how long it would take. How do you prepare your gear? How do you know where to spend the night? I can tell you from hiking the short stretch in the park that you would need a VERY good map. The trail isn't always well marked and it forks a lot. You could make plenty of wrong turns in 3,200 miles!
Our first day at the park was filled with on and off thunderstorms. We even heard later that there was a tornado in the nearest town. The above photos were all taken on our first day, between rain showers. I actually enjoyed the experience because the rain wasn't too cold and it wasn't windy. When we put on rain ponchos, there really wasn't anything to worry about except the mosquitos and ticks.
The bugs were awful the entire trip. I think we must've gotten used to the mosquitos eventually, but I never could feel comfortable about all the ticks. Those bastards got into our sleeping bags and we kept spotting them on each other while we were out in the woods.
Kelly chose to torment every animal we encountered (what a perfect enviromentalist she is). I assume you've seen the video of the frogs. All of these guys also suffered her wrath:
This poor turtle was minding its business, possibly laying eggs. Kelly chased it back into the lake.
Don't feed the animals? They get used to people and get aggressive? Kelly says "prove it."
What do you do when you see frogs hanging out, minding their own business? Stand there taking tons of photos.
Yup. They're ugly, and fun to mess with, apparently.
Kelly sent this guy running right after he'd had a big meal.
A family of loons managed to keep out of the way by staying on the lake. The male got close enough for me to get these awesome shots.
We also spent plenty of time in Ashland. Riding the bike path along the shore of Lake Superior was a good way to spend the evening. This is where we did most of our biking because the other state parks didn't have trails and the ones at Copper Falls are really steep and grassy. Since Kelly's bike has two gears that work: "hard" and "random," we had to stick to the really easy trails or risk walking back.
We spent the last day of our trip trying to burn down the forest. We'd brought lots of firewood, and purchased even more on our second day because I thought we would run out.
After skipping a fire or two, the wood pile was looking a bit intimidating. I love camp fires, so I wasn't about to back away from a challenge. I set out to burn all the remaining wood. At one point the fire was so hot that many of the flames were blue.
I managed to use all the wood, but Kelly still wanted more. So, we took the "dead and down" rule to a whole new level! There were a bunch of fallen logs around the camp site that I started cutting up. Then, Kelly decided that she wanted to play with the axe. She spent the afternoon looking for logs to feed into the fire. One of the ones she picked was completely rotted. It smelled horrible when we burned it, but we managed to get rid of all of it. The next campers on that site aren't going to have much cleaning up to do!
One last note: on the ride home I spotted a sign that said "Watch for low-flying planes." Excuse me? Just what the heck am I supposed to do about it if I see one?