Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wisconsin's Interstate State Park

Goats Beard

After a night of some sleep and some listening to the various animals at Waptit Park Campground make strange noises throughout the night I packed up my stuff and headed out. I decided that on my way north I would make a detour over to Taylors Falls and walk across the highway 8 bridge into Wisconsin to do some hiking at Wisconsin's Interstate State Park. Last year Noelle, Parker and I did some hiking on the Minnesota side and I really enjoyed the experience. I was excited to see what Wisconsin had to offer.

I parked in the lot near town and hiked a portion of the potholes trail before crossing over the St. Croix River and into Wisconsin.
Dalles of the St ...

There is a great view of the Dalles of the St. Croix from the bridge a preview of what was to come. Once in Wisconsin I followed a user trail to Wisconsin's Potholes Trail. While there doesn't seem to be as many potholes on the Wisconsin side of the river, those that I saw were impressive.

One was particularly deep. From the potholes I headed up the Ravine Trail and then followed the Skyline Trail. I walked through some really pretty woods and eventually ended up in the park's group campground.

From the campground I followed a grassy road called the Silverbrook Trail into some woods where it turned to a two rut gravel road. Soon I found and old foundation and what looked to be some old mine shafts. I later learned that these were the remnants of a failed attempt at mining copper. From the mine area it was a short walk to the pretty little Silverbrook Falls.
Silverbrook Falls

There was a bench there where I stopped to eat a snack and was visited by a caterpillar.
I then retraced my steps to the campground and walked a road for a short while. Along my road walk I saw a father and his young daughter looking at something in the road and so I approached to see what they were looking at. It turned out to be a large but dead Western Fox snake.
Dead Bullsnake

I speculate that yesterday evening it was resting on the warm road when it was run over. In the same area where the snake was found was a heron rookery. The birds made a lot of noise up in their pine tree perches and there were areas of road that were covered with bird droppings. Besides great blue herons I also saw a bald eagle and a few sandhill cranes.

After following the road for a bit I found myself back on the trail. I followed the shoreline of Lake of the Dalles for a bit and then headed up the Echo Canyon Trail past the Indian Head Rock
Indian Head Rock

and then down to the bank of the river where I watched some rock climbers on the Minnesota side

and ate a snack in a spot where cool air rushed out of a hole in the ground.   I then headed back to the car via the Summit Rock Trail and the road. It was a long drive back to Duluth.

1 comment:

Don Becker said...

The snake in your photo is actually a Western Fox Snake (Pantherophihs vulpinus)