I sit here, post shower and post lunch, reconnecting to my online world after heading to Wisconsin Dells for a long weekend of doing all-things-touristy. Well, a lot of things touristy anyway. Mr. Muse and myself hauled our camper and kayak up to Rocky Arbor State Park for a few nights of disconnected (mostly) bliss.
I’ll start off with a bit about Rocky Arbor SP. First and foremost, the park is small, yet beautiful. There is only one hiking trail and while I would consider it pretty easy, it is riddled with tree roots trying to grab for feet, potholes, washed out areas and stairs that needed some boards replaced lest they crumble beneath your footfalls. Mr. Muse and I hiked the 1.15 miles in 50 minutes with lots of stopping to take photos. The lower part of the trail, through what was once the riverbed of the Wisconsin River before it changed course eons ago, was hot and humid, the open marsh being blasted by the sun. Once you make the climb up the stairs, carefully at that, you will find yourself under the canopy of mature trees and a cooler breeze makes this part of the hike more pleasant, albeit not as scenic, as the lower portion.
The other things to note about Rocky Arbor SP is that it is very close to the interstate, as in – so close that you can hear the bass pumping in cars driving past. There are four drives with campsites on them, essentially concentric ellipses, and Mr. Muse had selected Site #31 due to it being near the restrooms (but not too close). Thankfully, he hadn’t chosen a site closer to the interstate; while we could still hear traffic it wasn’t deafening like it would be in the row of sites adjacent to the pavement or the next closest in. Bathrooms were plentiful and mostly “pit-style”, but there was a centralized bathroom and shower facility (which is what we were near). The toilets are “low-flow” and though this might get a little TMI, if people don’t do the “look back” when they’re done, well… you win the prize. I can tell you that the first womens stall is a 2-flush-attempt-minimum, no matter what. Also, none of the door locks worked (this proved to be very common in the Dells businesses) – have your foot at the ready to hold shut, or close, the door on surprise interlopers. There are three toilet stalls, three sinks (no soap provided) and since I didn’t use the showers (we were only there for a long weekend), I couldn’t tell you if they had two or three showers. I can, however, assure you that there were lines to use the showers nearly every time I went in to use the facilities, no matter the time of day or night. Also, lots of women doing their hair… I don’t worry about that when I’m camping.
The sites themselves are, for the most part, spacious as far as campsites go. Some of them (1 & 2, 3 & 4) shared a drive and split off, some were tent only and there are no “drive through” sites for RV users. One little oddity we did notice was that each campsite had a shepherd’s hook somewhere, presumably for campers to put their trash bags up and out of the reach of racoons, though for bears it wouldn’t have helped. The campfire rings are very sturdy quarter-inch steel with a cooking grate that, smartly, was reinforced with a bar of quarter-inch steel to keep the heated metal from sagging as we have seen happen at so many other sites. Each site also seemed to have a sandy 10’x10′ or 12’x12′ “tent pad” as well as the obligatory picnic table.
Firewood is sold at the entry building for $5/bundle and with the current firewood movement ban in place in the state, they were charging a reasonable price and was on par with what we saw on firewood signs in passing during our driving.
Now, rather than letting this post get overly lengthy, I’ll assure you that there is more to come for posts and more photos, too!
What we didn’t really take images of was The Original Wisconsin Ducks. I wanted to take this tour mostly because I’d never taken it before but also because it’s quintessentially a “Wisconsin Dells” thing. My final take on it: I’m glad I went but it was underwhelming. Go once to say you’ve done it and then be over it. Mr. Muse and I also went kayaking on the Upper Dells, discovered a fairly new winery, a local band we’d never heard of, walked the Dells Downtown and bought some fudge (you have to buy fudge when you’re in The Dells… it’s in the rule book I’m sure), ate at a restaurant looking over the dam on the Wisconsin River and attempted to hike to Stand Rock (more on that later).
PS – if you pay full-price for ANYTHING in the Dells – you haven’t done your homework. There is a coupon for everything (at least so it seems).
How’d you spend your weekend?