of the campsites at Newport are on Lake
Michigan except for sites 14 and 15 ihich
are on Europe Lake. There is some development
on Europe Lake which is a major turn-off.
trails are wide and easy to hike. This
would be a good park to take younger children.
After our first trip to Rock Island State
Park a month earlier, Yumi and I needed to purchase some
new gear. This would be a good opportunity to try out the
new The North Face Slickrock and some Therm-a-rests. Our
laboratory would be Newport State Park up in Door County.
I had never been there before but was looking forward to
seeing the closest so-called "wilderness park"
We probably should have aborted this
mission even before we left Manitowoc. The 2+ hour drive
up was marred by thunderstorms and wind. But we forged on
, even stopping for a sandwich at the Sturgeon Bay Culver's
before resuming the trip. We arrived around 3:30 PM. By
this time there was some blue sky poking through the clouds,
but the wind was still blowing pretty good. When we checked
in at the contact station we were told that the water wource
was dry and we'd have to carry ours in. Luckily I had brought
a gallon milk jug along just for that contingency. Not a
big deal as we only hd to hike about 3 miles to get to our
site on Europe Lake.
We filled our bottles and milk jug and
hit the trail. There was still blue sky, but the temperatures
were in the 50's---low even for this time of the year but
typical of Wisconsin lakeshore weather. in a perverse sort
of way I was hoping the weather would stay crummy just to
see how the tent held up in wind and rain. yumi did not
share my twisted thoughts. We got a quick glimpse of Lake
Michigan which was a steel gray. The trees were just beginning
to lose their leaves. Had it been 10 degrees warmer it would
have been very pleasant.
snoozing away in the cold. Note the blue collar of her
As we walked through the woods we were
forced to don our rain ponchos. Not only did it begin to
rain, but it also started to hail. This lasted about as
long as it took for us to get the ponchos on. This weather
was staring to get old. About the only good thing was that
the wind couldn't penetrate the trees so the flat walk was
kind of plesant.
We made it to the spur trail that led
to our site in about 80 minutes. Yumi ws not that thrilled
to see that our pit toilet had no walls, but figured it
was better than squatting against a tree. A couple hundred
fee later we noticed the wind starting to pick up and soon
realized that our lovely campsite on the shores of Europe
lake was in the path of 30-35 mph winds. We would later
learn that the wind toppled several trees elsewhere in northern
Setting up camp was an adventure. I thought
it might help to string a tarp between two trees might act
as a windbreak. A nice idea in theory, but by the time we
got it set up, 15 minutes later, it didn't do much good
though Yumi was able to sit on the bench out of the wind
a little bit. Setting up the tent was equally frustrating.
Instead of fighting the wind, we put it up inland a bit
and carried it back to the site and staked it down.
Since it appeared it was going to be
a cold night, I spent the next half hour gathering and cutting
firewood while Yumi shivered behind the tarp. That task
completed it was time to make some dinner. the major mistake
I made was forgetting to bring a lighter along. Without
it we had only 24 wodden matches. In this wind they wouldn't
last long. Naturally, my ancient Svea refused to light.
Either the wind blew out the match or the flame in the primer
cup. I tried lighting it behind the toilet. No dice there
either. At one point Yumi thought we might have to evacuate
but there was no way I was going to do that. Finally, I
pulled my head out of my butt long enough to light the stove
in the food locker. I doused the stove with gas, lit her
up and in seconds she was flaming away. I'm sure the paint
inside the food locker at site 15 is blistered.
By this time Yumi had retired to the
relative warmth of the tent and would take her supper there
despite the imminent danger of the park's creatures coming
around to investigate the strange smells. Our meal of Mountain
house Teryiaki Chicken was edible. During the meal I remembered
that I left the food locker unlocked and went outside to
close it. I was met by a raccoon rummaging through our food
bag and shood him out. He left, grudgingly, turning back
towards me to give me a look as to say "you mother
Finished with our meal by 6:15, the wind
blowing and almost totally dark, we decided to screw the
fire and just go to bed. I called Todd and Matt on the cell
phone just to let them know that we were already in bed
. By 6:30 we were in our sleeping bags while the wind howled
outside. The tent would be tested in wind anyway.
Discovery: I am a warm sleeper. Despite
the rapidly falling temperatures outside, I had to get out
of my sleeping bag to strip down because I was too warm
in my 20 degree bag. After I got down to my shorts I was
Discovery: Yumi is a cold sleeper. Bundled
in long undies, her pants and a Columbia jacket with fleece
liner, she was still cold. Being the gentleman I am, I shared
half of my bag with her while still maintaining my warmth.
Sometime around 2:30 the warmth was shattered when mother
nature called. It was cold. I took a peek at the small thermometer
hanging from my pack zipper and couldn't believe what I
saw: 34 degrees and still windy as hell probably dropping
the wind chill to about 20.
We managed to survive the night but had
serious reservations about sticking around for another night.
It was too cold to splash around in the lake, and the scenery
was limited. Heck, we lived on the Lake back at home so
there wasn't any big attraction there. After a few minutes
we decided that we'd indeed evacuate to a hotel somewhere
and do a little shopping.
Naturally, the skies cleared up as we
began hiking out, and it was turning into a beautiful looking
day. It didn't matter, though, as it was still unseasonably
cold and a hotel was looking better and better.
We spent the remainder of the day shopping
in the small communities in Door County while simultaneously
looking for a hotel room. We eventually found a room, ate
a wonderful dinner and watched Juwanna Mann on the VCR.
While it didn't turn out as we planned,
the weekend was a good learning experience and actually
a lot of fun.