Newport State Park June, 2004


All 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.

The trails are wide and easy to hike. This would be a good park to take younger children.

Watch out for the porcupines.

Park map

Park Link

With the coming of summer it was time to think about getting out into the woods again. The spring had been a crappy collection of 50 degree days accented by rain and clouds. Yumi was out of town so Todd and I decided to try a weekend at Newport State Park. He had loved the Yellowstone trip and had shown some interest in backpacking so it was a no-brainer for him to come along. The fact that I was going to pull him out of school 45 minutes early probably had no influence on his decision. Matt opted to stay behind and play in his soccer game Saturday morning.

Other than having to stop at Kewaunee to buy a new watch, (as I neglected to put mine on before leaving. I had gotten out of the habit of wearing mine because of some lame-ass rule at work about prohibiting the wearing of jewelry. Since when is a watch "jewelry, anyway?) and getting lost near Bailey's Harbor the trip started out great. We arrived at the park by 5:45, drove to the trailhead and donned our packs for the first time of the season.

The mosquitos had just started to hatch that week in what would be the beginning of a brutal year for the little bastards, and began to annoy us almost immediately. Things got better when we decided to go off trail and walk the shore of Lake Michigan, knowing we could pick up the trail at any time we chose. After an uneventful 1.5 hour hike, we found our site, situated on the lake.

Todd Cooking
Todd preparing his first backcountry meal---burrito's at Newport State Park.

We set up the tent and went to work on dinner. Tonight it would be beef, bean and rice burritos---a lot of it. My new MSR Dragonfly stove was acting a little strange and quit at one point, but I was able to get it going again and finish preparing our chow. Todd announced that it was "very good" and we managed to eat the entire pot. After rinsing the dishes we set out in search of firewood. I found a beautiful birch log not far from the site and began sawing it up into smaller pieces while Todd busied himself finding small deadfall around the site. After about 20 minutes we decided we had enough and lit it off with the help of some stove fuel.

When we woke up the next morning the Geese were still yapping away on the lake. Todd's first words to me were "what are we going to do today?" I hadn't given it much thought and told him that I didn't know. I suspected he was a little concerned about his pet hamster who had escaped two nights previous and asked Todd if he wanted to head back home. He did, so we ate our oatmeal, packed our things and hiked back to the truck.

When I tried to start the truck a little after 10 AM I got a little surprise: It wouldn't start. This is not a good thing when you're at the tip of Door County. I tried again with no luck. Everything sounded normal but it wouldn't turn over. Still maintaining my legendary patience, I popped open the hood to discover that some beast had chewed my O2 sensor, wires,harness and other things whose function I had no idea, beyond recognition. Guess what Todd, we're not done with our hike quite yet. We're going to the contact station about a mile down the road.

As we were walking for help I figured we were out of luck and would need to get someone up there to give us a ride home. Getting a tow back to Manitowoc was out of the question. We made it to the contact station by 10:30 and told the attendant what had happened. Before I finished she knew it was one of their rogue porcupines and supplied us with a list of numbers we could call. My fears of being stranded intensified when all of the garages we called were either not open or didn't have anyone who could help us out. Finally the last garage suggested Voight's in sister Bay. To my amazement the owner said he'd be out there after he took care of some people at the garage. Forty-five minutes later he arrived, hooked us up and towed us back to his garage.

Porcupines terrorized us at every possible opportunity.

A jovial man, Mr. Voight, Matt the mechanic on duty and I pushed the truck onto the lift. matt immediately got out some wire, his soldering gun and a flashlight and went to work. It wasn't pretty, but he got it patched together good enough to get us started. Thank you Matt. He was amused at the way the porcupine had gnawed and left tooth marks the entire length of the undercarriage. I paid for the towing and repair job ($136), flipped Matt an extra twenty for staying past quitting time and got in the truck. I couldn't get away from Newport quickly enough. We made it back to Manitowoc in one piece by 2:30 PM, found out Matt (my other son---not the master mechanic) had scored 2 goals in his soccer game and captured the runaway hamster.

Matt's repair job held up for the two weeks it took for me to get the truck to the dealership in Sheboygan for maintenance and check up in preparation of next months Glacier 2004 Summer Tour. To properly fix the porcupine damage cost almost $600,pushing the cost of his meal past the $750 mark.

What did we learn? For one, I am never going back to Newport State Park. Never. Also, if I ever need auto repairs done in Door County, Voight's Automotive is the only choice.



July, 2011
Winter camping in the Beartooths in July
teton August, 2010
6 nights in the heart of the Absaroka mountains
July, 2009
Another 7 nights with the crew in the Beartooths
August, 2008
7 nights in the Beartooths with Ward and the Canadian
July, 2008
5 nights in the Bighorns with a Canadian

August, 2007
Yumi and I return to GNP for some fun

July, 2007
6 nights in the heart of the Northern wind Rivers
August, 2006
A 3-night solo in the Absaroka-Beartooth
July, 2006
Yumi and I spend 8 nights in the Wind Rivers
Aug-Sept., 2005
Dorf gets his GNP fix with 8 nights on the trail
July, 2005
A quickie solo in the Cloud Peak Wilderness
July, 2005
Our return to GNP aborted 6 hours in :-(
July, 2004
Two weeks of camping and backpacking in Glacier.
September, 2004
Yumi and I get to the Porkies before fall arrives
July, 2004
Yumi and I take the kids to the Porkies
June, 2004
Todd and I prove that last years' Newport debacle was no fluke
October, 2003
Yumi and I test some more gear and nearly die
September, 2003
Yumi and I decide to do a little camping & test gear


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