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.
out for the porcupines.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
terrorized us at every possible opportunity.
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.
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.
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.