August 21, Monday
For having grown up here, there’s a ridiculous amount of Wisconsin I’ve never seen. Case in point: Door County.
Door County is the ‘thumb’ of Wisconsin that juts out into Lake Michigan. It’s touristy in a small town way with a lot of vineyards and stores selling premium jams and cheese out in the country, and many of the towns have artsy downtown areas with a lot of shops and restaurants. I’m not big into either of those scenes, but there are also some nice parks along the water with a lot of natural areas, and I am all about that.
Some time ago I’d made a reservation to stay at Peninsula State Park, which is near Fish Creek, WI on the north side of the thumb, today I drive out, a 3.5 hour trip from my parent’s place in central Wisconsin.
On the way, I catch the eclipse. I stop at a Culver’s in Waupaca for the big event and have lunch, by the time I finish eating it’s starting. Here we’re in the 75% coverage zone and it doesn’t get very dark, it’s a lot like looking at the world through sunglasses. I take a video for posterity, and then a picture. The picture doesn’t look like much until you realize the sunspots are crescent shaped, that’s pretty cool.
Past Green Bay, I turn Bertha’s nose onto 57/42 and continue northeast up the thumb. Before long, I’m at the park.
If you’re going to stay four nights or more in Wisconsin state parks, it makes sense to buy the $38 annual sticker that covers admittance, otherwise it’s $11 per day (WI residents pay less for both). For Peninsula and other top-tier parks(which have shower houses, dump and water stations, etc), it’s $25 a night for non-electric sites and $35 a night for electric (again, that’s non-local pricing)
I get a little lost trying to find my site.
Peninsula is actually quite large and has several campgrounds (and a golf course) within its boundaries. I’m in site 492 at Tenninson Bay campground, I miss the first turnoff and only by luck manage to find my way to it without back-tracking.
Most sites at Peninsula are full shade, it’s a pretty heavily forested area. But I opted for a non-electric site when I discovered on the reservation website that a few spots were listed as partial shade. Site 492 is technically open on side with brush instead of trees, but sadly it’s the north side of the site so I still don’t get much sun – no solar for me, ah well. 495 across the way is more open to the south and would be a better solar spot (generator use is restricted to people with health conditions).
Otherwise, it’s a fine spot, and huge. I could easily fit three Cas and Berthas in here. A walk through this non-electric loop shows that most sites are quite spacious with good separation as one expects from a state park. My site is very level as is this whole section. None of the sites at Tennison Bay have a view of lake Michigan, but it’s close enough that you can hear the waves lapping against the shore at night and the ringing of bells on the water. There is a path down to a kayak/canoe launch area in the campground.
All along Shore Road are little pull-offs with benches overlooking the lake. In the evening I dip my toes in the water and have some fun with my poi.
August 23, Wednesday
Yesterday was a relax around camp kind of day. Today is a hiking kind of day. Peninsula has several hiking trails, many of which can also be used by bikes. I opt for the Skyline trail, which has a parking lot along Shore Road.
Like most areas of the park it’s quite wooded. Fortunately the mosquitoes have gotten much better as August has progressed and today they’re hardly noticeable. Other critters spotted on the trail include red squirrels (they’re all over) and a couple bunnies.
Quite a few people are in the park today, I believe it’s the last week for family vacations before most kids go back to school. The campground is about half full (which is still over 250 spots) and there are a lot of day visitors too. I pass several people during the hike and offer a smile and wave.
Sven’s Bluff is the highlight of this hike. It’s actually reachable by car too, but I enjoy taking the walk there and back. True to its name, the overlook is far above Lake Michigan, offering a good view of Chambers Island in the distance.
After the hike I drive farther down Shore Road just to see the sights. This little rentable shelter along the shore is pretty neat looking.
And there’s also a lighthouse too. Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was built in 1868 to help vessels coming in and out of Green Bay navigate the narrow Strawberry Channel. Three different keepers watched over it from 1868 until 1926. Tours are available during the summer, but I’ve arrived too late in the day. It’s still nice to see from the outside though.
Compared to my last two adventures in BC and Isle Royale, this has been a pretty laid back trip. But those can be very nice too and I’ve enjoyed my down time here at Peninsula State Park. Overall I give this place a thumbs up – the location is nice and when you include the nearby towns there’s plenty to do no matter how you like to spend your free time.
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