We usually try to plan a family trip to the property each Fourth of July. We have different family there during different years. By having them come, we can see what is working and what needs some work. You get people askng if you have this or have that, and it teaches us what else we need to be doing to service people when they eventually rent. So we have had different family members come up so we can learn what we need to do, but this one was our largest.... 16 people!!
We also have to get some work done each time we go up, and this was no exception. We have a clearing for the pavilion to be cleaned up, I had to review the work by my tree contractor and get him paid, and needed to do a final review of the stairway going in soon. Much of this we were able to get done as soon as we got there.
Our son, my sister, her husband and son, along with my wife's sister and her family of five plus-one arrived fairly soon after we arrived. We got tubes blown up and put some of them on the water (with people in them, of course). This trip from the property down to the canoe landing takes about an hour, and it is a beautiful trip with no major hazards. There is even a twenty-foot waterfall that is a neat place to stop along the way. We sometimes will even crawl up to the waterfall just to stand in it, or just pull over to the side for a nice break to enjoy the scenery and the sounds. This is Black River State Forest land, so you are free to roam.
The younger crowd wanted to paddle when we got back, but it was getting too late in the afternoon to put them on Hall's Creek at Garage Road. But a shorter trip from Trow Lake to Garage Road is exactly what you can do if you don't have three to four hours to kayak. We took John, Audra, Josh, Jacob, Ryan and Allie up to Trow Lake to paddle down to Garage Road. I had done this leg just the week before, and I really enjoyed it. It has the same beauty, riffles and rapids as you have below Garage Road, but without the drop hazards.... and a one-hour paddle is long enough to make it worthwhile but short enough to do in a time crunch.
After picking them up at the take-out at Garage Road and doing the car and kayak shuffle, we were off to get back to the property to eat pizza. Pizza? Yeah, we were trying to keep this trip simple on the food front, so we got pizza from our favorite pizza place in Wisconsin.... Rozario's in Black River Falls.
A night of laughing, enjoying the campfire and the starry night is always enjoyable with family and friends. It also helps us see what visitors will experience. It seems just being out in the wild brings the talk and laughter out of everyone. That's the experience we are trying to support.
For breakfast, sausage and french toast was on the menu. This is the first time I had pre-made the french toast mixture that I stored in the cooler in a quart-sized mason jar with a seal-able lid. It worked out great, and I will definitely do that again in the future.
I did a bit of work, and then it was time to get my sister and her family on a kayak trip. We intended to go from Garage Road to the canoe landing at the Black River. Water levels were very similar to the prior week; what most would call pristine conditions to kayak Hall's. There would be ten of us on this trip; five of us (my immediate family) had done this trip a number of times before, but it was all new to my sisters' family.
I have talked about this paddle many time in the past. The water conditions were almost exactly the same as the prior week. So, I won't bore you with all of the details on this post. But it was a great, fun trip with my family, with the exception of my own underestimation of the forces at play in the water.
I won't speak much to that event here because I will detail that in a separate post. But all things happen for a reason, and maybe this happened to me so I can keep the next person from making some of the same mistakes I made. It hopefully has made me wiser also.
But the beauty of Hall's Creek never ceases to amaze me. We stopped by Wrightsville Creek where they had an opportunity to wade up the steep-walled canyon in the extremely cold water to see the double waterfall that is worth the small hike. We also stopped at "Un-Named Creek 18-10" for a bit. Yep, that's its name. It is a Class II Trout stream.
The water on Hall's was flowing great, and it really was a fun trip and I think they enjoyed it. When you paddle Hall's, you really do connect to something truly special on the edge of the Driftless Area.
John, Audra, Ryan and Allie made the same trip after we got back with no issues.
Supper of tacos and brats at night filled us all up, and then it was more sitting around the campfire, throwing bags, and having a nice time.
The next morning, Darin mixed up a great batch of eggs with brats that we made into breakfast burritos (tacos) that was just awesome.
Then it was packing up so we could hit the road and head home.
This was a really nice time with our families, and we enjoy sharing the beauty of this special place with them.