Everyone was tired of being stuck at home during the Covid 19 quarantining. It was time for a trip and we had some work to do. This was going to be a Thursday thru Sunday trip.
Up for this trip was Dave, Bryan and Ron. Dave took a detour on his trip up to stop by Envirolok and pick up some bag units we had purchased. He also pulled the pop-up with him so we would all have a place to sleep without tents.
We had (25) Envirolok bag units left from our trip in September when Ron and I installed (25), but I felt we were going to run out of bags so wanted to get some more. We will need them anyway.
Bryan, Ron and I took off in the afternoon pulling the new Jay Feather camper with the new (well, new to me) Silverado. It pulled well and we had no issues. This camper was going to be quite the upgrade from the pop-up or tent camping, with some electricity and hot water for showers. Nice.
We got to the property around 7:00 PM with some Subway and Taco John's for a quick bite to eat. Then it was setting up the campers and clearing the pavilion area enough for us to be able to have our campfire. Then it was off to get some sleep.
Ron, Dave and I were all up by 6:00 AM on Friday morning. After getting fire going again, we started work down at the water. Dave did some weed-whacking, and it helped us clearly see where our path to the water needed to go. This also gave Ron and I the soil we would need for our bagging operation.
When Bryan awoke, he made us his excellent bacon, egg and hash-brown breakfast. One of the best parts of camping is our food. We do food right. I used to supply all of the meals, but learned that people who come actually like cooking a meal or two. This also provides variety to our meals and drastically reduces the time I have to spend cooking. So Ron and I were able to work on bagging while Bryan and Dave cooked up some breakfast.
After breakfast, Ron and I did some more bagging while Bryan and Dave took the truck and the pole chainsaw up to the initial driveway to do some clearing. When we pulled in the night before, there were some low hanging branches that needed to be cleaned up a bit. Four truckloads of brush later, and they had this pathway cleared nicely.
We worked until after lunchtime, and loaded up to paddle upper Hall's Creek from Trow Lake to Garage Road. I really love this stretch of water. It is beautiful, does not have any large drops, and is only 1-1/2 to 2 hours long.... perfect in my mind. Lower Hall's is beautiful also, but 3-1/2 to 4 hours is a bit much for me.
This was a get-back-on-the-horse event for me. It was the first time I had been back on the water after getting caught in a hydraulic the prior summer. That was somewhat traumatic for me, so I had to get on the water again. It was a great trip, but also a learning opportunity that paddling groups should stick together.
Supper was Dave's burgers and campfire potato concoction. Wow; it was awesome. Of course, we had a day of hard work and paddling, so had earned our appetites. We were all in bed by 10:00 PM.
I had learned that the monthly water release at the Hatfield dam was to occur on Saturday, so we planned our morning around the scheduled release that was to occur between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Everyone seemed interested in going to see the extreme kayakers paddle the gorge, so our whole morning was influenced by us wanting to be there before things started at 11.
Ron and I went down to plant the bags. What I really like about these Envirolok bags is that they are designed to allow plant roots to grow into them, and over time the plants and the soil cause the bags to disappear and look natural. It is approved by the State of Wisconsin for waterfront erosion control, and I like doing something that has passed a hurdle such as that. Wisconsin is very protective of their water frontage, and I am extremely happy that they are.
Bryan cooked up a breakfast scramble that was topped off with Dave's leftover potato concoction from the night before.... yummy. After eating, Ron and I went back down to do more plantings while Bryan and Dave cleared out the corner to the clearing. We are trying to open things up more so we can get turned around and be able to pull the camper back there. Ron moved the kayak racks also so we could get them in the shade.
We took off for the gorge around 10:30. A sign that something was off was when we arrived and there were no vehicles. We hiked to the gorge and the water was raging. It is very powerful when the water is moving, and something spectacular to see. But it became quite obvious while we waited that the event was not going to happen. Maybe because flooding in the area or not many people that want to run... but nothing.
We took off to go over to Oxbow Pond so Dave and I could do some fishing. Caught a small bluegill, but nothing else. Checked out Morrison Creek that was running strong.
We talked of paddling Trow Lake, but I think everyone was quite fine going back to the property and hanging out there. Of course hanging out leads to doing some work, and this was no different. We focused on more cleanup at the pavilion clearing, and I was able to start packing things up to make it a bit easier for the next morning departure.
Ron's pulled pork along with campfire beans topped of the evening. All in bed by 10:00 PM. The temperature got down to 38 degrees, so it was a bit chilly the next morning. We had our breakfast burritos and were on the road around 9:00 AM.
A good trip with some good progress on the erosion control at the bottom of the stairs, along with the additional clearing work.