Monday, July 8, 2013

Lake Carlos State Park: July 4th, 2013

We took a little trip to the town of Battle Lake after our hike in Glendalough State Park.  We stopped at the DQ and had some tasty treats, and swung by the grocery store to pick up some band-aids for Joe's feet and to stock the backpack for future oopsies.  The town was absolutely hopping.  Battle Lake, and the towns around it, are obviously summer vacation hot spots.  Lots of lakes, lots of resorts and cabins.  We saw license plates from all over the country and the sidewalks were packed.  It kind of felt like home to me... :-)

I mentioned in the last post that I kind of wished that we'd brought Thunderdog along.  We decided to leave her at home because we would be out all day long, we didn't know what would happen for lunch, and the buggy muggy weather would not be her cup of tea.  Sure, she's a dog and she's adaptable...but she lives 90% of her life on the North Shore, where the temps rarely go above 80.  Last year's nightmare in St. Croix weighed heavily in my mind.  I didn't want to torture her again.

As it turned out, there were many reasons why we were glad that we left her at home.

Fun times at Lake Carlos

Thunderdog does NOT like the Fourth of July.  She can handle thunder, loud noises on TV, me dropping an armload of pans on the kitchen floor...but she is terrified of fireworks.  Even far away fireworks make her whine and hide.  Some people at Lake Carlos were getting an early start on the fireworks for the evening - she would have hated that.

There are over 100 campsites at Lake Carlos.  It seemed as though every one of them was occupied for the night, and all of those campers were out enjoying the day at the beach.  There's nothing wrong with that - it's great, actually!  I love to see people out enjoying the outdoors and especially making good use of our State Parks.  Thunderdog probably would not have appreciated all of the hub-bub.

Boggy bog bog

From the DNR Website:  "Sculpted by ancient glaciers, Lake Carlos State Park contains a tamarack bog, marshes, woodland ponds, and lakes."  

Did you catch the keywords there - 'bog, marshes, woodland ponds'??  In other words, BUGS...and lots of them!!  Joe and I were practically eaten alive by mosquitoes.  We didn't see a single other hiker while we were on the trail.  No wonder everyone was at the beach: two steps into the woods and we became blood buffets.  But there was a light at the end of the tunnel: the 75-mile patch.  We moved along as quickly as we could and thought of nice things. Thunderdog would have haaaaaaaaated it.

Really, it was a very pretty park.  It'll be beautiful in the fall!

Unlike the single trail of Glendalough, the Hiking Club Trail here jumps from trail to trail as it winds its way through the woods and by the lake.  The lake was NOT a quiet lake - motorboats with trailing waterskiiers shared space with canoes and anglers.  It was a bit noisy.  But nothing compared to the noisy thing that would have sent Thunderdog over the edge: a giant lawnmower.


Really, now, DNR.  Did you need to mow the trail at 2pm on the Fourth of July?  I suppose this is the time of day that most people would be at the lake, but it was just such a weird thing to have happen in the middle of a hike.  First this guy drove right by us, leaving us in a cloud of dust and smoke.   After passing us, he pulled his giant mower over and got out the weed whipper.  Pleasant!  I wonder if this dude was being paid time-and-a-half for mowing on a federal holiday? 

Given the choice, I would go back to Glendalough a thousand times before returning to Lake Carlos.  They were both full of holiday-goers, but Lake Carlos seemed much more chaotic and Glendalough seemed much quieter.  I think that it has to do with the smaller campsites and motor-free lake at Glendalough.  Different strokes for different folks!

Oh, well.  We did it.  We hiked the 2.9 miles to push us across the 75th milepost, and we were handsomely rewarded: with a little patch.  Hooray for us!  77.4 miles and 27 parks down, 116.7 and 41 more parks to go.  Onward!

On the book, before the backpack

Total miles hiked today: 2.9
Total miles hiked in 2013: 61.3
Total Superior Hiking Trail miles hiked in 2013: 12.9
Total ticks today: 0, only mosquitoes
Total ticks in 2013: 53


  1. Congratulations on the milestone! It is so great that you guys can enjoy this not-so-little hobby together. :-D

    1. Thanks! It's a great way to get out there and see the state, and be outside. Joe enjoys the "work towards completion" aspect of it...and I hope the being outside part, too. :-)