Summer in the Northwoods of WI
Wow, it has been almost a month since our last post. My how time flies! Well as the title says, we are in the northwoods of WI for most of the summer, just north of Rhinelander, WI. We are workamping at Tesomas Scout Camp until mid-August and are having a great time!
We are parked in a camping area separate from the scouts so there is peace and quiet in our "trailerhood". We have almost FHU with a gray water filtration dump at the site and then we have access to a macerator and tank to pump out black. We even have local wildlife visiting us on a regular basis.
Other bonuses of our volunteer gig is access to laundry, firewood, the trails, tools and all activities the camp has to offer when the scouts are not in camp which is Saturdays and Sundays. We also are able to eat in the mess hall with the scouts if we'd like. We have taken advantage of that a couple times and the food is pretty good.
In exchange for all these wonderful perks, we do have to do some work! There is lots to do to keep this scout camp running with an average of 600+ kids a week. There are 3 bath houses that need to be cleaned a couple times a day and some days scouts help with two of them. Then there is trash that needs to be picked up from each troop site 3 times a week. Rick and I take the gator and a trailer a go ride around in search of trash! There is firewood to be delivered to sites, power-washing vehicles and bath houses, stocking the troop site latrines, mowing and other misc maintenance tasks. There is always something needing to be done to keep the camp in tip top shape!
While not working we like to get out and explore the area. Rhinelander is known for its mythical creature that rules the area called the hodag. He is everywhere around town and lots of places and things named after him.
The Oneida County courthouse in Rhinelander is an unexpected gem in the northwoods. It is on a beautiful square with a very impressive rotunda. If you look closely at the second picture, it is made of TIffany stained glass. The rotunda is beautifully lit at night. Perhaps the Hodag spends his evenings lumbering around the courthouse.
We have visited our share of local eateries, most called supper clubs, reveling in the comforts of home with a Friday night fish fry and an old fashioned, the drink of WI. Nowhere else in the country can they make them like they do in WI. Believe me, we have tried them! We even found a delicious german restaurant in a neighboring lake town. And of course, your local hangouts proudly display the big ones, including the biggest musky caught in the area.
We also found a really great hike on Star Lake, about a half hour north of us. MN may be named the Land of a Ten Thousand Lakes but did you know that WI has more lakes than MN? MN has 11,842 lakes, which is about 3,000 less than WI!!! That is alot of lakes and when you come to the Northwoods of WI, you will understand. There is a lake around every corner in the road. Usually there is not a direct route to somewhere because you are always snaking around a lake. No lack of lakefront property here! Absolutely gorgeous!
So back to our hike...this was a hike out on a peninsula into Star Lake that used to be a thriving logging camp. The hike had many informative placards along the way describing life back in the day of the logging camps and the history of the forests and how they conducted studies of ways to grow productive logging forests.
The hike through the woods and along the lake was so peaceful and serene. When we reached the lake portion of the hike, we were rewarded with beautiful lake views and a lone loon calling to us. Once we reached the tip of the peninsula, we had a picnic lunch on the shore. There is a nice little natural sandy beach area where a family was taking a dip in the lake. This lake, along with so many in the area, are crystal clear, where you can see the rocks and trees at the bottom.
We also took a tour of a cranberry farm. It was very interesting to learn about what goes into growing and harvesting cranberries. Right now the cranberry plants are blossoming and setting little green berries. To pollinate the plants, they truck in bee hives that are placed around the fields so that the bees can do their thing.
The weather has been, for the most part, beautiful! Last weekend we did have some very scary, damaging storms come through north WI. We escaped the worst of it as it slid just south of us. Others were not soo fortunate. There were around 12 confirmed tornados in the area and some severe straight line winds that reached up to 100 mph. Two other scout camps sustained heavy damage, with one soo bad, they had to close for the season. Several of our staff loaded up chainsaws and heavy equipment to go help clear the trees, not only at those camps but residential areas of fellow scout staff.
We also got an up close view of the devastation as I had to go out and photograph [pictures of the damage to a camper as part of one of my part time gigs for an insurance company. You can read about those jobs here. It was soo sad to see the widespread damage throughout this beautiful wooded wonderland.
We are up in Northern WI at our workamping gig until mid August and then we are off to some family fun at our annual camping outing with extended family.
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