"The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth ... the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need -- if only we had the eyes to see." --- Edward Abbey; American writer and Naturalist
I didn't get any drawing done over the weekend, but I do have a bit of a trip report! We were heading to New Glarus Woods State Park with linnaeus for a weekend camping trip. We didn't know much about the town of New Glarus, just that it's southwest of Madison (a town we're all fond of), and that it was home to New Glarus Brewing Company. We got a late start, and had to make a few stops to pick up last minute groceries and forgotten sleeping bags, so it was 10pm when we rolled into the camp ground. We had decided that we wanted to use one of the walk-in sites, to give us the illusion of backpacking, and to give our packing gear a bit of a trial run.
We discovered that the sites were smaller than expected; there wasn't enough room for both our 3 man tent and Linnaeus's
When we got settled in, we discovered a few things. There were no trash receptacles anywhere around the park, therefore all our garbage had to be carted out, including the Doggie Poop bags. I cannot begin to describe how icky that was. Secondly, there was no running water. I knew the site had pit toilets, and I was prepared for that. I was not prepared for the lack of faucets (or lights) in the latrines. The entire area we were camping in was serviced by a single small water fountain.
All the inconveniences aside... it was amazing. We opened a bottle of wine and sat in our camp chairs around the (cold, no firewood) firepit and looked up at the skies and saw more stars than I have seen in a very long time. The campground was quiet, save for the occasional whirr of passing cars on the highway outside the park, and a veritable orchestra of frogs singing their little hearts out.
We went to bed late, that first night, as our self-inflatable mattress pads were taking a while to do their thing. I am pleased to say, our gear performed very well. We opted to leave off the rain fly, as no rain was scheduled, and this way we could all lay in our bags and peer up at the stars....when we were all wearing our glasses. ;)
I had some trouble sleeping, the first night. I have been suffering from insomnia for the past week or so, and I think the unfamiliar surroundings were contributing to that (although it was really nice to lay there and listen to the frogs).
Saturday, we knew we wanted to do the New Glarus Brewery tour, so imagine our surprise when we plugged the address into our GPS (via iphone) and we discovered that the Brewery was right across the highway from our campground! We all were up and about by 7am (Hard to sleep in outdoors), and took a long meandering walk through one of the hiking trails. It felt as if we were the only people in the camp grounds that morning, and it was delightful. We got back, made coffee, and discussed our plans. We figured we'd hit the Brewery tour, then go get lunch in Madison before returning to the camp.
We arrived at New Glarus's facilities and were perplexed to find a booth full of people taking admission of $5 per person. We inquired what was going on, and discovered we had arrived at the Bounty of Green County - Feast on the Hilltop festival! We had figured we'd do the self-guided tour, instead we wandered around, sampling local cheeses, meat products (Elk sausages! Yum!), baked goods and more. New Glarus was settled heavily by Swiss immigrants, and many of the residents hold to their heritage and traditions. We signed up for the beer and cheese pairing, which was fun! I'm not a beer person; I don't drink much alcohol at all, but it was very interesting to see how the different flavors of beer paired with the cheeses. I think my two favorites of the day were Roth Käse's Ostenbørg Havarti - Horseradish & Chive and Maple Leaf's smoked gouda. I am proud of myself- I tried a very.. ah.. potent.. bleu cheese, and I sampled a German brick from Chalet Cheese Co-op that according to roho, tasted very much like limberger without the nose. That makes sense, when we discovered that Chalet is the only cheesemaker that makes limburger in North America.
Anyway! All cheesed up (and we bought fudge from Maple Leaf. SOO GOOD), we waddled into Madison because the guys weren't beered out yet, and hit Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company. The food was, as always, excellent. The guys procured a growler, and we headed back to our campground. Napping occurred, as it was fresh air and activity and we were all tired.
We built up a fire with the intent that we'd have cheese and fudge and doritos (and possibly turkey sandwiches) for dinner, and roast some marshmellows. Marshmellows were roasted, doritos were munched, but that was as far as we got.
The night was cool, so it felt amazingly wonderful to have our legs slowly baked by a roaring fire. Briana liked it too. ;)
We slept in a bit on Sunday, rolling out of our bags around 8am, blearily peering around us and groping for the cooler and the tasty Monster drinks it contained. We sat around for a bit, discussing our plans for the day, and figured that since my blisters were prohibitive for further hiking, we may as well break camp and pack up.
That was fairly painless, everything packed into the car far more neatly than on the way up, since we took the time to tetris things, rather than shoving it in the car so we could go-go-go. We drove into New Glarus, checked out the Bakery (which had these interesting little 'Grasshopper Cheesecake' concoctions; cheesecake with creme de menthe. We should have bought one for takaza. Next time.
We knew we wanted to visit the Grumpy Troll Brew Pub in Mount Horeb, so we wandered that way and discovered the Ironman Triathalon was in progress. It was a bit like driving through the Tour de France, cyclists whizzing by, people lining the country road to cheer them on. Very neat, and in accordance with our not knowing what was going on. ;)
We found the Grumpy Troll, and were pleasantly surprised by the extensiveness of their menu. The beer battered fries were -awesome-, and the beers I'm told were tasty too! We picked up growlers of one of their beers, and a growler of their root beer, since they didn't have bottles available.
We toddled home with our prizes; cheese, fudge, beer and soda, making a hefty bypass to clear the Triathalon. We arrived home around 4pm and unloaded the car, shoveling ourselves into hot showers as the bathrooms became available.
We wanted very much to have dinner with points, feren and lady_curmudgeon on Sunday evening, but driving an additional 4 hours (2 hours each way, roughly) for us, and an unknown amount of time for linnaeus was a bit more than any of us wanted to tackle. duncandahusky and takaza offered to do dinner with us, and as they are 15 minutes away... we opted for that. Sorry guys. :(
Dinner was, as usual, amazing- burgers and good conversation, and we watched an episode of Glee. Paul left from there, and Bren and I wandered home to crawl into bed.
It was an amazing trip, and I can't wait to go again. We're hoping to maybe before the weather gets too cold, and we definitely want to do New Glarus again.
(Enclosed photo by Linnaeus via his iphone. More photos from the trip available on his and Roho's twitter feeds.)