July 4th and 5th – Wisconsin State Park Exploration

July 4th and July 5th 2017,

Happy July 4th to our readers. This is a day for family and reflection. Martha and I are taking a leisurely morning to drink coffee and to write in journals and plan our day. Sitting here in the campground watching all of the campers wake and come out to see what their day looks like. We both like watching people and especially the young kids having fun at the campground.

We decided to visit some nearby State Parks today. First on the list was “Roche-A-Cri” state park near Friendship, Wisconsin.  While on our way we passed a rock formation called “Ship Rock.”

Ship Rock is a rock edifice out in the middle of the sand plains of Wisconsin. The sand plains were originally “Pine Barrens.”  The barrens are largely gone due to extensive farming in this area. This bit of sandstone bluff was left behind by the glaciers. Geologists say that the top of this rock was above the glacier during the ice age.

“Roche-A-Cri Mound” meaning “rock with a crevice” contains old growth pine and oak trees. The “mound” is the remains of a Cambrian sandstone mesa rock outcrop and was one an island in a sea of glacial ice. The summit of the mound is about 300′ above the adjacent sand plains that surrounds it. Looking at it from the plains below it has a large cleft in the south face and a flat top. It was a landmark for early settlers who used it as a guide post. Native American petroglyphs and pictographs at the base of the southern face.

There were petroglyphs on the south face of the mound.
The petroglyphs were presumed to have been carved into the sandstone by an unknown group of Native Americans
Martha climbed the three hundred stairs the top of the mound while I stayed back with Jack our 14 year old Dachshund.  She too the following photos on her way up and back down again. 


 I have mixed feelings about Wisconsin State Parks (no, we haven’t stayed in one yet). The state has gone the extra mile to keep the parks as natural and pristine as possible. However, the camping areas are to small for big rigs and limbs are also too low for them. I’m guess that this is probably done on purpose.

Another thing that strikes you right away is the lack of modern amenities such as power at the camping sites. In fact there is no water at the campsites either. This results in your hauling in water. There are water spigots dispersed about but if you are there for more than a few days you will need to haul water to your rig.  
The pads are all gravel. No surprise or big deal with this bit. Most of them are level and have a fire pit. 
At Roche-A-Cri the no impact thing encourages the production of biting insects. We were assaulted by mosquitos, black flies and no see ems. This is largely due to the undergrowth of the forest being left intact no doubt to aid the eco system. I have a different take on this. My contention is that that understory not only produces annoying insects in abundance but it presents a large fire hazard.  Which would you rather assume liability for: A devastaing fire that closes the park. Or, the fact that west nile disease is a real possibility for those that choose to camp there? Sorry for that rant but this is why we won’t be using a Wisconsin State Park anytime soon unless it’s a one night stay.
If you choose to visit this park be prepared to deal with frequent spraying of deet based bug spray or you will become a succulent target quickly. 

More later