The issue in hiking and why we would like to have been on the water instead, was that it was deer season. We often shy away from state parks due to their crowded nature, but they offer more protection from high powered riffles and we've lately found that if the forecast is saying the temps will be well below freezing, you can have the busiest parks in the state all to your lonesome.
We got down to RRSP Friday evening, we went about setting up camp and then I made the meal for the evening - campfire chicken and dumplins in my Lodge castiron combo cooker Dutch oven. I also made Moscow Mules, a drink consisting of ginger beer/ale, lime, angostura bitters and vodka, poured into a metal cup for maximum heat conductivity. Trust me, metal makes all the difference. They are usually made in copper cups, when visiting a bar, but enamelware coffee mugs work just as well.
We ate dinner by the fire and listened to owls hoot and coyotes work the hills around us. It rained lightly here and there, but really started to come down around 3:30am, long after we'd turned in.
Saturday morning, coffee and a quick snack before we hit the closest trail we could find, one just up the creek from where we were camping.
All of the trails in the park are fairly short, but take quick ascents to the hilltops. It makes for some nice views, but you warm up in a hurry.
One big sycamore leaf in the creek.
After the short hike, a real breakfast of coffee, bacon, eggs, biscuits and potatoes. I had picked up a couple of ribeyes and a pound and a half of nitrate-free bacon from Horrmann Meats the day before. I do so almost every camp trip and have been for a couple of years.
After breakfast, a second and third trail and a visit to the trout hatchery.
Saturday night, a dinner of ribeye steaks, beans and potatoes around the Caveman TV. Tough to beat after a day in the woods.
Up Sunday morning, we did a cold and hasty breakfast of coffee and dry goods, thinking we'd do another late morning breakfast after a hike. It didn't quite pan out. Temps dropped to 22ºF overnight and it was still pretty cold when we got up and around. Hoarfrost/frost flowers lined the creek below camp.
A large white oak leaf in camp.
Hitting the trail.
On the Firetower Trail, we got to pause for a late morning snack on the fire tower. Pretty cool, really.
The trail followed a horseshoe pattern around the ridge tops, eventually passing through a glade area and back down to the river for the walk back to the car. We found the remnants of a deer down on the river bank. A little further past that, things opened up into a controlled "fly only" fishing area.
I brought along my watercolors with all the intention of doing some sketching through the weekend. With it being so cold, I really only had the chance to knock out one of our campsite, Sunday morning. I colored it later that night when I got home.
It was a nice trip. We saw pileated woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, blue birds, crows (of course), a blue heron and a bald eagle. We also saw a whistle pig (groundhog) and signs of beavers in the area, as well as hearing owls and coyotes doing their thing at night. Brian and I hadn't hiked that area together in about 18 years, so it was cool to get back down there.