Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Roaring River State Park - Nov. 2015

This is a little late, but I've been pretty busy for the past week and a half. A couple of weekends ago, my friend Brian D. and I went down to Roaring River State Park to do a little cold weather camping, eating by the fire and walking in the woods. The original plan was to take a kayak trip up on Stockton Lake, but with winds gusting over 25MPH and snow and rain in the forecast, we opted for a hike trip.

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.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

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.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

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.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

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.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

One big sycamore leaf in the creek.

Roaring River State Park

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.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

After breakfast, a second and third trail and a visit to the trout hatchery.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Saturday night, a dinner of ribeye steaks, beans and potatoes around the Caveman TV. Tough to beat after a day in the woods.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

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.

Roaring River State Park

A large white oak leaf in camp.

Roaring River State Park

Hitting the trail.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

On the Firetower Trail, we got to pause for a late morning snack on the fire tower. Pretty cool, really.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

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.

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park

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.

in-camp sketch, finished when 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.

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