As I write this post, we are two weeks into a three week plus hitch serving as volunteer campground hosts at Potawatomi State Park in lovely Door County Wisconsin. This is our third year at this park responsible for looking after 125 campsites, four group sites, and periodically checking a couple of shelters. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to clean the toilets!
You might be wondering about the featured image serving as the header for this weeks post. The photo on the front page of the park visitors guide is one that I took last year during our stay. When we arrived a couple of weeks ago I was very surprised and pleased to see my photo featured. If you stop by Pot Park (as it’s known to the locals) be sure to pick up a copy and I’ll autograph it for you!
Although I’ve written about this park in past blogs, here’s a little refresher. Potawatomi State Park was named in honor of the indigenous tribe that occupied the area prior to the arrival of European settlers. From the native language, Potawatomi is roughly translated to mean “keeper of the fire.” The park was created in 1928, is just over 1200 acres in size, and has about two miles of water frontage on Green Bay and the Sturgeon Bay shipping channel. It offers trails for hiking, biking, and winter sports such as cross country skiing and snowmobiling. The park has very popular and well used boat ramps for hunters and fisher persons to access the waters of Green Bay. Until this year, it had a wooden lookout tower built by the CCC in the 1930’s. Unfortunately, it was deemed unsafe for visitors and scheduled to be torn down.
The scenic drive through the park offers visitors at this time of year a lots to look at with the rapidly changing colors. The weather since we’ve been here has been on the cool side thus pushing along the color change more rapidly than our previous visitors. That has brought out the “leaf peepers” folks looking the fill their eyes with the changing of the season.
One of may favorite places in the park for viewing the colors and just plain old mediating on nature is at the Old Ski Hill Overlook. This time of year the views are spectacular. In the photo below notice that the colors are just starting to make their change from green to the yellow, gold and red colors. This photo was taken on one of many foggy days here in Door County.
At this overlook is also the eastern terminus of the Ice Age Trail that traverses Wisconsin for over 1100 miles. It’s estimated that over 1 million people use some part or all of the trail each year. It meanders through the diverse landscape of Wisconsin. We have an acquaintance that hiked the whole trail in sections this year. Congratulations Nancy, that’s quite a feat! Interested in following in Nancy’s footsteps, check the Ice Age Trail website at www.iceagetrail.org.
Other things to see at the park are the many things that nature offers us, an island, rocks and the aspen trees.
As campground hosts we exchange free camping for labor in the form of keeping the campground clean and tidy. One of our main jobs is to clean the fire pits after campers leave as well as check for any trash or items left behind. We also clean the fire pit at the handicapped accessible cabin, a couple of shelters, the group campsites and fire grates in the picnic grounds. We also answer questions for visitors and provide assistance where requested. The majority of our work is Sunday and Monday after the weekend campers head for home. Since it’s fall and the temps are much cooler there aren’t as many campers during the week except for those seniors looking for some peace and quiet! Our site is spacious and has the added bonus of having a water hookup. It would be nice if sewer was available but hey we make do. Here’s a photo of our site followed by a couple of the campsites under our jurisdiction. An interesting observation, we have two campsites that are often occupied, 55 and 104. They are the furtherest from the main road, I guess folks like the sites because they are more remote and private. It never surprises us when most of the sites around them are unoccupied and yet there’s almost always someone in these sites.
One of our other duties is to help with the Friends of Potawatomi State Park annual Run Wild. This year over three hundred runners did the 5K run or walk, 1/4 marathon or the kids run.
Our job was to stop traffic from leaving the campground during the event and to cheer on the runners as they came by our position. And as a matter of course, I shot a number of photos of the participants.
And there was even a family that was going against the grain! They were spectators and not participants, a good story anyway!
So far our tour of duty here at Potawatomi has been routine with some very busy days and some days that we lallygag around the campsite or tour the sites in Door County. Hope you enjoyed this brief article about a spectacular place.
Until next week, travel safe.