Wildcat Mountain – Group Site – Paddle, Hike, and/or Bike
Dates: Thursday, Sept 20 – Sept 23
It is great going into an area where there is too much to do. Wildcat Mountain State Park has 20 miles of hiking trails. Elroy-Sparta Trail is 32 miles long. It is 2nd in a series of 4 connecting “rail to trail’ trails which totals 101 miles. Elroy-Sparta Trail is also known for its 3 tunnels which the longest is ¾ mile long. Kickapoo Valley Reserve, which borders to the south of Wildcat Mountain, has another 60 miles of hiking trails and 24 miles of mountain biking trails. Paddling the Kickapoo River is an adventure on its own. The Kickapoo River is known as the “Crookedest River on Earth”. The part we will be paddling goes through Wildcat Mountain State Park and Kickapoo Valley Reserve.
We will be staying at a group site at Wildcat Mountain State Park. Wildcat Mountain is about a 4 1/2 hour drive from Chicago. There are pit toilets at the campsite. Flush toilets and showers are about 1 mile away. We are camping from Thursday, Sept 20 thru Sunday, Sept 23 (3 nights). The cost will be $21. This fee is for firewood, campsite, misc. expenses, and PayPal fees.
Refund Policy: Full refund will be given until Sept 10th at 11:00 pm. No refund will be given after 11:00 pm Sept 10th.
We will be having a potluck on Saturday Night. Please bring a dish to pass. You are responsible for all meals, snacks and beverages. Alcohol is allowed.
Carpooling: Please include in your RSVP if are looking for a ride or can offer a ride.
Well behaved pets and kids are allowed. Pets must be leashed at all times.
Group Campground Map: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/wildcat/pdfs/groupcampmap.pdf
All events are optional. Join us for any or all of the events. You can also just stay at the campsite or explore the area. There is a large Amish Community in the area.
We will be setup hikes throughout the weekend at Wildcat Mountain and Kickapoo Valley Reserve.
Friday, Morning – Paddle Kickapoo River.
Come and experience nature with a canoe or kayak trip down the beautiful Kickapoo River. The Kickapoo River offers unmatched scenery of Wisconsin's driftless region. It is a very safe, slow moving river that can be enjoyed by a beginners as well as experienced canoe enthusiasts. Most areas the river is 3 to 4 feet deep. The river follows a meandering, winding path through Wildcat Mountain State Park and the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, with plenty of places to stop for a picnic, swimming or exploring.
Since the river gets very crowded on Saturday, we are planning to paddle on Friday. Rates: $40 per canoe (2 people per canoe), $30 per Kayak (1 person per kayak). If you want to have them shuttle you personal canoe/kayak, it is $20 per canoe/kayak.
Kickapoo Wild Adventures (http://www.kickapoowild.com/)
(If people want to do their own shuttle, here is a $4 parking fee at the takeout.) The parking lot gets full. We are planning to paddle 12.5 miles. It should take about 5-6 hours. We will paddle from Kickapoo Wild Adventures to Landing 10 (see map).
If you need a canoe partner, we will match you up with someone.
Friday Evening, Night hike through Tunnel #3 at Sparta Trail
Saturday, Morning – Bike or Hike the Elroy – Sparta Trail (Tunnel #3)
Elroy - Sparta Bike Trail: With three rock tunnels (The longest one is ¾ mile) and five small towns along its 32.5 mile route, the trail is a favorite Wisconsin bicycling destination. Elroy – Sparta Bike Trail was the 1st “Rail to Trail” in the nation. At ¾ of a mile long, tunnel 3 is the best tunnel
Bike Trail Pass: $4.00/person.
Hikers don’t need a trail pass.
We will meet at the trail head in Norwalk. We will first bike or hike to tunnel 3. Tunnel 3 is 3 miles from Norwalk. It is ¾ of a mile long. Therefore, the round trip is 7.5 miles.
When we return to Norwalk, those wanting to ride more can ride to tunnel 2 (4 miles from Norwalk) and/or tunnel 1 (12 miles from Norwalk). These tunnels are both ¼ of a mile long. The others will enjoy ice cream and head back to camp.
Saturday Evening: Group Potluck
Kickapoo Valley Reserve – The History:
Day Use Permit: $4.00/person
This land has come full circle. For thousands of years, Native Americans lived here. While they left hundreds of archeological sites, they changed the land little. As settlers occupied the valley, they cut down the trees, plowed the land and yoked the Kickapoo River for milling. Their numbers multiplied so much the river’s periodic flooding become a problem.
In the 1962 Flood Control Act, Congress authorized the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a flood control dam—the La Farge Lake Project. The Corps bought the land (8,569 acres, removed 147 families), removed the houses and buildings, and began erecting a large, earthen dam across the valley floor. Overtaken by the economic and environmental concerns of the late 1960’s and 1970’s, the dam project stopped in 1975. The dam lay 39 percent complete; a five-story control tower stood on the valley floor, and the Corps had spent approximately $18 million.
Over the next 20 years nature gradually reclaimed the La Farge project area. Trees covered the valley, which the Corps had cleared for a 1,780-acre, 12-mile long reservoir. The dam looked more and more like one of the natural bluffs.
In the 1996 Water Resources Development Act, Congress completed the circle. It directed the Corps to return up to 1,200 acres to the former Native American inhabitants—the Ho-Chunk Nation—and the rest to the State of Wisconsin. The Kickapoo Reserve Management Board now oversees the state’s portion. It is attached to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Preserving the land’s return to nature, the 1996 act directs the Ho-Chunk and the State to manage the Kickapoo Valley Reserve for low-impact tourism and education.
Lying between Wildcat Mountain State Park on the north and La Farge on the south, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve comprises 8,589 acres in Vernon County, Wisconsin. The Kickapoo River begins in Monroe County and flows south and southwest through Vernon, Richland, and Crawford Counties. As it snakes through the Reserve, the Kickapoo River is bounded by high scenic hills, bluffs, and rock outcroppings that sometimes stand several hundred feet from the valley floor. Named after the Kickapoo Indian Tribe, the river empties into the Wisconsin River near Wauzeka, Wisconsin.
The closest grocery store is 15 miles away.
Hillsboro County Market (http://hillsborocountymarket.com/) E18590 State Highway 33, Hillsboro, WI 54634 Hours: Sunday 9am- 5 pm Monday-Thursday 7am-8 pm Friday and Saturday 7 am-9pm
The closet gas station (ice) is 3 miles away.
Ontario Fast Trip, 201 N Garden St., Ontario, WI
The Amish culture is based on traditional values and practices that date back to the 16th century. They are known for their simple living, plain dress, and resistance to modern conveniences (such as electricity). Their horse-drawn buggies are a common site on our country roads. Amish farmers will extend a friendly wave as you watch them maneuver their massive draft horses before a plow or wagon. Please remember that they do not wish to be photographed.
The Amish of Southwestern Wisconsin brought with them, or have honed, many old-world skills, wood working and furniture making, quilt making, basket weaving, baking and candy making among them. To acquire Amish-made items, you need only attend farmers markets in towns such as Viroqua or drive the back roads looking for the simple hand-lettered signs that announce a family’s specialty. Please remember there are no sales from the Amish on Sunday sales.
Here are a few shops:
Trail's End (also called “Amish Walmart”), S302 A Little Ridge Road, Ontario, WI 54651. Hours: Friday & Saturday, 8 am - 6 pm
Down A Country Road Amish Gifts, (http://www.downacountryroad.com/) 12651 WI-33, Cashton, WI 54619 Hours 10 am to 5 pm, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
Viroqua Farmer's Market. Located at 116 South Rock Ave, Viroqua, WI, this popular farmer's market has goodies for everyone. The Viroqua Farmer's Market is held May - October each Saturday from 8 am - noon.
Viroqua Public Market, (http://www.viroquapublicmarket.com/) 215 South Main Street, Viroqua, WI — 54665 Hours: Mon - Wed: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm, Thu - Fri: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
This is a great trip. I hope you can make it.