The Black River Forest is 68,000 acres of public land in Jackson County, which is about 2 hours northwest of Madison, WI and two hours southeast of Minneapolis, MN. The area is home to wolves, bear, elk, wild turkey and other critters. I headed up there last Thursday night in the Frontier, pulling the Brew Hut. It’s likely my last trip of the season.
The days are getting much shorter. I arrived at Castle Mound campground a few minutes after 7 p.m., and it was pitch black. I was nervous about towing the trailer for the first time in the dark and setting up in the dark also for the first time. Aside from four whitetail deer straddling the entrance road to the campground, I didn’t have any problems. In fact, thanks to pull-through sites, I didn’t even have to back up the Brew Hut in the dark.
After self-registering and paying my fees through the envelope slot at the closed office, I hiked around in the dark through the campground loops. There were only a couple of other campers. Back at the Brew Hut, I unwound with a couple of Spaten Octoberfest lagers, ate some pepper jack cheese & crackers, and read a few chapters of Game of Thrones. The campground is fairly close to Hwy 12 and I-94 so there was some truck/road noise, but I slept well, waking up Friday to the sun starting to rise and temps in the 40’s
I decided to warm up with a hike instead of breakfast. The Castle Mound Nature Trail is about a two-mile hike that includes some ups, some downs, and some very nice views of rock formations and forest.
A steep set of stairs leads to the observation deck, where, unfortunately, a wasp nest awaited.
An instant after I stepped from the last stair to the deck, several wasps landed on me. A single sting to my left hand cut short my visit to the top. I rarely get stung and was a bit ticked off at my luck. I prefer a good cup of coffee for my morning wakeup. Still, I managed the header photo and one more before hiking back down.
After breakfast, I hiked the Perry Creek mountain bike/hiking trail, which was an in/out trail of about 5 miles round trip. The trail had been recently mowed and was in good shape. I didn’t see a mountain bike the whole weekend or more than a handful of hikers for that matter. On this hike, my only company was a hen turkey who was too lazy to get off the trail to escape from me. She did seem to be annoyed that we were going the same way.
Dinner was tostadas with seasoned pork, cilantro and raw onions, washed down with an inexpensive red wine from Portugal. I found some firewood left by the previous occupant of my campsite for a nice bonfire to end the evening.