Black River State Forest, Part 2

Saturday: While the Brew Hut mattress will need an upgrade before camping season next year, I slept well on Friday night and until after 7 a.m on Saturday.  I previously hiked all of the trails available at the Castle Mound campground, so I jumped into the Frontier and drove south on I-94 for about 11 miles, exiting at Millston and ending up at the Pigeon Creek Campground.

Pigeon Creek had no electric hookups or showers, but it did have less road noise.  I would consider staying there in the future.  The sites were a bit smaller, but well-spaced.  There were vault toilets and water pumps.  The sites were $18, compared to $28 with electric at Castle Mound.

The Nature Trail at Pigeon Creek was only 1.5 miles on flat terrain, mostly along the Pigeon Creek Flowage.

When I started the hike, I planned to combine the hike with a longer mountain biking/hiking trail.  The weather was warm, and the sun was shining.  I talked briefly to the lone fisherman on the flowage.  We agreed it was a perfect morning for late October.

On my way to the intersection of the longer mountain bike trail, the rain started to fall.  I decided to turn back.  As I passed the fisherman, we agreed that it had been a perfect morning for October.  He caught 3 nice bluegills, so he was still feeling pretty good about the day, despite the rain.

I’ve hiked in the rain many times, and I will hike in the rain again.  But I decided that a local microbrewery would be a better option.

Sand Creek Brewery, Black River Falls:

The taproom was busy when I arrived mid-afternoon.  I asked about a tour, and was told that one would be given in 30 minutes or so. My favorite Sand Creek beer, Fatty Boomblatty, brewed under the Furthermore label, wasn’t available on tap, so I went with the Turtle Stack SMaSH Golden Ale.  SMaSH beers are brewed with single malt, single hops.  It was a worthy choice–heavier than my Octoberfest lager at the campsite but lighter and less hoppy than the IPA’s that I tend to favor.

Shortly before finishing my beer,  a man in casual attire announced that the tour would be starting in a few minutes outside the doors of the tap room.  I downed my last couple of swallows and waited outside.  To my surprise, no one else was going on the tour, and I was getting a personalized solo tour from the general manager at Sand Creek Brewery.

I told him that I was a homebrewer, and he immediately put me at ease by stating that everyone in the microbrewery business starts off as a homebrewer.  He gave a a great tour and answered all of my questions, including some good gossip about the industry. I bought a t-shirt to remember the visit.

That Saturday evening, back at the Brew Hut, a violent storm storm came through with rain, wind, thunder and lightning.  I didn’t sleep particularly well as I wondered if one of the large trees or branches above the Brew Hut might fall on top of me.  It was cold and wet on Sunday morning.  I watched part of the Packers game against the Saints and left the campground at halftime.

On Monday, I winterized the Brew Hut, emptying the tanks and filling the lines and traps with RV antifreeze.  Unless I can work in another weekend of dry camping  during the late fall, the Brew Hut will awake in the spring.