Mellow Yellow

Although we turn south and east, we resist any thoughts of making a beeline toward Grand Rapids. We’ve still got a couple of weeks before our arbitrary Get Home date, and we intend to stretch them out.

So, Copper Falls State Park, near Mellen, WI is our destination. Arriving early on a Friday afternoon, we anticipate a campground reserved to the max. What a surprise to find the opposite. We score the absolutely perfect campsite – the one usually reserved for the Camp Host. It has electric, and is the most perfectly level, isolated, private site we could ever wish for. John even foolishly wishes for rain so that we could test the perfect drainage of our dream site.20141010_150255 20141010_152900Our arrival is marred only by the fact that one of us doesn’t really know how to back the Fireball into a campsite. There’s an incident, the Firetruck’s bumper is dented, one of us gets weepy, the other one is tearing out his non-existent hair, and there’s a general ruckus. One of us needs more practice backing up.wpid-20141012_173749.jpgWe set up camp, and decide to hike to the Red Granite Falls. Our reasoning is that the next day (Saturday) will bring a flood of visitors. We need to get one of the two major hikes done before the crowds arrive. We are totally fooled by our map, and turn a 2.5 mile hike into a 6 mile odyssey.wpid-20141010_164413.jpg But, it’s worth it. Beautiful cascading falls, with the reddish cast that we’ve become accustomed to (a result of tannins in the water from the cedar swamps which feed these creeks and rivers).wpid-20141012_130916.jpg As we leave the falls, we come upon a couple of hikers who say to John, “Are these the Falls? We’ve been walking FOREVER!” John smiles knowingly, and points.

Curiously, our campground stays uninhabited. It’s the most perfectly quiet evening we’ve had in weeks of camping. We absorb the silence, and celebrate with a  campfire.

Saturday morning, we wait for the chill to leave the air before setting off with Jezzy to explore the Copper Falls/Brownstone Falls Trail. When we arrive at the Trailhead, we are dismayed to find that it’s a No Pets Allowed Trail. Damn! So we hike back to camp with Jezzy. She’s gotten a good walk, and is content to be left behind with a few treats while we cycle back to the Trailhead. It’s a gorgeous day.

If you live in an area where you’ve never experienced a perfect walk through piles of fall leaves, I feel sorry for you. Not only did we have picture perfect waterfalls, we had ankle-deep crispy leaves on a trail and the haze of golden air surrounding us. 20141011_15040020141011_144656We had to stop walking to carry on a conversation – our feet were making that much noise shuffling through the leaves. The best part of the hike, for me, was the section where we came into an area where there were only the maple trees which turn bright yellow in fall. The air was the most perfect bright yellow, and the forest floor was covered with thousands of tiny two and three-leaved saplings, covered by their one and two-foot tall cousins. They of course were protected by a full canopy of elders. 20141011_135055Sounds corny, but it was delicious walking. We hiked along the North Country Trail for a bit, and wandered past a backpacker camp area and rapids. High sandstone walls, with trees perilously hanging on to on the edges rounded out a perfect scene. 20141011_140610It was the perfect storm of circumstances –light, scenery, weather, and location. Could not have been a better day.

Our original plan had been to head out Sunday for a new camp somewhere. But, the weather forecast for Sunday was for more perfect weather, and we decided not to waste it driving. So, we paid for another day, and spent it on the bike and hiking trails, followed by cycling into the town of Mellen.wpid-20141012_113050.jpg I topped it off by cycling through the campground, collecting abandoned firewood.  wpid-20141012_151900.jpgLet me say one thing about mountain bike trails…..they are beautiful when covered with bright yellow and red leaves, although that obscures the hazards below. Six inches of mud covered by two inches of beautiful leaves is still six inches of mud. You just can’t see it coming. That’s all I’m going to say….

Although the color here is past its peak, it’s still beautiful here. We’re in love with having this incredible park to ourselves. Sunny days, calm evenings – perfect for campfires, clean bathrooms with hot showers.

Mellow yellow.

20 thoughts on “Mellow Yellow

  1. Beautiful! I love the crinkle of the fall leaves! Sadly, ours were just getting good here and then the rain came pouring down last night so now they will be all soggy, not crisp. Ahhh, the joys of living in the Pacific Northwest.


  2. Who our age could pass on the title “Mellow Yellow”? I thought I was too sleepy to read it, but what perfect scenes to fill my mind with before bed!

    Your blog is an absolute treasure. You are making me antsy to explore that area. Haven’t been to MN or Wisconsin since the ’70’s.

    BTW, one of us always does the backing. Usually it’s easy. But when she is tired or hungry or nervous, it is a real spectacle that any campground neighbors gather around to watch. At least it keeps me humble! :D


  3. I don’t care what anyone says…no one backs a travel trailer, utility trailer or boat trailer perfectly and shit happens. Next time let Jezzy give it a go.

    Beautiful pictures as usual. Love the yellow.


    • Sadly, Don, Jezzy and I are probably equally competent to back the Fireball up. I’ve stood outside probably hundreds of times already and watched John do it. Can’t quite understand why it’s so hard when I’m behind the wheel.

      Maybe I can practice on your Airstream when you get it. We can pull the dents out with a toilet plunger.


  4. Spectacular! And, congrats on backing the fireball into the camp site. One dent is not that bad. I ripped the bejeebies out of the driver’s side door on our Element trying to back onto a perfectly flat loading dock not towing a doggone thing. Just didn’t see that #(%^*@#(&!! stand for the firehose. Had to have the ENTIRE door of the vehicle replaced. I’ll never live that one down!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The really sad thing about this, Jennifer? I hit my own f+-%&@ trailer hitch! I had the Fireball so far sideways that I hit myself. Wanted to laugh at how ridiculous it was, but got all whiny instead. Not my finest moment, for sure.


  5. Good weather and quiet campgrounds, what more could one ask for? Great fall colors and waterfalls? You have them, in spades! The video was great as well, something that I need to do more of.

    You really, really need to get John to relax a little. ;)


    • I don’t do many videos because they take so much bandwidth to upload. We rarely have any free WiFi, and are using our own Verizon hotspots off our cellphones. Hard to get enough firepower…I wish you would post a few videos…I would especially love to be able to eavesdrop on the sounds.

      I always seem to photo John when he’s staring at his phone. We are relaxing big time!


  6. Wow! That water was loud. What a great lullaby that would be. I loved the curved tree. Makes me wonder what it’s life was like when it was becoming an bent elder. Such overwhelming color with the bright blue sky as a background. I love walking in leaves, but riding through them makes me leery of what might be under them, but I never thought about mud. That could be worse than a little bumper incident in my book.


    • It was a great spot. But, wait til you see the place we’re in now. A new best, ever.

      It was difficult to ride in the leaves. Not only did they obscure the ground beneath, they were very slippery. It was difficult to get much traction on any sort of incline. It was a test of my limited MTB skills, but very fun. Hard to relax and enjoy the ride, tho.


  7. Beautiful pictures and the first video I’ve seen on your blog. We’re leaving in a couple hours on our first trip with The Heart of Gold and expect to see some color in the North Carolina mountains. Your previous episodes with rain have prepared me for similar conditions this week (heavy thunderstorms forecast for tomorrow), but at least the temps will be mild (mid to low 60s and low 50s at night). When it comes to backing a trailer, the T@B, with it’s short wheel base was the most difficult. Our new trailer backs nicely but line of sight and good vision are not a part of that equation. I’m still learning to rely on the mirrors exclusively :-) An 80 year old expert once told me the secret to successful backing ….. “go as slow as you think you should and then cut that speed in half”.


  8. We so left north too early and I miss Fall hiking. Second choice the first light snow hike. I can hear the leaves. Sorry for the booboo!!


  9. Rukus??? I have been with John in many a campsite, and he doesn’t make a rukus. He is the quiet type. I THINK I know where the rukus came from…….


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