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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CAMPING - Halloween at High Cliff State Park

As most of you readers already know, (and for those who are new here)  my hubby Steveio works at High Cliff State Park.  He is the Facilities Maintenance Specialist Advanced... meaning he takes care of just about everything and anything that needs to be done. The last weekend in October before Halloween, there is a big celebration at the park.  The admission is free, and the Open House event has various things going on throughout the park.  Unofficially, the people camping in the park decorate their campsites and throngs of Trick Or Treaters descend on the park to gather treats and have some halloween fun.

This is our third October here at the park, and we try to reserve campsites for this special celebration weekend as soon as we can.  It's all whomever gets on ReserveAmerica first to book the sites.  Being an employee has no preferential treatment.

This year we were a bit late on the frantic rush to book sites, and could not obtain an electric campsite....  High Cliff only has 30 electric sites among the 112 campsites in the family campground.  Normally this isn't a problem for us, because we have 500 watts of solar panels on the roof and four 6 volt batteries to run from.  But this year our son Dan and family were joining us with their new travel trailer!  They only have one battery to run their heater and lights.  With the cooler October weather, we had to watch his power consumption during the day to enable their heater to run at night.

We got a double campsite for both of us to park together (SITES 14 & 15).  The weatherman was promising outstanding weather for the weekend, so we were okay to enjoy the rustic camping without draining their battery too much. We drove the motorhome out early Friday morning before Steve started his work day.  Dan and Heather came in the early afternoon and set up next to us.  We had a nice roomy site!

The sun was shining and the temps were just glorious! 
The grandtots Allegra and Mason took a walk with their Mommy
and here is a little video clip of them having a great day:

Steve and son Dan had a few wicked games of cribbage as usual.
We had a nice evening, and the kids fell asleep on our laps while we sat around the campfire. 

Saturday was just as wonderful in sunshine and golden yellow leaves falling 
The weatherman was RIGHT!!!!!
Daughter Erin and two more grandtots Chelsea and Clayton joined us.
We set all four kiddos to the task of decorating our campsite:

and this one too:

I had precooked at home a pot of chili, baked calico beans, and some pasta salads all ahead of time.  Then I could spend more time enjoying the grandtots.  I worked on getting in my share of cuddles and hugs.  One of the fun things we were doing was to lay back in the reclining lawn chair, and wait for the leaves to fall in our direction.... watching them twist and swirl down until they came close enough to catch!  One landed right in Allegra's hand!  Oh wow.. what fun of aimlessly watching the bright leave against the clear blue sky.  

I hope we created a lot of good memories while camping with the kids over the years.. and now that they bring our grandkids camping, we can build more.  

By later afternoon, it was time to get them dressed up in their costumes! 
The un-official event at the park is that the 
various campsites offer trick or treating ... 
nicely, the park closes off the road through the campground 
so there isn't any automobile traffic to hamper the thousands of visitors!  

(unofficial count was in the 5,000 range of visitors to the park this weekend!) 

We had a Spider Witch, a Pirate, a NinjaGirl, SpiderMommy and a Spiderman! 

 Yup, even Steveio and I put on our silly hats to hand out the treats.  Pretty scary, huh?  It was so  much fun to watch the little ones come to ask for tricks or treats.. and some big ones too.  We also had a big bowl of dog biscuits for the canine visitors.  Treat hours were 4-6pm

Between the 22 bags full of candy we brought, added to the bags that filled a tote that our daughterinlaw brought, we had well over 1,500 pieces of candy.  I would say at least 80% went, mostly one piece at a time.  A few times we gave extra...  but we had only a small amount leftover! 

This large group of family/friends comes every year dressed as a "theme"... 
one year they were Toy Story, 
last year they were Despicable Me... 
this year they were 
The Mario Game Characters

As our tired and sugar-loaded grandkids came back to the campsite, Steveio had supper all ready. He grilled out brats and hot dogs, had the table set and all the extras on hand to feed our hungry goblins. Wisely, the parents kept the candy-gobbling to a minimum, so they were able to eat a meal.  

We sat around the campfire until late.. with little wee ones falling asleep one by one on our laps.  Each sleeping tot was brought into the campers and laid in their bed--- to dream of candy, goblins and super hero costumes.  LOL ....   We grownups sat up until late, watching the campfire flames and sipping our beverages of choice.  It was amazingly warm out for October in Wisconsin, but the winds were up, and we huddled closer to the campfire for warmth. I think we toddled off into bed ourselves about midnight or so.  YAAAWWWNNNNN  it had been a long day. 

On Sunday morning, the breezes died down and the sun shone brightly! Another drop dead gorgeous day in Wisconsin!   Dan and Heather had to pack up early to leave, but before they left, I was able to whip up a couple pans of breakfast using this recipe:

  I baked up two pans in my Coleman propane oven in the background on the other table.
The kids were starting with cereal and fruit, but we had some of the breakfast bake too. 

Erin decided to keep Allegra with her while Dan, Heather and Mason headed back to Green Bay (Heather had to work in the afternoon)  .... so after our breakfast stuff was cleared away, we took the rest of the grandtots for a walk in the woods.

The temps were in the high 60's, all sunshine, no wind and it was just a perfect autumn day to traipse in the park.  The smells were awesome, the leaves were crunchy underfoot, the birds were singing, and the squirrels were busy as ever with the acorns and hickory nuts in the park.

There are many trails, and we wandered along the Indian Mound trail around the campground to the north. The kids were exploring a hollow log.... and they know their Grandfather works at the park and cuts down trees:

Here is a clip about their tree exploration:

As we wandered along the trail, they found a "real Indian house" that they had to explore... and they figured they could build one if they ever had to live in the woods.  But they decided they like our campers better, because they have bathrooms in them!  LOL   The girls found this tree with two burl growths on it.  They said it looked like hair buns on each side of the tree.  Silly kids!

Yup, this is how they felt about our walk in the woods

And when we got back to the campground, they found their Granfaddah resting and all cozy in the sunshine on his lawn chair!  Ahem!  They took care of that serene scene in no time.... hahahahaha

Erin packed up the last three grandtots in her car and left with hugs and kisses. We will be seeing them next weekend again when we go to help work on her kitchen.  

Steve and I battened down the hatches, packed away the chairs and reluctantly hit the road back home again.  That's okay, because we had a few projects in mind, and I will do another blog post about them, because this one is getting wayyyy too long! 


  1. What wonderful memories you all are creating. How fun! Becki

  2. I love you two in those tall orange and blue tall hats. Wow, you all had a great family time together. There is nothing better than that.

  3. Finally, we are in a place where we have a strong enough signal to enjoy your blogs again. We don't "do" Halloween, but sure enjoyed the blog. We've missed you two!


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