NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Big Foot Beach State Park

I've made it a goal this year to get to as many Wisconsin State Parks as possible. We've been to quite a few already, but there are probably just as many that we haven't seen since we are so fortunate to have such a large state park system.  I decided to start by checking out the one that is practically in our back yard that I have never even driven through.

photo courtesy of Friends of Big Foot Beach State Park

Big Foot Beach doesn't look like much when you drive by, which is why I've never gone in. It has a four foot high chain link fence separating its boundary from the road that runs alongside the shore of Lake Geneva, away from the downtown tourist area. Immediately inside is a fishing pond with a couple of bridges spanning it, and the treeline behind this pond blocks any further view of the park. I didn't even know until I went on the WI DNR website that they have a campground inside. I took a quick drive around the loop, and it looks like an older design for smaller campers. Most of the sites do not have electric and seem to be geared more towards tent camping. The park also has ample day use areas for volleyball and picnicking. What makes the park worth a stop though is their trail system.  For a smaller park it is a nice one, with trails that intersect each other and display quite a variety of forest and wildflowers. There is also a lot of bird activity here, including some birdhouses in the more open areas that attract birds, as well as bat houses.

At one of the trail intersections I saw a smattering of these blooms on some short trees growing. If someone knows what these are, please let me know! I did some searching on the internet but couldn't figure it out. I've never seen these around here before, and trees are definitely not my forte.

I was pleased to discover we have trillium here in Wisconsin too! I knew we had Jack-in-the-pulpit since I first came to know this plant through a gardener friend of mine some years ago.

While looking for plants on the trail I occasionally stopped and pulled the annoyingly plentiful garlic mustard, leaving piles of it behind me on the trail as I went along. Much better than a trail of breadcrumbs if I needed to find my way back to the parking lot! It came out easily since everything was soaking wet from last night's rain. During a break from all that pulling I found a rotting branch with some great orange fungus growing on it. You don't see that kind of color around here normally. 

The may apple was in bloom, which I got so excited about that I laid down in the mud with only my tripod cover to kneel on to take some photos. I only recently found out the name of this plant and that it even bloomed at all! I first noticed these plants at High Cliff State Park up by Appleton when we camped there two years ago. I'll post about our visit to that park in my next blog entry.

I'm not the only one interested in the may apple

 We've had a lot of rain the last few days and by the time I was done squishing my way along the trails I was pretty wet and muddy. When I got home I got rid of the evidence as quickly as possible so I didn't get a lecture from Wayne before he headed off to work the mid-day shift today. Those non-photographers just don't understand the lengths we photographers will go to get a shot!

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