to the northwoods, pt.7

Our final day trip took us to two state parks, Pattison State Park being the first. We drove west from Mellen about 1 1/2 hours through Wisconsin farmland to the park with the highest waterfall in the state. We could have had a good 2-3 mile hike, but flooding had done its damage, overflowing the lake and destroying paths. Many trails were closed, but because Wisconsin seems to make their beauty easily accessible, we were still able to see both Big Manitou Falls and Little Manitou Falls.

I don't regret taking the time to see this pair of falls, but it was disappointing how a viewer really doesn't have access to the water. What I mean is the trails are some distance from the actual water and barriers have been erected, complete with signage, discouraging getting into the water. What we'd be interested in is the shallow areas for the kids to play and explore in. We determined that since they've made the falls so accessible to viewers and many of the state parks are right off highways that precautions are more than necessary to avoid injury and incident. I think we are used to hiking to falls in the middle of nowhere and having such access that this way of interacting with the falls was foreign to us! Due to all the rain the park was quite lush though, ferns and birches, such beauty to me.

Next, we drove about 30 minutes northwest to visit the final state park for this vacation.