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Poisonous Plants

Category : Active Living

Don’t let these poisonous plants ruin your summertime fun!

A couple of poisonous plants that are very common in Wisconsin include poison ivy and poison parsnip.

Poison Ivy…leaves of three, let it be

Of course, avoiding contact with poison ivy is the best case scenario, so being able to identify it is important. In the picture below you can see smaller light green leaves and more mature darker green leaves of the poison ivy plant.
Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy along the Fox River Trail

If you do come in contact with poison ivy  wash your skin as soon as possible…experts recommend within 30 minutes of exposure. Use soap and water to remove the oils. If you are out in the the middle of nowhere with no soap available rinsing in a lake is a good alternative. Also, wash your clothing and bathe any pets you suspect may have been in contact with it.

How to treat Poison Ivy

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the following: Take short, lukewarm baths. To ease the itch, take short, lukewarm baths in a colloidal oatmeal preparation, which you can buy at your local drugstore. You can also draw a bath and add one cup of baking soda to the running water. Taking short, cool showers may also help. Consider calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Apply calamine lotion to skin that itches. If you have a mild case, a hydrocortisone cream or lotion may also help. Apply cool compresses to the itchy skin. You can make a cool compress by wetting a clean washcloth with cold water and wringing it out so that it does not drip. Then, apply the cool cloth to the itchy skin. Consider taking antihistamine pills. These pills can help reduce itching, however use with caution. You should not apply an antihistamine to your skin, as doing so can worsen the rash and the itch. According to WebMD: The rash usually takes more than a week to show up the first time you have a reaction to the oil. It develops in a day or two on later contacts. The rash may form in new areas over several days, but you will only get a rash where the oil touched your skin. The rash usually lasts about 10 days to 3 weeks. But it may last up to 6 weeks in more severe cases.

Poison Parsnip

I had never heard of this until Ryan cam in contact with it about 10 years ago during an adventure race. Somehow we had never noticed it before, but now I see it everywhere I travel in Wisconsin cbd store.
Poison Parsnip along the Fox River Trail

Poison Parsnip along the Fox River Trail

According to the Wisconsin DNR:

When sap contacts skin in the presence of sunlight, it can cause severe rashes, blisters, and discoloration of the skin (phytophotodermatitis). Once exposed, your skin will turn red within 24 to 48 hours. In many cases, after the skin reddens, blisters appear–some of them pretty big. Sometimes the area that was burned takes on a dark red or brown discoloration that can last for as long as 2 years. The good news is, while it might hurt for awhile, the burning feeling will go away in a day or two. This is different from poison ivy where the itching can last for weeks.   You can treat blisters with cool compresses. Try to keep blisters from rupturing as long as possible. If blisters do rupture try to prevent infection. Clean the sores with soap and cool water. Apply an antibiotic ointment with painkiller and a sterile bandage to keep contaminants out. Change bandages twice a day or as needed to keep the area clean and dry.

Have fun & enjoy to the great outdoors, but be careful out there!

Comments Off on Go Take a Hike: Laura Lake

Go Take a Hike: Laura Lake

Category : Active Living

Laura Lake is a great place to go take a hike if you are headed up north.  The 2.5 mile trail which is marked by blue (and sometimes white) diamonds will take you around the lake through a variety pines and maples. can be accessed just about anywhere in either of the campground loops along the southern shore if you are planning to stay and camp. If you are just going for a day trip  you can park at the boat landing and start from there. There is very little elevation gain just watch your step so that you don’t trip on roots.
The dashed line is the hiking trail around Laura Lake. It is marked with blue diamonds.

The dashed line is the hiking trail around Laura Lake

Don’t miss Bog Lake’s  Carnivorous Plants

Be sure to take the short side trip to Bog Lake. The trail isn’t shown on the map, but it’s there…just cross the bike path go and head down the hill to the boardwalk. Stay on the boardwalk or else you will get very wet feet. The trail dead ends at the edge of the lake rather abruptly, so don’t let small children run ahead. This was my favorite part of the hike because we discovered some amazing carnivorous plants!

The boardwalk ends at the lake…it was hard to tell how deep it was, but I’d keep small children away from the edge!

The purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) is Wisconsin's largest and showiest carnivorous plant. Its leaves form into pitchers that have a widely winged edge and a flaring hood. The leaves can be a foot long and form a crowded cluster. The flower is large and maroon and is on a stalk that can tower to two feet tall.

The purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) is Wisconsin’s largest and showiest carnivorous plant. Its leaves form into pitchers that have a widely winged edge and a flaring hood. The leaves can be a foot long and form a crowded cluster. The flower is large and maroon and is on a stalk that can tower to two feet tall.

Sundews are closely related to the Venus flytrap and belong to the same family. Every bit as showy, Wisconsin's sundews are glistening jeweled rosettes.

Sundews are closely related to the Venus flytrap and belong to the same family. Every bit as showy, Wisconsin’s sundews are glistening jeweled rosettes.

How to get there

From Beecher (on Hwy 141) head west on Hwy. 8 to Armstrong Creek and continue on Hwy. 8 for 1.9 miles to FR 2163. Turn right (north) and drive 4 miles to the campground. From Laona, drive north 14 miles on Hwy. 8 to to FR 2163. Turn left (north) on and drive 4 miles to the campground.

P.S. This is a great place to paddle!

Only electric motors are allowed on Laura Lake, so if you enjoy paddling a canoe, kayak or SUP bring it along!
Canoeing on Laura Lake

Canoeing on Laura Lake

Comments Off on Go take a Hike: Dundee Mt. Summit Nature Trail

Go take a Hike: Dundee Mt. Summit Nature Trail

Category : Active Living

Welcome to hike #1 in our Hike Wisconsin series!

Dundee Mt. Summit Nature Trail

Although this is only a 1.5 mile loop hike it is challenging due to the elevation change. When you reach the top you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Northern Kettle Moraine Forest and Long Lake. There are wildflowers to enjoy and poison ivy to avoid (just stay on the trail).


Great view of the Northern Kettles from the top

Plus a bench if you need to sit down and catch your breath!


There are plenty of stairs to climb if you’re looking to do some interval training.


Careful…the wood gets slippery when wet!


Long Lake State Recreation Area

N3450 Division Road, Cascade, WI

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If you go:

You will need a Wisconsin State Park sticker ($28 annual fee/$13 for seniors)

or you can pay the daily fee of $8 ($3 for seniors) in order to drive/park in this state recreation area.

Finding the trail:

Once you make it to Long Lake, you still have to find the trailhead. You can’t rely on the signage to get you there…at least not the signs you can read from the car. You will find it nestled at the far south end of the Upper 900’s campground


This little sign marks the trailhead across from campsite 945

Long Lake Recreation Area Map



Figuring out where to park was the trickiest part, so that’s why I am giving you so many instructions! You cannot park in 900 campground loop except if you are camping there (you could “poach as spot” as my husband likes to say, but that could earn you a parking ticket). There are two places you can park:
  • Visitor parking located adjacent to the entrance for the 800’s campground, then walk on the road to the Upper 900’s campground and follow the signs to reach campsite 945.
  • South Picnic parking/boat launch parking then walk toward the boat launch and follow the trail to the left (heading south) until you reach the Upper 900’s campground loop at which point you can follow the road (turn right) and walk until you find campsite 945.

Comments Off on Why I’m a fan of Pokemon Go

Why I’m a fan of Pokemon Go

Category : Active Living

I recently heard a statistic: According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 93% of their life indoors.

Kids spend an average of seven hours a day on screen-based entertainment media, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, so there is little time left to get outside and play. Personally, I’d rather take a walk and skip searching for Pokemon. I walked around our neighborhood and Voyageur Park with my 14 year old and it isn’t exactly rigorous activity, but if “Sitting is the new Smoking” then Pokemon Go! is at least a step in the right direction (pun intended). So they combine screen time with walking around the neighborhood…it’s awesome.


I missed the Pokemon craze back in the day…never traded a card, no idea who Picachu or any of the other Pokemon creatures were until my 14 year old started introducing them to me. If you haven’t played, ask someone who does to show you how it works. (Use their phone of course, why chew up your data?) It’s pretty cool to see those imaginary Pokemon creatures just standing on the sidewalk and there are Poke stops (these are places you can collect the balls you need to play). Most of these stops are associated with a sign or bench, so there are a lot of them at local parks. If you’ve noticed the incredible amount of foot traffic out along the Fox River Trail and on De Pere’s Riverwalk it’s thanks to the fact that every bench and sign out there is a stop!

Searching for Pokemon on De Pere's Riverwalk

Searching for Pokemon on De Pere’s Riverwalk

You can roll your eyes at the Pokemon craze, but if it gets people outside and moving then I am with Pokemon! Go Pokemon Go!

Yours in Health & Fitness, Karin

Comments Off on Beat cabin fever by enjoying the snow!

Beat cabin fever by enjoying the snow!

Category : Active Living, Exercise

Too much snow?!?! Impossible!

We know by the time all the good snow arrives, most of us are sick of winter.  

Relieve the cabin fever: Cross Country skiing and snow shoeing are both awesome  workouts and wonderful ways to enjoy the great outdoors, so go have fun in the snow…it will be gone soon!

 Here are a few pictures from our visit to Governor Thompson State Park just North of Crivitz near the Caldron Falls Flowage.  

PS: Locally we ski at two Brown County Parks: The Reforestation Camp near Suamico and Neshota Park near Denmark.

Gov Thompson SP Fire Tower

Wood Lake 1

Gov Thompson SP Wood Lake trailGov Thompson SP trail