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Practical Notes on Perrot State Park

We visited Perrot State Park this weekend. Perrot SP has a fairly small campground with several flush toilet buildings (a couple of those have showers). The campsites are mostly completely wooded. This campground map is a good place to look to find a good campsite. We reserved 1 week in advance and had no problem picking a good one that was available.

Activities are somewhat limited at Perrot SP. We didn’t hike at all, but there are quite a few trails around (and up?) the bluffs. We did canoe. We didn’t see this posted anywhere on park signs, but canoe rental is done through the headquarters (not the Nature center where the canoes are). You pay $10 for four hours and get a key to unlock a canoe. Paddles and life jackets are behind the headquarters. There is a trail cut out through the swamp in Trempealeau Bay. The water is pretty shallow the whole way – we had times when it was hard to paddle effectively because we hit bottom. There is no beach, just a short dock and canoe launch behind the Nature Center. There are a couple of other boat launches which are pretty far from where the rental canoes are stored. The naturalist suggested that we do the first 1/3 of the trail and then float back because it was supposed to be windy and going the rest of the way along the trail would be hard paddling. We’re pretty rusty at our canoeing skills, so even going upstream on the first 1/3 was hard.

We also biked on the Great River Trail. The campground has an access path directly to the trail. There is no place to park in the campground near the trail, but we did see a trail head with parking along the trail on the way to the Trempealeau National Widllife Refuge. After canoeing in the early afternoon I didn’t have the energy to do much biking, so we just went to the TNWR and headed back for a total of less than 6 miles. It’s a nice trail, pretty flat, looks like it’s mostly used by trucks. It’s pretty much packed dirt and fine gravel in two tire tracks with short trimmed weeds in between. The only bad things were low hanging branches.

Brian has amusing photos of the firewood we got from the park headquarters. It says it was packaged by the “Amish” (literally in quotes) and “pine wood smoke” is good at repelling “mosquitos”. It would be a good entry for the if no one has already submitted it. The bad part was that they stapled plastic twine to the logs, so we had to cut the twine as best we could and burn the wood with bits of plastic twine and staples attached. Brilliant.

If you happen to forget your cooking oil, like we did, the nearest major town seems to be Winona, MN, which has a WalMart Supercenter. While I usually hate WalMart, sometimes you take what you can get.

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