Friday, October 4, 2013

James McNully Campground, Grantsburg, WI

If you are a paddler, Wisconsin and Minnesota are paradise. There is an ongoing argument over which state has the greater number of lakes, but bragging rights aside, there’s enough paddling to be done here that quibbling over numbers is a total waste of time. Wisconsin claims to have 15,074 lakes. One of these lakes is the mill pond in Grantsburg that powered the Hickerson Roller Mill that existed where James McNully Campground is now located. The mill pond is now called Memory Lake, and is located on the Wood River, one of the tributaries of the St. Croix River.

The image of the Hickerson Roller Mill is engraved in a granite
marker at the Memory Lake dam spillway.
Dr. Harvey Wiley was the author of the Pure Food and Drug Laws of 1906. The “Master Standard Flour” milled here at Hickerson Mill by Caleb Greene (1860-1917) was the flour used in Dr. Wiley’s research into food nutrition and purity. On Mr. Greene’s death, it was said that “Grantsburg lost its only irreplaceable asset,” and the mill closed shortly thereafter.

A view up the Woods River to the Memory Lake spillway.
It was 52-degrees when we rolled out Saturday morning, and the third week of July. In three days of travel, our morning temperatures had dropped 30-degrees. Our campsite sat in a loop of the Woods River. While reading or having meals, we could look out our window at otter, herons, turtles, and countless birds. It was a beautiful spot, but a posted sign caught my total attention. It read, “If the siren sounds, immediately seek higher ground.” I obviously had to ask the campground host about this, but he assured me that flooding was a rare occurrence, and with the river as low as it had been all summer, the chances were almost nonexistent.

I got a kick out of Leinenkugel's Canoe Paddler beer.  It's not something
I could find at home, so as soon as we got to Wisconsin, I was on a mission.
Here it is on the bank of the Woods River with my Bending Branches Bent
Shaft paddle.  It seems the cap has fallen off the one bottle.  Yum!


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