Hi! We are Mat and Stacy from Wauconda, IL. Welcome to Our Endless Trail! We have been camping and hiking most of our lives, together for the past 5 years, and as a married couple for the past 6 months.
We’ve been posting our adventures on Facebook and have received a lot of great feedback from people saying they love living through us, don’t stop sharing, etc. So we decided to start this blog and YouTube Channel so we can share our adventures with a larger audience, and share more details for those that may find it helpful.
We live in a cute little town in the suburbs of Chicago called Wauconda. So for our last trip of the 2021 season, we decided to travel to Wakonda State Park in Missouri!
WAUCONDA TO WAKONDA
When we travel long distances, we like to take our time, take the scenic route, and make fun stops to break up the trip. Our first stop on this trip was to White Pines Forest State Park, which is just a couple hours away from Wauconda. We’ve been here before and really enjoy the hiking. They have a lodge there with a restaurant, so first things first: breakfast!
After breakfast we hit the trails. We explored 3.5 miles of trails, and that’s not even all of them. We love this park because it’s very wooded, rugged, and there’s a creek (Stacy loves the stepping stones). After the hike, we found a playground… well let’s just say we like to have fun.
Then we hit the road again, and headed south towards our final destination. We started to get hungry and made a stop at a Moose Lodge we found on the way (Lodge #671 in Fort Madison, IA) – they were serving burgers! You never know what you’ll find at the Moose Lodge, as far as food goes. It’s a volunteer run organization that benefits children in need (Mooseheart), and seniors (Moosehaven). We are very active at our lodge in Wauconda. If you are a member, you can visit any lodge in the country (approx 1,600 lodges). So when we travel, we like to find one to stop at. People there are always so friendly and welcoming, and food and drinks are always cheaper than a restaurant. We try to bring a souvenir back with us to display at our lodge.
After dinner, we had about an hours drive left and arrived at Wakonda State Park, just after dark. Mat’s a pro at backing in, I mean he drives a semi for a living, so it’s no big deal even if it’s dark out. We got the fire started, cracked a beer and enjoyed our first night in Wakonda!
CAMPING AT WAKONDA STATE PARK
The next morning we got to check out our new home for the next couple of days (site 109). We had a site right on the lake. A very large, private site with full hookup, but not as wooded as we would have liked. The site was very level, on a concrete pad – a little too perfect for our taste. Came with a bit of highway noise. Not the best site we’ve ever had, but, it’s Wakonda! We got to put our Missouri sticker on our map (that’s what it’s all about, right?) and we were excited to be there.
The weather was great, perfect for the fall. It was a little windy however, so we decided day one, we’d hike rather than kayak the lake. We walked the campground and found some trails. Not the rugged, wooded kind of trails we love, but we had a nice walk around the park.
Towards the evening, the wind died down, so we hit the water. Stacy, always being cold, decided to stay warm in her bear onsie that we still had in the camper from the previous trip (Halloween themed trip). It was perfect for the chilly evening, and people on shore got a kick out of seeing a bear kayaking. She remained a bear all evening to keep warm.
The next day, we got a nice long kayak trip in, the weather was great. We kayaked 5 miles along the parameter of the lake. It was very quiet and peaceful out there. We wrapped up the night with a bon fire and foil packets for dinner.
The next day was departure day, which means we head out and have more adventures on the way home!
WILDCAT DEN STATE PARK
On the way home to Wauconda, we stopped at Wildcat Den State Park in Iowa. Wow. This place was amazing. We hiked 4 miles of trails that winded through a variety of wooded terrain and beautiful sandstone bluffs. We also stopped at the Pine Creek Grist Mill, the oldest grist mill between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains.
After our hike, we headed back towards home. We could not find a Moose Lodge open on an early Monday evening, so we stopped at Froggy’s Bar and Grill for dinner. Another great place for a burger and a beer (a wee bit more expensive than a Moose Lodge). Then back home to our little blue house in Wauconda.
It was sad coming home knowing it was our last trip of the season. But we’ve had a great year, and are looking forward to re-living those adventures by sharing them here on our blog.
Only 4 more months until we’re on the road again! Next March we’ll be hitting Alabama and Georgia.