Stories from Devil's Lake  
Submitted 8/9/00 by:
John Kaye
When I was about 9 or 10 years old (that's 40 years ago!) my family's first camping experience was at Devil's Lake.  There were 5 of us (I was the oldest child, youngest about 2 or 3), in a small rented (maybe borrowed) 7' x 7' tent.  It was quite crowded when we got there, the only campsite we could find was in a low area.  In effect, a drainage ditch.  It rained 2" that night. 
I don't remember being miserable, don't remember that much at all.  But I am still amazed after that experience that my parents ever tried camping again.  Also very grateful that they did, we went on from there in later years to camp all across the country, hit most national parks.  Wonderful wonderful memories.  Now we do the same with my children, who are much older than I was that drenched night at Devil's Lake. 
Well, we are going there this weekend, (Aug 12-13) this trip one of us is in a wheelchair, so things may be interesting or different.
******** Editor's Note:  John, please let us know how your trip goes.********
Submitted 8/15/00 by:
John Kaye
Return to Devil's Lake
I don't know if there are any good stories from the weekend, but we had a great time.  In some ways, a very different Devil's Lake experience than in the past, or different from typical.
Because my wife is now in a wheelchair, we can't hike up any bluffs or anything (well, I could, but I'm too lazy). Our teenage children did, however.
It's a bit ironic that my wife's disability is what made this last weekend possible (although more advance planning on my part also could have worked).  Because the park is so popular, and it is now possible to reserve far ahead of time, we would not have been able to get a campsite.  However, the handicapped only sites apparently do not fill nearly as fast. Planning only about a month ahead of time, I was able to reserve handicapped site # 706 (sometimes called Handicap-6), in the ice age campground. (Although, you have to call, you can't get a handicapped site on the internet.)  Interestingly enough, the guy who answered the reservations phone line is also in a wheelchair, and told me a story about rolling down that huge hill at the entrance, right into the lake. (Quite a few years ago, I think.)
The campsite was absolutely perfect!  Very convenient to bathrooms and water, and there is a special accessible bathroom.  Yet, with all that convenience, the site was still wooded, and felt quite secluded. I heartily recommend the Ice Age campground to anyone: the sites are wooded and private.  Some people may prefer the sociability of more open campgrounds, and those also exist at Devil's Lake.  But we strongly prefer privacy and solitude.
The tram which circulates to the campgrounds was also very helpful for our kids when they went hiking.  (They are of driving age, but the parking lots filled up early on Saturday.)
We haven't camped much in recent years, our kids are older now (18 & 19) and have busy schedules, and my wife's health keeps us home more.  But we really enjoyed last weekend, so much that we plan to try to go back sometime after Labor Day.  If our luck (and the lack of other handicapped applicants) holds, we should be able to get a site then.  We are looking forward to it.
Submitted by:
Joanne Doxtater
Many years ago, (about 30) I camped at Devil's Lake at least once a year.  I was the Girl Scout leader for my two daughter's troop.  Every year there was a scout campout at Devil's Lake the first weekend of October.  We never missed it for at least 8 years in a row.  As my daughters got older they would never let me stop going because it was not only Girl Scouts but the Boy Scouts as well.
Each year we packed up the tents, sleeping bags, lanterns, flashlights and all the camping gear we could pack into 3 or 4 cars.  It was difficult to get parents to chaperone so my entire family, including husband and my brother & his wife, would come along as chaperones for 15 to 20 girls.
Every year we hiked the bluffs all day Saturday and most of Sunday.  In those days I was much better fit and could keep up with the energy of the young folks.
We would cook all the meals on an open fire.  The evening campfire was looked forward too by all.  I still remember many of the songs we would sing.  Many times several groups would get together for a large bonfire all sit around and sing until the wee hours.
Then Saturday night was the big dance.  All the girls would head to the pavilion to check out the boys.  They would dance and fill up on snacks & pop.  I never could figure out where they got all that energy.  Everyone made many friends in those years.
I will always remember the fun times we had.  The fall colors were always in their peak and cameras were a must.  Many of the pictures in my album were taken back in the good old days.
I always hope that the girls that went to our campouts have just as many good memories as I do.  I know my daughter's do.
Submitted by:
Joanne Doxtater
My Return To Devil's Lake
After many years, my husband and I returned to Devil's Lake for a day's outing.  We wanted to try and recapture some of the memories of time gone by.
In many ways it just wasn't the same as camping with 15-20 girls but we enjoyed the solitude of the fall day.  Naturally we had the camera along.  Last fall's pics are also in my album
We didn't hike the bluffs as we did in the past.  I did get to climb up some rocks, but I just don't have the stamina I had 30 years ago. :-)
If you ever do get to Wisconsin, Devil's Lake State Park is definitely a place to visit.  I enjoy the fall the most but all seasons have its own charm.
If you have a story about your trip to Devil's Lake, I'd like to hear about it.  Send it to me and I will publish them here.