About



WELCOME TO WISCONSIN-EXPLORER.BLOGSPOT.COM

Wisconsin-Explorer.blogspot.com is a journal of travel in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest. It is the personal weblog of Kenneth Casper who shares first-person stories, curated information, research, photography, and media describing Wisconsin's incredible places.

Wisconsin is a state in the heartland of the USA bounded by two Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Described as the Big Woods by some, and as a land of rolling hills and hidden valleys by others, its geographical diversity offers rich experiences for active travelers with unquenchable curiosity ... for those who would be Wisconsin Explorers.

The regions of Wisconsin have vague boundaries but definite characteristics. These regions are home to wide-ranging cultural influences, but one thing is shared by Wisconsinites, our personalities are shaped by the land we inhabit and the wealth of natural resources we are surrounded by.

Places define us. Our stories are told, remembered, and told again through the places we make and the natural places we protect. As you read the articles presented on Wisconsin-Explorer you will find more than just factual descriptions of geography, you will learn about purpose and context, the personal connections of place to people and people to place.




PURPOSE

Wisconsin-Explorer endeavors to expertly inform about local destinations, sites, tourism, and leisure opportunities found in Wisconsin, in a way that only a lifelong Wisconsinite can. Some of the places described on this site are well-known attractions, but many are off-the-beaten-path, hyper-local locations known about only through word of mouth. That is, many of the features on this site are not described anywhere else on the world-wide-web or published in books.

There are some national-brand web content corporations who distribute information about attractions, biking, and hiking trails that are located in Wisconsin. Their motive is profit and in many cases, the content producers for these companies will never have walked on the trail they are writing up. Sometimes, they have never even visited Wisconsin. I have used and referenced these sites as I research topics included on this site, and I have found a labyrinth of errors and misconstructions. But, most of all, what I find lacking in much of the manufactured content out there is a sensitivity to the culture and context that is fundamental in understanding why these places are treasured by the people of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin-Explorer.blogspot.com project is a labour of love. Though it may have started as such, it has evolved to become more than a hobby. It is now an intention to provide the most accurate first-person accounting with detailed information and cultural context of public places and resources found in this state. Physical descriptions are backed up by series of photographs, video documentation, and GPS recorded maps. And, where links are available to other authoritative websites they are included.

Wisconsin-Explorer is more than a user review site. It presents first-person accounts alongside researched material and curated media, and is presented in what aspires to be an artful manner.

GOALS


  • Promote (to the public) information about shared public places and resources.
  • Provide carefully considered first-person accounts of places and leisure opportunities.
  • Provide cultural and historical context to descriptions when applicable.
  • Provide detailed maps and location information to make it easy for readers to find and visit the places profiled on this site.
  • Provide readers with links to other authoritative sources as a way for them to verify information presented on this site.
  • Provide humor, levity, and artfully written descriptions of places that are entertaining to read.




CONTENT PRODUCER, WRITER, & EXPLORER: KENNETH CASPER

Before I was six months old I had already experienced camping at Peninsula State Park. I was born and raised to treasure the State of Wisconsin and its abundance of natural resources and public spaces.

Like so many Wisconsinites, I grew up a few blocks away from a bike trail, and I used it as a highway for expanding my world, riding it further and further to hidden fishing streams, abandoned quarries, and unmarked forest paths. My neighborhood friends joined me in exploring forests and field. We dared each other to scale stone ledges, and to leap from cliffs and rope swings into deep quarry ponds. We built networks of shelters connected between the branches of walnut trees far above the forest floor.

As a young adult, I had the opportunity to expand my reach in Wisconsin through the Boy Scouts. Monthly outings took me through the tunnels of the Elroy Sparta trail, canoe camping down the Wisconsin River, backpacking in the Northern Kettle Moraine, and camping in every corner of the state - in every season including snowy winters. The annual weeklong camp a Bear Paw Lake is where I learned to boat, sail, and swim, and practiced the skills of wilderness survival, orienteering, and life-saving.

As an Eagle Scout and leader in the Order of the Arrow's Awase Lodge, I was able to develop connections to troops and scouts across the eastern half of the state and lead the organization of large-scale camporees and conferences attended by hundreds of scouts from across the Midwest. Through these gatherings, I met and befriended some of the most active and engaged young adventure seekers in Wisconsin. I listened to their stories and learned of local legends and lore from the small towns scattered across the diverse regions of Wisconsin.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Madison I moved to Connecticut. It was in Connecticut where I first began to fall in love with the sport of hiking and began to blog about explorations of my new home state. Connecticut is crisscrossed by a vast network of interconnected hiking trails (The Blue Blazed Trail Network) that climb the traprock ridges of New England. I established a website called Connecticut Explorer as a way to share photographs and GPS maps of my experiences on the trail.

Two years later I returned to Wisconsin. I established this website, Wisconsin-Explorer, as a way to continue my interest in documenting hiking and biking trails. And, along the way, I have expanded the subject matter to include unique places, extraordinary architecture, and museums.

I hope that as you browse the articles featured on Wisconsin-Explorer that you discover new places to visit and explore. As you begin to visit more out-of-the-way places you'll fall in love with this State as I have. And then, I hope that you'll come back to this site many times to learn more about Wisconsin's tremendous offerings for adventure seekers.