Friday, August 21, 2015

Daytrip/Overnighter to Mac Coon Campground

Mac Coon Campground is on the Skunk River, about 15 miles east of my house in Fairfield, Iowa.

I wasn't sure of the campground facilities, so I made this a daytrip on my bicycle instead of an overnighter. I also wanted to put in some extra miles in one day to check my conditioning for overnighters farther afield in my area.


A little history from the county conservation site tells us this:
Mac Coon Access is located five and one-half miles north of Lockridge just east of Willow Blvd.
Skunk River
Photo and info from http://www.jeffersoncountyconservation.com/mac-coon.html
This recreation area got its name from an old game Warden, Mac Coon, who worked in the area back in the 1930's and 40's. Purchased by the Department of Natural Resources in 1945, a renewable 25 year management-lease agreement allows the Jefferson County Conservation Board to develop and manage this area. Since 1973 numerous improvements have been made to Mac Coon Access which includes: construction of restrooms and a shelter house, installation of playground equipment, drilling a well for potable water, developing a campground equipped with electricity and providing a concrete boat ramp and fish cleaning station.

The trip was enjoyable. Naturally, I had a tailwind heading east and a headwind coming home! That made for high gears on the way out and me thinking, "What an easy ride," and low gears on the way back and me thinking, "Just hunker down and spin."

The campground is nicer than I expected. One person had billed it as a "fishing camp," and that is true, but there are some nice camping spots there. I wouldn't assume the camping is great if there has been a lot of rain: the campground floods sometimes. There is drinking water from a well, and the toilets are pit toilets, not flush. The site has no showers.

The ride was fun, though. The gravel was tricky, and I rode quite a bit on the verge, where the gravel was thin and the ground a little soft. I walked some hills just because it was easier than grinding and slipping on the rocks.

I did have one moment's scare near the Mac Coon campground road. Some resident must breed hunting dogs or something. As I rode by a house, I saw one dog, and then about 10 dogs started howling and barking. Luckily, they were all caged and chained. Otherwise, I would have been lunch.

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