2020 Backpacking/Camping Season
This has been a strange year, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic and all the necessary restrictions that most of us have lived under since late winter. The result is that I've enjoyed almost no camping or backpacking since then. What backpacking I have done has been non-exotic limited to walking around our lake community on the streets in pretty short bursts of 1-3 miles or so.
2020-07-22 Two new camping experiences are in the planning stages. One, which is pretty much a "sure thing" is a Birthday Celebration camping trip to Koehler-Andrea State Park near Sheboygan on Lake Michigan. We'll be celebrating my grandson's 15th birthday along with 12 of his friends. I'm helping his dad, my son. This will be our third such birthday camping trip for him! The last one, at Devil's Lake, was especially memorable for me as I hung my hammock in a healthy patch of poison Ivy! Hope we don't have any repeats this time!
The second trip which is a Boundary Waters Canoe trip with my two son's and grandson, granddaughter, possibly another granddaughter and boy friend. and maybe even another granddaughter! This will be my third canoe trip in the Boundary Water in the Superior National Forest in northern Minnesota. The previous two were "traveling" trips, that is we paddled to a campsite, camped a night and paddled on to another camp site. This time we are thinking of doing a base-camp approach. Dates are still being decided but possibly the end of August or sometime in September.
2020-07-03 Our first camping event was June 22-24 when we took our two grandkids who live in our town to Wisconsin's Rocky Arbor State Park near The Dells in central Wisconsin. We set up our large tent in a very adequate tent-only campsite upon arrival. As we were getting everything settled it started raining. Not hard but steady. It didn't take long to realize that our planned hamburger cookout was not going to happen. But thankfully we were a short drive to a Culver's where we enjoyed their hamburgers.
It rained off and on the rest of the night, not hard nor steady but often making bathroom trips, etc. interesting experiences. The continuing rain scuttled our breakfast plans as well. But thankfully IHOP was nearby and allowing ding-in so we didn't starve.
The rain did stop after a while so we did a short hike and then headed to The Ducks in the Dells for their tour. That was fun and the weather cooperated the rest of the day. Until dinner time. I was just beginning to set up the stove when once again showers started. So back to Culver's - where they recognized us!
We had planned to do smores. When we got back the showers seemed stopped so I quick went and got a $6 bundle of firewood and started a fire. But wouldn't you know. Just as the fire began to look impressive, more showers! We ended the night mostly in the tent playing Old Maid (our grandkids are 11 and 15) and turning in way too early. It didn't rain much overnight, but the weather report said it was coming again about 8am. So after a surprisingly good and very long night's sleep, we quickly packed and loaded the car, finishing just as it started showering again!
Even with all the rain related excitement, it was a good trip. Fun was had by all
The only somewhat negative thing we experienced about Rocky Arbor State Park is that it is located very close to Interstate 90 so you have considerable highway noise all the time, including overnight. otherwise it is a wonderful park for camping with nice campsites, well placed and clean bathroom and showers and better than average pit toilets. Too bad about the highway. At the same time, if you want to camp instead of use a hotel to visit The Dells, it is perfectly located for that.
I did string up one of my QRPGuys EFHW antennas and hook up my x5105 but after about half an hour gave up as there were simply no useful signals on any band that I could find.
Our next outdoor experience was today, a 1-1/2 hour early morning hike/walk of a 4-mile segment of the Lake Geneva Trail, again with those two grandkids. It was about 70 when we started and about 85 when we ended at 10am and very humid. But it was a fun walk. We could have used a little more water. Otherwise it was uneventful. The segment we took goes from the Lake Geneva Library south west to a boat launch along the northwest shore of the lake. You pass beautiful homes and gardens and have a great view of the lake.
Fortunately Sharon and I drove to the boat launch yesterday and discovered there is no place to park a vehicle as we had been planning. So I and Elijah dropped Sharon and Millie at the boat launch to walk back toward the town. We drove back to town and parked the car and then walked toward the boat launch. We met about half way and then all walked back to town. It worked out well.