It's a bit belated, but I felt like I should blog some camping pictures and tales. Several weeks ago we headed up to the Wisconsin Dells on a Friday, roughly a four hour drive from Highwood. Our intention was to stay at Mirror Lake, but the campsites were already full, so we were directed to the Rocky Arbor State Park a few miles away.
We packed for car camping. A tent, some camping chairs, cooler, camp stove, toys, and apparently way too little bug spray. I'm not sure anything short of biohazard body suits would have saved us from the treachery awaiting us.
It wasn't immediately clear that our trip was a bit mosquito doomed. It started with this scene, Thomas pitching our awesome, open tent, and Eden totally having a blast:
She LOVED the tent. We took her pack-n-play and a blow up mattress. She spent a ton of time inside
reading books and watching the trees above. The weather was great, warm with a good breeze.
We realized quickly on the first day that when camping with a toddler, altering your expectations is one of the most important things. We managed to hike the trail with her jogging stroller, but there were definitely some rough spots where I wondered if we would make it. Keeping her content was not as difficult as I had expected. There were lots of rocks, leaves, and insects to explore, but her parents got BORED. I think we're used to hiking more, canooing, staying up late with friends, etc.. The combination of having a toddler and going by ourselves meant those things were very limited.
For dinner we pre-made a batch of our favorite chili, and it was delicious. It made me really miss Nacogdoches, our church friends, and our fire pit. Thomas made a fire while I put Eden down (with no fussing!) and we roasted marshmallows.
Our first night of sleep was very pleasant. We were able to leave the rain flap off and sleep under the stars. Eden slept from 9pm - 8am. It was extraordinarily relaxing.
The mosquitos were pretty bad the first day, but all in all, it was very enjoyable.
The second day we spent the entire morning procuring more bug spray and trying to find a swimming spot.. Eventually we made it to Mirror Lake, which was relatively mosquito free and had a couple of good hours.
Eden loved being in the lake and building sand castles. When we got back, we did a bit more hiking/climbing, which was nerve wrecking for me while it was happening (heights+toddlers), but seemed fun after it was over. That's about the time the mosquitos became unbearably thick. We ended up driving our cooler and chairs to the front of the park where there was a small playground and some grills. We had hotdogs with leftover chili and let Eden play for a few hours until bedtime, when we were forced to got back to the mosquito den that was our campsite.
That night we had to use the rain flap so there were no stars or breeze and it was really stuffy. At 5:30am a thunderstorm hit that woke up Eden. At 7am we gave up trying to get her to sleep again and packed everything up in the rain and headed out. Thomas is a saint because he did most of the work while Eden and I stayed in the car. We all had at least a dozen mosquito bites by this time.
Here's what the mood looked like:
We headed to Paul Bunyan's Breakfast Buffet, got a meal indoors with no bugs, and then headed to Madison, WI for a little vacation from our vacation :). I LOVED Madison. It was a lot like Austin. Cute shops, great organic/hippie/ethnic cafes, and lots of people watching.
I have a tendency to look back on things with rose colored glasses, so I would probably say it was a fairly enjoyable experience that I would easily agree to doing again. Luckily, I have a husband who knows my heart and got me this souvenir to remind me of my true feelings: