Around this time last year my husband and I decided to plan a camping trip for the end of summer. We scoured the internet for state parks that offered camping spots with electric hook ups and a shower facility. I don’t require much when it comes to camping but the two things I can’t go without would be electricity and a shower. The electricity is imperative because, let’s face it, we need it for lighting and as a use for other electronic devices such as a radio or cell phone charger…the shower thing is just common sense. I can deal with a pit toilet, I don’t enjoy them but they are manageable, but a shower is something I must have to start and end my day.
We settled on Wyalusing State Park in Prairie du Chien WI. A beautiful state park located about three hours west of Milwaukee, it is nestled in the Mississippi river valley, and it has a lot to offer. The park is well maintained and it is also very large. It has two different areas for camping. One of them looks over the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, and the other is located in a more wooded area. The overlooking sites are closer together and gives you a chance to get to know your neighbors and has a more party atmosphere. The wooded sites are more secluded and offers a more intimate setting, one where you can really feel like you are connecting with nature. It all depends on what kind of camping experience you are looking for, but either part of the park is a wonderful place to stay. The park has a lot of hiking trails and some of them have caves you can hike into. They offer canoe and kayak rentals, basically if you like being one with nature this park has a lot to offer (IMO)
We booked our trip in early March of 2016 and we planned out trip to be the first week of August. We had the whole summer to get ready, and boy did we need it! We booked a camping trip and we had very little camping gear. I think all we really had was a screen tent. We spent the next 5 months gathering supplies and gear for our trip. This was actually a good thing because it gave us enough time to acquire everything and we were able to keep the cost down. We would begin buying everything one at a time, and I think this kept us from spending too much money. The first thing we bought was a tent, and that was a big decision all on its own.
We went back and forth between two different tents, debating over-size and cost and decided to go with the cheaper of the two. The tent came in one of those cute little duffel bags. You know the ones I am talking about. They pack everything into the little bag and it is easy to travel with because everything fits inside. The problem is once you take everything out of the little bag, you can’t get it to fit back inside. Houdini probably couldn’t even get it back in there. We tried to go over the small booklet of directions that were given, and that was a small adventure in and of itself. We realized somewhere along the way that as helpful as the instructions were, we were missing a couple of very important pieces of equipment. Tent poles for example, are a key ingredient for successfully setting up a tent. The instructions called for two sets of poles and we realized we only had one and a half. Once we realized we were missing parts, we tried to stuff everything back into the little bag it came in and we took it back to the store. The lady at the service counter was very understanding when we handed her the balled up tent and the bag of tent stakes it came with. We ended up buying the more expensive tent anyway. It is a Coleman Tent and it is probably the best tent I have ever camped in. This is just personal opinion, but we absolutely love it! My favorite thing about this tent is the part they have marketed for a small dog bed. This part of the tent is basically one big window. The sides are made up of the regular tent nylon but the top is one big window, the tent comes with a rain fly to cover this area so no need to worry about getting water in the tent. The reason why I love it is because we were able to shove our air mattress into this little cove and look up at the beautiful night sky and watch the stars. I know it sounds dumb, but it is the little things for me. If you are into this kind of thing I would seriously recommend this tent for your next camping adventure. The tent also has little door in the upper right hand corner that is used for slipping extension chords through so that you can plug-in your electronics if you need them. Very helpful!
So here we are, March 2017 and we have already booked our next camping trip! We have everything we need this time and now all we have to do is play the waiting game. This is already making me antsy. We have planned our trip for September and we are headed up to northwestern WI, to Pattison State Park. This park hosts the tallest waterfall in Wisconsin. It also has plenty of hiking opportunities, or so I have read. I have not been to this park before but I am super excited to get there.
We have also been talking a lot about throwing the tent in the car and just taking weekend trips to some of the state parks for the summer. We do not need any additional camping equipment so we can literally just pack up and go after work on Fridays. Right now I am toying with the thought of getting a daypack for hiking. I have my eye on one at Cabela’s and I think I might just go for it. I think this would be handy for those quick decision trips because then we could just hike in to any of the parks and set up camp for a night. I will keep you updated about that decision.
For now I get to sit inside and stare out the window at the snow that covers the ground, and I get to think about all the new adventures this summer will bring. I am on the lookout for warmer days and outdoor activities. I think I saw a glimmer of hope when we flipped the calendar to March, because that means we are getting closer!