Way back in June the hubby and I went on our now-annual family camping excursion with my parents, brother, Uncle Pete, Cousin Chris, and Pete’s girlfriend, Christine. My family tends towards the North Shore (Lake Superior), but this year we got adventurous and headed for the strange and mystical land of Wisconsin, generally, and Copper Falls State Park, specifically.
Last year David and I drove separate from my folks & brother, because we needed room for Stella. In the interim, my dad got a mini-van. So, this year he convinced us to ride with the family. Five adults, a dog, and all our camping gear was a bit snug for a 4-hour drive. Stella was very anxious about the whole operation (and the possibility of a mountain of our stuff toppling over on her at any second):
Anyhow, we did all miraculously arrive at the park in one piece (my one and only pair of shorts, unfortunately, did not. I stupidly attempted to drink a grape soda, which ended up in my lap when Dad took a sharp turn and made it go flying out of the cupholder). Originally David and I were supposed to be at a walk-in site close to the rest of the family’s sites. We like walk-ins because they’re a little more private, and kind of ideal if you have a few people in your group and don’t want to disturb other campers. Upon our arrival at the park, we were told that we had been moved to a regular drive-up site because there had been a bear hanging around the walk in sites. Of course, we were still going to be camped in the bear’s territory, but we’d have better visibility down in the main campground. Awesome.
When we got to our site, we saw this posted outside the restroom:
The drive-in sites at the park are nice; all are fairly large and semi-wooded, and the soil is sandy so when it’s raining (as it did almost the entire weekend we were there), it makes for easier clean-up than your standard dirt/mud. Here’s my parent’s site:
Once we got everything all set up, my brother, Cousin Chris, the hubby and I decided to take a little pre-dinner hike. By “little” I mean about 2 miles, tops. Instead we got what was theretofore referred to as “the hike from hell.” Here’s a little visual. The red path is part of where we went: Copper Falls Map . However, the trail (which is a mountain-biking trail, but was supposed to have some nice views) had all sorts of unmarked turns in it that we took to be where we were supposed to go (the correct turns were not marked either!). Well, we got horribly, terribly lost. I’m guessing that we ultimately went a confused and harried 5 miles. My brother and cousin aren’t exactly big walkers. In fact, I was a little surprised that they seemed so gung-ho to go on a hike in the first place. Add to that fact that my brother had a cold and sounded like he was going to expire any minute, the trail was un-groomed thanks to government cutbacks, and the fact that the place was absolutely crawling with ticks of all varieties (have I ever mentioned my extreme phobia about ticks?), and you have a pretty good recipe for the hike from hell.
Just to paint the picture properly: it was me in the lead, half running in terror, doing all I could to keep from sprinting and only holding back because I was afraid my little brother was going to have an asthma attack and die; then Cousin Chris, sweating like a madman and whining; then my bro, gray in the skin and wheezing; and finally, my poor, patient husband trailing behind and wiping ticks off himself, my brother, and my cousin in literal sheets (I didn’t have any visible ticks – I was wearing shorts and sandals and had my legs covered in Deet. Ticks like fabric to cling to).
The saga continues tomorrow! I will have some very positive things to say about Copper Falls, but I just have to write out all the trials because there were so damn many of them it’s almost comical in hindsight!