ljgeoff: (Default)
I wrote the beginning of the trip report here; so to continue --

It rained all day Tuesday, on and off, and we spent the day doing housekeeping -- exchanged the air mattress, washed all the bedding and dirty clothes at the laundromat, cleaned out the van and reorganized the supplies. Actually, I did all of that and Mike took the kids to the Burger King in Marquette, which has one of those huge playlands. We were both happy with our assigned tasks.

Over supper, we went through the maps again, checked it against the google Earth view and planned our next exploration of the many unmarked dirt roads and two-tracks. We slept in beds at my friend Geriann's place, and Wednesday morning set out once again.

And we found it.

The area that the land is located in is a small plain between two ridges with a creek flowing down the plain. There is a good dirt road that runs along the southwest corner of the property, and a trail that would be rough going for an ATV but that on the county map is portrayed to be an actual county road, that runs further into the property, south to north.

We decided that the place is just about perfect.

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera on the hike. I'm really bummed about that, but honestly, it'd pre'much just be pictures of trees.

We set up camp in a flat, dry spot that was all sand and bracken, with a few stunted pines, birch and thorn apple. Luke dug out a hole for the campfire and we organized tents and latrine and such. It was a dry camp -- we had four gallon jugs of water. We found enough dead wood for the night I got a fire going. There was chicken for dinner, fried in a bacon grease and olive oil in a cast iron skillet over the fire, and a side dish I call "camp pottage," usually made with barley but this time made with quinoa, along with sauteed onions, mushrooms and pork sausage.

I cooked and after eating, the dogs (our girl Chi and Carl's little yapper, Wicket) got some scraps and the little kids scrubbed out the skillets with wads of bracken. Carl and Crystal brought graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows, and we munched s'mores and played Magic in the light of the camp fire while the little kids sleepily burned sticks and told stories to each other.

That night, I went to bed feeling a bit uncomfortable. The next morning I woke up and figured that I had a UTI.

-- more later --
ljgeoff: (Default)
And having a great time. For different values of "great." We departed around noon on Sunday, and arrived at my friend Geriann's place by 8pm. Everybody unwound, slept and woke the next morning ready to go. We consulted maps and headed out to the woods.

It was tricky. Roads out there aren't marked, and there are lots of spur two-tracks that split off and meander through heavy brush and muck. We finally found the creek we were looking for, but the bridge over it was only a foot bridge, so we loaded up our backs and carried everything to what we figured was either State land or the land we're hoping to buy. We found a fairly flat area with not too much brush to set up camp, and we got the tents set up, got the fire pit dug, and got all the gear sorted. First night was set for easy grub -- hamburgers, zucchini fried with bacon and it being my son Jake's birthday, a cake that my mother had sent. There was Jake and his partner Victoria, Mike and me, Luke, Trentyn and Zary, Carl and Crystal, and Seth, Jereth and Eilie.

The boys had a great time putting sticks in the fire, and then toasting marshmallows. Late, after the sun went down, there was a great activity on the road with ATVs running up and down. A pickup truck had got stuck in the ford and they had to bring a front-in-loader to pull it out. In the hubbub, an ATV stopped and a fellow told us we were on his land. We apologized and he was gracious. We pulled out our maps and he showed us where we were -- about a mile north and half a mile west of where we thought. We promised the guy to pack out in the morning and do a good job cleaning everything up, and thanked him -- he nodded and waved us off.

During the night, a light rain began to fall. It smelled wonderful, a soft pitter-pat on the roof of the tent, and I snuggled into my blankets and went right to sleep. Around 4am, I rolled over and realized that I was laying on the hard ground -- the air mattress had sprung a leak. I got up to pee in the bracken. The moon was as bright as a spotlight. I crawled back into the tent, wriggled around for a while trying to find a spot where I wasn't being poked with sticks or a rock, and fell easily back to sleep.

In the morning I was able to get a fire going and we breakfasted on bacon, eggs and toast. The kids were amazed at toasting bread, threaded onto long, thin sticks, over the open fire. We broke camp and loaded up again -- it was a 1/2 mile hike to the cars, and we'd have to make two trips. Just as we were loading up for the first walk, it began to rain again, a soft rain that over the next hour soaked us to the skin.

Cars finally loaded, we lunched at McDonalds, let the kids run around the playland a good long time, and since it was still gently raining, we went back to Gerianns for the night.

Tuesday morning, maps were again consulted and since we'd driven over so many of the various trails, the maps made more sense. But since it was still raining, we headed into town.

-- more later --
ljgeoff: (Default)
I figured I'd post this to help me organize my thoughts, and also it might be interesting to folk. This is how we camp --

Equipment:
We don't have a lot of stuff right now. We used to have more, but bit and pieces wore out or got carted off by various lost boys, so...

Tents -- two, one three-man and one ginormous eight-man
bedding -- I think we have one or two sleeping bags. We'll be bringing a couple of blankets, sheets and an air-mattress me and Mike.
cooking -- cooler, water jugs, washing tub, garbage bags, a grate for over the fire, lighter, two cast iron frying pans, one cast iron dutch oven, one pot, cutting boards, mixing bowls, knives, spatula and cooking spoons. If it's still in the upstate basement, I'm hoping for the portable table I cobbled together back when we were doing a lot of SCA camping. We'll use paper plates/plastic-ware.
misc tools -- shovel, bow saw, rope, first aid kit, fishing gear, bug spray, story books and something for me to read, camera

We'll be out for three days, so three breakfasts, lunches and dinners for some 6 adults and 6 kids -- hm, Mel and Michael and their kids might show up on Wednesday, so that's another 2 adults and 3 kids. Breakfasts will be coffee, milk, pancakes, eggs, fried potatoes, oatmeal and fried donuts. Lunches will most likely just be sandwiches, pb&j and lunch meats -- I might do a couple of pizzas (pizza over a campfire is amazing.) Dinners can be hamburgers, hotdogs, brauts, chicken, and I'll probably do a pot roast with potatoes and roasted veggies. There'll be a watermelon, apples and carrots, and yogurt and string cheese. I think I'll try baking bread in the dutch oven.

The days will go something like this:
6am -- wake up, stir up the fire and get the coffee going. Start up some bacon. Scrub, chop and put potatoes on to boil. When the bacon is done, spoon potatoes into the bacon grease and fry. When done, set to the side and have another cup of coffee. Make eggs as kids wake up. Eat everything -- it is amazingly delish.

9am -- hike down to the creek and decide then go up or downstream for a bit. Scout out possible fishing spots. Wade/swim/lay in the sun.

noonish -- eat a sandwich and some fruit or such. Maybe take a nap.

2pm -- go explore the rocks

4pm -- start supper

6pm -- finish eating, heat water for washing (send kids down to the creek for washing water), get everybody cleaning up.

7pm -- go back to the creek for some more swimming/wading/ washing of kids.

9pm -- campfire D&D (which reminds me; get a plan together for the campaign)

Rinse, wash, repeat!

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