July 18-20, 2014, New Glarus Woods State Park, New Glarus, WI
We decided to take an unscheduled car camping trip this weekend, so I looked online to see what sites were available, and there were not very many choices within an hour or so of Madison. I hadn’t seen so many booked sites all year. New Glarus Woods had one walk-in site available, so I grabbed it. New Glarus Woods has no lake, but a state bike trail passes right through the walk-in sites. For the first time since I got my canoe, I would be leaving it at home this camping trip, and we would bring our bicycles instead. Then, I got hit with an unpleasant head and chest cold, which put me out of work for a couple of days. We weren’t sure if we would make the trip, but by Thursday afternoon, I knew I couldn’t sit around home for another day. So, I went to work on Friday as planned, leaving at 3pm to get out early enough to set up camp and have dinner before dark.
We arrived around six o’clock and found that our site (21) was essentially completely on a slope, which made for interesting sleep. We set the tent up and decided to forgo the tarp since the site was fully shaded and no rain was predicted. Also, the site was pretty buggy, and we’ve found that mosquitoes often like to congregate under the tarp. After we started our usual setup routine (including Amber begging for something to eat within the first five minutes), we realized we forgot the pie filling despite promising pudgie pies. While Lorraine got our sleeping quarters in order, Amber and I made a run to Roy’s Market for some pie filling. Amber opted for strawberry instead of cherry but later seemed to regret it, although she would never admit it. After returning with the pie filling, I began preparations for making a fire. My cold really took hold of me, and I was dripping buckets of sweat after only a little bit of work. I started feeling extremely queasy and wondered if I would lose my lunch, but I made it through. For a few minutes, I wondered if I should have stayed home, but after eating grilled ham and cheese, I started feeling a little better. We enjoyed a campfire before Amber started begging to go to bed at barely 8 pm, which never happens at home. I stayed up a few more hours playing cat and mouse with a raccoon who kept wandering into camp. I wished I would have taken a picture, especially after waiting fruitlessly with the camera the following night.
On Saturday morning, Amber and I slept in as usual on the first morning of camping, and Lorraine and Amber went to the park while I tried to drag myself out of the tent. I mostly skipped breakfast because supper was still sitting heavy in my stomach. I don’t think Amber appreciated me skipping breakfast as she was hoping we’d have some bacon, but Lorraine didn’t want to cook it if I wasn’t eating. We decided we would bike into town to get lunch at Culvers. The bike ride to New Glarus only took a few minutes as it is only a little over a mile and is mostly downhill. We ate at Culvers, then biked a little further into town, letting Amber play at the village park. After biking into town, we regretted stopping at Culvers as there seemed to be a number of more interesting options. The ride into New Glarus only took a few minutes, but the ride back must have taken an hour. Amber had to stop every few minutes and walk her bike up the hill. I took the chance to get a little exercise by riding up and down the hill in short segments as they were walking up. After returning to camp, we mostly took it easy. We noticed that the campground was getting considerably busier as people were apparently arriving from Illinois for a one-nighter. While Lorraine took a short nap, I took Amber to the park and drove into town for ice, which led to an ice cream sandwich for Amber and a six pack of beer for me. We started a fire before the mosquitoes showed up in force and had brats for supper. Once again, Amber was ready for an early bedtime, so I’m beginning to wonder if she’s not a bit nervous in camp in the dark.
I woke up Sunday morning to a terrible ringing sound in my ear and was a bit worried about an ear infection, but it gradually improved as the day wore on. Lorraine and Amber made a trip to the park, then Amber finally got the bacon she had been wanting, and I tried some pre-flavored maple sugar instant oatmeal. I was glad to discover Lorraine got in a morning hike since she doesn’t get to go on as many hikes as she would like. After breakfast, I played a bit of pretend in the “toy tent” while Lorraine started packing up. After my discomfort in the cramped toy tent got the better of me, I started helping break camp. We stopped at Qdoba in Madison before heading home.
The weather for our trip was fantastic, but I wish I would have felt a little better. This would have also been a good time to have a tandem “tag-along” for Amber so that we could have put in a few more miles. New Glarus Woods doesn’t have showers, and for some reason, we always seem to feel dirtier when we camp here than at other locations. Maybe this would be a better place to come when it’s not as warm. It’s convenient enough that I’d come back, but I wish we would have done a better job at scouting the sites since I’d rather not stay in another one on a hill. We, especially Amber, spent both nights sliding down our pads to the foot of the tent. I’d also like to find some other bike-friendly campgrounds that don’t have enormous hills. I feel a little better about using my bike rack on the new van, although it’s clear that the van was not designed with sporty endeavors in mind. I also think I figure how to arrange the bikes so that they can fit nicely with the canoe of the van. Maybe we’ll have to bring the bikes on our next camping trip.