|Amber and Lorraine at the campsite marker|
By the end of last season, packing for camping trips was practically second nature, and I really didn’t even need a list. It’s amazing how quickly one can fall out of habits, so I was glad to have handy the lists I made over the last couple years. We packed up early in the week in anticipation of the trip and loaded everything up on Friday night so that we could make an early start on Saturday morning to avoid traffic, amazingly, we managed to get on the road by 6am.
|Crooked Lake Boat Landing|
|Loon on Crooked Lake|
I think this was the most mosquitoes I have ever encountered. Thankfully, we brought the head nets, but we didn’t bring any chemicals. I really wish I would have brought the Thermacell to give it a try because there was hardly any breeze at our campsite on Saturday, and I have heard the Thermacells work great on calm days. Anyway, we were at our home away from home and had to make the best of it, so we put on the head nets and started about setting up camp.
|Portage between Crooked and Mountain Lakes|
|GPS track for day one|
|Headed out to fish|
pretty strict regulations on all the lakes except Crooked in Sylvania. All hook barbs must be crimped and no live bait (or even scented bait , if I remember correctly) is allowed. Also, Amber gets nervous when we get close to shore as I guess she thinks we’re going to “crash”, so it’s difficult to fish the shoreline and weeds when she’s worried about getting too close. Anyway, I think she had fun.
One of the highlights of the evening for me was tortilla pizza! I don’t know if these would taste as good at home, but oh my, it’s a little slice of heaven in the woods to have a double- or triple-pepperoni pizza with crushed red pepper. If you haven’t tried this on your trips, you really should. If you need more info, post a comment and I’ll be glad to talk about it. Mmmmmm.
The downside to pizza in the woods during a mosquito hatch is having to eat walking around so the mosquitoes don’t carry you away. After having enough, I built a fire, and it really helped give us a break from the bugs. The fire pit area at Ermine 1 was not flat, and the ground was somewhat soggy, so it made sitting around the campfire in the Helinox a bit of a challenge as the legs kept sinking into the ground. I tried putting flat stones under the legs, but with the slope it made for unstable sitting. I think I might have to give the tennis/wiffle/racquet ball trick a try. Anyway, we enjoyed the fire until bedtime when we were back on mosquito fighting duty. They were bad enough that there was a constant buzz around the tent all night long.
|GPS track of our day trip|
High Lake was really nice, and the water had a beautiful color. I had heard that you could see deep down, but the sun was right overhead causing reflections that made it difficult to see into the water except in the shade. In the shade, we could definitely see how nice and clean the water was. We decided to stop at one of the campsites, Raccoon, to check it out and to filter some drinking water. The site was fairly nice, but like Ermine-1, was not very flat. There was a nice flat tent spot pretty close to the fire pit, which is where I expect most people setup their tent. The real charm to Raccoon, in my opinion is that it is a prime swimming spot. It has a nice gradual slope into the water with a sandy, pebbly bottom. We didn’t swim as I was not about to expose my skin to the mosquitoes, but I imagine as summer progresses, the bugs will get better.
We didn’t make it back to camp until about 3 o’clock or so, and we were tired and hungry. Lorraine started on our meal while I took care of the gear and got a fire going. We decided on beef stroganoff dehydrated meal we (ok, Lorraine) made at home. Lorraine also dumped a bag of freeze-dried peas into the beef, and it was a big success. Even Amber was going on about how good it was and wanted seconds. I was so happy to see her eating so well. I hate that we typically have to throw much of her food away (ie, we have to pack it out) when we camp. We capped off dinner with re-hydrated cinnamon apples. Note that Lorraine picked up the peas and apples at Target, so it might be worth looking around your local big box stores for lightweight camping food options.
|Dad and daughter|