Monday, October 5, 2015

Hartman Creek State Park, Waupaca, WI, September 25-27, 2015

Taking advantage of a beautiful and warm late September weekend, we headed to Hartman Creek State Park where Lorraine could hike some of the ice age trail and where we could paddle and swim the Chain O' Lakes.

We darted off Friday evening to try to beat nightfall and were nearly successful. We immediately got to our camp chores and as Lorraine was finishing making the beds, I got a fire started. The weather was perfect, and the mosquitoes were hardly noticeable, which was a relief since I managed to not bring a single pair of long pants or a long sleeve shirt. I seem to recall checking the weather forecast while I was packing while still sweating from a workout and wondering why it was going to be so darn hot. Anyway, after Lorraine and Amber went to bed, I took the opportunity to catch up on my reading of back issues of the Boundary Waters Journal. I also spotted a critter in the woods, and I'm 99% sure it was a domesticated cat. The park's not too far from some farms and roads, so it's entirely possible. At first, I expected it to be a raccoon, but after shining my light on it, I know it wasn't a raccoon.

Amber and I slept in on Saturday while Lorraine was hiking a section of the Ice Age trail. Instead of a big breakfast we opted to wait for lunchtime since Lorraine was craving cheesy hot dogs. I guess she was tired because she fell asleep in her chair while I did the dishes, which is certainly a rare occurrence. I took Amber to the park while Lorraine moved her nap to the tent. Finally by about 2pm the weather had warmed enough for us to think about swimming, so we all changed and headed to the landing at Marl Lake for a paddle and swim.

We paddled a few of the small lakes while I tested out my new GoPro Hero before heading to the dock on Marl Lake for a swim. We thought about swimming before paddling, but there was a wedding party taking pictures on the dock. Plus, I figured once we got wet Amber wouldn't want to paddle. We brought masks and snorkels, so we got to play around the dock looking under water. Amber had never used her mask and snorkel outside of the tub, so it was fun for her to get a new experience. Hopefully, her swimming skills will improve enough in the near future to remove the life jacket. We only spent 2-3 hours out on the water that day, but it was a really fun and refreshing time.

We made it back to camp in time to eat some more! Amber wanted bacon, and I wanted grilled ham and cheese, so we had grilled ham, bacon and cheese. I also built another fire and made her a cherry filled pudgie pie. She swore she wanted to stay up after dark, and she did for awhile, but she was still ready for bed much earlier than at home. 

Sunday morning brought about more laziness from Amber and me while Lorraine managed to get in another hike. I guess we really should get up and go with her. Maybe next time. Amber just wanted to go home, so after breakfast, we slowly started packing up. I didn't want to have to dry the tent at home, so we waited around while it dried and started on our way home around 11am. Although the campground wasn't full, it seemed quite crowded for the last weekend in September. I'm looking forward to a little more solitude next weekend on our short backpacking trip.

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