Turns out it takes a lot of time and money to buy all of the camping essentials, pack up your car, set up a camp site, all in an attempt to make it feel a little bit like home. It might just be cheaper to … stay at home.
But where is the fun in that? Would you just look at the smile on this guy. It was totally worth it.
After reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I wanted to hike the PCT. After camping in Iowa for two days, I now realize this is no longer a want of mine.
We pulled into Dolliver State Park in Iowa Saturday afternoon. I know camping in Iowa seems a little odd, but our choices were limited… And all snarking aside, this park actually turned out to be very cool. We hiked some awesome trails hidden deep in the forests of Iowa, played in crystal clear creeks, and mingled with the local camping folk.
Speaking of camping folk. They are a different breed than say… resort folk. Not better, not worse, just different.
The second we pulled into the campground all eyes were on us. “New people,” they all were thinking. Chris and I felt like rookies as we popped up our lone little tent, surrounded by people in their massive RVs decorated with lights, outdoor rugs, and even some makeshift front yard fences.
The second we got everything set up we went out to explore. We hiked around 15 miles each day. The trails were what my childhood dreams were made of. Steep cliffs buried deep in the woods, fallen trees we had to climb over, and secret little creeks waiting for us like a prize at the end of the journey.
Chris suggested we really embrace camp life, so we brought our bag chairs with us and plopped them down right in the middle of water. Unfortunately we only brought two. So Harlow stole mine the second I got up.
I can honestly say this might be the first time in Har’s life I’ve actually seen him exhausted. He could barely keep his eyes open. For every mile we walked, he ran about five. This camp site was his Disney World. He chased deer, rabbits and squirrels until he couldn’t run any further.
Harlow was all wolf during the day, acting like a big shot as if he’d lived his entire life in the wilderness. But the second night hit he was back to his diva city dog antics. He started out sleeping at my feet, but after the first boom of thunder he jumped up begging me to let him in my sleeping bag as fast as he could. Have you ever slept in a flannel sleeping bag with a sixty pound dog? It gets a little warm.
Speaking of the thunderstorm…. That was terrifying. I’ve never slept in a tent where the thunder is so loud it shakes inside your chest and every time lighting strikes it illuminates the entire tent in an odd bright green light. The only reason I survived that first night is because I drank a lot. I’m not ashamed to admit that, I knew it had to be done.
I’m going to call this part one of the camping series. In tomorrow’s post I’ll talk about the camping “friend” we met who thought it was funny to tell jokes about how superior men are to women. Spoiler alert: it didn’t go over well with me.