Monday, May 30, 2011

To Camp or Not to Camp

We went camping this weekend in Cook Forest State Park.  Two years ago on Memorial Day weekend, we went to Cook Forest.  We ended up there as a result of an online reservation error on my part.  While there, we met two great families who were camping right beside us.  Last year, we didn't go camping because we had just gotten back from vacation two weeks prior to Memorial Day weekend.  I felt it would have been too much.  We decided we were definitely going to back this year.  We made reservations about 4-5 months ago to stay right beside our friends from two years ago.

We arrived on Saturday at about 2:30.  Our friends had gotten there the day before.  It was so great to see them again.  Their kids have grown so much in two years, as did ours, and all of our kids got along so well.  I hope this tradition of camping with them continues.  It is fun to see the kids play together and get along like they do even though they don't know each other all that well.

Cook Forest is a great place to camp.  There are many different things to do there like fishing (there is a kid area that is stocked), horseback riding, canoeing/kayaking, miniature golf, go-karts, water slides, hiking, bike riding, etc.  The possibilities are truly endless.  This campground is clean and large.  It is very spacious.  The bathrooms are relatively clean (obviously not like your bathroom at home but much better than some campgrounds we've been to).  The forest is absolutely beautiful!!



Saturday night we sat around telling stories and making s'mores on our friends' campfire.  When we went to bed, it had gotten chilly.  People were making a lot of noise, like people often do at campgrounds, so it took a while to fall asleep.  When we woke in the morning, it was damp and cold.  I don't like being cold to begin with, and I don't especially like being damp.  Sunday night wasn't cold, but we were rushed to bed by the rain.  It wouldn't be a Bairen family camping trip if it didn't rain at night at least once.  Thankfully it didn't rain hard or long.

Sunday morning John and the kids fished for 4 hours...catch and release.  I read some and kept falling asleep. Then we went for a 4-mile hike to a fire tower (picture above) after lunch.  Two years ago we hiked to the tower, then down a really steep hill to the river, then back up to the original trail via a 3-mile long hike that wasn't quite so steep as getting down to the river.  We didn't have enough water or food for being gone as long as we were.  John and the kids didn't like the idea of doing that again, so we hiked to the tower and back the road that leads out to the highway.  Of course, after that hike, ice cream was in order.  So, after dinner we went and got ice cream where they have the miniature golf and go karts.  Yum!!

We packed up this morning quickly and efficiently and headed home.  I enjoyed most of the weekend except for the cold, damp night and not feeling very organized with food preparations while camping.  I told John next year we bring breakfast foods, snacks, and drinks, but we need to eat lunch and dinner at local restaurants.  I do have a little trouble not having MY kitchen.  :-(

So, to camp or not to camp, that is the question.  I say...TO CAMP.  I love hanging out with our friends.  I love relaxing and not having to work.  I love hiking and doing the other activities.  I just need to be a bit more organized to do it right and enjoy it more.  I guess next year, though, we'll be trying a different campground.  It'll probably rain at least a little bit, but we'll have funny anyhow.  I guarantee it!

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