At the age of 28-years-old I have never been camping, but that all changed this weekend! My boyfriend and his college friends go camping during the summer every year and this time, since most of them have significant others, girls were invited. We went to Sweet Minihaha in Wisconsin and it was the perfect starter camping trip since you camp pretty much right next to your cars and there’s actual bathrooms and showers. We drove there after work on Friday and then the boys got down to the business of setting up the tent.
There was a lot of drinking going on, but I was a good girl and stayed on track. Alcohol is not good for my gut right now sadly, but I would kill for a mojito! I kept on track with my healthy eating and had two gluten free brats for dinner and some baked chips as a snack. There was definitely no shortage of food and booze. If you’re going gluten free due to gut issues I don’t advise cooking your dinner on pans that gluten containing foods have been on because you are trying to remove all traces of gluten from your system before reintroducing it to see if you’re intolerant. I already know that I don’t do well with gluten, but that I’m not so sensitive that cooking my food near gluten containing food hurts my digestion.
I was really tired after working all day, driving all the way out there and making camp so I ended up falling asleep at midnight. Lightweight…I know. The boys woke us all up at the crack of dawn to start a day full of drinking. I had packed my travel espresso maker and coffee so I worked on getting some caffeine into my system before we went to go play some volleyball while everyone else was busy taking shots of Malort. I consider heating up water in an empty Mike’s Hard Lemonade as roughing it so I’ve giving myself a merit badge for this. I loved the espresso maker. I was pretty excited by all my camping purchases to be honest. I ended up buying an espresso maker, light weight sleeping bag and portable espresso maker because I haven’t owned a backpack since college. Tyler and I hike a lot so I felt like it was time to actually get a solid backpack anyways, but we also live in an apartment and have zero room for extra items sitting around taking up space. This little baby folds into itself and unzips into a backpack!
One of the best reasons to stay at Sweet Minihaha is how close it is to Sugar River and the tubing and kayaking it offers. I would have preferred it to be warmer than 70 degrees and I was super happy I chose to kayak instead of tube. I had a lot of fun trying to help free my tubing friends when they kept getting stuck. It took about 3ish hours to make it downstream and I had a ton of fun making friends with other groups of tubers going down the river like us. Next year we definitely need to bring a waterproof speaker like some of the other groups were jamming out to.
About 2 hours into the trip I really, really, had to pee, but was trying not to get into the freezing water. Tyler tried to help me up onto side so I could pee behind a tree, but as soon as I went to step out I saw two eyes staring back at me. I almost peed on a turtle! Eventually, I had to do like everyone else and just pee in the river. #tinybladderproblems. On our last half of the trip the group kept getting caught on every tree and blockage. They actually managed to get caught on a giant log that they ended up taking with them instead of shaking free from that Tyler rode down a good portion of the lake. We dubbed him Loggy. Sadly, Loggy was lost during the last 10 minutes of the ride as the river got more shallow.
Once we got back we started a fire to make a late lunch and take a couple catnaps. Once everyone stopped being lame and sleepy we got up and played a heart-racing game of giant Jenga. Karaoke was the entertainment scheduled for the night by the camp activities center, but my boyfriend lucked out (he hates karaoke) and some huge, ominous clouds rushed in. We prepped the tents for the storm and put all the food into the tent we were all going to hunker down in together while we played some card games and waited for the storm to pass over. I ran to the bathroom real quick and by the time I came out the sky was black and the wind had really picked up. I ran from the bathrooms to get back to the tent just as the first drops of rain were coming down. It soon became obvious that the rain was the least of our problems though as the tent kept getting thrown back and forth by huge gusts of wind.
I kept waiting for the wind to slow down once it started raining, but it only got stronger and before we knew it an upper portion of the tent pole had split and the tent stakes were literally being pulled from the ground! Too much wind was getting underneath the rain guard of the tent so the guys went out there and tried to remove the rain guard and hold down each side of the tent. We tried to flatten the tent as much as possible so the wind would stop ripping through it. There was basically about 10 minutes were I was just holding the tent down on top of me from the inside while cold water came through the mesh opening dripping all over me and the inside of the tent. I did my best to protect the electronics and shoved them under a pillow, but that was about all I could do. I found out later when I looked it up online that the gusts of wind during this time actually got to 57 MPH!
Even though the storm was only around 20 minutes it had wreaked its havoc. Getting the tent back up would have been extremely difficult and it was more than likely going to rain again. When we discovered that our sleeping bags and pillows had been soaked too we decided to call it quits and leave to go home early. The rain guard got sheared so that’s a goner, but the actual tent remained intact.
I was promised by everyone that this was much more exciting than what camping usually is. While I was sad to have to go home early (and miss karaoke) I was still really happy because it had been so much fun. Chilling out in nature had been super relaxing and just hanging out with friends without having to worry about looking at my phone or the laundry waiting for me definitely helped recharge my batteries. Not to mention all of Saturday, even after sleeping on the ground, I had been at around 0 level pain. I’m always a little nervous to travel because I never know how my body is going to handle it, but this just goes to show how much I’m healing.
I can’t wait for my next camping trip! Maybe next time I’ll get daring and do it without the bathrooms. Gasp!