I didn’t realize that I wasn’t going to have cell phone reception on our camping trip until we got to our site, set up the tent, and I went to call the BOY. With a huge X where there are usually 4-5 bars dancing across the top of my phone, it was obvious that calls were not going to happen. I texted him from a friends phone so he knew I was safe and didn’t have reception for the weekend and then pressed the button on my phone while announcing that I was ‘Powering Down’.
‘Off the grid!” my friends verified.
It’s been a crazy first half of the year, and my two coworkers/camp mates agreed that we needed a trip to get away but also not think or work too hard. Very different from our backpacking trip in the fall, we had the luxuries of a toilet, running water, and big minivan to store our stuff. This was the camping weekend that we needed! On Friday mid morning, we started our drive up to Wisconsin, stopping for lunch and beer in the hip town of Madison.
And then proceeded on up to Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin. Growing up, I went to overnight camp for 8 summers down the county road from Devil’s Lake and camped here with my family. We climbed the boulders as adventurous kids and grilled lunch out on the beach. However, it’s been YEARS since I’ve been back. Upon entering the park, images and memories came flooding back with a warm sense of family and comfort. We found our camp site and set up the tent, and then drove back down to the beach to make dinner.
The park was busy with families grilling and kids playing ball. We found some friendly locals who shared their grill. We whipped up some sweet potatoes and onions and bought some fried fish to share for dinner.
We poured some beer from the growler that we bought in Madison and enjoyed the beautiful summer evening. After dinner, we took a stroll along the railroad tracks.
Just as the sun was setting.
Before it got dark, we made our way back to our campsite with one quick stop for graham crackers, chocolate, and mallows : )
We sat around the campfire eating gooey s’mores and reading a hilarious book of short stories before calling it an early night.
I fell asleep easily in the peaceful woods, and slept better than I had all week. In the morning, it was time for breakfast (eggs and banana bread), coffee, and tea. We packed up lunches for a day of hiking.
The plan was to hike around the lake. We started on the west side along the lakefront path paved and lined with boulders.
The sky was overcast, but it was a beautiful day for a walk. The far side of the lake provided a sensational view of the lake and surrounding bluffs.
We made a quick stop on the far beach, and then continued towards the hills. There is a steep hike to the top of the east bluffs that leads up to balanced rock. We were so busy chatting and enjoying our surroundings that we almost missed this famous rock!
This challenging hike is one of my favorites because there are so many large boulders and steep trails to climb.
Shortly before reaching the top, we stopped for a lunch and rest break. We found the perfect location overlooking the lake to set up a picnic and chill out with another essay from the book.
After our rejuvenating break, it was a short climb to the top and the breathtaking areal views of the lake.
We continued walking down along the trail until we returned to the beach. After a quick nap, we walked back to our camping site for an afternoon snack of popcorn and red wine.
We made dinner over the fire, which was a beautiful salad with lemon, sea salt, avocado, and chicken followed by a few more s’mores. Let me tell you…we really do eat well on our camping trips!
Saturday evening’s Devil’s Lake entertainment was live music and a swing dance at the chateau. We drove down to the beach to check it out. We met some new friends to share a drink and a laugh with and then returned back to camp. During our second night under the stars, there was a rain storm, which was soothing in the peaceful night. We awoke to our third day of sunshine throwing together breakfast with our leftover food.
We combined potatoes, apple, avocado, spinach, and eggs with lime juice. It was amazing! We had thoughts about a morning run, but instead made our way back to Madison for a Wisco beer stop and then returned home Sunday afternoon. The ride home was a mix of weekend stories and future plans. This weekend away was exactly what I needed. Although I missed talking to the BOY, it was fantastic to get away, power down, and rest up before the excitement of summer.
I’m already looking forward to my next camping trip. Anyone want to go with me???