It wasn’t until late in college that I ever went camping. I’d go every couple of years when I’d go white water rafting with college friends, but outside of that don’t think I ever took part.
But lately I’d been getting the itch to go. I haven’t been on a rafting trip in a few years and therefore haven’t been camping. And I have it in my head that I need to learn to camp. You know, how to start a fire, how to pitch a tent, how to, well, even find a place to go.
Last week my friends Jen and Andrew seemed to have that same itch I was getting so they called me up to see if I wanted to go to Turkey Run for a night. So, Saturday morning, after spending my Friday at a midnight movie I woke up early to meet them in Urbana.
We took off after I got there and after we packed up Jen’s Mini to the brim. Unfortunately, when we got to Turkey Run State Park the camp site was full, but luckily Cherokee Village just down the road that had openings. It wasn’t quite the quiet site you’d hope for (it actually was probably the noisiest, closest to your neighbors campsite I’d ever been to) but it was nice nonetheless.
While we waited for our other friends Virginia and Jeanette to arrive we set up the tents and played some frisbee…and Jen gave me the advice I’ve been needing my whole frisbee-inept life: let go sooner.
Once the rest of the girls arrived we headed to the park for some hiking. The trail we chose was amazing: lots of quiet areas, lots of little streams to navigate through, ladders to climb down (can you believe this afraid-of-heights girl climbed down a ladder on the side of a hill? I sure can’t!), beautiful scenery, bridges, rivers, beautiful nature.
After a couple of hours on the trails we headed back to our campsite and started a fire or two. Andrew taught me a little of how to make one. Not sure I could accomplish it on my own but I think I’ve got the basics: wood, newspaper, oxygen. No rubbing sticks together.
We were pretty hungry so we dug into some hummus and roasted some marshmallows before dinner. Then the potato packets and apples went into the coals and hot dogs were cooked over the flames. Well, soy dogs for me and Jeanette (I am not a vegetarian but am in the midst of a month-long experiment with not eating meat…so no hot dogs for me). All in all they weren’t horrible but really were nothing I have any desire to ever eat again. Really, I just don’t like fake meat. We spent the rest of the night sitting around the campfire and playing frisbee and making s’mores.
The next morning we packed up camp and headed out to do some canoeing. Unfortunately Turkey Run Canoe Trips only took reservations and was booked up! But after waiting just a bit they luckily were able to squeeze us in. We rafted down the river, played bumper boat, and avoided boat sucking holes and class 6 rapids (well, maybe the rapids weren’t that bad). We probably took the course at a faster pace than everyone else, and at one point Jen and I switched so I could row for a bit, but as it turns out we were at the end and I only got to row for 5 minutes.
We then headed back home and my grimy little self immediately took a shower. It was a quick trip, but I felt totally exhausted but totally relaxed at the same time. That’s what a night camping will do to you.
Site: Turkey Run State Park
Location: 8121 East Park Rd., Marshall, IN 47859
Cost: See website for entrance fees.
Hours: Open daily 7 am to 11 pm all year. (Some park features are only open seasonally.)
Date: July 31, 2010
Site: Cherokee Village
Location: 870 E. State Road 47, Bloomingdale, Indiana 47832
Date: July 31, 2010