First off I need to apologize. I don’t take a lot of pictures when I am out and about doing stuff. I just don’t think about it, and because of that I don’t tend to have many if any pictures of my life. That means I don’t have a lot of pictures to share here on this blog. I really need to get better at doing that, and I promise to give it my best.
June 30th I left home for a mini vacation. I started out on my own, just me and my new Jeep Renegade Trailhawk and a medium sized Alice Pack full of camping kit. My destination was my cabin on Northwest Wisconsin – a wonderfully remote off grid lodge in the middle of over 15,000 acres of public land.
I know, your asking “how can it be remote if it’s in the middle of public use land”? The answer is this: It’s located away from power lines that require travel down a few sandy roads and fire lanes. It can be hard to reach without four wheel drive in winter, sometimes after it rains in the summer. The dusty camp road it little traveled.
When you get a chance, check out my Deer Camp Post: What Is Deer Camp About!?
First Chunk Of My Vacation
I spent a day and night at my cabin. Work wasn’t on my mind, but I did a thorough check on the solar system to make sure one of the new solar panels that got installed was charging the battery bank. Boring, I know, but it didn’t take long to do. I ran some water outside, flushed the toilet and urinal a few times, ran some more water in the shower, then took a nap!
After my nap I grabbed my backpack and headed into the woods for a little hike. It was a sultry day. All morning it had rained pretty hard and that water had evaporated but hung around in the air. I was sweaty and swampy in every crack and crevice of my body, not fun. But, I did explore some new sections of a river not far from the cabin that has Brown Trout and Brookies. The water was brown with very bad clarity from the rain, but I think I staked out a few places to fish later when things calm down.
Sorry, can’t share the name of the river/stream I was exploring. Secret! But I’ll give you a hint… BURNETT COUNTY!
I stopped for a quick lunch and hung my hammock while I fired up my ultralight backpacking stove to boil some water. It took a couple minutes to boil a cup and a half of water that I used to re-hydrate some Mountain House Lasagna. Yeah, nothing is better on a hot and humid day than 1.5 servings of piping hot lasagna! NOT!
It wasn’t too bad actually. I slammed a bunch of filtered water and ate slowly while I sat in my hammock. There was a nice breeze so I wasn’t being bothered by bugs, and the air flowing under the hammock felt darn good as it cooled me off.
No Overnight In The Woods
I was going to camp out in the woods that first night, but decided to head back to the cabin because I couldn’t remember if I left some of the windows open when I was there earlier. I didn’t, but since I was back at the cabin and it was getting late I decided to just relax there for the evening. Of course I took a nice cool shower and sat around in my underwear. It was warm and muggy out, but I chillaxed inside reading a pulp novel, Red Nails (a Conan short story by Robert E. Howard, I like reading his stuff) and old copies of Out Door News Wisconsin. I was in bed at ten and slept like rock.
I really need to spend more time at the cabin. I own it with a couple other family members who hunt and fish. I feel bad sometimes that it doesn’t get used much by me, other than in the fall and winter (my favorite seasons to be outside). My other family members I own it with use it more routinely.
Car Camping I Go!
To be honest, I am not a big fan of car camping. It’s okay, don’t get me wrong, I just prefer more isolated camping away from people. Having minimal gear is also a thrill for me. Car camping usually means people are nearby that can be seen and certainly heard.
My wife likes to car camp if the conditions are ripe (no rain, little to no bugs, lots of people around, lots of comforts and lots of gear with the ability to run power cords).
So, I drove back home and loaded up my jeep with a lot of extra camping gear. My Alice Pack had everything I personally needed to be happy and comfortable for many days. But now I had a four person tent in my car, two suitcases, dog travel kennel, a large cooler, heavy duty camp chairs, a hair dryer, power cords…etc…etc… you get the idea. I went from my 23lbs Medium Alice Pack to 175lbs of gear.
Happy Wife, Happy Life (makes sense!)
If I ever could meet that person who came up with that phrase of wisdom I would buy him or her a beer. They were so right!
My wife, whom I love dearly, did not have a good time car camping this time around. It was humid and the mosquitees were very bad… I think they were the worse I can recall in my 44 years of living. I mean… WOW! They were bad.
So when she was not having a good time I of course was not having a good time. It wasn’t horrible, just buggy and muggy and I got to hear about it often…
We stayed at Interstate Park near St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. It is very beautiful State Park. The St. Croix River runs along the edge of it through some steep cliff walls. In the past we have spent a few hours during the day at this park, but never a night of camping.
The bugs and humidity were a part of camping… no way around it. And when car camping the odds are you will be seeing and hearing people. It just is what it is. I was prepared for that, and so was my wife for the most part… but like I said, she had issues with the bugs and the high humidity.
But what we were not prepared for was Highway 8 next to the park. Highway 8 coming into St. Croix Falls from the east goes into a nice long decline past the park and into Taylor Falls, Minnesota. Like I said it’s a steep a long hill, and the tractor trailers jake break all the way down it as the go past the north side of the park.
We heard jake breaking all hours of the day, but at night when things are quieter the sound really carries and is annoying. All day, all night, but worse at night. It is so loud it wakes you up or never really allows you to fall asleep that deeply. I am sure people who live in the area are used to it.
Made me really miss the secluded solitude of a BWCA trip.
Back To The Cabin!
Tuesday morning we got up early and drove to our cabin further north. We decided to go there and have brunch and to get cleaned up.
We both took showers and got into some clean clothes. Then my wife cooked up brunch. Nothing fancy, just some eggs, a little fried potatoes, and some bacon. For me it was one egg, one fried potato, and three strips of bacon. We relaxed there for a couple hours and then…
To Rice Lake! Sleeping In A Barn!
My step daughter and her husband recently bought a farm outside Rice Lake, Wisconsin. It’s not a working farm, just ten acres, an updated farm house, one huge barn, two large sheds, and a couple silos.
My wife and I stayed in the barn! Yep, the barn, it was so cool!
I wish I had some pictures…
The barn is rather large and is pretty much modernized. The ground level is all concrete and half of it has been remodeled into a living space. Kitchen, bathroom, dining room, bedrooms, office, hobby room, TV room, game room… it has it all. Very simple, but nice.
So yeah, my wife and I slept in the barn!
Another one of my step daughters was in Birchwood, Wisconsin, just a fifteen minute drive north of Rice Lake with her husband, kids, and her in-laws. Her in-laws own a HUGE second home on Cedar Lake not far from Stout Island. Big private dock, pontoon boat, speed boat, two high end fishing boats, two wet jets, and a canoe!
We all went there to hang out with the in-laws. It was a great afternoon to enjoy the lake, and I spent most of time just relaxing on the pontoon boat slow cruising around the lake. Looking back I wish I would have done some fishing. Oh well.
Later that evening everybody enjoyed a taco bar our hosts prepared, and then sat around talking and telling stories of things that had been going on earlier in the year. My weight loss was a subject brought up often. Nice when people notice that.
Later at 10pm our hosts had their own fireworks display, and let me tell you it was impressive (short clip below). After the fireworks show was over we drove back to the barn and crashed for the night. I slept pretty good, so did the wife and our dog (Asgard).
JULY 4th, 2018
Waking up on the 4th of July we had a traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon, and a few fried potatoes – I don’t eat that stuff often these days, so when on vacation I do enjoy it when it’s available.
Before too long we were on the road and driving back home which is about a two hour drive. Along the way we stopped and bought some fresh picked strawberries and cucumbers from a farm stand. I was looking for some sweet corn too, but didn’t see any for sale anywhere which surprised me.
Back home I spent the next couple hours going through the camping gear I had used. Some of it needed to be unpacked and wiped down, dried off, and then repacked. I try to take really good care of my kit, as I want it to last as long as possible.
All in all it was a great mini vacation. While not a big fan of car camping, I don’t mind it… I just would prefer to be more isolated and away from people. Sleeping in the barn was interesting. The day at Rice Lake with family and the in-laws was also very memorable.
I had a great time!