This weekend was fantastic! The weather was amazing first and foremost. Secondmost, the moon was a god send. We didn’t need to use any flashlights in the construction of our tent when we arrived at 9.30 Friday night. We totally over packed the car — in classic car camping style. I was surprised at the sheer abandon that Tim was had when deciding what should go a long with us. I suppose, it’s easy to do when you don’t have to worry about fitting a big, whiny dog in the back seat.

Speaking of which, we haven’t heard anything from/about Schoonkpea — so I am going to assume “No news is good news.” And Pluto did well for his sleep over, although I noticed this morning he wasn’t in his kennel when we woke up. He was instead sprawled out on the futon. It’s rare that he decides not to sleep with us, and he didn’t eat his breakfast, so we think he has a bit of the blues. Or maybe just a good old fashioned case of “the Mondays.”

So, I brought my camera but I didn’t take any photos of actual camping. I instead used it on Sunday to document that day — and I’ll post those later. For now, I think I’ll just give the highlights, one of which was the fantastic fry bread I made and brought with.

There were alot of people, we counted 18. Half of them were brother-in-law Ben’s friends and were a friendly bunch of folks that mostly kept to themselves. Much like we kept to ourselves. On Friday night, after we set up our tent Jen showed up. A while later she said she wanted to talk a walk, so we decided to go on our first impromptu, midnight moon hike. It was awesome! So great, in fact, that we went on two. The second one brought us around to the winter shelter and we went inside, Laima found the light and we ended up talking until 2:00 in the morning! It was nice to have some girl time and privacy.

Saturday morning, after a night of freezing toes — I awoke with no hangover. We stayed in the tent and read, ate snacks and enjoyed the beginning of the weekend in lazy style. Eventually I did get up and we started to eat second breakfast…and well dang, camping is just a bunch of eating. Laima, Kathleen and I got antzy while waiting for Tim and Chuck to decide they were ready to go biking, so we went for another walk. The morning was perfect for the many photo op’s that we presented Kathleen with since Laima and I had forgotten our own cameras. We hiked, explored, laid in a grassy field, inspected old abandoned farm equipment and tried to identify a tree with shedding bark and yellow leaves. I have a picture of that I will post and try to get one of you to tell me what it is.

Then Tim, Chuck and I went mountain biking. The trail was much different now than in the middle of the summer. Way more rocky. I felt like my brain was bouncing around inside of my head. So at the end of the first big trail I felt like I might have a headache coming on. Tim suggested we take a break and so we went back to the campsite to eat some more and wait for Sarah and Dave to return so we could go to Parnell Tower (you know, every park seems to have a big wooden structure to see the “scenery.”

The waiting got long so I decided to practice some driving. Just as I was practicing Sarah and Dave returned providing me with an out. But I figured it took that much time to work up that courage that I should go with it. Besides Laima was kind enough to be my instructor. I can’t believe how much I had forgotten about driving manual, and how many times one can stall out in a row. :( By the time I managed to get the car started and back to the campsite again, everyone had left! Laima and I, decided therefore to go apple orchard hunting instead, and I wanted to bring my camera…except it was no where to be seen.

Oh no! Did we have another “Laura Lost her Expensive Camera at Kettle Moraine” story again? I ripped apart the tent, the car and my bag and nothing. Finally I assumed that Tim had taken it and we left. I made sure to call, and then text message him because reception was spotty. Yes, he had taken it and after that I was able to relax. We had a nice ride through the country and returned in time for another hike (this time it was Laima, me and Tim) — and we discovered the existence of a Fairy ring. I’ll tell you more about that when I get to the pictures.

Then Saturday was drinking, fire sitting and then an early bed for me. I had the brilliant idea of heating water and pouring it in a water bottle to heat up my feet and it worked amazingly! I feel asleep and slept the night through. Perfect.

Sunday morning was picturesque. The Madison crew sat around and read with the exception of Chuck and Kathleen and read, drank coffee, and ate breakfast. Ben and the rest of them were packed and gone by 11.30 which left the site to just us. Tim and I are 9 out of 10 times, the last people to leave, and this time was no exception. We took our time dismantling, read some more, went on another hike to document the fairy ring, and the I kissed Tim “later” and he drove home while Laima and I started our “Laima and Laura’s Big Sunday Adventure” Briefly we: ate pumpkin ice cream, 3 garage sales, pumpkin patch, cheese curd place, archeological event, bird watching, down home cooking and awesome car music.

It helped lessen the sadness that I always feel at the end of camping. There is something really sad about seeing an empty campsite and knowing for a brief time that was our home. Laima thought of another equally sad moment – taking down the Christmas tree.

I tried to think of other moments that inspire that kind of sadness — leaving an apartment was the only other one I could think of. I am sure there are more though.

I got home at about 7:00PM, showered, fed the animals, cracked open a beer and watched Battlestar Gallatica’s season premier.

All in all, it was quite a nice weekend, and I am sad that it’s over and that the cold is coming and the long cold winter.

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