Camping in nature and singing karaoke through an electronic microphone doesn’t really seem to go hand in hand if you ask me. Don’t folks know that sound travels twice as loud and twice as far when surrounded by water?
When John and I began dating, twelve-ish years ago, we really enjoyed tent camping. I have great memories of camping as a kid, seemed we always camped on the water because we are water people. Camping out in nature absolutely creates remarkable memories and experiences. But over the years camping has fallen by the wayside for me and John, and we hadn’t camped in a long, long time. But this summer we’ve been able to catch up on our camping a bit and rekindle some of the “romance” of sleeping outdoors. Mind you, we are twelve years older now and super comfortable in our bed under our lovely roof at home. But we couldn’t fight the desire to get back outside into wide open spaces to make more memories, discover new adventures, ignite our love for the outdoors and take the fresh evening air into our lungs.
Seeing as we have a boat now, we decided to boat-in camp for the first time ever, and that was surely a memorable adventure. Perusing the island for the perfect camp site, setting up camp, corking the wine for sunset happy hour, campfire hobo dinner, and a nice summer breeze was perfect, all the while listening to the sound of the lake lapping against the shore – very relaxed and happy were we. But, as we were winding down for a summer night of rest, long about 10:30pm we hear something that resembles music coming off the water. What the hell? Karaoke on the lake? Listening closer it sounds like Eastern Indian music. Yep, you got it – Eastern Indian karaoke! At first it was funny and we giggled, but well into the second hour it started to sound like cats being branded. Unfortunately, we were not alone in our begging of them to stop the madness. Along with other surrounding water campers, we screamed, honked our boat horns, flashed lights of SOS, whatever we thought might get the point across that enough was enough. It was the same song over and over and over again, think David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” Eastern India style. We hadn’t brought enough wine with us to drink until we passed out. The crazy twangy likeness to music noise pollution finally stopped around 2:00am. So much for a restful night’s sleep on the water. Needless to say, we can tack the boat-in camping adventure up to unforgettable memories.
With that experience behind us, you’d think we’d sell the camping gear and hang it up, but no. We decided to try it again with the resolve to check out other lakes and rivers in our area where we can play with the boat, so off we go to Rock Island State Park, a little over an hour from home. We’ve heard great things about the park and decide to camp (again), familiarize ourselves with the area, get to know a place before hitching up the boat to take her to a new playground. We rise early on a Saturday morning, packed and ready to give tent camping another go. This time, we will drive around the area, get set up at camp (which is not on the water – bummer) and then hike a few trails around the river. It was a beautiful day, a lovely drive and easy to find the park and get settled in to our campsite. Our previous experiences in state park campgrounds is that they all provide a little privacy, but not Rock Island, so we were a bit disappointed in our neighbors being so close. But, the park is beautiful and offers many trails for hiking, both easy and strenuous. There is a plethora of waterfalls, pools of water, huge rocks, and interesting structures peppered in many of the trails. The surrounding rivers also offer many places to play on the boat, so that will be an adventure for the future. We hiked a moderate trail that lead to a riverside beach, all total was about 3 miles and moderate in that you must be careful of the massive tree roots, and the inclines can be challenging to traverse. The following is my poetic description of our hike:
The day was sun soaked with warmth
The forest cool with shadows of tall trees
Leaves hanging on yet dancing to the ground
Shedding their limbs to bare bark and sleep
Sharing the love of light and shadow
Between blue sky and mossy green floor
The light and dark support each other
Arranging the consistent sense of love
We honor Mother Nature in every breath
Her gifts of life recycled, nourished, blessed
We may never sell the camping gear because there is something very special about nature’s restoration of the soul. However we have a new necessity in the camping gear box – earplugs!
Do good, eat well, take care,