68 x 4

You know the great thing about camping? It’s forced relaxation! The hundred little things you could be doing around the house are nonexistent. Instead, there are hammocks to swing in, books to read, scenery to stare at. We did all of the above. But, we also hiked four miles and kayaked for three hours, so it’s not like we were completely lazy turds.

Sheridan Lake is our go-to campground, and #68 is our go-to site. This was our fourth visit since moving here in 2018. It’s just a great spot; a lake view, tall trees, close access to the restroom. There are other sites that directly overlook the lake, but they are smaller and not very level. So, we’ll keep booking #68 every year. Why mess with perfection?

I left work at noon on Friday and headed to the campground first. As usual, Tara was unable to get off early, but I enjoyed a few hours of solitude. I had a book, a comfy chair, and a cup of bourbon. What more does one need? I tried to set the tent up myself, but it’s really a two-person job. Still, when Tara arrived at 6:45, it was all laid out and took us just a few minutes to put up. And because these are the longest days of the year, we still had a couple of hours of daylight to enjoy.

Saturday morning, we were up at the crack of dawn. We wanted to get a hike in before it got too hot, so we were on the trail a little before 7:00 a.m. Did an easy four miles and were back at camp mid-morning. Tara cooked us breakfast, we had coffee and Bloody Marys, and did absolutely nothing for the next four hours.

We’d reserved kayaks from 2-6 p.m., so we drove to the marina at the appointed time. Having never set foot in a kayak before, I had some trepidation, envisioning worst-case scenarios that all involved me submerged in water. But I’m happy to report that nothing bad happened. In fact, kayaking around the lake was such a blast, I was instantly hooked. They are incredibly easy to maneuver and much faster than I expected. Plus, there are cupholders that give you convenient access to a can of beer. You know…if you were so inclined…

Within 10 minutes, I was telling Tara we need to buy our own kayaks. They were so much fun! I originally figured we’d stick close to shore, within the no-wake buoys, but we ended up paddling halfway around the lake…and it’s a 375-acre body of water. There were lots of motorboats, pontoons, and jet skis, but half the fun was pointing your kayak in the direction of the oncoming waves after they passed. At one point we paddled to shore and Tara scrambled up a large rock and cliff-dived! I was pretty impressed.

About 5:00, we decided it was time to return the kayaks. Our arms were pretty sore after three hours of paddling…it’s quite the upper-body workout! Plus, storm clouds were beginning to pile up to the north. But mostly because we were out of beer.

We’re officially shopping for kayaks now.

When we got back to camp we were starving, so we got a fire going and hauled out the cast iron Dutch oven. I’d found a recipe for campfire nachos and was somewhat skeptical over how they’d turn out, but man…they were good!

We ended up crashing a little bit after 9:00. Whole-body workouts will do that to you.

Woke up at 3 a.m. to very strong winds; they were gusting over 50 mph! But they eventually tapered off and we were able to fall back to sleep.

This morning’s breakfast wasn’t nearly as successful as the nachos. We busted out the Dutch oven again for French toast, but the coals were way too hot and it ended up way too burnt. Oh, well: you can’t win them all. The winds picked up again and it was about 15º cooler than Saturday, so we decided to just break down camp and head home.

It was a great little getaway, but will be our only camping trip this year. We just have too much else going on.

Hope your weekend was fun, too!

32 thoughts on “68 x 4

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with “forced relaxation” Mark. You remind me how the exercise is under the category of having fun. Bloody Marys for breakfast!? A great way to get in some Vit C.🙂 I will need to investigate campfire nachos. This is a great idea even for home and our fire pit. Fun activities in a short time, yet I can feel the ‘happy’ leap from your page. Fun to see the photos.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s true. But what’s Tara’s excuse? And was this before coffee??

        I have a friend who lifts weights in the morning. I can only do that at night after I’ve eaten my share of dinner and post-dinner snacks.


  2. Kayaking with beer? Awesome! Having to unpack, set up a campsite and sleep in a tent with 50 mph winds? Not so much. Beautiful spot… but I’m a day tripper and require a full bar, hot shower and king size bed at night.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kayaking in the Pacific Ocean traumatized me for life, so I will leave that activity to you guys! It’s amazing how good food tastes cooked over the old campfire.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Much like cars, they pretty much all come standard with cupholders now, it seems. I like the fact that kayaking provides you with an intimacy with the lake you wouldn’t experience from a regular boat. You’re right there on the water, it’s splashing on you, and you feel a connectedness with it almost. If that makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not one for weekend camping, but I agree that it does force you to relax. That’s one of the (many) reasons we love to travel. Can’t do dishes or clean the toilet when you’re soaking in the baths in Budapest or touring a castle in Wales or cycling around Angkok Wat or camping by a lake in South Dakota. Belated Happy Fathers’ Day, by the way.
    P.S. 50 mph gusts is a lot to take in a tent. We once tried to put up a tent in raging winds like that in Albuquerque. Even with two of us we simply couldn’t do it. It was impossible. We ended up renting a campsite cabin instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the Father’s Day wishes! I’m actually surprised our tent handled those winds as well as it did. Thankfully, I didn’t really think about all the tall ponderosa pines surrounding our campsite. That might have kept me up the rest of the night, worrying that they could come crashing down at any moment.


  5. We always had our favorite sites in each campground as well. Now you have to book at least a year in advance. Not much spontaneity in camping anymore, plus I can’t get off the ground after a night in the tent.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sounds lovely! My family camped when I was a kid, but my husband isn’t into it. I keep threatening to buy my own little camping trailer and take off on my own. All I need is more money…and my books still cost more to produce than they bring in, so it’ll be a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you on the camper. I don’t want a big RV or anything; just something small, like a Scamp, so we wouldn’t have to worry about messing around with setting up a tent and we’d be a little better protected from the elements.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Camping is forced relaxation? Oh my, we have very different definitions of relaxation. Camping is work. Camping is itchy. Camping is making your own meals and smelling like smoke. Give me a resort hotel with room service, then I’ll relax.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Forced relaxation: SIGN ME UP!
    This looks like a great time. I’m so happy you enjoyed kayaking. I’m making a mental note to always look for cupholders. I asked for Kayaks a few years ago, instead I was gifted a pair of paddle boards. I knew they were more work than kayaking and the gifter (husband) declared within a minute that paddle boards are hard work. *sigh* why does no one listen?
    I agree though, you do get a good upper body workout!
    Nachos and camping? SO much fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny you should mention paddle boards. A few weeks ago, Tara said she wanted one for her upcoming birthday. But after kayaking, she changed her tune. It’s probably for the best: I hear paddle boarding is much harder, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I like camping, but I’ll pass on the 50mph winds. I envision something like the little farmhouse in the Wizard of Oz…

    Actually, I think the windiest campsite I’ve endured was in South Dakota, not far from the Badlands. No trees to buffer the wind, and I ended up wearing the little two-man tent like a sleeping bag when the stakes got blown out. I punted and moved into the car.

    Were you still primed to buy kayaks, two days later when the soreness really kicks in?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can’t say I’m surprised. The winds on the northern plains can be brutal.

      As for the kayaks, let me put it this way: we are driving up to Bismarck, ND, and back tomorrow just to buy a couple. That’s about a 10-hour roundtrip. We just can’t find them anywhere else.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. No photos of Big Foot (Sasquatch)? I’m disappointed. Woulda given you months of blog material and even $ from those crazy newspapers at the grocery store with strange stuff. Then there should have been a pic of the large fish (cardboard replica) you allegedly caught to exhibit your woodsman prowess.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My first kayaking experience was in one that blew up i.e. you could fill it with air! Amazingly it didn’t really blow up or even tip over or fill with water. If I was still living next to Melton Hill Lake, I might try it again someday the way you guys did. Guess I’ll have to find someplace else, now.

    Liked by 1 person

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