Warren Dunes State Park September 2009
Dates: September 3-5, 2009
People: Mark, Sarah, Luke, Jonah, Seth, Mark's Mom & Dad.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 3
This was our second trip to Warren Dunes. We travelled there previously in 2007. This Thursday evening we all met up just after supper time at a nicely picked out campsite that happened to be next to the playground. Mark and Sarah's car would have arrived first but they stopped for supper in Stevensville at Dairy Queen. So Mom and Dad's car was the first arrival and they had their tent setup right away. Mark and Sarah then arrived and setup tent while the boys all checked out the playground. This would end up being a perfect site with playground, bathrooms, and water all nearby.
This year the mosquitos were not nearly so bad as they were 2 years ago. We still had memories of cooking brats on the grill while swatting mosquitos away. We wondered if this was the product of the cooler summer, and indeed even this evening was down in the 50s over night. We built up a good fire to spend the evening around and we helped the boys cook smores over the fire. Luke spent the night in Papa and Grandma's tent with the other two in Mark and Sarah's tent. All three boys got chilled overnight in their cheap sleeping bags.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 4
We began this morning with sausage and pancakes cooked over the campstove. As usual this is a fantastic meal in camp. We needed something warm as it was since the night before was so cool. The boys enjoyed the morning by playing with water (and dirt and sand) in the big camp pots while also making frequent trips over to the playground.
Around 11am Mark, Denny, Luke, and Jonah started a hike down to the beach. We went on the Mt. Randall trail which we had tested in 2007. That year Mark and Dad had to mostly carry Luke up the entire large hill that begins the trail. This year was only slightly different. Luke was able to make it the whole way to the top, and in rather good time. But Jonah was the one this year who needed a big boost of help. Once to the top though the view was great and a nice breeze greeted us to cool us down. Jonah did well hiking the rest of the way out to the beach as did Luke. Mark was silly enough to wear shoes and upon reaching the beach had about a 4 inch pile of sand to dump out. At the beach we called the ladies (and Seth) to come down with the vehicle to meet us and they gave Jonah a ride back to camp. Mark, Dad and Luke made the hike on the same trail back, though Luke had to be carried the first 10 minutes.
For lunch we did cold-cut sandwiches at camp. After lunch Seth took a good nap with Sarah at camp. Mom watched the other two boys while Mark and Dad hit the Dunes Loop trail which was nearly a 4-mile hike. The hike had great scenery and no massive hills like the Mt. Randall trail. It put us on the beach about a mile and a half north of the main beach area. Meanwhile Mom and Sarah had Seth finish out his nap and they took the boys down to the beach to play where Mark and Denny met up with them. We all met up and gave the boy stime to play at the beach till around 4pm.
At that time it was decided the ladies would take Seth back home to save him another cold night and they left. Luke and Jonah got to enjoy a fun guys-night at camp. We headed back to camp and got out the ingredients to make pizza-sandwiches over the fire. This is always a treat and we've done it enough we've got it down to a science now. Load up two pieces of bread with cooked sausage, pizza sauce, butter, and cheese and toss it on the fire for about 2 minutes. So, so tasty. We put the boys in warmer sleeping bags this night and they did much better.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 5
We spent a good portion of the morning drying out our tents and sleeping bags. It didn't rain the whole weekend nor were there any clouds even to speak of, but the moisture in the air and the subsequent dew in the morning had things drenched. Our big yellow tent works such that as the moisture accumulates on the roof of the tent and starts to drip it feels like you're getting rained on inside. This gave Luke and Jonah time to play with our camp neighbors little kids which included a 6-year old girl named Megan and a little brother who was about 4.
After leaving the dunes we made the quick drive to Coloma where we went to the Deer Forest again. It was pretty much as we remembered it from two years ago. But the boys had a blast once more feeding the deer and even walking in the deer pens to pet the animals. There was a sad side to it all as the place has a run down feeling to it and rumor has it they're selling the property and shutting the place down after this season. The boys enjoyed a good pony ride and after our bucket of corn feed was gone we nearly re-filled it with acorns off the ground to toss in for the deer. After a good few hours at the Deer Forest it was time to head for home and meet up with the ladies and Seth.