For the first time in my life, I went camping!
For the first time in my life, I did something to celebrate the 4th of July!
Two of my friends from college planned a camping trip to Chippewa Falls because they have the goal of seeing every brewery in the state of Wisconsin. That’s a lot of breweries! I got asked to go with, and obviously didn’t want to pass up an opportunity for a new experience (which ended up including many more things I had never done before). We left on Tuesday afternoon and came back Thursday morning, a length of stay that was completely perfect considering how hot and humid it is right now.
After we arrived at Lake Wissota State Park
, we quickly put up our tent and started a fire for dinner. I was actually pretty proud of how quickly our fire got started, since I’m used to creating bonfires with a little assistance from lighter fluid. We made dinner, which was a large assortment of one of my friend’s favorite campfire foods: pudgy pie pizzas, roasted corn, and cheesy potatoes
We then watched fireworks in Cornell, WI. They were amazing. I’ve never watched fireworks in such open space where the sound echoes for minutes after, and I’ve also never been as close to the launching area as we were. All of the fireworks were right above us!
The next day (July 4th!), we had quite the adventure. We woke up and made breakfast on another fire. Because this was the meal I was in charge of, I sliced a bunch of cinnamon donuts in half, scooped applesauce inside, put them back together, and placed them in tin foil over the fire. They were real good.
We then biked a little over 9 miles to the Leinenkugel Brewery
. It was a pretty decent ride, apart from the fact that we weren’t completely positive what way to go; we had printed directions for the bike route, but in the middle of an unknown place it’s easy to get nervous!
The tour was nice. After living in Milwaukee the past few years, I’ve been on a number of tours of different places and it’s always interesting to see how different each one is when they’re all essentially making the same product. No photos were allowed inside the brewery itself, but here are a few from outside:
After we were finished, we biked another 4 miles to Loopy’s
, a little restaurant that also rents tubes to float down the Chippewa River. In this short trek, there was one bike whose tire became pretty flat despite being pumped before leaving for the day, and one whose pedal stopped pedaling for no reason. I don’t think I can stress enough how much we needed
to get to our destination at this point. It was very, very hot and we were riding on a road that seemed at the time to have been blacker than any other road I’ve driven on in my life.
Unfortunately, once we got there and were checked in, I forgot to take any sort of pictures. I think it’s sufficient to say that three hours floating down the cool river was one of the highlights of the entire trip, and I didn’t even get any major sunburn!
We ate dinner at Loopy’s, and after refueling decided we needed to figure out exactly how we were going to get home. We had managed to make the two less than ideal bike situations work for the last mile we needed them to, but we weren’t entirely confident in that success getting us the necessary 13 miles back to our campsite. Luckily, we were blessed with the shuttle driver from Loopy’s (who had been working in the 100+ degrees with no breaks for ten hours). He didn’t even hesitate to pack our bikes up into the trailer and drive us back to Lake Wissota. I’ve tried to figure out what we would have done without this for the past couple days. I haven’t come up with much.
The last night of camping was pretty low key. We made s’mores and talked until it got dark, and then attempted another night of sleeping on air mattresses that weren’t blown up all the way. Have I mentioned how happy I was to be back in a bed on Thursday night?
We packed up quickly on Thursday to head back across Wisconsin. We were all craving a shower pretty badly, and had a list of things to accomplish once we got home. We did make time to stop at the Stevens Point Brewery
on our drive though (remember the purpose of this entire trip?).
I’m not sure that I’ll ever go “real” camping again, at least apart from this trip that my friends are insisting is going to become annual until we all have little ones. Luckily I got a lot of good stories that seemed like disasters in the moment, and had the chance to catch up with two people I hadn’t spent time with in a few months.
I think there’s a lot to be said for being able to separate yourself from everything to dedicate 48 hours to laughing. I’m so, so grateful to have friends who feel the same way.