This past weekend was the annual Camping and Canoeing trip for the Peoria Jaycees. There were around 22 or so campers that went on the trip. Of these, exactly 0..that's right ZERO of us got any canoeing in.
We started off Friday afternoon. I saw the front moving in, and was hoping to get on the road before the rain hit. No such luck! I was in Heavy rain until about half way to Bloomington, then it let up a bit, but didn't get clear until past Bloomington. Fast forward an hour and a half or so and we get to the camp site.
It's freakin' steamy!! We weren't the first there, but, the 4th tent to go up..and we left before the big caravan. So, I didn't get my spot this year. Usually, I set up in the same location on the edge of our area. Jeff got his usual spot, and Tucker swiped mine! Bastard!! ;-) Honestly, I don't know if we would have fit this year as we used Connie's old-school tent which is much larger than my "3-man" tent that actually fits 1 comfortably.
So, we get the tent set up, and crack open a beer....next task - Fire! Fire! Fire!! heh heh!! Got the fire going so we could cook dinner, let the wood burn down a bit, throw some burgers on the grill and................. Rain!! Damnit!! Oh well, they still cooked, and weren't bad at all.
The rain let up for a bit, but, we got a nice storm during the night which finally put me to sleep. The next morning, the campsite was a virtual mud-pit! Breakfast was awesome, though!! Mary, Kate, Rick and Beth, Ritter, and David (and anyone else who pitched in) did an outstanding job cooking! Biscuits and gravy, eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes.....it was a feast!!
Calling the canoe livery to check on our reservation and the status of running the canoes turned out to be a bust. The water was too high. Most of the camp decided to go swimming at the pool at Turkey Run State Park. I hear they had a good time, but elected to stay back at camp myself.
That night, you guessed it...more rain! So, most of Saturday night was spent with everyone huddled under a couple of canopies...we made the best of it, but, the weather definitely put a damper on our usual camp-fire stories.
By Sunday morning, the weather had cleared out and it was beautiful blue skies and puffy clouds. The only problem was that's when we were leaving. :-(
Connie and I stayed back and were going to go hiking at Turkey Run State Park. First, after the final clean-up of camp, we went to the lodge at the state park and had breakfast. Barely! When we pulled up to the gate of the park, I asked about breakfast and the girl told us that they served breakfast until 10:00am and started lunch at 11:30. It was 9:51am....we had 9 minutes to park and get to the lodge and hope that we could still get in. Luckily, we made it! Since breakfast was almost over, we both elected to get the buffet. Normally, buffet food isn't my first choice. But, this was probably the best breakfast buffet I've ever had!
With our bellies full, we headed out to walk a few trails. Four of the trails were either completely closed, or had parts that were listed as "impassable" due to the water levels. When we got to the creek, I understood why the canoeing was shut down. What is normally a lazy little creek with nice clear water was moving quite fast very muddy, and about twice as wide as normal.
The stairs below the suspension bridge in the background were even partially under water! They usually stop renting canoes at 3ft (2ft is normal depth). This picture
was at about 4ft, and it had already dropped 1ft since that morning!
The hike was good, we saw several of the named features, but, missed a few due to time, water levels, and just plain being worn out!
Here is a picture of Connie and I in an area called Boulder Canyon.
The bright mid-day light made it difficult to get any good shots of the landscape (where were all those clouds from the past two days), but, I did get a couple of nice close-in shots.
A fern growing on the sandstone:
A mushroom (or toadstool..not sure) on a hillside:
After that, we headed back home and another year of Jaycees camping and (not) canoeing is in the books.
I'm hoping to get back over there for pictures later this year, and maybe even a canoe trip. :-)
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