So, camping! Man.
Cindi, Riley, and I ended up leaving town about 6:30pm, which wasn’t terribly late. I don’t even remember how long it took us to get there, because it went really fast. There was some construction on the interstate, so we took a detour through Menomonie, where we stopped for gas, Red Bull, a cool fixed-blade knife I found at the gas station, and firewood. We stopped again in, um, a place I don’t recall to get more specific directions, and again in Cadott (HOT!) to buy ice and inquire about obtaining a fishing license. Turns out I couldn’t get a fishin’ license there, but I could go up the hill or go down the street and ask for Stanley at the truck stop. I decided to wait until the next day.
The rest of the posse had been there for hours, had set up Cindi’s tent for us, and had everything up and ready to rock and roll for us. We didn’t even get a chance to unpack my car before we had burgers shoved in our hands. I didn’t think it could get much better than that. The only thing that was missing was some homemade trail mix, which wouldn’t have been all that hard to do and would have been the perfect snack for the time around the fire.
We sat around for a few hours, and once Riley realized he wasn’t scared of everyone, it was an enjoyable evening by the fire. At one point, Jenni was resting her cup on Riley and said to me, “Don’t drink your drink while I’m resting my cup on your dog”. It didn’t make sense then, it doesn’t make sense now, but it’s just sums up the level of our humor and actions on this particular Friday night around the fire.
Riley took to hanging out in a tent right away, so getting to sleep wasn’t a problem. You know what was problem? Waking up with two hunks of ice where my arms used to be. Holy shit, it was cold, and being used to sleeping in a warm bed where it’s always too hot did not help matters much. I have no idea what time we woke up, but I know it was early.
Bill and Katie were up and at ’em with us, and we were eventually joined by Josh and Jumi. I cooked up some bacon on Josh’s awesome little stove, and Cindi got to work on the breakfast burrito fixins. Why I don’t eat burritos of some nature for every meal, I will never know. I was also excited to make use of my former Taco Bell burrito wrapping skills that have been dormant for many years.
After breakfast, I had some fishin’ to do. It started as just goofing off with my line in the water off the small bridge by our campsite, but by noon, I was back in town (Cornell, WI) looking for a gas station that would sell me a fishin’ license. It turns out that getting a fishing licence quickly in a small, sleepy town isn’t as easy as one would think – and I realized that I should’ve hassled Cindi to waste less time looking for the best tactical flashlight for the money, and more time finding a place online that would’ve been able to sell me a licence right away.
Before my trek into town, though, Riley, Matt, Jenni, and I ventured out around the island we were staying on. We walked around, I think, the whole thing. Not far from our campsite, we saw our first form of wildlife – TWO SHEEP. I’m not kidding. We found out from the guy that worked there that these two sheep had been all over the campground for the past few weeks, but they have no idea who the sheep belong to. It was the funniest thing ever. We had plans for mutton stew and for Jenni to knit things from their wool, but we weren’t able to catch them. Or locate a pot big enough for the sheep to fit in.
On our walk, we found some stumps to do some settin’ and let Riley run in the beach area for a while. He still doesn’t actually swim, but wading in for sticks is apparently the best thing ever.
As soon as Riley and I got back to the campsite (and successfully avoiding smashing into a deer on the way back), Josh and I hopped in the canoe and headed for some fishin’ waters. I have no idea how long we were gone, because I didn’t use time as a factor all weekend. I just know it was a blast, and even though we didn’t catch a damn thing (well, I caught one bass smaller than my hand and another one that got off the hook at the top of the water), it was the best thing ever. I forgot how much I miss being on the water, and using fishin’ as one of the most meditative things I’ve ever done. Here I am in the land of ten billion lakes and the first time I drop a hook in the water is in Wisconsin.
Some time passed. We decided it was dinner time when, well, we were all hungry. Steaks, baked potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes – all done over a fire. The hardest thing about cooking food that way? Sitting there by the fire, waiting for it to be done. And then there was the whole freezing our butts off, because the fire had to stay small enough to not catch our 80 pound steaks on fire.
There was eating, dish washing, securing all food from rabid wild animals (not Riley), and then we did what we do best – sat around laughing, greatly amusing ourselves, listening to awesome dance mix CDs Jenni put together, and consuming our leftover liquor.
Because Matt’s a champ of a bartender, we put him to work with shot ideas we’d heard through the magic of song lyrics – Roosevelt from Soulja Boy and Blonde Dyke from Kanye West. I could do without Roosevelt (which was a fake red headed slut and Bacardi O), but would order a Blonde Dyke (Boone’s Farm Wild Island, Bacardi O, and Tang) on a regular basis. The biggest failure of the night? A shot called Twat Snorkel that never made it past it’s testing phase… and that’s probably a good thing.
The next morning rolled around and I was still freezing my ass off, so I ditched Riley and Cindi in the tent and headed out for some more fishing. It was so awesome to be out milling around the campsite and not a single thing moving or making a noise.
After breakfast, Jumi and Josh paddled out on the canoe for a while, and Bill and Katie packed up headed home. I fished, because that’s what I do. Tents were disassembled, coolers were packed up, and the last of the firewood (along with a hotel blanket Riley had been using as a place to sleep during the day) met its demise.
We had one last battle to attempt, though. We needed to shimmy up a tree that was leaning over the lagoon behind us. Jenni tried, Matt (sort of) tried, and I gave it a shot – we all failed. Miserably. Who knew shimmying up a tree was that hard?
We’ll get you next year, you bastard of a tree!