Camping Fail

Have you ever had one of those vacations that turned out to be more of a hassle than a vacation?  If not, I envy you.  At least now we know better, though.  {Note: This is going to be a really long and wordy post, but I promise it will be worth your while to read it, if only for the comedic value…}

I had a week of vacation to use around the 4th of July, so we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and the camping gear we received for Christmas and go camping.  We packed everything up and hit the road to spend 2-3 days at Nordhouse Dunes.

We picked Nordhouse Dunes after reading some good things online about it.  It’s one of the only places in the area to do “wilderness camping” where you can hike out into the forest and set up camp wherever you like.  There are no water hookups, restrooms, electricity, etc.  We opted for the wilderness camping because we thought it would be more enjoyable for Eddie to be in the middle of nowhere and be off his leash more than he would be able to at a traditional campground.

The little guy was a champ for the 5 hour ride…

Once we arrived, we loaded up everything from the trunk in the first picture {plus a bunch of stuff that was on the floor of the backseat} onto our backs, shoulders, arms, wherever we could fit things.  We carried probably 150 lbs between the two of us for two miles into the woods on the hilly hiking trail.  We felt like we were on The Challenge which made it slightly less excruciating! :-p

We found a great spot to set up camp…

Once camp was set up, we hiked over the hill to the lake…

Eddie and the mister went for a swim…

Eddie was actually swimming well {with his life jacket of course!}

The beach was not all sunshine and rainbows, however.  Along the shoreline were a BILLION little dead fishies.  I was so grossed out, I didn’t swim or lay out in the sand.  We had no idea that apparently this is a common thing to happen at untended lakes.  It totally defeated the purpose of wilderness camping since every time we let Eddie off his leash he wanted to eat the fish. {EWWW!}  Someone made a masterpiece with some of the dead fishies…

Luckily there were some decent dunes to run around on…

But it was so hot that Eddie was pretty much dying in his black fur coat!

He preferred to relax instead…

Back at camp, we got a fire going, and started to look like quite the happy campers…

But unfortunately, because we couldn’t carry any large firewood into the woods, we had to use whatever small pieces we could find laying around.  Every five minutes, we had to get up and go find more when the small pieces burned out.  It was more work and time to keep it going than to actually enjoy it.  Thankfully, we did keep it going long enough to make a s’more or two though!

Here’s the view of our camp from the pathway to the bathrooms…  OH! Did I mention that the bathrooms were more tree-like than toilet-like?  And did I mention that the toilet paper somehow forgot to pack itself?  Yeah…

One of the drawbacks of a private campsite deep in the woods is how many bugs there were.  We doused ourselves in OFF and were fine, but no matter how much we tried to spray on Eddie, the bugs were constantly attacking.  The poor baby was miserable; he was flailing around on the ground trying to scratch  all the bugs off.  As night drew on it just got worse and worse and we had to just stay with him in the tent to give him some peace from the biting.

Darkness finally came and we got Eddie to sleep and actually got to sleep ourselves, but it wasn’t long before the critters started coming out around the tent.  I’m not talking squirrels here; they were large.  There was no way I was opening the door to peek, either.  Eddie was on guard though.  He stood at attention for the rest of the night ready to defend any critter attacks.  {Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep either.}

In the morning, we packed up everything that we had just set up the afternoon before and made the two mile hike back out to our car. {In case you’re counting, we were in the woods for less than 24 hours.}  We had a good laugh about the fact that we had just gone wilderness camping with a 5-person tent, queen air mattress, camping chairs, and down feather pillows strapped to our backs; we were really roughing it!

In a desperate attempt to salvage the vacation, we decided to go to Traverse City; the Cherry Festival was in town and it was only about a two hour drive.  We had never been there, and I was excited not to have to drive back home right away.  With the festival in town, all the room rates were sky high and there was next to no availability.  We were able to find one pet friendly room out of the six places I called, so we booked it and went on our way!

We found a boat rental place that allowed dogs so we decided to head out on the water. The only thing that was available was a Seadoo Explorer, which was basically like a jet ski that could seat four people.  We had to hold Eddie in our laps because he kept wanting to sit on the rubber edge of the boat!  He literally almost fell out a few times.

Eddie was super scared to go fast and kept trying to jump off our laps, and the mister doesn’t care for large bodies of water, so it wasn’t necessarily the best boat ride ever… :-p

We decided to walk around downtown and check out the cherry festival.  The city was packed with tourists so we were actually excited to see what it had to offer.  A guy at the boat rental place had also mentioned that there was an “ultimate dog” competition where the dogs could compete in jumping events, etc.  It sounded like it would be fun to see! 

Alas, when we arrived at the park entrance, there were signs all over saying no pets were allowed.  At this point, I wasn’t surprised; that’s just how our vacation had been going.  We walked around town a bit and grabbed a bite at the only place we found with casual outdoor dining {a hot dog place… EW}. 

We decided to head back to the hotel for a bit to freshen up and figure out something to do that night.  In the room though, every time Eddie heard a door down the hall open or close, he started barking like crazy to fend off the “attackers.”  We realized if we stayed overnight, he would be on alert and would bark everytime the other guests came and went.  The last thing we wanted was to be asked to leave at 2 in the morning with people complaining about barking, so we decided to cut our losses at the hotel and head home around 7:30 pm.  We were snug in bed by midnight and happy to get a good night’s sleep.

So, that is the story of our worst vacation ever in which we drove for 12 hours, spent some miserable time in the wild, failed at salvaging the trip by visiting Traverse City, and were home within 48 hours.  Ah well, at least it makes a good story! :-p

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One Response to Camping Fail

  1. LOL it will be a great story to tell your grandkids in the years to come!

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