Friday, July 4, dawned clear and cool in Chicago. The forecast was for mild temperatures and sun across the Great Lakes. We were preparing for a drive to northern Wisconsin, exact destination unknown. Still, the car was laden with camping equipment and other provisions for a family of four, including children ages 4 and 15 months. We had no room to spare in the car--a day pack rode at my feet in the passenger side.
|The CRV, packed to the gills.|
I had made reservations for two July nights at Wells State Park, in Michigan, sometime in May. The original plan was for a simple Lake Michigan circle tour. But plans changed and we ended up needing to leave July 4, one day before our Wells reservation, if we were to get a three-night trip in. We scanned for online reservations of campsites in northern Wisconsin and none were available. It didn't bode well for a small family looking for the ease of a reserved campsite and minimal driving. We didn't want to be driving vast distances in hopes of finding a site.
As we approached Mountain, we saw a small sign pointing to the south of the highway "National Forest Campground," three of the best words in the English language. ATVs, piloted by overly young children, whirred on snowmobile paths as we made our way toward the campground. We were relieved when we saw that a few sites would be available. In fact, we got a pretty site not far from the latrine and within earshot of the namesake rapids. We knew insect life would be one of the potential challenges of this trip, and we were indeed greeted by swarms of mosquitoes at our site. We applied bug spray to all of us and put on long sleeves. Soon enough, we had set up our tent and took a short walk to investigate the rapids.
|Bagley Rapids, on the Oconto River|
|Celeste, table climber|