We might have finally mastered this camping thing. After a few hurried and not so great camping experiences we decided to make a real effort to not arrive at camp really late and really hungry. Turns out that’s a good strategy. We headed out of St. Ignace after a few days and headed toward Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (America’s first NLS). The National Park campsites were full, but that was not unexpected. We got a few recommendations, and off we went, down the road to Christmas.
Christmas is a small town in Michigan, with a population of about 400. We saw a number of “jolly” sites.
1) Christmas themed street names like this intersection (other intersections included Christmas Ave and St. Nicholas Ave; or Mrs. Claus Lane);
2. This fun shop, which we stopped into for souvenirs and postcards (they can even cancel your stamps for you with the Christmas postage cancellation);
3. This inexplicable Hulk reference (ok – that has nothing to do with Christmas, but it’s hilarious, no?).
After getting the lay of the land in town, we headed down to the Hiawatha National Forest camp ground.
It was a “first-come-first-serve” place. Spots were marked with their availability. If you liked the spot, you put up your stuff and laid claim. Then you filled out an envelope with how long you were staying, dropped the money envelope into the lock box, and done. After choosing our spot (the waterfront spots were all taken), we went about setting up camp. We had traded out our tent stakes for a second time. The first exchange was wooden stakes for metal. On our last shopping trip we picked up heavy duty plastic. It was a great upgrade and really held the tent taut. We also set up our camp kitchen and our fireside chairs.
It was a stress free set-up, and with plenty of daylight left we walked through the campground to Lake Superior. It was too cold for swimming, but we collected some rocks. We thought it appropriate that we selected some Christmas colored rocks.
We also dipped our feet in the cold water, and simply enjoyed the view.
In the evening we returned to camp, cooked up some dinner, had some wine and cheese for dessert, and then sat by the fire for a while before retiring after a successful camp day.
So, tell me – what makes for a stress-free camping experience for you?
Please feel free to leave comments or ask questions. We love getting feedback on the trip.