I love camping! Ok, really I love “glamping,” the recent mash-up of “glamorous” plus “camping.”
The Urban dictionary has the best definition and it fits me to a T….”satisfy your craving for the outdoors, and your penchant for a good meal, a nice glass of wine and a comfortable bed”.
I do however glamp in a recreational vehicle and mostly cook (or share the cooking) of all the meals outdoors so maybe I’m a notch farther away from a stereotypical glamper. But I do like to take lots of stuff when camping, in fact our family could probably be referred to as the Glampetts!
But, in our defense, we did start out camping in a tent. While that was great fun growing up, once I entered adult and later motherhood, I discovered the joys of a pop-up camper. And so began my 20+ year love affair with Indiana camping! And Indiana has some awesome campgrounds, mostly in our wonderful state park system.
So how does all of this relate to WildIndiana you might ask? Well, while glamping may appear tame on the exterior, the roads we have traveled and the trails we have walked have led us into some of the wilder parts of Indiana that campers can traverse!
A recent discovery has been Tippecanoe River State Park (95 miles north of Indianapolis on SR 421/29. And now that I’m a kayaker, this adventure moved into an even wilder category for the Glampetts – actually “fell in” might be a better description! Tippy River Park has an older campground with larger campsites keep a natural feel that makes camping so much fun; I want to be surrounded by trees and grass but a short 5 min walk to a real toilet!
Most of the campsites were either long enough by default or have been stretched a little to accommodate even my 10-year-old motorhome named Marge. We arrived for the long holiday weekend late in the night on a Thursday, so luckily the campground wasn’t too busy since Marge does not make a quiet entrance. After a brief stop at the water fill station, we were expertly guided to our campsite by fellow campers who had arrived earlier. Our small group of three formed a small circle with no one nearby. Perhaps word had gotten around that the Glampetts were invading!
Whenever camping with friends, which is the best way to camp, we always try to circle the wagons or at least get adjacent sites to make sharing meals and play time more enjoyable.
Transporting the kayaks in Marge was the first stage of this adventure since I wasn’t quite ready to cough up the money for an external kayak carrier. We somehow managed to load two ten-foot kayaks into the side window of the bedroom area. This would be like putting a large piece of lumber thru the backseat window of a VW bug! Needless to say the dear husband was not all that thrilled with the plan, but still made it work to please me!
Next day, the six of us set off to explore the Tippy River. There’s a great canoe drop located at the canoe camp, just a short drive out of the campground, and an easy takeout just past the nature center. Luckily we camped with experienced kayakers, so a return vehicle was parked at the takeout. What a great trip it was! The water level was just up enough so that we didn’t have to paddle constantly but also didn’t rush down the river and miss out on all the great wildlife.
Turtles were the biggest attraction and we learned that dear husband has such an affinity for turtles that we took to calling him “turtle boy”. That section of the Tippy meanders mostly thru nature preserve boundaries with very little settled areas, but some strange figures greeted us along the way. I think she was an ancient Indian princess that was turned to stone after too much civilization! The paddling took about 2 hours to cover the roughly 2.5 miles. We did all manage to stay afloat, but not always going in the same direction. Even the dreaded getting out of the kayak went well. Nothing can ruin a great trip like falling out of the kayak at the end!
After loading up and returning to the camp, we let the guys take care of the kayak cleanup and we set about making a great appetizer with a pre-made pizza crust over the open fire. Lay the crust on foil coated with olive oil and salt, spread on some yummy pesto sauce, add some mozzarella cheese, and cook over the low fire until the cheese is nice and bubbly. Serve it up with your favorite beverage! Nothing better than fire-cooked food outdoors!
It’s time to get back to making some camp reservations for this summer at www.camp.in.gov but look for another great adventure with Marge in the next issue of WildIndiana!
See you in the woods!