Hiking & Camping at Turkey Run in Bloomingdale, Indiana.
Making Mountains out of Volehills
I never went camping growing up. Never pitched a tent or started a fire or made s’mores outside of a microwave. In grade school we had outdoor ed where we stayed in a giant cabin and I once took one trip with a friend where, I believe, we used a camper, and that was the extent of my roughing it days. I was never an outdoorsy kid. I much preferred my bedroom and television and air conditioning.
It wasn’t until late in college that I ever went camping. Every couple of years when we’d go white water rafting and camp at a nearby campground but, outside of that, don’t think I ever took part.
But lately I’d been getting the itch to go camping again. I haven’t been on a rafting trip in a few years and therefore haven’t been camping in a few years either. And I have it in my head that I need to learn to camp. You know: how to start a fire, how to pitch a tent, how to, well, even find a place to go.
Last week Jen and Andrew seemed to have that same itch I was getting so they called me up to see if I wanted to go camping at Turkey Run in Bloomingdale, Indiana, for a night. So, Saturday morning, after spending my Friday at a midnight movie I woke up early to meet them in Urbana.
We took off after I got there and after we packed up Jen’s mini to the brim. Unfortunately, when we got to the Turkey Run camp, it was full, but there was another place just down the road that had openings. These campgrounds near Turkey Run state park wasn’t quite the quite site you’d hope for (it actually was probably the noisiest, closest to your neighbors campsite I’d ever been to) but they were fine nonetheless.
While we waited for Virginia and Jeanette to arrive we set up the tents and played some frisbee…and Jen gave me the advice I’ve been needing my whole frisbee-inept life: let go sooner. (Actually, that’s good advice for my life in general…)
Once the rest of the girls arrived we headed to the park for some hiking. The trail we chose was amazing: lots of quiet areas, lots of little streams to navigate through, ladders to climb down (can you believe I climbed down a latter on the side of a hill? I sure can’t!), beautiful scenery, bridges, rivers, beautiful nature.
Turkey Run hiking in Bloomingdale, Indiana
After a couple of hours on the trails we headed back to our campsite and started a fire or two. Andrew taught me a little of how to make one. Not sure I could accomplish it on my own but I think I’ve got the basics: wood, newspaper, oxygen. No rubbing sticks together.
We were pretty hungry so we dug into some hummus and roasted some marshmallows before dinner. Then the potato packets and apples went into the coals and hot dogs were cooked over the flames. Well, soy dogs for me and Jeanette. All in all they weren’t horrible but really were nothing I have any desire to ever eat again. Really, I just don’t like fake meat. We spent the rest of the night sitting around the campfire and playing frisbee and making s’mores.
Camping at Turkey Run State Park in Bloomingdale, Indiana
The next morning we packed up camp and headed out to do some canoeing. Unfortunately the place we went to from Turkey run canoe trips only took reservations and was booked up. But, after waiting just a bit, they luckily were able to squeeze us in. We rafted down the river, listened for chainsaw elks, played bumper boat, and avoided boat sucking holes and class 6 rapids. We probably took the course at a faster pace than everyone else, and at one point Jen and I switched so I could row for a bit, but as it turns out we were at the end and I only got to row for 5 minutes.
Canoeing at Turkey Run in Bloomingdale, Indiana
We then headed back to Urbana and stopped at Steak and Shake on the way back. I had a grilled cheese and choco-strawberry side by side milkshake, and I think that was the first time ever that I didn’t get a burger there. After getting back to Urbana I packed up my car to drive back to Chicago and immediately took a shower when I got home. And I felt totally exhausted but totally relaxed at the same time.
That’s what a night camping will do to you.