Camping Weekend

I took the day off work Friday to make it a three-day weekend.  Thursday night I had a great tempo ride, probably the best of my life.  It was tough, but I got through it and didn't get any flat tires for a change of pace.  

So Friday morning I got up and headed out for an easy, easy ride just to get in some more miles and enjoy the great weather.  It was a perfect morning for a ride - 70s, blue skies, green grass, light winds....Love it.

Since it was an easy ride, I took my camera:

Unfortunately this pic doesn't quite capture the contrast of the bright green trees and very blue skies.  

The new bike path heading out of town.

 Great roads, great weather.

Random horse ranch.

The ride wasn't hilly, but I still had some good views from time to time.

After my ride, Courtney and I packed up for our first camping trip.  We bought ourselves a tent this winter so we've been anxious to get out and give it a try.  We booked a weekend at our favorite state park - Devil's Lake - several months ago.  Unfortunately, the beautiful Friday morning weather didn't stick around, but it could have been worse.  Friday afternoon got a little cloudy, but no rain.  

It's been a long time since I've camped and it took us a lot longer to pack up and set up camp than I expected.  The problem was that most of our stuff was new and still in boxes.  We had to read the directions on the tent and I had to borrow a screwdriver from the campground store to put my new grill together to make dinner (why didn't I bring a screwdriver?....or a raincoat?)

Our campsite.  I haven't had a chance to use my EZ Up awning since my racing days so it was nice to put it use again.  

We brought the kayak for some swimming/kayaking.  I'm in the background trying to figure out my new grill.  It's about 7 pm and we were starving. 

After dinner, we made a campfire and cooked some s'mores.  We were exhausted so it was an early night for us.  The rain held off Friday night, but it was pretty humid and sticky so I didn't sleep well.  I don't sleep well after hard workouts either, so Thursday night was a short night of sleep as well.  That's two nights with very little sleep.

Saturday morning was sunny and warm and we were anxious to get out on the lake.  I made some eggs for breakfast and we loaded up the kayak for our first trip across Devil's Lake for the year.  

Swimming from North Beach to South Beach - about 1.25 miles.

Courtney enjoying a beautiful morning on the water.

Saturday's swim.

The clouds rolled in around noon and there was a threat of thunderstorms all day, but they held off so late afternoon Courtney and I went for a trail run.  I took the Upland Loop while she opted for a shorter, flatter (although far from flat) loop.  The run was great, and very challenging.  Lots of climbs, tree limbs, rocks, etc.  You really had to watch your footing, which is what I was watching the whole time.  Occasionally I would glance up to see where the trail headed, but mainly I was watching the ground right in front of my feet.

Then suddenly I saw a 3-4 foot snake blocking the path and I had no choice but to jump over it.  For people who live in areas with a lot of snakes and who aren't afraid of them, no big deal.  For me....big deal.  It took about 5 minutes for my heart rate to settle down.  
The snake looked a lot like this one, which is a Timber Rattlesnake.  Although I suspect it was a Northern Water Snake (I don't think the snake I saw had a black tail and I'm not sure if there was a rattle - I didn't stick around and didn't have my camera with me), which is similar in appearance and I think they're more common at Devil's Lake.  It could have been a Pine Snake too.  Either way, it was the biggest snake I've ever seen in the wild and I hope to never see another one like it.

After the trail run, we made dinner, a campfire, s'mores and then settled in for the night anticipating storms.  And storm it did.  Lots of rain, thunder, lightning.  Fortunately, our tent held up and we stayed dry.  But it's impossible to sleep in a tent when it's raining like that so that made for three nights with little sleep.  I was dragging Sunday morning, which was a dreary, foggy, wet morning.  But the rain was done, so we headed out for more swimming.

A dreary Sunday morning.

Getting ready to swim.

All total for the weekend, I got in about 10,000 yards of swimming (about 5.6 miles).  I also got in a hilly, trail run and had a lot of fun camping.  

We packed up Sunday afternoon and made it home by dinner time.  Sunday night I was in bed a little after 9 and slept like the dead.  Camping really makes you appreciate your own bed.

The trip was a success, and we're already planning our next trip. I'm not sure where we'll end up or how long we'll stay, but I'm already looking forward to it.


jenez_world said...

i hate snakes. i know it is wrong but the only good snake is a dead snake.

Mike said...

Nothing wrong with that.