Flambeau River State Forest camping trip report
Our first officially blogged trip is DONE! We had a wonderful family frugal adventure that began with a two hour drive north after we packed a truckload of goods in tow! We stopped in Bloomer, WI for lunch, Ladysmith, WI for ice cream, and then on to the Flambeau River State Forest. We went into the Connor's Lake Campground and I was so excited to finally see it in person! As soon as we started down the road to the campground, ALL cell service was gone and we were off the grid!
As we pulled into the campground, I instantly went into mental mom mode and was thinking..."Ok...where is the bathroom and water source? Will we be close?" I was pleasantly surprised at the amenities. The campground was very pretty and clean. There were several sheltered restrooms (outhouse style but still clean) and water pumps throughout the campground. There was a large critter proof trash and recycling receptacle at the entrance.
As we rounded the one way road around the campground, I noticed it was a large but walk able size. We had neighbors but still plenty of space. We found our labeled campsite number and pulled in ready to unpack! You were able to post your reservation confirmation on the clip provided or in your vehicle dash. As we stepped out of the truck, we immediately noticed...1) it was cooler than expected due to shade 2) there were TONS of mosquitoes due to a recent shower. We had packed bug spray and immediately applied.
We set up a tent for the kids, a tent for parents, and our camp chairs around the fire ring and picnic table. We also had lots of food and supplies to set up and organize. We noticed we were only a three minute walk from the swimming beach as well. The lake was so pretty!
After we were set up, we got ready for campfire cooking which we proceeded to do the whole weekend. We had come prepared with our own wood, charcoal, lighter, etc.
We kept things very simple with hotdogs, burgers, s'mores, etc. We also had lots of packaged snacks and really enjoyed our camp breakfasts by cooking breakfast hash in the dutch oven (sausage, eggs, potatoes, onions). We are big foodies, so we tried to rough it with at least yummy, if simple, food. :) We really enjoyed prepping and cooking together. As far as what we purchased to assist with campfire cooking? We brought everything else from home.
The whole weekend we mostly just enjoyed resting, reading, and one another's company. We all slept well in our tents. We did get rain both days we were there but it came at opportune times for tent resting. I really enjoyed going to sleep at night hearing the rain on the tent and waking up to birds chirping.
The campground did have a nature trail that we enjoyed walking on despite lots of bugs and a snake sighting :) We would have gone swimming if it had been a bit warmer.
After we wrapped up the trip, we all agreed we would go again and we hope to go in August. Due to the amount of prep and hauling that camping entails, we probably would plan for every other month until it gets cold. There's so much to explore in our beautiful state!
total reboot and disconnect-very relaxing trip; once we got there and settled, I finished two books and slept over ten hours each night. Being completely WiFi free was just what our family needed. Having to walk to an outhouse and pump all your own water also makes you thankful for the comforts of home. This was just the rejuvenating fast from life I needed.
Food and camp life-just doing things together was fun-set up, clean up, cooking, prep, fire tending. We all enjoyed that.
This was the perfect distance for a weekend trip. Not too long (2 hour drive) and far enough away to feel like a change of scenery and place to explore. Also the perfect trip during a pandemic-outdoors, clean, and socially distanced.
COST-this was SO frugal!!! Oh my goodness. We spent $40 for a parks pass, $36 for two nights in the campsite, $150 on food for a family of 5 for a whole weekend, one tank of gas. Cannot beat this trip for frugality.
Lessons Learned/What we would take along next time:
MOSQUITOES-I had no idea how bad they would be in the North Woods! We did have some supplies, but I would take more citronella for sure. Long sleeves were very helpful. I saw many using these torches at the campground and they would help with bugs and light. There were so many trees that darkness came quickly.
CHILLY-I grew up in the south. I associate summer with HEAT. Not so in Northern Wisco my friends! I was basically cold the whole time. But, I am glad I packed a sweatshirt, rain jacket, and a very warm sleeping blanket. Need to make sure to pack pj pants next round.
WATERPROOFING-We did experience a lot of rain, but things are just generally damp in the woods. We quickly saw that anything with a paper or cardboard covering was toast by Sunday. I will make sure to pack everything in waterproof containers next time.
AIR MATTRESS-We quickly discovered that you want a good air mattress with an internal pump. We kept having to pump ours up using a battery pump and it was just annoying. We also want to get one like this for the kids so all can sleep comfortably.
PLASTIC TUBS with lids-as I said, water proofing is key...so is critter proofing. When things have to be packed up and moved around a lot these tubs really help.
net gazebo-we saw many folks with these in the campground. They protect your food from bugs and weather. They also protect you from bugs while you eat! I can't wait to get one!
NEED TO PREP/BIG MESS WHEN YOU GET HOME-I learned that there will be a HUGE mess to take care of when you get back. This is not like going on a trip arriving home with one suitcase of dirty laundry. We had to clean and air out EVERYTHING! I had to wash every towel, item of clothing, bedding etc. to remove campfire smell, bugs, and dirt. Lots of things had gotten wet. There was also a lot of food and cooking supplies to put away. Was it worth it? YES! Is is something to be aware of as a rookie camper? YES!
Until we camp again, I will be happily planning our next Fairy Tale Frugal adventure!