Rooftop Camping – 1/12/2013

A group of guys from church decided to get together and go for a winter camp out. I’m not big into the whole church thing, but it was a chance to hang out with Jake for the weekend. There was also a 10 mile hike somewhere I have never been before. I’ve heard of Hawn state park, but have never been there.

I got out of work early and met Jake at a park and ride lot along the highway. From there, we went south together toward the campsite. We stopped in Crystal City to pick up dinner. While we were getting dinner, I discovered that I forgot to bring the chairs. We found an Alco store that had chairs. Jake bought one, but I was feeling cheap and opted not to.

On we went with full bellies to the camp site. Once we got there, we couldn’t find anybody there. We did a lap of the camp site and then went off to see if there was one somewhere else that we missed. After lots of second guessing and some unsuccessful phone calls. We decided to give the camp site one more try. Driving slowly through, we found Jason running down the hill to say he was there. It turns out that we have the multipurpose/Boy Scout area for camping. You can’t see it from the road, only by driving up the path.

Because we got to the camp site late and it was dark, we opted to sleep in the back of the van the first night. It was simple and there was plenty of room for both of us.  Getting up the next morning, we had a quick breakfast including coffee. I stuck to the caffeinated hot chocolate I brought with me. Then we loaded up my van and we were off. It was decided on Saturday that we would do some trail work. The drive with all of us in the van took about an hour. When we got to the trail work area, nobody was there. It turns out that there was a winter weather advisory for later in the day, so the event was cancelled.

Rather than give up on some beautiful scenery,we decided to hike a bit. We went around the St. Francis river (I think) and saw some beautiful rock formations that we enjoyed playing on!

After a long drive back to the campsite, we debated if we should take the 10 mile hike or not. I very much wanted to go and finally got the group to go. So we all walked through the campsite to the trail head and started hiking. The path was a bit damp, and there were a few water crossings. The last water crossing before the group split up had Dan misstep and put his whole foot in the water. He and Jake decided to take it easy and head back for a shorter hike.

About 30 minutes after the group split up, the rain started. It rained for the rest of the hike getting progressively heavier the whole time. By the time we got back to the campsite, Jake and Dan were busy trying to get a tarp over the fire to stay dry and warm. Thinking it was a great idea, I backed my van down the hill and used it along with all my boat straps to help hold the tarps up.

With the tarp mostly up, we ended up putting all the wood on the fire to use it and stay warm. This ended up burning a hole in the tarp that we all laughed about. Ultimately the freezing ran brought us all to the same conclusion, we should call it a night and just go home before we were stuck at the campsite.

When I was packed up, I found that the van was stuck in the mud. The group spent about 30 minutes in the rain getting stuff under the tires so I could get traction to leave the park.

If it weren’t enough to have been rained out, Jake came to my house on Sunday after church to help hang out all of the wet stuff from the trip. While we were hanging up stuff in my garage, I was lowering down one of my boats from the ceiling to hang a tarp on when one of the supports in the ceiling ripped out and fell on my head. The boat fell, but nobody got seriously hurt. All we could do was laugh. As it turns out, I didn’t put in long enough screws and it was an easy fix.


Hogan Haake