Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fall Camping Trip – Kettle Moraine

We went on our fall camping trip this weekend. This year, our destination was Kettle Moraine State Forest in southern Wisconsin, which is less than two hours from home.

After coming home from our New England vacation, I was thinking of skipping our camping trip this year. I was tired of all the travel, and tired of Kai complaining about everything. The last thing I wanted was to spend a weekend arguing over how much iPad time he could have in the tent.

But my wife mentioned that Kai had asked when we would go camping, so I decided we would give it a go.

I told Kai before we went that we would not be bringing the iPad along and he could not use any electronics while we were camping.

We arrived at campsite late Friday afternoon. We got the tent up quickly but it was dark by the time I got the campfire going and cooked dinner.

We had hot dogs, edamame, and some Sun Chips. And then roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. Kai nearly ate his all up before I thought to take a picture.

We slept well in the tent… it was by far the best night’s sleep I had gotten all week as I had had a stressful week at work.

We got up and I got the campfire going. Kai enjoyed “helping” to keep the fire going.

Then we went on a hike on one of the many trails in the State Forest. I chose the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail because the length seemed right for Kai (only a mile and a half), plus this particular trail had 13 numbered points of interest along with an accompanying leaflet that I had printed out at home that explained each of the 13 spots.

Here we are at point #2, standing on the remains of an old railroad bed that used to run here.

At a couple places along the trail, we walked near the Scuppernong River.

The weather was perfect for a hike, with temperatures in the low 70s.

Here we stopped to rest and look at the view.

At the far end of the trail, we found a spring that is the source of the Scuppernong River. The water was cool, delicious, and a perfect thirst quencher.

Here’s a photo of one spot where the water is bubbling up to the surface.

We continued on the hike as the trail looped back around to take us back to our parking spot. Kai remained in good spirits the whole time, never complaining about being tired or unable to walk.

It was a far cry from all the complaining he did in New England. Perhaps that numbered-trail had something to do with it.

When we got back to our campsite, Kai went in the tent and fell asleep for about an hour and a half until we woke him up for lunch. The hike may have worn him out a little bit, but a change in medication this week has also made him more tired during the day. (He fell asleep at school for a couple hours earlier in the week).

In the afternoon, we went for a bike ride.

Kettle Moraine is famous for its mountain biking trails, but we knew Kai wasn’t ready for that. Instead, I found a straight, flat trail.

After traveling less than two miles, Kai started to complain that he was too tired. We hadn’t been biking much this year, so he was probably out of biking shape. It was discouraging, though, that biking remains something that we kind of have to force him to do rather than being something he enjoys. We turned around and headed back.

What he did enjoy, though, was riding back and heading over to a nearby ice cream shop.

After we got back to our campground, we changed into our swimsuits and went over to nearby Ottawa Lake. We had saved Kai’s favorite activity for the end of the day.

The water was cold but that didn’t deter Kai from wading in.

I eventually joined him but didn’t go out too far.

Kai got used to the water and joyfully immersed himself in the water and swam.

Back at our campsite, his second favorite activity was going into the tent, wrapping himself up with his sleeping bag, and playing games with Mom and Dad.

Dinner was roast chicken, and then more roasting marshmallows to make s’mores.

Here’s a photo from this morning shortly before we took down our tent.

We went on one more short hike and found another spring.

Kai enjoyed drinking the cool, refreshing water right from the source.

And that capped off this year’s camping trip.

It was surprisingly enjoyable.

The campground was the best we’ve ever experienced with wooded campsites spaced relatively far apart. Our loop was a 24-hour quiet zone – no music or pets are allowed, so it was peaceful. And the showers were clean and roomy.

Moreover, Kai showed that he could go a couple days without electronics and actually enjoy himself.

Let’s hope that his relaxed mood can carry over now that we’re back in the real world.


  1. That sounds like a very nice little trip! Glad you had a great time ...all three of you! I hope that new med works wonders for him!

    1. Thanks, Betsy. It was nice to get away and not have any battles.

      The change is medication is just switching the time he has risperidone from the evening to half in the morning and half in the evening. Depending on how that works out, we may add, change, or delete; but doing one thing at a time for now.

    2. Well, I hope that works. He may be a little sleepy now, but adjust over time!

    3. He did not fall asleep at school today so perhaps he is starting to adjust.

  2. OMG that sounds WONDERFUL and relaxing
    SO great you were able to go for this time without electronics - I cant even iimagive

    1. I was wondering how he would do as he's gotten so addicted to the electronics, but between playing games in the tent, occupying himself with the fire, and all the all the activities, he managed just fine. Though he was on the iPad for a good long time when we got back. Ha!

  3. There is nothing like the outdoors to lift moods.

    I had never seen a natural spring sprouting from the ground like that!

    That water Kai was swimming in must have been freezing...but he looked happy.

    1. It was very interesting to see the springs!

      The water was really cold, but Kai got used to it. I just kept shivering. :)


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