Michigan Dunes Camping Trip — Part Four

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The Essentials

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I’m near to wrapping up my camping series. There will be one more post after this one. But first, Part Four… all about our little home away from home, otherwise known as Campsite No. 10. And all about the amenities we brought with us or received when we got here.

My favorite essential of them all was our set of three green similar-but-unique camping mugs. Each green, but in a unique hue. Each a size and shape of its own, but still appearing as though they belong together. Like us!

There’s a special story behind them. Well, maybe not special. But they were sort of the starting point of this whole trip, and they found their way into the lives of us three months before we even went on the camping trip last October.

I believe it was June, so about three months prior, Isaac and I’d been walking around our neighborhood during the sponsored-by-a-local-real-estate-firm community garage sale day in our sub-division. We were not having much luck at most houses we stopped at. But one came along… or rather, us upon it… that turned out to be a gem. We sort of hit the jackpot, in garage-sale-find terms, anyway.

Isaac found a K’nex Roller Coaster set for under $3… still in the original packaging, so we knew none of the pieces would be missing. He begged me to buy it for him, but little did he have to twist my arm, because I was going to buy it anyway. I was more excited that we found it than he was. You see, those sets are a good $30–$75 (depending on the set) brand new. We had ordered one to give him the Christmas prior, but it never came because the set we ordered ended up selling fast and was out of stock by the time our order went through. While we did get a refund, I was still disappointed that we could not give him the set, because he had requested it for Christmas. There we were, months later, and I found one (that might have been even better than the one I’d ordered months earlier) for a small fraction of the price!

I also found a beautiful orange mid-century modern vase at this garage sale. I’d been looking for a large version of it for years, but was content to find the miniature version.

But what I felt the most excited about as we walked away from that sale were those three green mugs. I bought them in faith. In faith, because we had only ever talked about going camping… something we had wanted to do with Isaac since he was born and had been talking about doing for a couple of years… ever since we felt he was old enough to enjoy it. But it just never worked out. When I bought the mugs, we owned no tent, no sleeping bags, no camping stove… pretty much no camping gear whatsoever. But when I saw those three mugs (in my favorite color, no less), all sitting there on that one-man’s-junk-is-another-man’s-treasure stage, it was as if our three names were on them. One each for one each.

And buying them felt like the sort of purchase that is an act of faith… a first step, really. I thought of the message of that old baseball movie favorite. If you build it, they will come. If you buy the mugs, you’ll go camping. Somehow. Some way. Never mind that nothing else is even remotely in place for you to camp this year. Just buy the mugs. You’ll go camping.

And so I did. And, then, so we did… three months later.

If I were to write here about all the ways our plans to go camping were thwarted throughout those next months between June and October, buying the mugs would seem even more like an act of faith. Twice canceled plans could not keep us from finally making it on that trip, though. Everything eventually worked out for us to go. And when we finally did, my favorite thing to pack was that set of three green mugs. I’m certain I was smiling as I placed them down in the bag of supplies.

They served us well while we were there… coming in handy for everything from coffee to soup to hot chocolate.

As for everything else, we tried to keep it simple. But, man… was our car packed! Think sardines in a can. There was not one corner or crevice left to add a single supply to. Of course, returning home was another story. The food was mostly gone. And our car was one boot lighter… the boot that a visiting raccoon took in the middle of the night, likely because Isaac spilled hot chocolate on it while sitting by the fire just before we went to bed that night. We must have spooked it off while the boot was still in its mouth when we heard rustling outside our tent and Brac got up to investigate. Good times. Those were great boots, too! I hoped Isaac could wear them throughout the coming snowy months. Lesson learned. And lucky for us, there are no bears in Michigan!

Anyway, I took a lot of photos of the boys whenever we were back at camp… not off on trails or dunes… just hanging out where the creature comforts (fire pit, food and sleeping bags) were. Our place to rest and play… Camp Site No. 10. And a ten it was!

Quiet. Private. Beautiful. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer location…

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Our last day there (morning two) was rather chilly. We woke up to sunny skies, but we were too cold to get out of our sleeping bags. So we played Go Fish and snuggled under the sleeping bags for a while longer.
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Then it was time to pack up for the three-hour trip home. Our time together was sweet, but I think we were all ready to get back to home life… to real beds and furnace-warmed rooms. While Brac and I packed everything away, Isaac sat in the sun to keep warm and played games on his device.
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Oh, and with one last camping snack for the road… his favorite, Doritos.
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Only one more Michigan post to go now that this one is done… another mostly-nature-related post with pictures that reveal how the lake and dunes looked during a beautiful sunset on our last night there.

Despite a rough go of it traveling there (Isaac got car sick twice… it got pretty ugly there for a bit because, remember… sardines), a thieving raccoon, and some other minor hiccups throughout our adventures, the time we spent there together was just what we needed. Happy campers, you might say. We look forward to doing it all again… with more camping insight from lessons learned, a new pair of boots for Isaac, and our three trusty green mugs.

Part One of our camping trip can be seen here, Part Two here, and Part Three here.