By the time you read this, I will be in the middle of one of the most highly anticipated weeks of my entire year, barring Christmas - camping.
Last year, my sister and I instituted the inaugural Boyle Sister Camping Extravaganza, in which we spent several days getting eaten alive by black flies in between exploring the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and eating s'mores until they came out our ears. We had so much fun (except for the black flies) that we decided to make the trip an annual event, this year press ganging a couple of my friends into joining us.
Luckily, they're as crazy as I am, so it should be a fun week.
This year we are heading west to explore the Porcupine Mountains and thereabouts, which I've never really seen before.
It's not like any of us are super outdoorsy, Woman vs. Wild, "let me navigate my way back to civilization with only a pocket knife and a compass" types. But we all have enough family camping trips under our belts to know how to build a fire (and how to put one out), operate the camp stove, set up the tent and to lock our food in the car to prevent visits from any neighborhood wildlife.
When confronted big projects, like a camping trip or a week full of important deadlines at work, I usually fall back on making lists.
Ever since we started planning this trip back when snow was still on the ground, I've been sort of mentally running through what we would need. In the past few weeks, that has developed into me jotting down items and equipment on scraps of paper, which I usually forget and then have to start over again.
My list making is usually fairly organized, except when I'm losing the scraps of paper, with different categories for meal ideas, needed equipment and clothing items. Planning everything out helps me feel more secure, ready to take on whatever it is I'm doing.
Plus, if you're camping, you don't want to run out of necessities like food, so having a complete shopping list before you go is a good call in my book.
Fail to plan, plan to fail, as they say.
As a kid, camping was at least a once-a-summer deal for my family. We went all over the place - New York State, Michigan (before we lived here), Tennessee. We swam, roasted hot dogs, stayed up late to look at the stars, all the usual camping stuff. Two particular memorable trips for me were one campground where we had to canoe to our campsite and another where we rented a cabin that smelled irresistibly like campfire smoke no matter how much we kept the windows open.
When I was in high school and college, however, I sadly went through a phase of refusing to enjoy camping, so I didn't go. For whatever reason, I had a few years where that didn't appeal to me any more, but I have since seen the error of my ways. I am beyond excited for this week.
And what better place to go camping but the U.P.?
It's an adventure, a fun challenge. A chance to do something different. A chance to eat chocolate and marshmallows for dessert every night. Who better to do that with than some of my best friends?
Editor's note:?Mining Journal Ishpeming Bureau reporter Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.