I took my daughter camping over the weekend at Hardy Lake State Reservoir near Scottsburg, Indiana. We originally planned to visit Clifty Falls State Park in Madison, but by the time we arrived their campground was full. The park ranger recommended Hardy Lake, and it turned out to be an even better trip than the one we planned. Hardy Lake is a smaller park, but they were having their annual Raptor Days event, so in addition to getting a cheaper campsite, we got to see some cool wildlife.
Josh does not like camping much, and Chris was working over the weekend, so it seemed like a good opportunity to get in some Mom and Maddie bonding.
Indiana DNR has a great state park system, and we try to take advantage of it as much as we can. We snagged a campsite in Wooster Campground, which is the primitive “angler’s” campground. But our site was right next to a wooded path that lead to the modern campground — and came out right next to the “comfort station” bathrooms and showers. So we ended up with the best of both worlds.
After setting up camp, we did a little exploring and then got the campfire started. Because it was just a one night trip, I tried to keep things simple. We brought toasting forks, and cooked cheddar pork wieners over the fire for dinner. We also made some s’mores.
One important lesson: our huge air mattress did not fit through the tent door when fully inflated. We’ve got a small pump that runs off the car battery, but I had to partially deflate the mattress, and then re-inflate it with my breath after I got it inside. So for next time, I’m definitely getting a small foot pump!
Saturday morning, we warmed up by the fire before heading out to enjoy Raptor Days. Maddie’s favorite animal is the owl, so she was thrilled to see a live barn owl up close. There were other exhibits, including live snakes (eek!) and taxidermy. We signed up for a pontoon boat tour of the lake, where we watched an osprey dive into the water to catch fish. It was pretty amazing.
After the boat tour, we did a short 2 mile hike before packing up and heading home. The camping trip may not have gone exactly to plan, but life rarely does. We had great weather, and a great time. I’m hoping to sneak a couple more quick camping trips in this year before the cold hits.