Well, not really. But I'm home, and REALLY happy to be here.
I packed up and left on Saturday. My original thought was to leave on Friday, after work, but that never works out and I'm just sick of rushing around and making myself crazy trying to leave now now now. Screw that. I'm on vacation, I'll go when I'm good and ready. Of course, if that were totally true, I'd have probably stayed home. The cabins aren't very clean, they don't have air conditioning or decent lighting or comfortable seating, you have to bring EVERYTHING with you... The woods are FULL of poison ivy, mosquitoes and ticks... It is HOT... The water is HOT and really dirty... I don't care for fishing, I enjoy skiing for about 20 minutes, I can't park myself in the sun for hours on end... This is just not my idea of a good time.
That being said, I really needed a vacation from here, and I REALLY needed some family time. So I packed up everything (including the kitchen sink) and away I went.
I have no idea what this bug is, but I found it on the hood of my jeep when I stopped for gas. I pried it off as gently as possible and put it in a bush by the gas station.
I arrived about 5:00 am on Sunday morning, the kid at the gate had no idea what was going on but there was a ranger still around who gave me my key and off I went to the cabin. Usually, to unload into that particular cabin, we back the vehicle down the gravel hill almost to the door but I was pretty convinced that I wasn't going to be able to do that quietly and there was no point in waking up the whole cabin area that early so I just hoofed it up and down that darn hill four hundred million times. *pant* *gasp*
Here's some perspective what everything looks like. It's about a mile from the gatehouse at the entrance of the park to the cabin area.
My brother's cabin and the cabins that the Amish were staying in:
From my cabin down toward the lake:
The dock, in its current configuration:
The lake, from the dock:
We do swim from the "beach" by the cabins but typically, we take a boat to the swimmers beach, where there's sand and a gentle slope.
I have no idea what kind of bush this is, but the butterflies LOVED it. So did the bees, and there were enough ball-like blooms to keep everyone friends.
Note the bee sipping from one side, and the butterfly on the other.
It doesn't show really well here, but this butterfly had a dual set of wings, and could hover like a hummingbird. Really neat!
I tromped about a foot from the path to get these pictures, and found a tick on my thigh when I was finished. Not venturing from the path puts a damper on my adventuring!
The shore is all rocks - the best skipping stones you've ever seen in your life. I am by no means a champion stone skipper, but even I can manage 7 or 8 hops with these flat, thin, smooth rocks!
A wander along the shore uncovered treasure... Blackberries! These weren't ready, but I found some further on that were quite yummy.
Anyone home? I didn't find the spider, but the web was interesting.
Continuing my trend, I found some interesting remains to poke at as well.
And, of course, the most prolific native flora.
This is the third year that we shared the cabin area with Amish on vacation. They arrive in (as my brother calls them) "Yoder toters" - the huge conversion vans that they hire to get around, towing sizable trailers. There are several related families and they stay in two cabins. They fascinate me 'cause hey, they're normal people! Who'd have thunk it, right? And watching an Amish gentleman sit in a camp chair, drink a beer out of a can and chatter on a cell phone is the trippiest thing ever. They bring two fishing boats with them, with all of the bells and whistles. And then we have the Amish electricity - they run extension cords from the cabins down to the dock to charge the fish finder, the troll motor and other electronic goodies on the boat. This nearly gives my dad (the master electrician) a stroke every year.
In addition to the butterflies, mosquitoes and ticks, there other bugs. MANY MANY other bugs. Some were cool, like the cicada that hatched on the wall of my porch and the imperial moth that was on the door another evening. (It was larger than my hand and while it looks dull in the dim security light, a flashlight showed that it was yellow with pink and cream markings - really beautiful!)
I did not take pictures of the millions of white bugs. (They look like mosquitoes, but they're fuzzy and white and don't bite. They do, however, die by the THOUSANDS and coat every surface under a light. This is why the bedspread stays on the bed - to catch them and keep them off the sheets.) Or the ants. Or the beetles, silverfish, roaches, house flies, earwigs, etc.
Some quality time was spent on my brother's boat, lounging, skiing, tubing, sunburning the living crap out of myself...
My new best friend:
Friends drove down on Friday, and we managed to get into the water for about 10 minutes before the storm rolled in... And then it poured for several hours so they took their cranky toddler and went home but I enjoyed the thunder and the relief from the heat and humidity! The storm made quite an entrance.
It was clear for Saturday, when we packed up and headed out. This picture doesn't do it justice - you could see the sun sparkling on the water through the trees.
Check out is 10:00 on Saturday. I got up at 8:30, and was completely packed and ready to go by 9:20. My parents took HOURS. We were supposed to have brunch on the way out. I sat and waited for them (because they kept insisting that they were done except for odds and ends) until we finally left the cabin area at 10:30, and they still had to get the boat on the trailer. So, the plan was to meet at the marina. At 12:15, I called them because the cook was putting away the breakfast stuff. My mother decided that she wanted to take a nature walk and that we would wait. Gah! So it was after 2 pm before I managed to get on the road to come back here.
But, after several years, Mom has finally figured out that it's her and not the rest of us. She told me that she remembered things perfectly but that she was wrong. No shit, Sherlock. On July 3, she decided that Dad and my brother were going to come down and swim instead of Dad showering and getting ready to go out for their wedding anniversary. So she sat down on the dock and waited for them until after 6:30 - when they were supposed to leave for dinner at 6:00. If dad says anything to her, she gets really snappish and bitchy and he's just given up, so instead of going down and getting her, he just made a sandwich and waited for her. She went up to the cabin, all pissed off 'cause they never came back down and she didn't believe him until she went and checked with my brother and got the same story - no swimming, you were supposed to go up and get ready to leave. She's been doing stuff like this for YEARS - usually to me - and she is always absolutely convinced that she is right. There's a quote somewhere about a woman who is frequently wrong but never uncertain and I'd swear that person knows my mother. Anyway, she's got a doctor's appointment next week and she's said that she'll ask the doctor about it.
All in all, I came back here more on edge than when I left. We had more than one talk about this place not being someplace I'd ever go on my own and why my parents are so insistent on coming back year after year after year after... So we'll see if we come back next year. If we do, I'm going to do what my brother and my parents did this year and bring an air conditioner down with me. I'm also going to bring down lamps. And maybe a chair. Or maybe I'll retreat back to the comfortable cabin a mile down the road. But this is the only real vacation I get in a year and I'm not going to subject myself to this again.