By Theresa “Resa” Leppert
What an awesome weekend at Geode State Park! Our first event for 2022 was a great time. We camped at Geode State Park near Danville/Burlington, Iowa. This is a beautiful park with a gorgeous lake that was recently drained, dredged, and rebuilt.
What was interesting, though, was all the grassy areas were…..wet. I mean spongy wet. Many of the power posts and fire pits had standing water around them – so they must have gotten a lot of rain prior to our visit?
We were a small but mighty group! Paula B. from St. Louis, MO, Dina W. from Minneapolis, MN area, Laura S. from Blue Grass, IA, and me! We had a blast, and I can’t wait to camp with these ladies again!
The weather forecast was grim.
I’m not gonna lie – we were really concerned about the weather. The forecast was grim. We were expecting a lot of thunderstorms and rain. We were determined to make it work, though!
I was all ready at my hostess site. I had our Quickset by Clam screen tent set up with the storm walls on and the guy lines all solidly staked down. One of our attendees, Laura S., brought along her 10 x 10 Canopy with one wall, and I added another tarp as a second wall. Added on additional guy lines and stakes. We had the propane fire pit all ready to go since the ground around the pits was just too spongy for chairs.
And then almost nothing happened! Well, almost. We watched the radar closely – and we saw these big storms headed our way, and then the storms would dissipate right before getting to us. I mean, this happened FOUR TIMES. We have decided that we four ladies together have magical powers to dissolve thunderstorms! <grin>
We did get some rain overnight on Thursday night. It was a light rain for a few hours with a bit of distant thunder. It rained again overnight Saturday for a bit. Saturday day was WAY WINDY, though – gusts up to 45 mph. We took down the shelters before the expected wind and I even folded up my roof top tent just in case.
What a laid-back, easy-going camping weekend!
Thursday evening, I made my famous Fart Stew – a popular soup mix dressed up with Veg-All, seasoned ground turkey fried up with chopped onion and garlic, tomato sauce, and spices. I’ll let you guess why it’s called Fart Stew, lol. Served with buttermilk biscuits.
Friday was supposed to be rainy, so we went into town for a bit of thrifting at the local GoodWill. We all left with a few treasures. The rain cleared off pretty quickly, so we headed back to the campground.
Dina W. had brought along her inflatable paddle board, wanting to do some paddling on the lake. There was a trailhead right by her campsite with a sign directing us down to the beach. The park map showed the hike to the beach as maybe a half mile? Laura, Dina, and I set out to go check it out, to see if she could just carry her board down that trail to the beach instead of driving it there. UMMMMM, NO.
Lordy – there was no way that was a half mile. It was a muddy washed out trail. We had to cross TWO marshy areas and then climb this big hill to get to the parking lot and beach. Having camped here while they were dredging the lake, I knew that that hill was where they dumped all the silt from the dredges. It was covered in straw – as I expect they are trying to grow grass on it?
Geode State Park’s Spider Hill
Anyway, Dina trucked her way on up and stopped at the top in victory. Laura was like “aww, look at all the baby crickets!” Thousands of them. Everywhere. The ground seethed with little black crickets……. OH MY GOODNESS They weren’t crickets! They were BABY WOLF SPIDERS. Millions of little black/brown spiders EVERYWHERE. I’ve never moved so fast in my life. We ran up over Spider Hill and down the other side. Needless to say, we walked the road back from the beach. It was a bit farther that way, but no spiders! It shall forever be called Spider Hill.
You’ll never leave hungry from one of our events!
Friday night potluck was so yummy! Leftover Fart Stew over baked potatoes provided by Paula B. topped with butter and sour cream. Oh, and this amazing salad made by Paula B. Dessert was Laura’s pound cake with fresh fruit and whipped cream for dessert.
Saturday was Laura’s birthday, and our Saturday night potluck was BBQ meatballs and smokies, taters, and more of Paula’s incredible salad, which she graciously made again at our request. Dessert was blondie brownies baked by Dina. I ate so many of them I felt like I rolled back to my campsite, lol.
We finally had a fire Saturday night thanks to a handy little campfire in a can that Paula B. had and wanted to try. Seriously cool item! I need to get one to keep in my GC Box for those times when a real campfire isn’t prudent.
I had two door prizes to give out – a gift basket and a sweatshirt. Dina got the gift bag with her IA-WI tumbler and Paula B. got the IA-WI Sweatshirt I had made.
It’s always a bummer to have to pack up and go home.
Sunday was the sad chore of packing up and heading home. We all had such a fun time. Can’t wait to see y’all again – right back here at Geode State Park.!
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Theresa “Resa” Leppert
Guide, Iowa & Wisconsin
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