But this week we got in to a conversation about all of the 2nd best campsites we had been forced in to that turned out to be really awesome experiences. The worst campsite fail for us occurred while kayak camping. Imagine paddling across an entire lake to find happy hikers busy making camp, and then having to turn around and scout a site from off shore while paddling nearly the entire length you had just come. That turned out to be the best of the best runner ups for us.
We were paddling Celina Lake in Hoosier National Forest and were headed to the campsite on the bluffs looking over the entire length of the lake. You all know the one I’m talking about. Click here for more information if you don’t. Alas, as we paddled closer, we saw the hustle and bustle of a group of Boy Scouts and their leader. Congratulations for them, but camping anywhere in that vicinity was going to be a no go for sure.
Scouting out our own spot (pun intended) actually led us to one of the most enjoyable spots we ever had. We followed a side creek, paddling through an enormous patch of water lily pads into a winding, shallow creek. At times we had to walk our kayaks through the shallows to press on. Overhanging tree limbs and sandbars made our adventure like a jungle exploration as we looked for a clear patch of land to pull out on.
We finally found the old path we were searching for to a suspected spot we had read about once. There the space opened up and we found the established spot we had been searching for. The stone fire ring sat beside the gentle stream and rock overhangs of cave-like formations and found ourselves secluded in an old growth forest area for an absolutely delightful night. We cooked steaks and vegetables over the fire, complete with toasted garlic bread and dessert.
Several other 2nd best campsites have turned out to be winners as well, which just goes to remind us that in life, sometimes we get our heart set on a certain expectation and can fail to fully appreciate the moment at hand. What we build up in our minds as what has to be is replaced by something we couldn’t even have imagined or is the thing we most needed that we didn’t realize until it was offered up to us as the only choice. Plan B can often surpass Plan A if we keep an open mind and let it.
I am finding that same philosophy has resonated with us during this covid pandemic as well. Baring the devastating experience of getting the virus or having a battle with the virus, the stay at home order is certainly not Plan A, but we have tried to be present in the moment. Doing so has rekindled our appreciation of our home as a safe haven and has improved our pacing of life. Instead of rushing 90 miles an hour through the day, we revel in the time together to notice the little things and appreciate the gift of one another and social connections. We have paused on the rat race of work to narrow in on the most important aspects of the job and the strengths of our coworkers. So while it isn’t the anticipated spring, it is certainly showing itself as a way to appreciate the unexpected and savor family and friends a lot more than we would have.
*Update- once again the dreaded 2nd best campsite dilema occurred. Headed in to our favorite spot on Celina Lake, we watched a gentleman canoe right in ahead of us and set up camp for the weekend. But in that fiasco, we discovered a new waterfront spot where the sunset pictures were amazing! :)