A fourth of July weekend can provide so many opportunities to get together with friends and family and enjoy all that Mother Nature gives us. But camping at the Crazy Horse Campground in Brodhead, WI will also give you some other opportunities that you might not necessarily have bargained for. My husband, daughter (7 years old) and I decided to descend on my aunt and her husband camping over the fourth. Driving into the CrazyHorse brought a smile to my face, seeing all the families gathered together enjoying one of the best weather weekends we’ve had for awhile. To my right, I noticed their small petting zoo, a bouncing pillow, and the skateboard park. There were also canoes and tubes lined up waiting for lucky guests to rent them for an excursion down the Sugar River. Glancing quickly to my left I noticed the small, clean miniature golf course just beyond the driving range and batting cages and then the pool and lounge area. Next came the store and the playground with kids laughing and playing. The staff seemed to have a prevalent appearance throughout the park making me feel secure and confident that if I needed something I would be able to get it.
My family and I spent a few hours sitting at the perfectly sized campground equipped with a picnic table, electric, running water, and an unfortunately small fire pit. But all in all, I was completely satisfied with what I had seen. Although this was not my first trip to the park, it had changed ownership and I wasn’t sure if that meant any changes and if there were to be some whether or not they would be good. I was also then made aware that for a minimum charge of $7.00, the children could buy a bracelet that allowed them unlimited access to the bouncing pillow and the skate park the entire weekend. There was an example of a change for the good. Again, quite pleased with the campground thus far. The pool was clean and the area surrounding it pleasant to sit and watch or just relax by. The small store on the grounds had almost anything you could ask for and the staff was friendly and welcoming. After spending the day at the site venturing up to the pool and playground and of course the bouncing pillow, the next day called for something more adventurous. Canoeing.
Neither my husband nor I had been canoeing before but there was a group of friends going so we decided to give it a try. The cost for the “two-hour” canoe trip was $27.00 which didn’t seem that bad considering we would be making a memory that our family would never forget. We gathered with our friends and headed to the area to await our ride to the drop off spot. We could see that there were quite a few different groups of people gathered in different spots awaiting the vans to pick them up. When the first van came into the area, we could tell that he was taking the people that were going tubing so we didn’t move, but rather sat there waiting our turn. After all, the woman at the counter that took our money told us that no reservations need to be made and that all we had to do was come over and it wouldn’t be long before we were off on our adventure. After several trips with the van picking up people going on the tubes, I moved to a small shade tree over by the petting zoo area and waited some more.
I knew that we had rented seven canoes and had twenty people with us, so I could be patient. When a van finally pulled in to take canoes down, we got excited as it had been nearly two hours and the children and adults had almost lost all our patience. But, just as the excitement came it faded as another group of people rushed to the van and got in before we were gathered up. My aunt, who had by then lost all her patience, went over to the van to inquire about why it wasn’t our turn. Unaware of who is next or how long people had been waiting, the driver seemed to be at a loss as to what to do and immediately called for help. It was at this time that my aunt walked away hoping things would be resolved soon and decided to walk over to the woman who took our money. As she walked up to the counter my aunt overheard the woman tell someone that if they wanted to go canoeing it would only be a 10-15 minute wait. Laughing, my aunt wished them good luck as we had been waiting two hours. With more and more people becoming aware of a problem, the resolution was solved within fifteen minutes. The van that usually took people tubing would be switched out and we would be on our way.
So finally the twenty of us were off on our adventure. The water was nice and calm when we started before we switched over to the river just beyond the dam. Due to the heavy rainfalls we had, the waters gushed over the dam and looking down at the river I saw lots of trees down making for an interesting ride. We had not been in the river more than three minutes when we got stuck upon a downed tree and just as we were able to get around it the boat bounced off of another downed tree and we capsized the boat. As I had previously stated this was my first time in a canoe and I wasn’t aware that it was customary to grab hold of the canoe when it goes over, so instead I had my life jacket (in my hands of course rather than on) and my oar. I was moving down the river trying to fight the current when my husband asked me where I was going…like I had any choice in the matter. Finally, we were able to meet up on an embankment and start anew. Fighting the current that constantly pushed us in the direction of the downed trees was a constant as was the ducking before one bonked you on the head. At one point we stopped halfway or so at a little island to rest and take a deep breath before we headed any farther. Getting our nerves back, we headed back down the river enjoying the moments when the sun beamed down on us and things were calm. I was just relaxed enough to say that I could do this again, when I saw the people in the tubes. Laughing to myself I wondered how many of those poor, unsuspecting people we would knock off before we ended our trip. Maneuvering around some of them was easier than others as most kept to the side of the river and floated along. Others, however, decided to try to meet up with people in the middle of the river making things a little more difficult. Luckily however we were able to finish our trip (taking more than two hours) without injuring others or ourselves. That night a DJ started the evening and a band finished things off. There were bonfires at different campsites throughout the park. I headed to bed that night knowing that our adventures that weekend would not soon be forgotten, by me or my family and knowing that is what life is all about…making memories to last a lifetime.