Warren Dunes Camping Trip

On Friday the Fillmore gang headed down to Warren Dunes State Park for a fun filled camping trip. Warren Dunes is a usual camping spot for the Jon Fillmore family during the summer and I can totally see why. Lake Michigan is a short hike over the sand dunes or through a rich green forest.

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On Friday the Fillmore gang headed down to Warren Dunes State Park for a fun filled camping trip. Warren Dunes is a usual camping spot for the Jon Fillmore family during the summer and I can totally see why. Lake Michigan is a short hike over the sand dunes or through a rich green forest. The campground is also lovely. You are surrounded by lush trees and plants. Each spot is enormous in size, so you have a lot of space. It’s a big campground. There are two separate loops with a general store in the middle. What made me laugh the most were all the trails to the bathroom block. Little hidden trails wound their way and connected all through the campground. It was rather confusing in the dark. I kept saying the trails reminded me of a rabbit warren.

Cassie and I stayed in Uncle Jon’s and Aunt Elizabeth’s camper trailer. Aussies, this camper trailer would have been like nothing you have seen before (unless you’ve had the privilege of camping in America yourself). The trailer slept 10 people in total. It came complete with two couch areas, two bedrooms, a kitchen table area, a kitchen, and fully equipped bathroom. The sides of the trailer even mechanically expand to create extra room. It really is quite awesome and in other words we were glamping (glamorous camping). Cassie, R.J, Uncle Jon, Aunt Elizabeth and I, all arrived early. When Uncle Joel and Aunt Kim arrived later that night they set their (equal in size camper) up next to ours. We officially had a small block for the whole Fillmore gang.

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We spent the first couple of days bike riding around the campground and the park. I rode another tandem bike with Cassie. I am glad to say that we have officially nailed our start. We can now easily glide off into the distance. I loved riding the trails and the forests.  When the sun is shining the inside of a forest always looks an incredibly fascinating green colour. Austin showed us his famous fishing spot. To find out exactly why it’s famous you really must speak to Austin. Anyway, Austin and I would catch little fish and then Cassie would feed them bits of sausage and then we would release them back into the water. It was a blast!

 

Catching and feeding fish:

 

On Saturday afternoon mum brought Grandma up who was also joining us on the camping trip (although she stayed in a nearby hotel). Some of us (including mum and Cassie) spent the afternoon hiking the beach trail. This was the trail that lead to Lake Michigan over the sand dunes. The start of the trail occurs at the bottom of an ENORMOUS sand dune that I still remember from when I was ten years old. It looks exactly the same. From the bottom it doesn’t look very high, but let me tell you it is! I remember arguing with my cousins as a kid saying “Oh come on, it can’t be that hard to get to the top.” I was horribly disappointed as I discovered it was in fact extremely difficult. This trip I knew better. I knew it would be tough getting up, and it was. I did successfully make it to the top however and I got to look over the glorious view. Behind me lay endless tree tops and a steep path that lead into the forest (the dune I just climbed). In front of me lay hills of sand with trails running through them. Behind these hills a big, blue, glittering body of water sat, aka Lake Michigan. The trails running all over the dunes reminded me of rabbit warren again. Okay so sadly this didn’t click until the end of the trip, but I suppose all these ‘rabbit warren’ like trails is why the park is called Warren Dune State Park.

 

We quickly started to head on down the path towards Lake Michigan. Some of the cousins ran down dunes as fast as I they could. Gosh they looked tiny when they were at the top of these hills before running down.

 

 

When we arrived at Lake Michigan I dove straight into the deliciously warm water. Lake Michigan looks like an ocean. It’s actually the fourth largest fresh water lake in the whole world. It’s basically a freshwater ocean. This made the water even warmer because your body expects it to feel cold like the ocean but it’s delightfully warm. I could have spent hours in that water. I swear I’m part mermaid sometimes.

 

Our journey back to the campsite was equally as exciting. We took the forest trail and hiked through, what looked like and smelt like, a rainforest. Everything was just so green and the happy animal noises made me also feel happy. This forest was quite unique though because in it were sand dunes. Parts of the trail was literally a sand trail. It was bizarre seeing sand inside a forest. R.J was our explorer of the trip. He ran up a couple of dunes within forests by himself. As the rest of us came slowly plodding behind R.J was already up and down sand hills that would have taken me at least 10 minutes to climb.

 

 

In the evenings we roasted hot dogs and smores over a camp fire. We also played many games such as ‘ladder golf.’ I really loved playing these games. I can also officially declare I am the undefeated champion at ladder gold. Perhaps that’s why I liked it so much.

 

We also made sure Grandma didn’t miss out on any fun. Uncle Jon devised a ‘granny mobile.’ While the rest of us road bikes mum jogged with Grandma in her mobile chair. We went all through the campground and through some back trails. We also took Grandma to see the big dune I remember from when I was 10. I raced to the top and raced down again like I was just a kid with my cousins. It was so much fun!

 

I thought it was hilarious seeing everyone bike ride with grandma. Kristen said us Fillmore’s are like a mob. We just take over a place where ever we are because there are so many of us. We sure experienced this at the nearby ice cream place when we all ordered ice-cream. My cone was SO ENORMOUS. I am 100% certain there is nowhere in Australia where you could purchase a waffle cone the size of your head. In fact it was so huge and filled with so much ice-cream I couldn’t eat it all.

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We also visited a fun park while we were there. I got to ride bumper cars and watch my family hit base balls. It was quite exciting. The funniest park was when I tried to stop Jacquie from over taking me in the bumper car race. I ended up hitting her flying sideways and then caused a massive traffic jam. Luckily I had so help to get me back on track.

On Monday we had a beach day. The cousins hiked over the sand dunes again to get there. I wore flip flops. BIG MISTAKE. The sand was painfully hot. I got blisters on my feet. But it was still a blast feeling like your on top do the world only to run down the dune to the bottom. We also tried jumping off them too see how far we would get.

I actually spent the entire time in the water. I told you I’m part mermaid. I just had a blast summersaulting through waves and swimming around like a fish. I wish desperately that we had warm freshwater lakes like this back home. Although I was a little bummed I missed out on snoozing on the sand I wouldn’t have given up that water fun for anything.

Sadly Cassie wasn’t feeling well on Monday night so she went home with Grandma and mum. Uncle Joel, Aunt Kim and R.J left on Monday morning. That meant it was just Kristen, Jacquie, Uncle Jon, Aunt Elizabeth and me left. I had a wonderful time with them. We decided to pack up the camper and then head to the beach. (Oh at this point I feel I must mention the delicious food we have had on this trip. Aunt Elizabeth made two tasty crockpot meals, and Uncle Jon had been cooking us blueberry pancakes and eggs for breakfast). So after a long delicious breakfast meal and a fairly quick packing up effort we were ready to go. Us girls biked down to the beach and Uncle Jon met us there with the camper. Today I spent a bit of time lazing on the beach, but of course there was still some water fun. Uncle Jon rented a stand up paddleboard. SUPER FUN! I had never tried it before, so that was really exciting. Apparently I was quite speedy on it. The most fun I had though was with my two cousins. Jacquie, Kristen and I all got onto this one person paddle board. We paddled around in the bay and even managed to stand up. Granted our standing up was short lived and ended up with Jacquie and I falling into the water, but you know what? That was actually what made it even more fun.

We then hit the road with a quick stop a Steak n Shake. Everyone you must try their fries with seasoning (delish) and their Oreo mint milkshake was amazing. I would definitely get both those things again. When we arrived back in Stockbridge it was 7:30 but still blazing hot. I love summer. I was sad my amazingly fun camping trip had come to an end, but I will admit it was nice to sleep on a proper mattress and have clean hair.

Author: Annara Walding

I am an Australian/American living in the Land Down Under. I am a follower of Jesus and enjoy leading others in this path. I am a traveler and explorer. My close friends are all from different countries around the world. I am an outgoing introvert. Right now I am studying at university. My goal for the future is to one day publish a book.

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