I’d been wanting to get away from Lawrence for a weekend for a little while and getting a car made this a lot easier. I contemplated going to west Kansas as this was were the things I most wanted to see were, but I decided against this as I didn’t know what the car would be like and their was no mobile signal out that way. Instead I headed to a reservoir only a couple of hours west of me and where there was still mobile signal.
Things did not start that well. I’d identified a couple of possible camping places. One was a free place in a county park and although I found the park I could find no information on camping, or indeed anything else, so I headed to the second park I’d identified only to have a similar problem there. This second site was a State Park and I was used to state parks having marked campsites but, as I found out the next day, it would appear that some Kansas state parks do have “pitch in a field” camping. Unfortunately there was no maps available so I couldn’t even find the field!
I finally found somewhere to camp about one o’clock in the morning – a deserted Corps of Engineers campsite. I wasn’t even 100% sure this one was open or how much it would cost but as the gate was open I decided to just pitch anyway – I needed sleep! Next morning I struck camp as I didn’t want to leave the site unattended if I didn’t want to be there. I later found out that the site probably was open and as it was the off-season was also probably free.
I then went back to the first place I’d tried to camp the night before to do some hiking. I found the trail head and the start of trail but not much else. The land looked like it had been flood obliterating the path. After quite a lot of random wandering I managed to work out where the path must go and headed in that direction. I did eventually managed to pick up the path as it headed inland a bit but quickly realised that it wasn’t maintained any more and didn’t fancy my chances of following it so turned round and headed back to the car. I then did a couple of shorter walks in the park which were much better marked and more enjoyable.
By this time I’d started to get a headache so I decided to head into the nearest town to get some painkillers and then head back and find a campsite. I brought the pain killers and was heading back to the lake when I decided I was being stupid so I turned around and got a motel in town. I was in bed by seven with no dinner and slept to the next morning.
On Sunday I went back to the second place I’d tried camping again to go hiking. The park map was useless and I couldn’t really find the trail and took a guess walking along the shoreline of the reservoir. From the map it was obviously the path went round a bit of a gully and I ended up working my way up the small gully and succeeded in finding the path and a notice board with a reasonable map of the trail system. This notice board was in the middle of the system and no where near anywhere you could start hiking. OK, it was at a junction but I still think there’d have been better places to put it! I did a hike of somewhere around 7 or 8 miles before heading back to where there was phone signal. I phoned my mum for mother’s day went for another short walk and headed home.