A planned camping trip landed at the absolutely perfect time for me. Four days after my book came out on Amazon, I left my laptop behind and went with my husband, in-laws, and kids to Wyalusing State Park. We spent the weekend hiking around the park and canoeing on the Mississippi. It. Was. Awesome.
Being 100% unplugged from internet/social media was such a blessing. It was so nice to not have anything book/blog related to do. I brought my kindle for reading at bedtime, but other than that it was a low tech weekend. For anyone wondering, Wyalusing is a beautiful state park in the Southeastern corner of Wisconsin. It rests on the bluffs above where the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers converge. We really loved the 2.4 mile hiking trail that went down to Big Sand Cave and Little Sand Cave. Big Sand Cave is large enough that you can actually climb down into it, while Little Sand cave is more of an overlook to a little waterfall. I love all the gorgeous colors in the sandstone.
Another worth while hike goes along the bluff down to the Keyhole rock formation. If you are not afraid of ladders or heights (and are not traveling with little ones) you can climb down one ladder and then climb up another into Treasure Cave. My mother-in-law stayed with our children while my husband and I climbed up to the cave. I remember making this hike in my childhood, and I think I must have been braver back then . (For what it's worth, the cave was every bit as high as I remember.)
I think the highlight of the weekend for the whole family was the six mile canoe trip on the Mississippi. I was nervous because I have a toddler, and I didn't know how well he would do being contained in the boat. Luckily, he and his big sister sat side-by-side behind me - mesmerized the entire time. We saw turtles, blue herons, and bald eagles. There were piles of empty shells along the shore that we guessed were left by river otters. We watched trains, river barges, and houseboats. They loved every single "big wave" that came from passing motor boats. Despite the dark sky we stayed warm and dry, and ended the trip with everyone in good spirits.
The pair of books I am currently editing (Totem and Summit) take place in Wisconsin. This camping trip not only served as a much needed weekend "off," but also as a "world building"/inspiration trip. The caves, pools, valleys, and trails are all part of Ellery's world. If you ever get the chance to visit I'd recommend taking it; Wisconsin is a beautiful place :)