Camping the unknown: Honey Creek State Park

This should be interesting.

On Saturday I am heading southwest with Sweets and Zaza to spend the Memorial Day weekend at the Honey Creek State Park in Appanoose County. Why, you ask, will that so interesting? Because it will the first time I have ever gone camping outside of Johnson County, within easy driving distance of home.

I have been wanting to do it for a while, actually — go farther afield than the Res, Kent Park, and Lake Macbride. (One would think it would be spelled “MacBride,” but the B is not capitalized. The park is named after Thomas Macbride, who, according to the park’s DNR webpage, “had a distinguished 40-year career as professor of botany and president of the University of Iowa.”) We have talked about camping in Minnesota or Wisconsin, or going to Pike’s Peak State Park (which I definitely want to do at some point), but we never have. Something has always foiled our plans, though it is not like they were ever close to concrete. They were more tentative than anything, and I will proudly state that I was never the one who backed out or had something come up. Regardless, it has always been on the agenda and this weekend we are finally doing it.

Camping close to home gives me options. Not only can I restock on food, beer, and ice during the day, I can easily pack up and leave in case the weather turns bad, as Mervgotti, Sweets, and I did before being assaulted by hail and 60 mile-per-hour winds a few weeks ago. Necessities and safety are 10 miles away. Honey Creek State Park is 12 miles from Moravia, population 665. Albia and Centerville, which both feature a Hy-Vee, are 24 miles north and south, respectively.

Needless to say, I will be out of my element. And that’s not a bad thing.

Well, I stand corrected. J-Rod just reminded me that we camped at Beed’s Lake near Hampton, so I have camped outside of Johnson County once. But the circumstances surrounding that outing were different. We were in Franklin County for a family reunion and I am familiar with the area; I knew where to get supplies and where to bug out in case of a storm. This time, I am entering the unknown. I am pretty sure I have never been to Appanoose County and do not know a single soul who lives there.

But those facts are not stopping us (as far as I know right now). I am pretty sure they will become a non-factor when we get there. Until then, though, they will continue to nag me.

(Regardless, Honey Creek should be an interesting place. The park is located on Rathbun Lake, the largest lake in Iowa. (Yes, it’s man-made.) Across the lake is the DNR-operated Honey Creek Resort, which I have heard much about. Plus, Honey Creek is around 120-some miles away from my laptop screen, which I need to stop staring at.)

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