There were great blue herons everywhere, and often you would hear them in the brush. They squawked like some prehistoric beast and one caught us off guard enough to make us jump! The first trail was littered with wild blackberries as well. I've never eaten any in the wild before - always just black raspberries, so this was an enormous treat. Couldn't find any mushrooms this time around.
We did see a turkey though! We walked around a corner and practically ran into it - he must have been 3 feet from us. We all looked at each other in stunned silence, and then he sauntered into the undergrowth. I am still kicking myself for not getting it on film. Capturing a turkey has become something of a mission for me now. We also saw a beautiful doe under the pines, 6 varieties of butterflies, and a really cool watersnake.
I didn't manage to get the underquilt for my hammock done in time, so I brought the less ideal air mattress. It all worked out ok, and I got a good nights rest. The weekend did inspire Arbor to jump on buying a Warbonnet Hammock for himself, and I'm super excited. It can take a month to arrive, and we have an important trip around that time, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it shows up.
I experimented with our first homemade dehydrated meals. I made the Hungarian Goulash and Spicy Vegetarian Rice from the Hungry Hammock Hanger, and will need to keep tweaking things a bit. The potatoes in the goulash never rehydrated all the way, so I think I will try grating the potatoes instead. The rice just had way too much salt for us, but thats an easy adjustment.
We headed down to the docks and joined the Peoria Backpackers and had a ton of fun paddling the lake and getting to know everyone. It was a perfect overcast day, so that it was warm without the sun beating down on us. A few hours later we met up on land for a cookout and got to share more stories with a sincerely terrific group of people. It was such a good time that I can hardly wait for the next meetup! (thank goodness the wait isn't long)