Summer Tradition
Camping was a splendid summer treat for my family. We would pack up our trailer and set off to thrilling new locations. Swimming, hiking, and roasting marshmallows by an open fire – what could go wrong?

Beer Can Swamp

After a three hour drive, we spotted the sign for the campground up ahead. It’s exact appearance I don’t recall, but we turned onto the rickety dirt road and began our drive into the unknown. About 100 yards later, a sign was posted on a tree “Almost There!” We kept going. The potholes jerked the camper. It had just rained. We kept on. More signs scattered the road. By the fifth sign we were somewhere between laughter and tears – where were we going? Three miles later we saw human civilization again…well, sort of. Shanties and huts dotted the landscape. A swamp littered with beer cans screamed, “Family Friendly!” A broken rake hung off of the restroom facilities. Cracked in half, a pool table sat next to the rec hall. We all looked at each other in horror. Camping is always an adventure, but we were not prepared for this kind of wonderland!

Moving On
After laughing through our tears, Mom insisted we find another campground. The car trip had worn down any familial patience we had but my siblings and I formed a brilliant coo against remaining at the trashy campground. Even still, my father was not prepared to leave. We coaxed him for a decent thirty minutes before he finally went into the main office and requested a refund. The slight embarrassment that ensued was not nearly as painful as staying an entire week in a danger zone.

Exasperated, Dad exclaimed, “We are driving south!” as we packed back into the truck. Lesson Learned? Never trust online pictures when picking a campground.

Mississippi Palisades State Park camping, hiking, and backpacking - Chicago Adventure Travel
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