My Shangri-La

The walls were closing in on me when I left Milwaukee on September 19th and I hoped a little camping adventure at Ottawa Lake would provide some breathing space. The serendipitous discovery of a little Shangri-La at the Ottawa Lake Campground walk-in sites #335-334 will bring me joy for years to come.

I had been camping at Whitewater Lake for the first 3 nights of the trip and met Pati there on Sunday morning. We visited the Whitewater Prairie

and took a hike on the Ice Age Trail


and then she offered to help me setup camp at Ottawa Lake. Lindsay and Connie joined us shortly after with a bottle of wine to compliment Pati’s and we got the dinner and the fire started.

Lindsay and I squinted through the wall of buckthorn blocking the view to Ottawa Lake and I was determined to cut a corridor through it the very next day. “Cut it all!” Lindsay exclaimed. Pati called it my Shangri-La, and with The Springs right across Hwy ZZ it definitely qualifies as a mystical, harmonious, earthly paradise; I could definitely be permanently happy there!

Here is the view from site #335 as I was just getting started.

And after…



I harvested a downed red oak for firewood


and enjoyed many nights playing guitar by the fire as the music passed through me like the wind.

When I wasn’t cutting buckthorn or sharpening my chains I did a little sight seeing of a couple of nearby sand prairies and got in a few yoga asanas at the marl pit bridge. I hit a stretch of phenomenal weather; warm, sunny days and dark, starry nights.



I don’t know what this plane was spraying; that is not a normal contrail.

I returned to site #335 for 5 more nights the following week and was fortunate that no one was camping at site #334, the other walk-in site, so I had the opportunity to cut the buckthorn blocking the views of this site too. Here is how it looked before I got started.

and after.



I followed the trail that runs along the east side of Ottawa Lake north past site #334 and found this crystal clear stream flowing from the spring that is on the North/East side of Hwy 67, across from the Sky Dance dog kennels. This is yet another spring source ultimately feeding the Scuppernong River.



I’m really looking forward to returning to Shangri-La for another week at the end of October!





See you at The Springs!

15 thoughts on “My Shangri-La

  1. Fantastic post! I’ve never camped at the walk-in sites at Ottawa but have been back there to see them a few times, including last year when I found that trail along Ottawa Lake. (I always knew the trail was there but never realized how far it went.) Its actually a nice little trail.

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