Night howlers camp out

It was time to head out again, it has been more than 6 months since we went out camping again. We were in need for a desperate break out in nature. Ideally we would be out camping in the wild. But since the borders are closed and wildcamping isn’t allowed we settled for the next best thing and headed for Camping Maka. This is a very cosy and down to earth camping with a little bit for everyone. It’s located in the province of Luxemburg near the village of Bertrix and has wonderful nature surroundings, wildlife, …
You can camp out there in luxurious conditions with your camper or caravan or go for the more basic setup with a tent and some electricity. Or you can, like we do, reserve a small piece of land at the far end of the camping with nothing. And decide for yourself to bath in the river or take a hot shower. It all depends on the season I guess 😉

The good thing about those wild camp spaces is that you are very isolated from the rest of the camping but you’re not too far away if you need water, wood or a hot shower. So it’s not true wild camping but a fine alternative seen the circumstances. Also a good place to test new gear setups! And probably the best thing is that there are always other kids around who are eager to find new friends and go out and explore the nearby woods. Every time we end up there it takes not more than an hour and friends are made and our kids are gone. We give them Walkie Talkies and when dinner is ready or it’s bed time it’s “Push To Eat” or” Push To Sleep”

We were well prepared, off course, seen the weather conditions: -3° at night and about 9° during the day. The cold nights are not that of a big deal: thermal underwear, wool socks, a merino sweater and cap to keep your head warm. Those things and a cuddly family will keep you nice and warm during the night. Except if you need to go to the toilet… 😁

But the lower daytime temperatures are more difficult to cope with especially when there is a strong icy wind. Setting up your rig to protect you from continuous wind is a good thing. And get a fire starting in the morning – that’s a gift from heaven. I always prepare my coffee in the evening so I just have to put it on the fire in the morning. A campfire in the morning with a hot coffee is the best way to wait for the first rays of sun to warm you up and dry the tent! That is the slow life we’re aiming for: being forced to slow down and live by the grace of light and dark warm and cold.

We filled our days with hanging around, we did a beautiful hike that started at the entrance of the camping: check out Dohan – Hike. Playing with our kids, dogs, staring into the fire, ponder and wonder and enjoying the view next to the river Semois….
Great times during the day….

But nighttime was a whole different story…
This short camp trip was also a test to see how we would manage things with ‘two’ dogs in the car and around the campsite. The car was pretty cramped so stopping every two hours will be a necessity. During the day those two boys were champs around the tent. We didn’t use the leash to keep them near us. They ran around freely and stayed near us all the time. And if they wandered off, a simple whistle and they came running back with a smile on their faces. They’re not stupid, they know who feeds them! 😇

But then came nightfall… And then mayhem started.
Since we are in the middle of the Ardennes in the woods next to the riverbank there is a lot of wildlife going on, during the day but even more during the night. We had the privilege to stand next to a beaver lodge but those fellows become very active during the night. And that triggered our youngest dog member. He barked at every movement he heard in the dark: the beaver, the deer, owls … and who knows what passed our grounds during the night. We tried to calm him down but nothing seemed to help. And it makes no sense of yelling at your dog all night. Maybe it was only for the first night. So we literally did not sleep that night. The next day we were a bit fuzzy in the head but went for the hike. Hoping it would tire the dog as well and make him sleep trough the next night.
Luckily the first other people on the campground were about 300 meters away and I checked with them in the morning, they did not hear a thing. Or at least not a lot. That was a relief: not catching any sleep because of my dog is my own problem but waking up an entire camp is something different.

But the hike brought no relief to the dogs the next night, they barked even more, the little one for an hour, the big one for the whole night. It was again a sleepless night. But this time I felt really ashamed. During the previous day another wildcamper joined our ground with a big Overlanding truck. I felt ashamed all night to ruin their camp experience. As soon as they woke in the morning we headed over them to apologise. They said they hardly noticed any barks. This might have been a polite answer or the truth, I’m not sure. But we decide to leave that day. I wasn’t up for a third sleepless night with a chance of ruining other peoples “quite nature moment”.
Really sad, we hoped to get more out of this short trip or at least a little longer. The days were great but the nights were hell. Maybe our 8 months old pup needs to have more outdoor experience or maybe we have to leave him home on these trips. We’ll see. Things to work out.

Nevertheless the trip gave a nice much needed mental break and we caught up on sleeping the next nights. No harm done!

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