Back to the Coon Hunter’s for Camping


Hello and welcome to the blog.  Earlier in the week we narrowly dodged a big snowstorm that dropped a bunch of sloppy wet snow on the Decorah area.  It caused some problems with the trout streams.  Even around here the creeks looked like Willy Wonka’s chocolate river.  Nonetheless, I’d wanted to get some outdoors time even if not fishing was involved.


Bear Creek Café… next to Bear Creek.


Primitive camping weather was forecast to be comfortable again.  With a low of 42 degrees, sleeping should be a joy.  A recent visit to a health care professional ended up with me being advised to camp or fish (or both) once a week.  Sounds good to me!

So the trip on Monday was back to the Coon Hunter’s club in extreme northern Jones County.  Steve and I had gone there for a fish fry during Lent.  For only $5, the camping was dirt cheap.  It turned out to be a gem.


Joan (pronounced Jo-Anne)


On the way there I realized that the butter had been forgotten so I had to detour to a nearby gas station in the town of Wyoming, Iowa.  (15 minutes east of Anamosa)   Bear Creek Café is in that town and the owner is a sweet lady.  It’s difficult not to stop for an ice cream and great conversation.

Joan (pronounced like Jo-Anne) is the owner.  For $2.50 a person can have a good sized ice cream sundae; I chose red raspberry.  Joan came over and we sat and talked for about a half hour.  We know many of the same people and had a wonderful chat.  I think it brightened both of our days!  This will be a regular stop, for sure.


An old bridge over a muddy creek.


I arrived at the Coon Hunters at about 4:00 and went for a nature walk.  The property is in the middle of nowhere along creek grounds.  They also have a small golf course through the woodsy area.

While walking, one large wave, orange mushroom was spotted; I didn’t realize until later that it was edible.  The ground was rugged and walking worked up an appetite after an hour or so.



Supper was a pork stew made from canned pork — the kind they give away free at the food pantries.  The can of pork meat contained about the same amount of fat as a stick of butter.  I removed the pork to a bowl and it was possible to discard nearly all the fat, reducing the grease by 90% or so.


Though it looks pretty for the picture, keep the stew in the can. It stayed hot for a long time. Man was it good!


The meat and juices were returned to the can.  I added about a cup of frozen mixed veggies and some dehydrated onions.  A bit of water was introduced as the veggies finished cooking.  A couple of reduced salt, brown gravy packets thickened it all up.  The food was really tasty!



The cooking for dinner and breakfast happened in a pavilion.  It was so nice to spread out and be able to have the laptop open and enjoy a hot meal while watching TV.  I stayed outside till dark and viewed an episode of “The Magician”  (a 1973-74 era TV show starring Bill Bixby as a magician jet-setter who lived in an airplane and solved crimes).  I also watched an episode of  “T.J. Hooker” and “Barnaby Jones”.

The grassy area where I camped. There is also an area across the street.


Just before turning in I had to use a restroom.  As luck would have it the back end of the coon hunter’s building has a couple of bathrooms (in an unlocked portion of the building) that are inside the building and accessible any time during camping and golfing season.  There are few pleasures in life than can compare to a $5 campground with a clean, private “throne”… and nobody else around.



Breakfast was delicious.  I’d brought along some [leftover] steak, eggs, and potatoes.  The grocery store had this hash brown casserole (made by Reeser’s).  I added bacon bits and warmed it on the griddle – no work.  The eggs were a problem though.  They were in a plastic bag which got dropped, shattering the shells.  By poking a tiny hole in the bag, it was possible to drain the raw eggs onto the griddle and scramble them.  That food hit the spot.

So the little camping trip was very enjoyable.  Unfortunately, the 42 degree low temperature turned out to be 32 in the valley.  But the slumber was amazing.  Nothing will relax as gently as a good night of camping.

Take me, Daddy!


Today is Thursday night.  It’s the end of another week and life has been challenging lately.  I’m going to therapy twice a week for a damaged arm (rotator cuff) as well as very bad anxiety and depression.  Things will improve eventually.  Nothing is permanent in this world, including the tough times.

In the meantime though, there will be some kind of outdoor activity one of these days.  With the weather better now, Jenny might get to come along on the next trip.  She doesn’t like the ride but loves the outdoors!

Take care and thanks for visiting!   Safe and happy camping!

Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

4 Responses to Back to the Coon Hunter’s for Camping

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Sounds like a great camping trip. Pretty lawn area so nice a green.
    I don’t now when I will get to go camping we are still fighting these awful winds. Predicting 40 mph gusts next week Hopefully after that is over it will be over.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! I’m sorry that I didn’t get back to you earlier. For some reason the email isn’t working and notifying me when people comment. I hope you get to go camping soon! — VT

  2. my_vantasy says:

    What a relaxing trip. I think you know that I am a firm believer in the healing power of nature, as well as pet therapy. I need to get it together and plan some camping trips. Although The Little Dog and I spend time together, we would both benefit from some nature therapy. Keep up with your therapy appointments and hang in there, my friend!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! Sorry that it took me a bit to get back to you. The email component on my blog has not been working properly for some reason. Might have to do some updates. The Little Dog takes good care of you! I had an appointment today and there’s a lot of work that’s going to happen. The county is going to help with various issues regarding physical and mental health…. They might even get me paid to go back to school. There are many great possibilities. I’m going to post again soon. Take care!