Lake Norman & Mooresville

Now that I've been on the lake, I like it

After contributing to “Neighbors of Lake Norman” for almost two years, I feel I must come clean about something: I have never actually been on the lake – that is, not until last weekend, when I ventured onto the water in the humblest of crafts, the paddleboat.

Now, I think I can call myself an official Lake Norman resident. And some might call me crazy, not because of my jaunt onto the lake, but because of how I chose to spend my Labor Day weekend: I went camping with my family.

If you're a regular reader, you realize that my family is very young. Phil and I have a 2-year-old son and an 8-month-old daughter. My mom rounded out the family circle that descended upon Wildlife Woods Campground in Sherrills Ford last Friday night. We decided that our first experiment with family camping should occur no more than 15 minutes from our home in case of disaster – which, with two in diapers, can come in many forms.

Turns out the dogs were more of a problem than the people, but I'll get to that.

We set up our tent Friday afternoon, and Phil had an open fire and burgers going by dinnertime. Our site had a picnic table and as we sat down to eat, we began to hear all manner of frogs and crickets in the boggy woods behind us. Little Win looked at his nana and said, “What was that?”

Unsatisfied with the adult explanation of the forest noises, and of late obsessed with monsters, Win added: “It's going to come eat my food!”

Luckily, nothing emerged from the woods to lay claim to our burgers and chips. The rest of the evening was pleasant, a typical campsite scene: s'mores, a quick trip to the bathhouse, and bedding down in our sleeping bags.

Then the howling began. I will here apologize to our neighboring campers, for as soon as our Jack Russell terrier realized that she wasn't going to spend the night at home, she began to voice her displeasure. Phil exited the tent and barked at her through the door of her crate, and she eventually settled down.

Both kids slept through the night. I awoke to find my half of the air mattress deflated. Too many s'mores, I guess. But it was nice to be lulled to sleep by katydids and awakened by the sunlight.

We spent most of Saturday and Sunday sampling the available activities at Wildlife Woods. We went fishing both days, visited the game room and swimming pool, and, as I mentioned earlier, rented a paddleboat and took turns with Win out on the lake.

We packed up our gear on Sunday and went home to rest. I was glad to finally be able to say I've been out on the lake.

Wildlife Woods is located off N.C. 150 just east of N.C. 16. Most of the campsites are permanent sites for recreational vehicles, but there are several tent sites along the waterfront, as well as hookups for weekend RVers. The campground has boat docks, basketball and volleyball courts, carpet golf, horseshoes and weekly bingo. The campground also hosts bands regularly in the activities center.

For more information: 704-483-5611.