“No Regrets 2020” – All Boys Camping Trip to Iowa

Why camping at Iowa or why a 2020 trip at all?
We had sky-high expectations from our yearly boys trip called ‘NO REGRETS’
, thanks to the adrenaline powered run-ups of NO REGRETS 2019 and NO REGRETS 2018. But considering the C-factor of 2020, we decided to have a 1 night camping trip in our neighborhood state of Iowa. After hours and hours of planning (and convincing), we were able to set course to the safest possible camping trip around 3 hours away from Naperville – to give us a flavor of a road-trip.

Our Trip from Naperville

July 25 – 26, 2020
Road Trip
Naperville to Solon, IA.
200 miles, took around 3 hours.
Sandy Beach Campground
GPS link
$10 for one day.


Day 1 – The Beginning

On a scorching hot summer day, we left in our beasts – Explorer and Durango R/T.
Squaw Creek Trail

The first stop was a short hike in Iowa before we were to hit our campsite at Sandy Beach, IA. We set our GPS here and went for Squaw Creek Trail.

It was scary and enthralling at the same time, to be out of Illinois first time after March.


Pit stop on our way to Iowa.
We reached Squaw Creek Trail in Iowa at around 1 PM. The heat index was 103 and it felt like a furnace outside but the spirits were high (pun intended) so we still went ahead with the original plan of ‘easy’ 2.5 mile hike on the Squaw Creek Trail.

The views from the parking lot were encouraging.


The trail-head showed a glimpse of a light hike under the shade.


#MildlyInteresting – There were directions for horses too.


#Awkward – you don’t see these every day on a trek.

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After about a mile and a half, we reached open fields, where the views were beguiling but the sun was back-breaking.


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There was a small stream swarming with butterflies to offer some reprieve.


A short clip to capture the moments offered by the ‘butterfly stream’

And, that’s where things started to turn south. We lost our way and went into some private area accidentally. More importantly, we lost the shade as well and were left to the mercy of fire spitting sun.


And just like that, an innocuous 2.5 mile trek became a 4 mile stretch. The perspiration systems were working overtime and it felt like all the pores in the body were leaking at max capacity.

Other friends in our posse started to get edgy.

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I tried to find some alternate paths but no luck..

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We gave up on the trek finally and ambled through the main road, by this time drenched in our sweat.

Towards the last stretch, we were like zombies, wandering aimlessly in the middle of the main road..

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A mixed feeling of accomplishment and NEVER AGAIN, as we finally reached the parking spot.

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Sandy Beach Campground

We finally reached the eponymous Sandy Beach Campground nestled by the Sandy Beach on the Coralville Lake.

The campsites were large and offered plenty of shade, felicitously.

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We got the campfire and tents setup swiftly.


Time for the finishing touches on the grill..

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and just like that, the luminous moon-light took over the reigns from the angry daystar and unending conversations took stronghold.


At mid-night, we went for a stroll on the nearby Sandy beach. It was quite like the old times to stroll in the dark under the pristine moonbeams.

Day 2 – The Return

The morning sun seemed eager to fry us from the get-go.


and it made us wrap up quickly, not before we had breakfast accentuated by lovely tea (which took forever because of an issue in the gas burner) and a quick session of frisbee.

Lake McBride Spillway

The thought of doing one more hike was appalling and cringeworthy to most of us but after much coercion (and taunting), we reached a consensus to do a small hike at Lake McBride Spillway (it is a small waterfall jettisoned between Iowa River and Lake McBride).

We set our GPS here.

The hike to the spillway went through a long causeway.

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An eagle was on the prowl nearby.

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There was a small hill adjoining the spillway.
#MildlyInteresting – a 127.50$ fine!

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The views from the hill were a pleasure to the eyes. There is a boat rental place here which was emanating all these boats.

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The people kept on coming.

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The spillway was expansive and seeing so many people using it was refreshing and petrifying in the world of Covid-19 so we stayed away from the spillway and went back from the adjoining hill. Another day when the pandemic is behind us, we hoped to get on the ground with our kids.

Here is another detailed write-up on the spillway, very informational. You can check out the 1.5 mile hike here, it was closed when we went.

The causeway in all its entirety!


We had a river otter accompanying us while walking back..

That’s it.

We were glad to get our “NO REGRETS” tradition going. Next year would be more adventurous and exciting, hopefully without the pandemic-that-shall-not-be-named.

Till we meet again.

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Update: 8/14:
After more than 2 weeks of isolation, we declared our trip successful and felt a sense of relief and accomplishment that we were able to get something out of the wretched 2020 🙂

Please share your thoughts on this post or your own ‘No Regrets’ Trip ideas in the comments section.

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