Monday, October 08, 2007

A camping we will go...

Now that David has a federal job, he gets Columbus Day off!!! Yeah!!! =) So we took Seth camping for the very first time. We got a hot tip on a nice campground about 3 hours from here, a little west of Danville, on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's called Rocky Knob campground, and the reason it's so great is because it has plenty of trees and few other campers, largely due to the fact that only one bathhouse has lights, and none of them have showers or hot water. Those cushy campgrounds with hookups and lots of lights get filled up pretty quickly on lovely fall weekends, but this place wasn't full, especially in the tent sites. And hey, with nice crisp weather, I can go without a shower for a few days. (She says, as she scratches her oily scalp. Bubble bath in her near future...) But, we got there on Saturday afternoon, pitched the tent, and had a lovely hike along a beautiful creek on Sunday morning. We cooked over the campfire two nights, had plenty of s'mores, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

The best part was that all of us enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. See that lovely smile on my little man's face? It stayed on for most of the weekend. He loved riding on David's shoulders in his baby backpack. He squealed and beat David on the head for at least the first 30 minutes of our hike. He slept as well as he did at home! No kidding! We put him in his baby tent in the back of our minivan. It was pleasant in there, even on a cool night with the windows cracked. I know he was a lot warmer than we were the first night! We didn't figure out the trick to keeping warm on an air mattress is to put one sleeping bag under you and one on top until the second night. =( He had a total ball, though, so I my nervousness about taking him camping was completely relieved. I'm so glad we tried it. It's a nice plus that he can't crawl into any hornet's nests yet. Nighttime in this campground was very different, though, from what I've experienced in most campgrounds, especially after most people went home on Sunday. It was so dark that the animals decided to crash around the woods making creepy noises. I swear there was a buck calling for a mate that I was deeply afraid would run into our tent. And there was a weird bird that sounded like a psychotic baby crying. I was pretty afraid to get Seth and feed him by myself at 2:00 a.m. I almost made David go with me. Maybe I like crowded campgrounds more than I thought...

David and I are pretty minimalistic campers (notice I didn't say primitive, wilderness, backpacking campers; they're a different breed entirely.) We try to camp with as little gear as possible. (If you want to hear about what I think the essentials are, comment, and I'll oblige.) The air mattress is my biggest luxury because I am incapable of sleeping on the hard ground. I've tried. Neither of us like to put away tons of stuff after camping trips, so this technique keeps it to a minimum. As a result, we don't have a camp stove. This means that we have to get creative with cooking over a campfire. My friend, Fran, gave me a great recipe for campfire beef stew. We've finally gotten the trick of it down, and I'll put it in a separate post. I highly recommend it, unless you don't mind roasting weinies on coat hangers both nights. =)

3 comments:

Meredith said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe and photos. My husband has been planning a fishing/camping trip next month, and I've been in the dumps about taking our 15-month-along. It would be so much easier to stay home!

Sarah Shingler said...

copycat :)

We make those tin foil packet meals over the fire every time we go.. but we call them hobos and we leave out the water and add a little butter, salt and spices, and grape tomatoes squashed by hand for extra moisture.

Bethany said...

Yum!!! Camp cooking is great! I'm glad you guys went. Its such a great family activity. My family of six went for 10 days every year. My best and favorite memories are from those times.