I'm back from the great outdoors! What a fantastic (albeit wet and cloudy) weekend camping in the Catskills with Dad and Melanie. It was so great to get to spend time together doing something we love. I'm pretty sure if you first met me, you wouldn't peg me as a nature-loving, granola-chewing camper aficionado. But I do really love it. No makeup, no phones, no tv. Just a campfire and nature all around. It's nice to simplify sometimes. Here are a few photos of our weekend together.
We stayed at Bear Spring Mountain (not to be confused with Bear Mountain) in Downsville, NY. The campsite was really great. Very remote, friendly staff, clean facilities, and very well-priced! I took the train to Middletown, NY where Dad and Melanie picked me up and we drove another hour and 20 minutes to the site. They had already set up camp earlier that day, thankfully. We got in late so it was basically unroll your sleeping bag and fall asleep. In the morning though, I woke up to see our beautiful campsite nestled in the trees.
|^^ My tent|
|^^ Inside my tent. Thank goodness for fold-up cots. Sleeping up off of the ground is a huge upgrade.|
|^^ Dad & Mel's tent|
|^^ Home sweet home|
Don't worry. We weren't roughing it too much. Clean bathrooms and clean, private showers were not far.
Best part of the trip though, was meeting my new dog-brother, Gunnar! He's a 4 month old Goldendoodle and is the sweetest, calmest puppy I've ever encoutered.
Even though it was a little wet from the night's rain and fairly overcast, didn't mean we couldn't enjoy our surroundings. When I was a little kid, I use to make my family go on 'nature walks'. We'd walk around outside and point out little finds in nature. Here's what we found on our 'nature walk'...
|^^ Does anyone know what kind of flower that is? They were everywhere! I love their shape and color.|
|^^ First sign of fall.|
|^^ Dad says this is made from worms or bugs that slide along the wood. Nature's engraving system.|
|^^ I mean, it was basically a scene from Fern Gully.|
|^^ FYI, that's what poison ivy looks like. Dad learned in boy scouts, "leaves three, let it be".|
|^^ Moss grows on the north side of the tree. I learned so much. I'm ready for The Hunger Games.|
|^^ My daddy's so strong he can lift an entire tree!|
Gunnar was so good on our hike! Jumping into creeks, tackling hills, and staying close to us. What a good boy.
The rest of the day was spent setting up our fire. Cooking dinner. And warming up.
Dad and Gunnar would scavenge for firewood...
And I would break it down with my ninja-like moves. Who needs an axe?
Dinner was scallops and green beans. Really though, a grill basket and a grill cage (cage? I'm calling it a cage) is essential for campfire cooking.
The rest of the evening was spent warming up and chatting around the fire. So peaceful. BTW, did you know the best way to dry your shoes is to put it on top of a hot rock on the fire? Proven fact.
And the best way to keep your pants out of the mud is to tuck them into socks. And the best way to get your feet up and warm is an ottoman made of rocks. Important life lessons.
And the best way to smother the fire is to keep poking at it. Dad has fire-maintenance A.D.D.
Sun's down, s'mores out.
Our second day wasn't just overcast, it was raining off and on all morning. No bother, just hug a pup and play some gin inside your tent. This is when you want a small fold-up table that fits inside the tent. Dry and solid.
|^^ A blow up air mattress in the tent also helps for maximum lounging.|
The rain stopped so we headed to the lake for some kayaking. Even with the cloudy skies, the lake was still beautiful.
Gunnar is a pro at kayaking. How adorable is this?
Lunch was burgers on the open flame. Dinner was steaks and potatoes. Whoever said you don't eat well camping hasn't camped with Dad and Mel.
And happy to report that we perfected the s'more on our second night. One person roasts marshmallows while another person balances a graham cracker and chocolate over two skewers. So much better to have warm, melted chocolate, than that bite from the Hersey Bar. You can thank me later.
And wouldn't it be just our luck, that when we woke up Sunday morning to tear down camp and head out, the sun finally came out! Hilarious, Mother Nature. Hilarious.
Hard saying goodbye to this face...
...but I was only a few hours away from this face.
Thanks for a great weekend, Dad and Melanie. Some wonderful memories and we survived some mud, rain, and clouds. Can't wait to do it again next year!