Tuesday, June 3, 2008

First Camping Trip of 2008

I’m not a huge camper, but I have done it to go to music festivals and stuff like that. This past weekend I went out to the George Washington National Forest for a little camping trip. We had tagged this weekend for the last month as a target for a small trip, but the weather looked iffy all of last week. Boyfriend was thinking of canceling, but because I’ve been in some really sh*tty, sh*tty weather before, I ok’d a little rain. The NOAA forecast didn’t look too bad.

I didn’t have much time to stop and rummage through my own camping gear to pull stuff during the week. The construction in my apartment prevents me from really pulling everything out and going through it carefully. I made a point of grabbing my headlamp, coffeepot and thermos. I also grabbed a set of gloves, hat and scarf. For some reason, I just had a bad feeling it would get chilly at night. We pretty much stayed up till 2am packing the car, getting groceries and other preparations. This was our first camping trip together so it was a learning experience.

Saturday morning we woke up early but I misunderstood something boyfriend asked about washing a pair of jeans so we had to wait for them to dry. As soon as they were ready, we put the dog in the car and hit the road around 9:30, a half-hour behind schedule. The weather was kind of sunny and it smooth sailing. We made a stop in Woodstock, VA for gas. I got a Southern Chicken sandwich and a soda from McDonalds (not as good as Chik-Fil-A), but boyfriend got an awesome slice of NY style pizza for $1.50 in the middle of nowhere. (Actually it’s I-81 at VA-42 in Woodstock. It’s the pizza place next to the Shell on the east side of 81.) Till we got to the forest everything was great. A few places boyfriend already knew about were occupied but we found a good spot eventually near a river with a firepit and log carved out as a couch. (Complete with cup holders!) It took a while and we didn’t get camp set up till about 2:30p. A little later than I think he would have liked, but c’est la vie. We weren’t able to traverse to some better camping areas without another off-road vehicle following us, or a winch, so we had to make do.

The weather held out all night and the near full moon was amazing. The moonglow off the water was gorgeous. Boyfriend was great about foraging for firewood and we started a good fire going for a weenie roast. I put two potatoes in foil to put in the fire and soaked some corn in water to cook in the fire later. It was one of the first times I’ve ever had to manage cooking on a fire completely on my own. (Usually an expert camper friend is there to guide the process.) The potatoes need about 2-3 hours and the corn should have taken 30 minutes, but I couldn’t stick them deep enough into the fire (no long reach tongs), plus we were impatient. But it all ended up really tasty anyway.

Sunday morning was really cloudy, but the rain wasn’t too bad. We cooked eggs and sausage patties for breakfast and then struck camp as the rain went from a drizzle to full rain. We got out of there pretty quickly since we had most stuff packed up from the night before, just in case. Got back to DC by late afternoon. The sun came out and we were able to open up our wet gear and air it out!

Approximate budget:

~$80 for gas (2 tanks in an off-road vehicle with crappy gas mileage)

Groceries ~$40

Excellent yummy pizza $4.50 = 3 slices!!

McDonald’s lunch $4.50

~$150 total for the weekend. Not too bad. Since boyfriend did some of the grocery shopping and bought the first tank of gas, I can’t really pinpoint exactly what we spent, but it was a pretty cheap weekend of fun and adventure. I got to wear my fancy hiking boots while fording some small rivulets. Hooray for Gore-Tex! There weren’t too many bugs either since I kept covered up and we used little bug spray.

All in all, a good trip.

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