Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Camping at Pilot Mountain

My husband and I haven't been camping in years. Not since two drunk bubbas at Tyler State Park spent thirty minutes saying, "I love you!", "No, I love you!" to one another. Which wouldn't have been bad had it not been somewhere in the vicinity of one in the morning. And they hadn't been yelling. Between that and the cold ground, hubby said that's it. No more.

He almost changed his mind about ten years ago. We'd moved to the Carolinas and discovered hiking, and the thought of spending a night outdoors once again held an appeal. We purchased a two-person tent we found on sale along with two mummy, or cocoon, sleeping bags. All geared up now, we camped approximately zero times. The tent didn't even come out of the box.

For reasons I can't remember, late this past summer, we decided it was time to go camping. I found the tent, and we took it out back and set it up.

Somehow that little tent had shrunk as it wasted away for years in the closet, and as we stared into a tiny space we knew we wouldn't be comfortable sleeping in, we decided it was get a bigger tent or forget about camping for good.

Not long after, we found a great deal on a two-room tent, and this past weekend, we drove to Pilot Mountain State Park and camped for two days.

We had a great time. A hilarious one as well from the start when we realized our new, roomy tent was bigger than the tent pad.

You can't see it in this photo, but the tent is hanging over the side in the back.

Despite that, a roomy tent made for comfortable camping. All went well until it was time to start a fire.

As I mentioned earlier, we haven't been camping in years, so we've had little reason to start a campfire. We tried using leaves as kindle. We tried little branches. We tried paper. But no matter what we burned, the firewood we purchased from the park would not ignite. Thankfully, my husband had purchased a small gas grill for the trip, so we had enough heat to cook our food. But a nice cozy campfire would have been nice!

We spent the next day hiking to waterfalls at nearby Hanging Rock State Park. When our legs refuse to walk any further, we headed back to the campsite. A nearby camper, a brother in the Lord who took pity on us, gave us a Duraflame starter log. That night, we make fire!

As it turned out, the firewood we'd purchased was newly cut and was still moist. The foam and popping noise it made as it finally ignited soothed our bruised egos.

Another hurdle we had to overcome was learning to sleep in the cocoon sleeping bags. In a regular sleeping bag, when one wants to turn onto one's side, one just turns inside the sleeping bag. During the second night, I finally figured out one must take the entire cocoon sleeping bag with them if one wants to turn. I felt like a little worm. But I was grateful for that bag in the middle of the night when temperatures dropped into the 30s. It may have been constricting, but it was extremely warm.

Overall, we had a fantastic time camping in the woods, cooking over an open fire, hiking to waterfalls, and just spending time together outdoors. I'm pleased to report my husband said this will be one of many camping trips to come. And with scenery such as this, I'm grateful.

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