Archive for the ‘camping’ Category

Simple Clean-up

Our Christmas tree was one step up from last year’s which was actually the ficus tree in the living room.  Both had lights.  Neither had ornaments.  What was easy to go up, was also easy to take down.  What surprised me was that no one — not even the grandchildren — said, “Why are there no ornaments on the tree?”  It was beautiful with just lights and a star on top.  SImple.


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What Were We Thinking?

It was cold. Really cold. Now I know why stories of pioneer life mention people going to bed just to get warm.

Last year we had tickets to the Lake Eden Arts Festival in mid October in Black Mountain, NC. Of course, the Great Leg-Breaking put that plan aside for the year. Therefore, we still had tickets left over. They were burning a hole in our collective pocket. That was the last warm idea we had.

Every other time we’ve camped there, it has rained. No, not this time. It was too ever-lovin’ cold. It would have snowed, if that had been the case! Because we were camping in a big meadow, there was no electricity. So there was no hope of even a small space heater. Just two wonderful sleeping bags — rated to 20 degrees. I grabbed my book and little reading light to hunker down inside the bag and read, hoping the little light would put out some more heat. Bruce kept saying, “I can’t hear you.” Of course not, my head was stuffed inside a flannel lined bag. Poor Bruce is too tall to crunch down inside. He had to use the flannel blanket we brought as an after-thought to cover his head.

The next morning I went to boil water for our coffee and found ice in the kettle. Again — what were we thinking?

This was our swan song for cold weather camping. Now that our brains have thawed out, we’re finally thinking again.

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Cloudland Canyon

Bruce and I realized tht it rains every time we camp, which isn’t all that bad.  The sound of rain drumming on the tent is rather soothing.  However, this last time it STORMED — big time — thunder — lightening — heavy rain — all night.  We even got a some rain inside the tent.  It was enough that we had several hours of clean-up the next morning.  Our rugs in the tent needed to visit the dryer in the laundry room.

We like camping — but not when it is hot and humid.  Thanks heavens Bruce brought two small fans which made sleeping more comfortable.  But our last night there I slept with only a sheet over me, which means it was hot.  Normally I’m the one buried inside my sleeping bag.  So — we came home two days early, ready for some AC and our wonderful soft bed.  Bruce’s bad hip had had all the cot “comfort” it could enjoy!  So from now on — three or four days in the early spring or late fall will be our camping excursions.  However, nothing beats Spam and scrambled eggs and grits with fried bread for breakfast.  Yum, yum.

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Camping season is upon us.  We’re headed off to Cloudland Canyon State Park in north Georgia on Monday.  That means we’ve been dragging out the camping stuff from closets and and the shed.  We put things away last October knowing we weren’t camping again until spring.  So out it came this week — the pots and pans and dishes and linens and sleeping bags and tent and screen house and all the stuff in between. We’re planning on staying a week so we’ll have to set up housekeeping.   Truth is — we set up housekeeping even if we’re staying two nights.

We went up to Cloudland Canyon last year after I watched a program on Georgia Public Television about the state parks.  One ranger said his favorite park was Cloudland Canyon in Rising Fawn, Georgia (how’s that for a quaint name?) which to me was the gospel.  We liked it.  It’s a beautiful place.  This time we’re staying long enough to explore the nearby attractions — like Rock City and Ruby Falls.  The weather channel says it will be cooler there than it will be here — duh — it always is in the mountains!   So — the dogs are going to the kennel and the neighbor will feed the fish.  We’ll be in the woods!

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Brrrrr. That was the temperature in the North Carolina mountains last weekend. We had been checking the weather forecast every day before we left so we were prepared. Kinda. We brought all the requisite cold weather gear. Bruce even insisted I go buy some rainboots — thankfully, I did. They weren’t just for keeping out the rain, I discovered, but they also kept my feet warm too. It’s miserable to sit around with cold feet. And — at a music festival, there is obviously lots of sitting around time. We had better tent neighbors than last spring. These people knew to go to sleep at night. Last spring they wanted to talk all night and fight at 3 AM. (Too much brew, perhaps?) Anyway, we’re always amazed that the tent actually does hold in some warmth. Which you don’t know until you compare it to the outside temp. One night, I had to take my reading light and book inside my sleeping bag to snuggle down and read. A bit like being under the covers and reading after “lights out”when I was a kid. It was easy to pack up when we left the music festival campsite. We were wearing most of our clothes.

The last night in the mountains we did have the presence of mind to stay in our favorite lodge, down the road from my brother, rather than try to camp. By then we were ready for a warm bathroom and a steaming shower and a friendly restaurant across the road. We got to visit my niece, Michele, who has moved near her dad and step-mom, with her two little ones. Hugh’s house was jumping with all sorts of critters — both two and four legged on a cold, blustery night. It was a great visit. I’m glad we’ll get to see more of family in the future.

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A Week Away

For us, a week away from home was spent between the north Georgia mountains where we slept snug in our sleeping bags and along the Atlantic Ocean coastline of southern South Carolina where we slept on top of our sleeping bags under a sheet. The music of the Bluegrass festival was great; the waves were equally wonderful. (See Bruce’s blog — Red Clay and Sand.)

I read two books, partly by flashlight. Bruce found me a neat little light that shines right on my page. I can read to my heart’s delight. I would highly recommend them both. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is about the German occupation of the one of the Channel Islands during WWII and its heroic islanders. Prayers for Sale chronicles the life of a young Civil War widow and her 70 years in Colorado in a gold mining camp. I loved the language of each of them. Some people don’t like dialect. I do. Good reads for either beach or mountains.

Thanks to a timely purchase of a fan, we were comfortable, but the heat and humidity of the South isn’t exactly the best weather for camping. This might be the end of the camping for awhile unless we go back to the mountains. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll have a cool summer.

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We got back from our latest camping adventure earlier in the week. Overall, the trip to North Carolina was fun; we were able to set up our camp during a beautiful day, had rain and cold nights, were able to strike camp and move an hour further up the mountains to Hugh’s neck of the woods (literally) during good weather and return home on a sunny day. The rain, in between putting up the tent and taking it down, is incidental. We prepare for it.

However, we didn’t prepare for the music at the Lake Eden Arts Festival  (LEAF) to be sooo mundane. It was totally blah. One group thanked their mommies and daddies for their support. Well sure — they were all too young to drive! Of course, they needed their parents’ help. None of the groups really turned our collective cranks. Totally unmemorable.  There was such diversity that there wasn’t really a theme or any continuity.  Something for everyone can also mean not much for anybody.

So — to make up for the music deficit, I started hunting for another festival nearby. We found a Bluegrass festival in the north Georgia mountains next month. We bought tickets and booked a camp site on the grounds, and even booked Ginger for the kennel. Now I’m ready to tap my toes properly.

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