Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hunts Pond Camping Trip

So.... Tom and I decided to go camping this weekend to test out all of the new camping gear that we bought. We took a half day on Friday and drove through the countryside to Hunt's Pond Campground in New Berlin, NY. The directions were pretty complicated and we took a few wrong turns into the countryside. I have to say that I really enjoyed the drive to and from the campground, despite getting lost at times.

The drive to New Berlin was very similar to the area where I grew up, except there were occasional Caution! Horse and Buggy signs for the Menonites in the community. We passed one farm that had about 5 or 6 Amish-style buggies parked near the barn. I loved peaking at the farms as we passed by. Sometimes, a border collie would run toward our car. We even saw a Great Pyranees dog guarding a chicken coop.

We finally got to the campground just before it turned dark. Luckily, I have a very smart husband who bought easy-to-assemble camping gear. It didn't take us long to set up our tent and gear. We even cooked up some delicious hot dogs from the local food co-op. They were a bit pricey, but they tasted like gourmet meat from a special smokehouse. Mmmmm....

Which reminds me, one of my favorite things about camping is the food. We bought lots of special treats. We woke every morning and cooked up local farm eggs and fresh bacon. We snacked on trail mix with peanut M & M's and ate protein bars. For dinner, we ate the yummy hot dogs and canned veggies. For dessert, there were S'mores and toasted marshmallows. Tom has perfected the s'mores building process. He managed to get the chocolate to melt just right.

During the day, we relaxed in a hammock and read some books that we brought along. We probably would have gone swimming, but we were not familiar with the area and the pond that we were camping next to is not safe for swimming. The bathrooms were also quite far and there were no showers. So, we took care of business in the woods. I had forgotten how to pee in the woods. I was completely paranoid that one of the high-schoolers at the next site would travel through the woods and catch me with my jeans down. Scary!

The first night, we couldn't figure out how to get the camp fire to catch. We spent the evening in the dark with a couple of jar candles. We got to the site rather late, so we went to sleep early. I sat in the dark while Tom left to get drinking water. The dogs were so spooked that Sasha lifted her paw to hold my hand. She was shaking. So was I. Hee, hee.

That reminds me. This experience was fun for the dogs. Sasha has a prey drive and spent a good amount of time stalking a chipmunk whose sole mission was to taunt her. She would be sleeping and it would run in front of her like a cartoon character. She would tangle herself in the trees attempting to chase the little critter and he would chatter to her from the tree.

By the second night, Tom had read his camping book and figured out how to feed a camp fire. We had an awesome fire to build s'mores. As the sun went down, we read books, ate snacks, and played some Friends trivia until it was dark. At sundown, we let the fire go out and climbed into our tent. I forgot to bring a pillow, so I propped my soft suitcase up under my sleeping bag. It helped with my comfort level a lot. In the middle of the night, I woke to Sunny vomiting several times in the tent. He had eaten bark scarps off of the ground and it caused him to vomit. He's ok and we cleaned up the mess.

The next morning, we made our farm breakfast and packed up. By 11 am, we had all of our gear loaded in the car. We chatted with the warden before we left and told him that we had a great time. Then, we headed back to Syracuse. I enjoyed the trip back so much. We passed the same farms and the sun was out full force in the sky. The people who lived in the rural towns were out and about doing farm chores and going for walks on the dirt roads. Most people waved when we passed in our car.

Living in the countryside is awesome. The pace is so much slower and people seem so much happier. There are no grouchy jerks in SUVs honking their horns at the farm animals in the road. This trip totally recharged my batteries. When I came back to my house, I felt lighter and more refreshed. Tom and I plan on camping more often. This was an awesome experience!