You need A LOT of gear to go camping. This pile doesn't even include the two coolers for food and water, the camping chairs, pillows, our bags of clothes, or the dog. We filled the car up to the brim!
It's not that I had a horrible time. I had fun! We went hiking, toasted marshmallows over a fire, and just enjoyed breathing in the fresh air. This was also "car camping," so not extreme in the least. There were nice outhouses available very close to the camp site (with hot running water and showers even!), and you could easily drive to the closest town for food, tourist attractions, etc. We also brought amenities with us like an air mattress and a Coleman grill so that sleeping and cooking was not so unbearable (no rocks and sticks poking you under your sleeping bag or having to hunt your own food and cook the meat over a fire). So this was definitely a nice negotiation between the camping fan and the princess.
I was impressed with the real food we had on our trip! We made steak, broccoli, chicken, zucchini, and couscous! Yum!
Of course we got to see plenty of nature, which is the best part. Here are some photos of brooks/rivers/falls that we saw (we were in Ohiopyle State Park in Pennsylvania).
Here are some photos I took of plants I can identify. I felt very smart that I could name these!
sassafras tree. You can tell because it has three different shapes of leaves: a mitten, a "normal" shaped leaf, and the 3-prong leaf.
This is a tulip poplar tree (I know this because it's the logo for Adkins Arboretum). What big leaves!
This is a baby paw paw tree that was right next to our tent. There was a larger one farther down the road from our camp site, and these little blobs were on the leaves. I think they may have to do with the zebra swallowtail butterflies that lay their eggs on these trees.
Okay, I can't actually identify what type of fern this is, BUT notice the spores on its underside!
While out during the day we would make our own lunches. Here's our menu:
Camping Wrap Recipe
*We made these both days for lunch on our picnics, and they are very easy to make, and yummy!
-Slices of pepper (we used red but any color would do)
>> Just spread the hummus on the wrap, and put the other ingredients in the middle of the tortilla. Wrap it up into a burrito-shape, and voila, you have lunch! We enjoyed mini-pretzels and strawberries on the side, along with water, Capri Suns, and Pepsi One.
Laurel Caverns for a little daytime activity. It's like Luray Caverns, only smaller and without the stalactites and stalagmites.
There was a long hallway (called the king's hall or something like that) and it led us deep into the caverns. There were people repelling against the rocks (you can see a little helmet next to the yellow arrow), and we saw beautiful rocks (with colorful lighting), including this one called Hercules.
On our way back from camping on the last day, we raced down the highway to get to South Mountain Creamery by 4pm, when you can bottle-feed calves! They were so cute! And of course we couldn't leave without tasting some ice cream (they are part of the "Ice Cream Trail" in Maryland)!
But, I will tell you, camping is like working on a vacation. Not working like checking email and sitting in on conference calls (although I had signal, I tried very hard not to use my cell phone during the trip. Well...except to play Candy Crush in the car...). I mean physical work. You want to sleep? You have to put the tent up first. You want to use the bathroom? You have to walk to the outhouse building (which I will admit was actually really nice where I went, but you could end up with a smelly porta-potty that's really far away). You want to eat? You have to set up the fire or propane mini-grill first. All of the things that are easily accessible to you in day-to-day life is suddenly work to prepare before you can even accomplish what you wanted to do.
I am already looking forward to taking my boyfriend to our lake house and showing him how I like to vacation.