Monday, August 11, 2008

There's a First Time for Everything!

This weekend was my first real camping trip. I know, gasp in horror. Question my American citizenship. I've heard it all. But seriously, before this weekend, the only camping I'd ever done was in my uncle's backyard a few years ago over 4th of July weekend. It really only consisted of sleeping in a tent. We ate and bathroomed and showered in the house. The point was, it was cheaper and easier than finding a hotel room.

So this weekend our friends the Cookes invited us to camp with them at Cunningham Falls in Thurmont. It was an incredibly fun time and a great first camping experience. I have to say I really learned a lot from this trip. And lucky you, I've decided to share some of those lessons with you.

Lesson #1 - If it looks easy in a magazine, it probably isnt.
Since you may recall that Josh and I are doing the South Beach diet, we had to choose our food carefully for the trip. So I spent a good part of Friday preparing some delicious kabobs for one of our dinners. I based my kabobs on a recipe in a magazine. Since this was the first time I was using the recipe I didn't really know what to expect. In general the kabobs were simple to make. You chop up some different veggies and some chicken, and poke them onto a skewer, right? Well not so if one of the things you're chopping is corn on the cob. It looked so nice in the picture, but in reality, trying to cut a corn cob is like chopping down a sequoia. I don't recommend it.

Lesson #2 - S'mores don't hurt anyone.
One thing we said we wouldn't hold ourselves back from this weekend was real campfire s'mores. And we didn't. I think we both had two each night. They might have been the best food I've ever tasted. Not having had any sugar for an entire week, the taste of a gooey melted marshmallow with gooey melted chocolate sandwiched on a graham cracker was more than I had hoped for. It was perfection and worth every calorie. Come to find out, when we got home, Josh had still lost a few ounces, and I was just the same :o) By the way, we're back to being strict this week and then will be able to start having whole grains and berries on Friday... wahoo! They never sounded so good.

Lesson #3 - If the map doesn't show how far it is, you should drive instead of walk.
Alright, so this one sounds like a no-brainer, but it's kind of funny anyway and brings me to some pictures. We woke up Saturday morning and wanted to hike to the falls. We had a map of the grounds but the falls weren't quite on it. Nevertheless we set off into the woods following trees marked with yellow spray-paint. This was not your average beaten path. We're talking about watching your every step for giant rocks and logs on a path that was sometimes not much wider than your two feet. It was at least a 30 minute hike over to the falls.... downhill all the way. You know what that means. Here's a photo from the hike:

You can see the huge rocks and logs, and the skinny little path behind Josh. Fortunately we had perfect weather for this activity. The breeze was chilly if you were sitting still and kept you just cool enough for exerting yourself on a nice hike. Doesn't he look like a man in his element?

We got to the falls and there were tons of people everywhere. They became the challenge instead of balancing yourself on rocks to get across the stream. The falls were not as impressive as I had imagined, barely falls at all, but we took a few pictures nonetheless. After all, we'd hiked all the way there.

Josh and I facing the falls, so they aren't visible in this side-view shot of ourselves. But there we are being cute.

In this picture the falls is behind us, but you can't really tell because like I
said, they're barely falls at all. Plus we're in the shade and the falls
are in the sun.

Here we are at the top of the falls sitting beside the water as it gently rushed over the rocks.

Lesson #4
- I'm not in shape.
After our hike to (and up) the falls, my quads were begging for mercy. I actually wasn't too bad off though. I could feel it, especially on the way back down the falls, but I wasn't gasping for breath or anything. That is, until we started our uphill hike back to camp. It's not just like walking an incline, think really steep stairs. One giant step up after another, onto rocks, over logs, you name it. There were moments I thought they'd just have to go on without me and leave me there to die. It was somewhat embarassing, especially considering the fastest of us was Laura who is in her second trimester of pregnancy (she did not climb up the falls).

Lesson #5 - Camp is quietest during the day.
After our adventure at the falls, we returned to camp around 11:30 am. Laura was beat, so she went in the tent for a nap. Andy and I read magazines, and Josh dozed off listening to his ipod. After a bit, Andy went into the tent and crashed too. I stuck it out as the only one awake for a little while, and around 1:00 figured I might as well catch an afternoon snooze myself. Truth is, I slept better those three hours than any other time that weekend. It never occurred to me that campgrounds would be a bunch of little driveways with hundreds of people all around you. You hear them at all hours of the night talking, laughing, playing music, and walking to the bathroom. During the day however, people are away from camp doing activities making the campgrounds very quiet. We slept until 4:00 when we decided it was time to go fishing...

This is the very pretty lake where we found the most perfect little spot at the edge of the woods to go fishing.

Josh found an awesome rock to fish from -- and looked good sitting there, so I took his picture :o)

Laura and I perched ourselves on what honestly looked like "Pride Rock" except it wasn't hanging over a cliff. We sat there and talked about many girlie things.

You can't really tell in this one, but Josh is making a sad face because he didn't catch any fish and it was time to go back to camp for dinner.

Andy caught something small but decided to "kiss and release" :o)

Lesson #6 - How to make foil-pack meals.
We returned to camp after fishing and we were ready for dinner since we had napped through lunch time. Laura pulled out all the ingredients and we just started throwing delicious things onto sheets of foil. We closed them up and threw them over the fire. In a short bit we had some amazing dinner. I couldn't believe something so good could come out of so little meal preparation. It was fantastic and I loved it. As it got dark we played games and then made s'mores. The boys had a fun time building the biggest fire they could to use the rest of the firewood. It was so nice and toasty. Downside: everything smells like campfire.

On Sunday morning we didn't really have a plan, but were all woken up around 7:15 by some children riding very rattly razor scooters down the gravel road. Since they couldn't get too far from their campsite, they just rode up and down the street right in front of our site. It wasn't worth it to go back to sleep. We just got up and started putting things in cars. Before we knew it everything was packed up. We decided to just hit the road and were home by 9:30 am. This worked out great because we had Lacy's birthday party in the afternoon and were grateful for the time to unload our car and take real showers before heading to a family function.

Today I pretty much just did laundry and some online shopping. I need new posters for my new classroom :o) Yes, I am getting excited. Tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday I have new teacher orientation. I'm not excited about it, but feel obligated to go. It will be an extra $150 to get the school year started. I will let you know how it goes. Oooh, and speaking of that... Friday was the end of week 1 of our diet, and even though we indulged a little over the weekend, when I weighed myself this morning I was down 5 lbs. Here's to hoping for five more by the end of week 2!

If you'd like to see more pictures from our weekend, you can always check my picasa page:

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you!