Yesterday, I came home from my camping holiday exhausted. Why? Because the hardest part of camping is setting up and taking down. To fully appreciate this statement, you have to understand that we camp in a tent, albeit a large one, without electricity. I use an adapter in my car to power-up my electric pump to blow up the air mattress, but otherwise, everything we have is propane or solar powered. We use the barbecue and the gas stove to cook, a lantern for light at night, and always have a campfire in the evenings. When it’s really cold–which it wasn’t this time, we have a tent heater too.
Setting up takes time, and in the heat we had on the 6th of July, we had to take our time. When you set up, you can do that, especially if you camp in the early summer when the days are longer. You can unpack the cars, get the tarps out and set up the tents, have a brew or two, even have a quick dip if you’re fortunate enough to have a water site. Sadly, taking down is not as leisurely a thing. First, you have a deadline. Technically, you’re supposed to vacate the site by eleven in the morning. Secondly, packing the cars is more difficult because you don’t have time to organize things the way you did. Thank goodness Troy was there to help us and take home the humungous tarp we have. It would have been a stretch to try and put it in the car! 25’X40′ is a lot of tarp to handle! Finally, the vacation is over, so you don’t have the excitement and enthusiasm to fuel you.
What made this take down more tiring than usual was the fact that we had a picture-perfect day–just as we did on set-up, and in the heat and humidity, I just can’t move as quickly as I could. Maybe it’s time to reconsider tenting.
Other than take-down, the vacation was idyllic. We had some rain to be sure, but other than a fierce storm on Wednesday night, the weather was great. Truth be told, with the exception of an incredible gust of wind that I thought might bring the tent down, and an impossible amount of rain, the prelude to the storm made the whole thing worth it. The sky was aglow with cloud-to-cloud lightening that lit up the sky, and with the grumble of thunder in the distance, I felt transported into a scene from a WWII movie. Everything seemed surreal. The best part? I have tons of material for my next book!
We have been camping at Higley Flow for many years now, and I used the area in and around the park to create the town of Pine Falls, the location for my second book, In Plain Sight. Anyone who lives in and around that part of New York state will recognize landmarks and roadways. I hope if they do, they’ll let me know about it.
Nothing can beat the beauty of the Raquette River, and we went out in the canoe several times, admiring the landscape and the ducks that call the river home. There was a small family of Canada geese who came by to visit as well. We loved watching the children jump into the river from a rope suspended in a tree on the bank opposite our campsite. We were also lucky enough to see a number of deer in the park, including a doe and a new fawn.
On the final two days, we were joined by my daughter and her family. I don’t think Troy, her significant other, knew what he was getting into, but he was a great sport about it all. The kids spent hours playing in the water, collecting rocks and of course playing on the new park play structure and jumping from the rope. Canoe rides, kayak rides, and smiling faces. That’s why I go camping. Holidays refresh you–even if you come home tired.