Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fall camping in Green Ridge State Forest

Last weekend we got a break from family and work obligations and decided to take the dogs for a camping trip. 

It feels like forever since we've been camping. While we love our easy Sunday excursions to some beautiful place, there's something magical about getting away overnight. 

We decided to go to Berkeley Springs, WV, one of our favorite towns and one surrounded by forests and protected areas. We were pleasantly surprised to find the town in the midst of its Apple Butter festival, and took some time to check out the booths and buy some amazing apples.

But crowds are stressful for Fozzie, and pretty soon it was time to get ourselves to the woods. Green Ridge State Forest is enormous, and we drove for what seemed like hours on marginal, rutted, dirt roads until after dark, when we finally found a place to pull off. 

We were in the van, so had a thick foam bed and a warm enclosure, but for some reason neither one of us had an easy time getting comfortable or falling asleep. 

Still, as I lay there listening to the quiet, a tremendous feeling of well-being came over me. 












Here I was in a van in the forest, alone with my sweetie and my dogs. 

Far from civilization, my job, household tasks, or family responsibilities. No one knew where I was, and there was no one I needed to email, nothing I needed to do in the morning. 








If I opened my eyes, all I could see was darkness. 

If I listened, all I heard was crickets, Dahlia's snores, and an occasional, strange, very wild-sounding animal's cry. I have no idea what it was. Maybe a coyote? 










When we got up in the morning, our backs were so stiff we could barely move. How is it possible that I used to stretch out my sleeping pad--one of those thin, hard, corrugated gray and black ones--on the side of the road in some wild and woolly corner of Texas or New Mexico, and wake up in the morning next to a drilling rig pumping away to a haunting rhythm, or a cow chewing her cud practically in my ear, refreshed and with nary an ache? I guess that's what 20 years will do.

In any case, though hardly feeling refreshed Florian and I knew that the best way to shake off the stiffness was to get moving. So we courageously overcame the challenge of bending over to tie our hiking boots then took off along the road again until we came upon a trail. 






We'd actually seen a lot of hunters and other campers along the road, but in this area we didn't see anyone so we felt good letting the dogs run free.  


Until it would occur to me that Dahlia is deaf, and so if she ran off somewhere with Fozzie I'd have no way of calling her, which thought would lead to panic. So I'd call Fozzie, and leash up the piglet when she came charging and humping down the trail. 

But she never failed to charge and hump back in my direction every time I called Fozzie, and didn't seem interested in straying far away. 


She sure does love her Fozzie. 

Even with an entire forest to explore, she was most interested in being with him. And yes, usually humping him. 











And Fozzie, as always, was such a good sport. 

After our hike, we staggered back to the van and slowly made our way back to civilization, and a five-star dumpster diving experience that yielded a freezer full of organic raw dog food.  What a healthy interlude for the whole family. 

What's YOUR favorite way to pretend you're 20 years younger?

6 comments:

  1. Oh my! How peaceful and beautiful
    Snorts,
    Lily & Edward

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  2. Hi Kirsten, glad that everyone had a nice little break. Renews the soul a bit. My dad says that the best way to pretend that you're 20 years younger is to keep thinking that you are. Woofs - we're looking at rain, all day today until late day on Friday...

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  3. What fun! I love the fall leaves and apple butter...I forgot about that sutff. So good!

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  4. What a lovely setting, I am working up the nerve to go dog camping and this is inspirational

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  5. Beautiful - we love fall camping!! (but we are tenters) I was wondering as I read about Dahlia being off leash...easy to forget sometimes that a dog is deaf, isn't it? I do it all the time, same with the blind ones. Oops, forgot!

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  6. Wow! So beautiful! We haven't been camping for a few years - once you get out of the habit, just the thought of putting together what we need seems overwhelming!

    Monty and Harlow

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