First Camping Adventure

tentWhen I’m running early for work, I’ll stop at Target to just walk around and pick up some stuff that I might need. It’s actually been very productive for me. However, there has been a certain aisle that has caught my attention for several months now, the camping section.

I can’t explain why, but I’ve been drawn to the tents, sleeping bags, lanterns, flash lights, chairs, knives, gadgets, etc. I’d find myself really checking all the different gear out and in great detail.

Well a week or so ago, I figured with the pleasant November we’ve been having that if I were to finally give camping a shot, now might be my last chance until it warms up again in the spring. Two people came to mind who might just accept this crazy spontaneous mission, the Shepherd and Dustin.

So I asked, and yes they were in. Why not?

I then went on a camping shopping spree. I bought the best 2 person tent in the store (by the way it was $30 cheaper at Target than Dicks) and a really nice 30 degree sleeping bag. Quality stuff. I also picked up a rechargeable LED Lantern, which still amazes me with it’s brightness. I also threw in some rope and skewers for good measure.

We searched camping sites on state parks, and found a wilderness style site nearby in Wharton State Forest. So we drove out there on a Saturday afternoon and paid the $2 per night fee in Batsto, when the woman working there drew on a map where the site was.

Luckily the guys were paying attention to the directions, my attention was fixed on the various Jersey Devil merchandise on display, Some very cool and creepy stuff.

We arrived at the camp site a little past 3:30 pm. So we immediately got to work to get setup and a fire going before sunset. Setting up my tent was so much fun! It was super easy, with many of the parts color coded, so it was a cinch to figure out just what went where. I’m glad I got the nicer smaller tent, it would really payoff later in the night.

We then all set out to collect as much fire wood as possible, really wanted that fire to be going strong before darkness took over. I was really proud to see everyone working so hard gathering wood. There wasn’t a lazy soul to be found. Though much of it was wet from a rain two days before, the majority of it worked just fine.

The jackpot was struck when we stumbled upon a thick fallen tree. Wisely an axe was brought along, and we went to work breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Dustin worked that fire for a while and just as darkness stormed it, had a great fire going. It was so quiet and peaceful out. Well expect for the idiot playing the trumpet a couple of sites over. If you’re reading this, you really have to practice more often.

Between the three of us, we’re a very silent bunch. Very few words were exchanged, but we all had a great time nonetheless.

It really is amazing how much brighter the stars are when you’re out in the woods away from all the lights that come with modern living. It was very cool to just stare up at.

As the night went on the temperature did start to drop a bit. Probably around 40 or so, not too bad, but still on the cold side. My sleeping bag and tent were so cozy and warm, both excellent purchases. I actually slept fairly well all things considering, I think I got between 4-5 hours of sleep. Sleeping on the ground was nice, I have some old back injuries and soft beds usually beat me up pretty well.

I got up and out of my tent around 8:00 in the morning. Placed our unused wood back into the forest (I believe that’s the proper thing to do), then watched the other guys eventually wake up too. I really enjoyed the camping adventure and am really glad that we went out and actually did it instead of just talking about it. Definitely something that I would like to try again.