if nate had a choice, he would live in the wild. he would create a shelter and live off the land. he made friends with all these people here who are equally keen on the wilderness. we finally pinned down dates and location and set off. nate does not generally plan. favorite mantras include “play it by ear” and “let’s see what how we feel”. except when it comes to camping. the past several weeks he’s researched camp sites and hiking trails, he sent out a packing list, planned balanced meals and coordinated between everyone. we set off with a 40% chance of rain, hoping for the best. the campgrounds were along the delaware river, so we picked a campsite on top of a small bluff with steps leading down to the banks of the river. we pitched our tents and began to prep dinner, only to realize that there were only twigs and bark chips to feed our fire. i guess the supply was depleted over the summer, so we decided to venture further away from the camp sites. we managed to find a couple small trees and stuffed them into the car. dinner was hot dogs along with southern style baked beans and carrot sticks, dessert was s’mores and ‘banana boats’ – s’mores crammed into a banana, wrapped in foil and buried in the embers of the fire until banana, chocolate and marshmallows ooze together in one fluid mess. the rain held off except for a quick drizzle, so we managed to sit around the campfire until night fell. the schedule had us starting our hike early the next morning, so we decided headed to bed. soon after we were settled in our tents rain drops began to fall, then torrents began to fall and i thought the tent was going to collapse on us.
the rain lasted most of the night, but by the time we woke up the ground was slightly moist and the skies were clearing up. breakfast was two pounds of thick bacon and fruit. after packing up, we set off on a 6 mile hike with 800 foot elevation. we began the first half a mile in great spirits until we realized the first mile and a half were uphill. eventually it flattened out and the trail spit us out at a clearing on the edge of a lake that was completely still. we explored a rocky path that led to the lake and found a miniature Stonehenge. we eventually headed back to the trail but our friend slipped and gashed her knee open on the edge of a rock. out of nowhere this hiker appeared, opened his pack and said he thought he had some gauze. after rifling through his first-aid kid, he handed us a disinfectant wipe. we learned he was originally from north virginia, started out on the appalachain trail in georgia and was heading up to maine. once we were done with the disinfecting and fashioned a bandage, he headed off, but it was a bizarre interaction. when we got back to our cars, we set up our stove and had pizzas – tortillas and pizza sauce covered in cheese and pepperoni, cooked in a pan until the cheese melts and the tortillas are crispy.
this was officially the second time that nate and i have gone camping together. the first time we didn’t have a tent so we folded down the back seat of the car and piled some blankets in the trunk to make a sort of mattress. this camping trip was way more enjoyable. maybe it was the view from the campsite or the newfound friends…or maybe nate is slowly convincing me to love the wilderness. ha.