For Memorial Day weekend, my wife, daughter and friends went on a camping trip at a nice cabin near Lake Riffe. We camped here before in August of last year, and for me it was the highlight of my year and very refreshing. This time around, the weather was not favorable, so it rained most of the time. However, it was still a great trip.
The first day was pretty sunny and nice though (and I got a nice, toasty sunburn):
My friend “Budi” took a much better photo though:
After we arrived, we wasted an hour putting our fancy, new tent from REI. The problem? I was trying to setup the rain-fly (the rain cover), not the tent. :p I learned an important lesson: make sure you check all your parts first, then try to setup the tent. Don’t grab the first thing that “looks” like a tent. However, once finally setup the tent, it was really great:
The tent stayed perfectly dry when it rained, and was quite warm and comfortable. If you are going to buy camping equipment, don’t be cheap. Good tents last 10+ years, and make the experience a lot better.
Anyhow, the first day was great, got some sleep, and enjoyed some good Korean food with our friends. In the far-side of the lake, we saw a thunderstorm and even some lightning right over us. It was pretty interesting.
The second day was very laid-back. It was raining a lot, but we got a nice fire going. Our friend, who spent many years camping as a kid, showed me some helpful tips on building a fire. If you have a firepit like this one, you can build your logs in a “log-cabin” style:
This works really well, allows the fire to breathe, and so on.
We caught only one tiny fish, and the kids got bored quickly and played with sticks instead. But it was nice and quiet. Here’s a view from the other side of the dam:
That night, we enjoyed more good food, and the adults had a long fire-side chat. Campfires are very interesting because they bring people together, and they talk about deep and thoughtful subjects. After everyone went to bed, I decided to sit by the fire and watch the moon for a while. It was now raining, and it was cloudy, but it was very quiet and peaceful. No good pictures though, unlike last time.
The last day was cold and wet, but very beautiful:
We decided to wake up early, eat early and leave early so we could avoid traffic (last year we were driving for 4 hours because of traffic). But I got some good pictures:
and my daughter’s toys:
Anyhow, the drive home was very peaceful and quiet and we had a nice, sunny afternoon at home, drying all our equipment outside.
It was a great trip, and it was really nice to connect with Nature. It reminds me that although we are human, are still biological creatures and need Nature. It’s good for the soul too: if you spent your time chopping wood, cooking and keeping warm, it makes you realize how many modern problems are small and petty.
It made me think about how Shinto devotees focus on rituals like misogi to reconnect with nature, and to purify themselves. I really appreciate this now. For me, it was cleansing to be chopping wood in the rain (even though one log hit my shin really hard), and even though I stank, it was a good stank. ;p
While camping, I ate good food, but I didn’t snack or “stress eat”. If I was hungry, I ate. My heartburn was a lot better of course. If I stayed there much longer, I am sure I would lose weight.
Anyhow, it was a great trip. Thanks to all our friends who made it all possible.