Friday, May 20, 2011

Off to camping we go!

Summers for me when I was a kid, usually meant camping at Killbear National Park or Port Burwell.  We have a lot of memories at each of those places as a family.  Some great, some good, some not so good, but I can safely say, the good outweighs the bad 10 fold.

I never stopped loving camping.  I went with friends as a teenager, went with family and friends of family through high school and went with College friends when I moved away from home.  I have camped in many places and countries in my life and I wouldn't trade it for a 5 star resort to save my life (well, maybe just to have a bed that didn't droop and almost fold you in half by morning, but that's all part of the fun!).  I love a good hotel, hotel bed and the food that comes along with it (not the price however...), but my true Dutch self, loves the hostel, the camping, the search for somewhere with character for a SIGNIFICANTLY lower price.

I remember the first time I took Graham camping!  It was the summer of 2009, after I had emigrated back home (hard to believe that was 3 years ago next week!), settled into living back with Mom and Dad again, and the summer was HOT!  We trekked off to Grundy Lake, needing to stop 3 times as the 4 hour long drive took AGES to him (a 1 hour drive for him in England, required an overnight stay, as it's just not common to drive somewhere for a "|long" period of time for a day).  I remember telling him that my "drive until I have to pee so bad, I have to pull over...or drive until I KNOW I NEED to get gas IMMEDIATELY" and his "drive until he wants to stop to see every single fun "toy"- ATV, Dirt bike, motorcycle shop- need to eat, need to pee, need to drink, need to pee again" self was going to have to be taught to just deal with it, or our 4 hour drive would turn into 7+ hours everytime.  I LOVE to roadtrip, but I love to get the road behind me to get to the destination ASAP.  The perfect solution, I brought my Nintendo DS Graham bought me, put games on my cell phone, bought him a magazine and packed snacks.  It's seemed to finally work after all of these years, however, the best solution, camping somewhere that only requires a short highway drive, and an hour or two of mountains and scenary instead!

For the past 2 years, we have been camping for Graham's birthday (May 21st) at Allegany State Park in New York.  We LOVE it there, and as it's WAY cheaper than camping in Canada, and we can get cheaper groceries across the border to boot, we haven't changed tradition since.  Kathryn and I first found Allegany while looking for last minute camping on a long weekend 2 years ago, and loved it so much, it's the only place we've gone to since!

Allegany is full of gorgeous trees, trails, 65 extra acres of untouched space around the sites, trails and lakes and mroe peaceful than anywhere/anything I could ever imagine.  Yes, there is the occasional time where someone a few sites down is making tremendous noise until all hours, but they are so few and far between, it's easily forgotten. 

As a VERY organized person, who loves a schedule and to stick to it as best as possible, who loves lists and LOVES knowing what's going on where and when and how long we will be there, you would think camping wouldn't suit me.  Graham sometimes wondered this as well...but camping to me, is my time to throw organization out the window!

So, for the next few days, enjoy a life of "tent camping, off the cuff cooking, eat when you're hungry, build a fire when you're cold, drink when you're thirsty (or even just because), shower when you feel too gross to even think about it and sleep when you're tired".  It's the perfect getaway for me with no clocks, no phones (we shut them off) and no TV/distractions/Graham working.

Ahh...the life.  Why is it so cold here we can only camp from May-October if we're lucky?!?!?!?


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