This weekend, Maryland settled into the perfect fall weather: low 70s and beautiful blue skies with the leaves turning brilliant shades of red and orange. And what better way to enjoy the weather than to go camping? That’s just what we did. Eight of us left campus packed into two cars along with our various tents, sleeping bags (or lack thereof), clothing layers galore, and of course: the essential items for making s’mores!
This was an Outdoors Club adventure! So far this semester we’ve gone hiking, geo-caching, white-water tubing, apple-picking and more, but this was our very first camping trip of the year. Perfect timing before it gets entirely too cold to sleep outside. We drove about 45mintues to Catoctin Mountain State Park, home of Cunningham Falls, a pretty sweet waterfall down the rocks. We drove down on Saturday afternoon around 3pm and got back today at 1pm, which is a pretty large chunk to take out of your weekend, so I brought homework to do in the car.
After managing to successfully set up the giant 10-person tent after only one person getting stabbed in the eye with a tent pole, we admired our handiwork and got on with one of the most necessary and continuous jobs of camping: collecting firewood! It felt like we had to do this every hour, but we were happy to have the fire going against the chill later that night. Since we still had some time before it got dark, we decided to drive down to the lake and walk around a bit before dusk and dinner time. It was absolutely gorgeous down at the lake. The water was perfectly still, reflecting the flame-colored trees and bright blue sky like a mirror. I got a little carried away with my photo-taking:
There was a playground nearby, and the mature college-students that we are couldn’t stand not playing on it a bit- realizing that we’re all a bit tall now for the monkey bars. There as even a mini beach by the dock, where we overheard a little girl burying something in the sand and then telling her father, “Nobody is going to find it for a thousand years!!!” We all chuckled, but who knows, maybe she’s right! A little ways off the path, the girls and I found an excellent philosophical rock to sit on and enjoy the beauty of nature. Check out our view:
Heading back to camp, we struck up a fire and had hotdogs or tacos in a bowl for dinner, cooking the meat over the fire and adding fun toppings. Dessert was exciting as it can only be while camping, full of roasting marshmallows and making s’mores and roasting apples covered with cinnamon. It was all delicious! And what’s a campfire without stories? We had fun creating a ridiculous story where everybody had to contribute a sentence and the story progressed, growing more and more absurd by the minute. The stars were incredible that night, and after drinking in our fill we bundled up and cozied on up together in the tent, laying rather like sardines to fit everybody in and attempted to sleep for the night.
Today, we failed horribly at our breakfast pancake attempt, forgetting the oil to prevent the pancakes from sticking, but had delicious hot chocolate, peanut-butter sandwiches, cereal and apples instead. Our last activity after packing up the campsite was a beautiful hike down to the Cunningham Falls and back before heading back for campus. A lovely outing to enjoy Maryland’s fall while it lasts!