Three days away

This past weekend was truly wonderful. In celebration of our first anniversary, Husband and I took a long weekend away from civilization.

We packed up the car (my tiny, two-door Mitsubishi) with everything we needed for three days in the woods. I wish I had taken a picture of how stuffed my little car was, but somehow we managed to fit it all in. (The other vehicle option available to us was Husband’s truck which doesn’t have a back seat, so Ginger would have been sitting on my lap the entire way…very bad option considering her propensity toward car sickness).

Both Husband and I grew up in camping families–it was probably the most affordable vacation option considering the size of our families, but it was also just plain fun. Already one year into our marriage and we had never gone camping together, only cabin-ing, which is fun, but it isn’t camping.

Husband woke up at about 5am on Friday morning, completely wired and ready to go. Somehow, he convinced me to drag myself out of bed even though this was at least an hour before our alarm was set to go off.

Before long we loaded up the puppy (poor thing had to share the back seat with our cooler, towels, dish-washing bucket, and a few other odds and ends) and headed out (after a brief stop at Starbucks, of course).

Ginger has a habit of getting car sick, very car sick, so we gave her a sedative before we left home. Before long her eyes were half-shut and she was leaning on the front seat headrest in an attempt to stay awake. It didn’t last. And soon she was blissfully unaware that we were in a moving vehicle.

After 3.5 hours and a few quick stops (Walmart for a few forgotten items, Food Lion for steaks and apple cider, and The Cheese Shop for some Amish goodies to take home) we arrived at Sherando Lake State Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains just before lunch.

Like giddy little kids, we set up Ginger’s stake and cable and set to work unpacking the car and setting up camp. It took us a good two hours to get everything up, but we had fun figuring out the tent (Husband hadn’t used it in nearly 2 years and couldn’t exactly remember the set-up process) and establishing a makeshift rain shield over our picnic table with a tarp.

As I had been roused from sleep before my alarm, I was tired and convinced Husband we should bring Ginger into the tent and take a nap. It’s a good thing we did because she was afraid of the tent itself and all of the noises around of it. But she eventually settled down. Husband and Ginger both napped, ironically I didn’t.

The rest of our trip consisted of crisp, clear mornings, forays into the woods to collect firewood, long walks around the park trails, hikes through the mountains, blazing campfires, and some delicious meals cooked over the fire pit.

Ginger proved to be a GREAT hiking dog. She blazed the trails sniffing everything like nobody’s business, until we ran across another hiker, then she would cower behind us… But she was having the time of her life, and we loved watching her.

A few highlights of the trip include:

• Seeing “Combs” on the reservation sign for campsite A8, even after a year I’m still getting used to my new name =).

• Ginger (who has been heretofore terrified of water) lunging into a two-foot deep stream in pursuit of a blowing leaf.

• Hot cider and freshly popped popcorn by the fire.

• Ginger pawing at the tent door asking to go to bed long before we were ready.

• Snuggling with the Husband and puppy in a cozy tent for two.

• Stunning fall foliage (we managed to pick the perfect weekend!).

• Long, winding country roads.

• French toast made over the fire pit.

• The smell of autumn in the air.

• New hiking boots! (the seams were ripping apart on my old boots)

• The crunch of leaves under our feet.

• Time spent together.

I don’t think either of us were ready to come home on Sunday, but real life awaited and so we meandered back to civilization via the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway with Ginger curled up in the back seat (sharing her space with even more of our gear, if that’s possible).

Monday morning dawned early and we were off to work once more, but with a little extra rest and rejuvenation.

Husband is already planning our next camping trip, this time for an entire week, he says.

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