Adventure: Northwest River Park

Adventure: Northwest River Park


For our first camping trip with a toddler, we stayed local. We’ve been to Northwest River Park numerous times to enjoy the walking trails (though there aren’t a plethora) and to camp once. It’s a relatively small park, with only a few trails, but it’s so nice to have something this close to home!

Northwest River also has canoe and paddle boat rentals for those wanting to traverse the waterways, fishing opportunities, miniature golf for the kiddos (the course is a little lacking though), a camp store (with ice cream!), some really lovely pavilions for picnicking, and a very nice playground inside the camping area. Read more

A bittersweet autumn

A bittersweet autumn

Finally. Finally autumnal color fills the world around me–foliage in all it’s glory.

Autumn colors

But I look upon it with bittersweet joy. So anticipated. So loved. And yet, now so much less than it was.

An autumn sunset

Because everything is less. Joy is diminished. Hope is hard pressed. The sunset less glorious. The being together less merry.

While we push on, continue to live each day, it is a lackluster living. I hope and pray the Lord’s peace upon us as we enter into a season of thanksgiving and of celebration.

Sunset at Northwest River Park

And we will continue to smile, to laugh even. Because we know it is our business to keep living. But underneath there is a deep sadness that I can hardly express. Lord, comfort us in our grief.

Right around the corner…

Right around the corner…

Hiking with the puppy at Northwest River Park.

I’m beginning to learn that some of the best adventures, the most memorable memories, are right around the corner.

I’ve spent so many years searching for adventure. As a teenager, I went to South America five times. I chose a college 41 hours away from home. I have traveled, taking trips, internships, and jobs in random states. I love to travel. I love to go. It makes great memories. It makes life an adventure.

But I’m learning to be content where I am. Life has changed and, right now, international trips just aren’t in the budget. But there are different kinds of adventures, like figuring out this whole marriage thing. And the challenge of living life to the fullest on a frugal budget. So we’re learning to do things like camping locally.

Husband and I spent Friday night through Sunday afternoon at Northwest River Park, literally ten minutes from our house. It’s a delightful little park, with a number of hiking trails (and bridal trails, I’m thinking that might be another adventure in my future), a river (obviously), and a wonderful campground full of mature shade trees.

Our camp site.

We’ve only taken Ginger camping once before, and it was a bit of an adventure. This time she did wonderfully! (Only minimal separation anxiety when one of us would leave the site to find water or something…but not at all afraid of the tent this time around!) She’ll be a camping pro before long =).

I’m so glad that while I have scaled back the funds required for these adventures ($40 for camping plus $5 for gas), I haven’t had to reduce the enjoyment and refreshing rest they offer. Husband and I both come from families who prize camping above just about any other kind of vacation. Sure, cruises are great and islands are nice, but camping? Camping is THE BEST!

I hope it’s a tradition we can pass on to our children.

Aside from a few ticks, some annoying mosquitoes, and a chilly first night, our trip was perfection.

Loving the little things.

Despite the fact that we purchase a brand new bone, Ginger preferred her sticks.

Despite the fact that we purchased a brand new “camping” bone, Ginger preferred the plentiful sticks littering our campsite.

There's nothing quite like breakfast made over a camp fire.

Hiking some boggy trails.

Steak dinner by lamp light?

New definition to reading by the fire.

Hiking puppy!

Paw print.

Tuckered pup.

Camping with Husband.

Cyprus trees.

Looking forward to making many, many more such memorable trips, right around the corner…



As I write this, I am totally distracted by anticipation. In a mere 6 hours it’s quitting time and I will be on my way to the best weekend of our Spring. Seriously.

Just a quick pit stop at home to pack up the truck with our tent, sleeping bags, and cooking supplies and then we’re putting the pup in the cab and heading off for a weekend of…nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

No chores. No budgeting. No extra working hours. No cleaning. No laundry. No yard work. No preparations for our future. No worries. No guilt. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Our tent.

I envision a lot of laughter, smiles, stress relieving walks through the woods. I see visits to the lake, splashing the puppy (who is terrified of water, but we’re trying to help her past that).

I envision reading, relaxing, throwing a ball with the pup, sitting by the fire, and snuggling down in a tent for the night, complaining that Ginger is taking up more than her fair share of space =).

French toast over the fire.

I wait in breathless anticipation.

Truthfully, we’re not going very far away. In fact, Northwest River Park is just in Chesapeake. We can come home to feed the Sugar Gliders and take care of the fish tank. But it feels like we’re escaping life for a few delicious days.

I vividly remember the anticipation of a camping trip from the time I was just a tiny thing. I loved packing my backpack with all the necessary supplies: Flashlight, check! Water bottle, check! Pocket knife, check!

Eager giggles and whispered plans for adventure with my brother went on for days before we would leave. A camping trip was joy itself.

And you know what? It still is.

Camping with Husband and puppy last year.

Someday, I hope I get to share the anticipation with my own kids. I hope I get to give them the magic of tents and campfires and roasted marshmallows and “hobo packs.” I hope I get to overhear their excited giggles and whispered plans. I hope they learn to love the sound of rain drops on the canvas roof of a pop-up trailer. Maybe they’ll even learn the joy of being rescued from your tent as it begins to float in the flooded campground, just to be dried off, wrapped in a warm blanket, and placed next to a warm wood stove at 4am with all the other people who fled the flood.

Maybe someday my own children will understand the pure magic of camping…