I Didn’t Know I Was a Camper Until I Really Went Camping

May is quickly approaching and as it does I’ve spent some time reflecting on my travels over the last year. Last May I embarked on a nine day journey into New Hampshire where the first three my boyfriend and I spent the weekend camping in the middle of the woods at the base of Mt. Monadnock. During the second half we traveled to North Conway and pursued the luxury of hotels, but I learned a lot about what it means to have adventure in those first three days. Enough that I would like to share with you.

Day 1- The Weather Welcomed Us

Our successful pitched tent [Photo taken by me]

So let me just say that this particular campground was in the middle of woods in the middle of nowhere near the base of the mountain. The actual town was about 15 minutes away and the closest thing to the campground were just a few old houses and a ranger cabin one road over. No sooner did we park the truck at the site did it start to downpour. Just our luck. Nonetheless we pitched the tent and was the inside was drenched before we could set up our rain fly we packed all of our firewood and bins of supplies into the tent and set up a makeshift bed in the bed of our truck. I like to pat ourselves on the back for thinking of putting the cap on before we left.

The rain persisted so a fire was out of the picture. Instead we loaded our mini grill onto the tailgate and fired up dinner. All in all I would say the worst of it was over.

Snuggled up in the back of the truck as Kyle made dinner on the tailgate. Hey, it worked. [Photo taken by Kyle]

Day 2- The Hike

Waking up to a wet ground put a “damp”er on things for our breakfast plans so we resorted to toast on the grill and cereal. I would say it was quite resourceful. Then we closed up camp for the day and left for the mountain. Mt. Monadnock was a hike I will never forget. Personally my favorite part was when we scaled rocks with our bare hands (it sounds way harder than it was, I promise). It’s a hike every New Englander should try, and anyone should do if they can make the trip.

The trek up Mt. Monadnock [Photo taken by Kyle]
If hiking is your thing then definitely check out The Woodsy New Englander, she’ll give you all the tips and tricks for a good hike. We packed makeshift lunches to eat at the top before we made the (buggy) trip down. Then it was dinner time where we feasted on my homemade frittata. Speaking of food, check out all of the recipes I made for our trip here!

On night two, our pit was fire-ready and we enjoyed the warmth of the flames. New Hampshire woods can get chilly at night, even in May. We hauled our supplies back into the truck and piled the blankets into the tent for a much more comfortable night’s sleep thanks to our air mattress. Seriously, I know sleeping pads are where the hearts of the truest campers lie, but air actresses are a thing and you definitely need to try it out when you camp. They sell really accessible and compact ones here.

Staying warm on our site while dinner was on the fire! [Photo taken by Kyle]

Day 3- Campsite or Horror Movie?

So let me start with this: most people in the month of May camp for the weekend. By weekend I mean Friday night into Sunday morning. As we were roasting our eggs over the fire every single neighbor on our once hopping campsite left and it was just us, our supplies, and the woods. Around noon after all the other campers were gone, the one ranger left came over and told us he was leaving for the night and wouldn’t be back until 10 a.m. Monday morning. if we need anything we could head into town, so that’s exactly what we did. We stocked up on firewood, visited some yard sales, and explored all the local shops. When we returned later that afternoon though, creepy was an understatement.

Our makeshift sleeping arrangements when staying in a tent alone int he dark woods wasn’t too appealing [Photo taken by Kyle]

I’m not sure what it is about being alone in the woods but as soon as you come to this realization, every single horror movie, scary story, and creepy Reddit feed you’ve scrolled through pops into your mind and literally all you can think about is which tree the axe murderer is going to pop out from. We were freaked. Again that night we resorted to the truck bed where we could lock ourselves in, just in case we weren’t the only humans in the middle of the New Hampshire forest.

What I learned

My above synopsis of our trip gives the general idea of what we went through on our little weekend in the woods, and I can honestly say it changed me. I’ve never really been opposed to camping but I was never one to drop everything and head to the woods for a weekend away from society. (One of the main reasons being that the idea of being alone in the woods scares the heck out of me- got over that real quick). As the weekend went on we hit some road blocks and adapted and it was actually really fun to try to figure out what to do when neither of us had ever been avid campers. Plus the trip seemed completely worthwhile when we spent three days trying something new for only $75. (Add in food and it was closer to $150, but still that’s still pretty thrifty price if you ask me). Anyway, this weekend made something crystal clear: you never really know what you like or don’t like, or what you can really do.

It took me to actually GO camping out in the woods with the responsibilities of packing supplies and food and working around the unexpected to realize that doing all of it was quite fun. So fun in fact that we will be going again this year. I suppose that part of this positive experience has something to do with the fact I had a great person to go with who loves adventure just as much as I do, but also the fact that I kept an open mind the whole way there. For someone who hates bugs and the dark that’s saying something. The point is try something new! You might think you’ll hate it, but I think you might surprise yourself.

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