I’m back from my little trip! Did you miss me? Of course you did!
It was a three night camping trip at Gifford Woods State Park in Vermont, followed by a visit to a friend in Brattleboro, where I was kindly allowed to stay the night, and then another visit to a friend in Hartford, CT, where I also spent the night.
Conditions were not optimal for the fair-weather campers among us. Fortunately, I am not one of them. But I do know my limits! The first night, a few hours after pitching my tent, darkness was approaching, and so was a massive storm. I tucked everything away inside my spiffy new tent (it comes with a rainfly, still under 1kg!) or in the car and zipped myself up for the night. But within minutes, the lightning was so close and continuous I wondered if I had mistakenly checked into a nightclub instead of a camping ground. I decided that I was pitched uncomfortably close to a tall tree and it would be far safer to be inside the car than inside the tent for the duration of this thunderstorm. Just twenty minutes later I could return to my tent, which had survived its first big storm without problem. Little did I know more trials were to follow…
After an uneventful night, accompanied by the endless pitter-patter of raindrops falling on the tent canvas, an early morning beckoned. I had a little stove and gas cannister, and a bialetti, so nothing stood between me and a cup of coffee!
Except I accidentally bought coffee beans instead of ground coffee when I shopped for camping groceries earlier in the weekend 🤦🏼♀️ Tea it was, until I I got into nearby Killington’s little supermarket for some much needed ground-up black gold.
That afternoon, I went for a “walk by car” in the wider area, because the heavens opened up again, and tested my tent’s waterproof claims once again. The tent is fab.
When I got back, I built a comfortable little nest and dove into my stack of books. I hoped that the rain would dispel the smoke from the Canadian wildfires that caused air pollution and covered the green hills with a greyish haze, but every day it came back.
On Wednesday, no rain! I tried to go for a short hike in the woods a bit further from the campsite. Map, compass, everything to navigate. The only thing I did not have was phone reception (generally not a problem). About a mile into the path, something brown and furry, but lower than an average coffee table, turned around on the path in front of me and ran off. I couldn’t quite see what it was, but we had been told there are bears in the state park and the State Forest it’s attached to. Was this a (black) bear cub? Highly unlikely, especially at that size for the time of year. But then I am not familiar with bears, I only caught a glimpse of the furry thing, and IF (admittedly a big if) it was a cub, a mama bear would be around.
However unlikely that scenario was, I’d rather not run into that while out on my own without connectivity to the rest of humanity, so I turned back, and explored the area around the camping site instead. I was told by people who know what they’re doing Vermont-wise that this was the right decision.
Because of the rain, Vermont is not only the Green Mountain State, but also full of mushrooms:
(If anybody can help to identify these various fungi/mushroom things, please drop a note in the comments! Click on the pictures to see the larger view.)
There was also a pond nearby for fishing. Looks like it would be great for downhill waterskiing if only they’d allow it:
Overall, despite the rain and the near encounter of the furry kind, I had a great time. I do enjoy being out in the quiet of the woods, even when the weather isn’t that great (minus thunder and lightning). So I already booked another weekend away here in PA, to make sure I get my dose of vitamin O(utdoor), and to make sure the tent feels loved. How are you recharging your batteries?