Winter Camping

This weekend Derek and I challenged ourselves to 24 hours of winter camping at Cloudland Canyon State Park.

We have camped in spring, summer, and fall, so winter was the last season left to try. We honestly did not know if we would like it or not. It could have very well been a disaster!

We did a lot of research, and we were mindful of the clothes that we packed, including thermals as a base layer and wool socks. We also packed our flannel lined sleeping bag, and two extra blankets.

We reserved Backcountry site #3, which you have to hike to from the trail head and parking lot. Last fall, we stayed at #5. Comparing the two sites, we like #3 better. It is a little closer of a walk from the trail head, and the site itself is prettier. The campsite has a stream running near it, and we had our own mini waterfall all to ourselves!

Convenience was a big factor at this site as well. The fire ring was right next to the picnic table. We had brought our camp chairs, but we never used them. We set our tent up right behind the picnic table. The outhouse was also just a few steps away. This outhouse was much cleaner than at site #5. Timing might have been a factor in this though, depending on how often they get serviced by volunteers.

Overall, we managed to stay warm. We had some frozen fingers and toes at time, but we brought hand warmers, which helped out. Getting into the sleeping bag at night was rough for the first five minutes, but our body heat quickly warmed us up. When we woke up in the morning, we realized that our breath had caused frost to form on the inside of the tent!

I am glad that Derek suggested last year that we start camping. We are still very much beginners, with not the greatest equipment. We have now camped twice at campgrounds, and have backpacked in twice. There are pros and cons for both types of camping. Campgrounds have more amenities, but there is nothing like being outside in the peace and quiet with no one else around.

We want to get hiking backpacks with frames, in order to carry everything on our backs. Things like that cost a lot of money though. In due time. We probably still bring way too much with us on each trip; it’s trial and error. We would like to camp at site #3 again in the spring, which would allow us shed some weight in the form of clothing layers and blankets.

I have been enjoying making YouTube videos. I videoed during our time camping, and I made a video from it. I think this is my favorite video yet!

A small park, and not being a parent

Getting outside for sunshine and fresh air is key for me to have a good day, and a good attitude. We found a park that’s just down the road from our place.

The park is small, and isn’t anything special, but it’s good to have a space near by. It’s behind an elementary school. You have to drive through the school’s parking lot to get to the park’s designated lot.

The park has one large loop that goes in and around some trees, and through open green space too. I can do two loops in about 15-20 minutes.

Derek and I went once together, and then I went a second time on my own when Derek was at work, which leads me to a silly little story.

Derek usually leaves for work around 2-3 p.m. I headed to the park at 2:30… and promptly got stuck in the parent pick up car line! There were two lines forming, and cars came in behind me, so I was unable to get turned around. So I sat. And I sat some more. Finally the kids came out at 3 p.m. Not being a parent, it had not occurred me that the school would let out at 3, and parents would line up so early at 2:30.

So the key is to go to the park after 3!