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  • Writer's pictureDavid


Updated: Oct 17, 2019

So I made my first camping trip of this season. New Germany State Park in western Maryland. It was also the first trip for Bootsie Hooker!  She did well.  it got cool at night and the heater kicked in and kept things nice and toasty inside.

When I arrived, there was no one at the entrance so I drove through, found my reserved site and began getting set up. There were only three campers in the entire campground. All three sites were within sight of each other. I had asked one of the neighbors if they knew whether I needed to do anything else or not, and was told that the park rangers periodically ride through and will check on us.

I stopped in at the Ranger Station the next morning to get a bundle of firewood and asked about getting in my spot. The ranger politely stated that I was the only one the expected to check in on Saturday.  I was fine.

The park has a number of hiking trails within its boundaries.  Because it is open year round, the park offers its trails to cross country skiing so they are wide. A couple of the trails had some elevation climb, but wasn't too bad.

Cross Country Ski Trail

The local kids had a nature project for the park.  They created wild bee hives so the wild bees that are responsible for 98% of the parks pollination would have a safe hive and keep the population of the wild bees safe.  I had not seen one of these before.

Bee Habitat

Monday morning I got up and decided to go to the lake to see what kind of photos I could capture as the sun topped the mountains and reached down to the lake. The following are a few of the favorites that I managed to capture.

The fog was thick to begin, but as the sun continued to rise, it dissipated.

This one is by far my favorite. It almost has an oil painting quality to it.  I think this one may get printed onto canvas and hung on my stairwell where I have many of my photos.

Early AM Sunrise

One think I definitely learned this weekend is that S'mores are for children. Definitely NOT for men with beards and mustaches!  I thought I was going to make a trip down memory lane by taking some marshmallows, chocolate, and graham cracker with me. Boy was I wrong.

Gooey, melty, and sticky I managed to get marshmallow all in my mustache and my beard; not to mention my hands.  What a mess!  and on top of it, they are so sickeningly sweet that I got sick to my stomach.  I only manage one.  That was more than enough!  I had to scrub and scrub my face to get all that marshmallow out.  Popcorn by the fire seems a more manageable adult camping snack.

On Monday, the two neighbors I was sharing the campground left. That meant I was the only one left in the entire campground.  Oh, the rangers rode through several times a day and I would wave to them as they waved at me.  At camp itself, though, I was alone.

There was one more trail that I wanted to tackle but my gut was fighting me on it. It was about 3 miles long and was a moderate/difficult hike with a significant climb in elevation.  I decided that since I was the only camper, there wouldn't be others that would be hiking along along the trail and find me if something were to happen to me. God knows how long I would be there.  After all, there was no internet, no cell service, no wi-fi.  I wouldn't have been able to call anyone.  so I stayed at camp and enjoyed the silence of being alone.

There was a pair of woodpeckers next to my site that were very busily building their nest into the tree.  They took turns going in and chipping the wood to come out and fly to a nearby branch to spit-out the sawdust.  As one left, the other went in,  This went on all day the entire weekend.  It was fascinating.

The night sky had such an abundance of stars it was incredible. I still need to work on my night sky picture taking.....I didn't get anything I really cared for. Of course there would be a full moon on my last night, the one night I am the only camper in the woods.

When you are sitting by a fire, alone, in the dark, the forest around can make some pretty strange sounds. Not only do you have the owls screeching and the crickets, there are the occasional crunchy sound that you hear if someone, or something were walking around on top of dry leaves and sticks.  Sitting there with the fire in your face you can't see anything.  You have to get up and step away from the light of the fire to see anything.  With the full moon, you can see a lot of light and shadows of the forest. It is easy to let your imagination run away from you. You think, if I scream, who would hear me?  The real answer is. No one would.

So naturally I use my shovel to stoke the fire and I have been keeping it standing at the back of the camper propped onto the spare tire as I have done all weekend. a little bit later I get up and go inside the camper to do something. As I was inside there was a thud against the back wall of the camper.  Being in the heightened state of mind that I eluded to earlier, It scared the SHIT out of me!  I actually SCREAMED like a real girl! Then I began laughing at myself because I knew exactly what had happened. the shove fell between the spare tire and back wall most likely as the camper wiggled as I was walking around inside.

All in all I had a great time.  It was kind of liberating to be completely unplugged for a weekend. No wifi. No cell.  Just myself and the nature surrounding me to keep me entertained.

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Mar 20, 2023

Enjoyed your story very much.

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