Did you know that a camp stove doesn’t have a visible flame when it’s lit? I didn’t, until this weekend! Did you also know that despite what the packaging claims, Duraflame fire starter logs don’t really burn for four hours? I learned many, many things when I went camping at Burlingame State Park in Charlestown, R.I., with my partner this weekend. We went for two nights and had a really good time getting away from daily life, but it was also a weird experience on a lot of levels.
Word to the wise? Don’t forget your cooking utensils. You can make do with a tiny straight razor from a manicure kit and aluminum foil and some twigs you find on your campsite, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to make food if you have actual, you know, knives and such. At least, that’s what I’m assuming. I wouldn’t know, since we had to make do with a tiny straight razor from a manicure kit and aluminum foil and some twigs we found on our campsite…
I accomplished some feats this weekend with those tools at my disposal. I roasted apples, half-roasted a potato (I gave up because it was taking forever and we were hungry, so the single burner camp stove was better used for Tofurkey sausages), and toasted English muffins. Once we learned from our friendly campsite neighbor that camp stoves don’t actually catch fire (despite what the instructions and also science indicate), we were free to cook all of the foods we’d brought so we wouldn’t starve. It was lovely.
We also accomplished the feat of building a tent for the first time (though both of us have been camping in the past, we’ve never gone alone). AR made the crack that all of our experience attempting to decipher IKEA furniture instructions made tent-building seem like a cake walk. It took us longer than the 10-minute set-up guaranteed on the packaging, but not by much. We left our phones off for most of the weekend so time was kind of relative but we built the tent, ate lunch, went for a walk to the camp store and napped all within three hours of arriving, so I’m assuming the tent really didn’t take us that long.
A few weeks ago, when we went shopping for a tent, we opted to spend a few extra dollars and get a tent with a weather shield. That proved to be really, really imperative because it absolutely poured rain the entire second night we were there. Miraculously, only a tiny bit of water came into the tent, which we were able to block with a tarp we’d purchased to be extra safe. Most of that water was absorbed by our water-resistant winter coats, which we had packed in case it got cold and ended up using as pillows because we forgot our actual pillows at home.
For as much as we prepared for this trip, we really forgot some of the most basic, basic supplies…
Anyway. We built a tent that successfully kept out rain! We cooked food on a camp stove! WE BUILT FIRES! Well… we bought Duraflame starter logs and lit them and put some kindling in the fire pit with them, which is the same thing. Right? Right. We were able to roast marshmallows over the fire for lots and lots of s’mores, so let’s go with yes.
When we weren’t trying to cook or build things or start fires, we explored the park, grabbed sugary snacks from the camp store, read books, took naps, and just relaxed. We went swimming, did a bit of walking and hiking, and spent lots of time talking. Unplugging for two days and going camping — even in such a populated campground as the one at Burlingame — was really magical. It felt so good to just get away from the daily grind and enjoy nature and spend time together.
This trip was part of AR’s birthday present, but we already want to go camping again. We want to get some more supplies for our next trip, like proper sleeping bags (we brought basically every blanket we own, which wasn’t terrible but sleeping bags are so much warmer and cushier), some utensils, foldable chairs that are designed for camping rather than the beach. We discussed in detail the desire to harness train our cats and bring them on our next adventure, as well. Imagine how cute they would be! Camping cats! CATS!
I’ve never been someone who really enjoys being outdoors, but recently I’ve started to become more adventurous. Even with all of the setbacks that occurred this weekend, even the storm, I managed to stay calm and have a great time. I wonder how much of that has to do with me just growing up and how much of that has to do with the company.
I was lucky to be able to get away this weekend and spend a couple days camping with my favorite human on the planet. I hope we have more opportunities to go on trips like this one, and that we’ll be more prepared to have an even better time on our next trip. I’m super proud of everything we accomplished this weekend, and super glad we had the experience. We came home exhausted and dirty and showering made me feel like a human again, but I’m totally down for more outdoor adventuring. That’s not something I ever thought I’d say, but it’s 2015 and I’m saying it. Hell yeah.