This last weekend, a friend and I tried out Hipcamp.com to find a new, fun place to go camping. Good News! We found one!
It was a frigid, rainy weekend and we discovered that the weather channel is a liar. Ha. We checked it over and over throughout the weekend only for it to tell us that the rain was done and the sun was coming, but to be followed by…more rain.
But we were not deterred!
We ended up with a late start getting out to the property, but Matt (our hipcamp host) was waiting for us and even started our first fire! We got to work right away setting up our tent, and making dinner. I’m pretty much obsessed with foil packet meals, so that was the plan. Here’s my recipe:
Asapargus (or a vegetable of your choice)
1. Put the chicken (we used two chicken breasts because there were two of us) in a gallon freezer bag and pour in the barbecue sauce of your choice (Go Local!) until the chicken is covered. Try to do this step in advance. Not only will that make your chicken more flavorful, but there is less to bring and less to clean up if it is prepackaged.
2. Tear off a piece of foil that is several inches longer than the piece of chicken, pour in the extra barbecue sauce, and add your asparagus.
3. Fold the foil first by pulling the longer sides together, folding them closed, and then roll each short side toward the middle until you have a closed packet!
4. Put the foil packets on the coals once the fire has calmed down and cook, rotating with tongs, until it is all cooked. The exact time depends on the heat of the fire, anywhere from 5-10 minutes per side.
5. The chicken is done when the juices run clear and it is no longer pink in the center.
I would have taken more pictures of us that night, but honestly it was so dark that I could not get a good photo.
The next morning, we got a much better look at the area and discovered that our host is quite the artist! With explosives!
We had noticed this guy the night before and let him guard our tent, but these guys were all over the place. He also had pieces where he had made impressions of feathers, leaves, etc using explosives. It was pretty astonishing.
Matt’s property also included kayaks, a fire ring, a picnic table, and this incredible treehouse! You can actually book it to stay in and it was so cozy inside. (Glamping, anyone? There’s a bed in there!)
So we were at this fun place, we were set up and ready to go, but our Saturday was completely rained out! What do you do?
You put on your rain jacket and explore anyway!
And you bring your friend and the dog!
I even got to take my new Lowa hiking boots on their maiden voyage. I named them Whitney and Everest – they got a proper induction to mud for sure!
The rest of the time we did some highly necessary hanging out and resting. We watched Schitt’s Creek, we played cards, and we talked a ton. I am so serious about this tv show, I promise you will laugh hysterically if you are anything like me. Hysterically.
The most comical part of our weekend honestly involved fire. When it’s low temperatures outside, fire becomes quickly necessary. Quickly.
We were so lucky that Matt had provided us with a large bucket of cedar shavings because they burned really well. Now, don’t hear that I came unprepared. I brought newspaper/circulars to burn for our starter, matches, a sack of wood, a hatchet, and gloves. We were so prepared to make fire.
Despite all of this, the first night we were having a ton of trouble getting our smaller fire going so we could add our larger logs! It was so so windy and the fire was not at all pleased. Our baby fire would just not get big enough to burn the big logs! I clearly have not done enough research about fire if I can only produce one in near perfect conditions.
And remember that the first night, we were trying to cook our foil packets on the fire! Granted, that’s meant for a low fire, but trust me we did not even have enough there. What took 10 minutes at home on the fire, took 30 at the campsite. The first time I took the packets off the fire, I was trying to be careful touching them only to realize that a portion of them was not even too hot to the touch. Fire fail. We did finally get everything cooked and kept the fire going long enough to finish eating, but then we high tailed it back to the tent after foraging for wood (remember, it must be down and dead to gather – do not chop down trees on the land you are using!) and got cozy in our sleeping bags because it was frigid. I think I already mentioned this, but the weather channel lied to us. We were not quite prepared for the level of cold that first night and it made it a little hard to sleep. And in the middle of the night, guess what else, it started raining. Even though there was no rain predicted.
The weather channel is on my blacklist.
So guess what else was wet? All the wood we foraged for and our cedar shavings that Matt left us. Lucky for us, I had moved the wood I brought under the vestibule of the tent just in case. Because I am secretly a boy scout at heart (Can we all admit that many Girl Scout troups are a joke when it comes to camping? Not all, but many. Including mine.). But guess what is not helpful when all your small pieces of wood are wet, ginormous pieces of wood!
Enter: the trusty hatchet. But more on that later.
In the morning, we skipped the fire because we were super hungry and went straight for the camp stove. True confessions here: I had never lit the camp stove myself because that had always been the husband’s job. I had always been a part of the process, but mostly in a watching capacity. But I pulled a straight up “fake it ’til you make it”, and acted confidently that I was capable. Guess what!? I was! I got it lit with only a small snafoo (is that how you spell that?) when I could not get the air pump to close, but I’ve got a bit of an engineering streak in me and I figured it out. Eggs and sausage – no problem for this MacGyver…or maybe I should go with Rosie Revere since I’m a woman and she’s awesome. On a random side note – have you ever read Rosie Revere Engineer or Ada Twist Scientist to your little girl? The best.
Anyone else completely in love with the look of this stove? Not only does it work superbly well, it has a vintage feel which I love. If you look at the picture above, our cooler has that same feel and I loooove it. Thank you, Coleman. Don’t worry, you are not on the list with weather channel, you are still on the good side.
We just had sandwiches for lunch, but by the time things were getting dark in the evening we realized we were going to for sure need a fire this evening. Schitt’s Creek sort of majorly distracted us – “David!” – and we got a late start. I psyched myself up, listened to the encouragement of my friend, and we set out to make the bestest fire ever. You heard me. Bestest. I was able to use paper towels, some dry leaves/branches we found under some logs, and the bits Stack and I hacked off the larger pieces of wood to get a small fire going. Paper towels ended up being a lifesaver because the circulars would not stay lit long enough – thank you wind – but the paper towels lit up quite nicely.
Then the best thing happened! My super wise friend took off the top layer of cedar shavings, showing us a whole layer of shavings that were dry! Praise be! Once we added those to what we already had, we were able to get the fire going quite well and add the larger logs!
I never, I repeat never, get tired of taking pictures of fire. It’s just so epically beautiful and it is always different in every photo. I could take a thousand!
Other than the continued drama that was the fire, the weekend was all about relaxing and peace. Matt’s land was perfect for that. I have been needing some time in a quieter environment. Imagine that – it’s not like I have three small kiddos running around my house haha. I also just needed to feel like a grown up all day for a change. These kind of times away from the city, away from my phone, away from noise, away from chaos, gives me the energy I need to get back into my life and be the myself in the best way.
How do you feel you get that complete rest, that return to self? How do you quiet the chaos and connect back to who you’re hoping to be?
I get outside. I look at the stars and realize how small I am in the scheme of Creation. I push my muscles to their limit, in a peaceful quiet of crunching leaves, and begin to feel like inside I am settling down. The peace permeates more than my ears and reaches my heart. It leaves me refreshed. It leaves me new.
We were sad to leave, but also looking forward to a real bathroom, running water, potable water, and trash cans.
I am hoping to use HipCamp again soon and bring the kids along this time. I’m sure that will be quite the adventure!
See you Outside!