Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Just back from our 7th annual neighborhood camping trip.

Now, I know there are some who will tell me I can't call it camping when I pack my own mattress pad.  These outdoor enthusiasts probably roll their eyes when they hear that we actually have cabins with mattresses in the first place.

Well, I looked it up and here's what Webster has to say about camp: a place usually away from urban areas where tents or simple buildings (as cabins) are erected for shelter

There's nothing in the dictionary that disqualifies me for packing my own coffee maker.

Luray, Virginia is less than two hours from home situated at the foot of the Shenandoah Mountains.  On Saturday we drove down Skyline Drive to explore the White Oak Canyon Upper Falls trail.  After the crazy rain we had last week I had a renewed appreciation for a warm, sunny September walk in the woods.  The squirrels must have felt the same way, scampering back and forth across the trail.  Deer peeked out through branches dappled in sunlight.  After a few miles, we had worked up an appetite and a slight sweat.  We sat on some rocks beside the waterfall pools to enjoy our picnic lunch and let the kids splash around. 

Tired, wet and happy, we headed back to camp for the evening to circle up by the campfire.  Over the years, we've had different daytime excursions but our evening routine is always the same.  First we grill some burgers and hot dogs, then we roast marshmallows for s'mores.   Dog-eared copies of our neighborhood song book are passed around as guitars are tuned.   Kids and adults both call out requests for favorites... funny ones like Do Your Ears Hang Low and Yellow Submarine mixed with more traditional selections by John Denver.

I could get used to the relaxed pace, the absence of phone or email, the togetherness of friends.  Sunday morning arrives a little too soon.  On our return trip, we stop at a local apple orchard and pick a bushel--a little souvenir of our adventure.  Back home, we'll have pictures, memories and an apple pie. 

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