A Different Kind Of Camping Trip For Us
Camping for us usually means activity and adventure….
I am mostly a homebody. I am definitely not a lets go out and do something kind of person. Not a night out on the town person. Things I would rather to do than go out include but are not limited to: Relax at home and binge watch a TV program I have been waiting to see. Sit and read a book. Maybe even alternate between two books reading a little from each at a time. Play with my dogs. Sit on the deck and drink a beer. Watch the birds at the feeder. Photograph anything.
If I choose to leave the house to do something it usually is to do one of two categories of things. Do something active. Or I am doing something in nature. Or both simultaneously.
When I go out in nature one of my favorite things is to explore and try to see new things. That can be going new places, going places different times of year, or just paying attention to different things at places I have been before. Nature provides so many options.
Because we like to be out in nature when we take a vacation we almost always go camping. But sometimes I think we do camping differently than a lot of people do. One version of camping is go someplace you want to be and literally set up camp. Staying at camp or within the campground and relaxing and enjoying the time at camp.
That is not traditionally what we have done. Our version of camping treats camp, as in the location of our tent, more like a base of operations. We use the base of operations as a staging ground for explorations. We often head out on day trips to explore as much of the region we can. Returning to camp mostly at night to eat, sleep, and plan the next day’s excursions.
This year has been different for us. We often take a dog with us camping. Our current dog that accompanies us on camping trips has been facing a lot of health challenges. She simply cannot get around like she used to. Not even for walks at home.
Thankfully she loves car rides and is good in the car. She gets plenty of those. And she is still going on a long car ride to camp with us.
We don’t know how much time we still have with her or how long she will still be able to even endure this level of adventure, so of course she still goes.
Taking a dog with us that has limited mobility means the humans make adjustments. All the dog people out there know, when you have dogs you make adjustments.
Normally on a vacation we would take our dog, Brynn, on long hikes. She even climbed mountains in New Hampshire with us. There wasn’t going to be any of that this year.
As it turned out a short walk around the small loop where our camp site was is about all she could tolerate.
As humans who like to be active with a dog for whom that is no longer an option we had to redefine our idea of a vacation. We completely reshaped how we plan to spend our time camping on this trip.
Not Adventuring In The Adirondacks
We were camping in the Adirondacks of New York. For most people that probably means hiking, biking, boating, or bagging High Peaks. This was not the case for us this year.
The Adirondacks are undoubtably beautiful. And thanks to the remarkable abundance of beauty to be found it can be accessed in a multitude of ways. One of which is by car.
For a region that is quite rugged and full of wilderness it is also quite accessible by car. There are gorgeous scenic drives to be had. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s possible to see much more of the region this way.
Our dog loves car rides. Our dog loves being with us. We love being with our dog. We all love nature. It is a perfect opportunity to spend time together, enjoy nature, and explore. And we did it all by car.
In addition to all the nature to see there are also a host of towns to visit. All with their own charm and character. Shops to check out and food establishments to patronize.
One day we decided to go for a drive. We would drive or a while and then stop periodically as we arrived at the next town. It was time to get out walk around and stretch our legs. Taking in what each town had to offer.
On another excursion we all went to Lake Placid. Plenty of nice things to look at on short walks. There are places to sit and relaxed by the water. We enjoyed the scenic drive.
It is easy to think of the Adirondacks as a place of mountains and wilderness. Someplace where the only way to really see it is out on the trails or in the back country. What is really easy to overlook is all of the amazing natural features that are incredibly easy to access.
I bought a book that is entirely about the waterfalls you can see in the Adirondacks. The book categorizes them by how easily accessible they are. There is page after page after page of waterfalls that are accessible by a walk so short you wouldn’t believe it. Some of them are even quite large waterfalls.
I bookmarked all the pages in the book with waterfalls I thought we would be able to go see with our dog. We went out for an exploration to find them. Zig Zagging from one stop to another. Getting out of the car to walk around and take in the beauty of the waterfalls. Some were more impressive than others. Some had more space to stop and relax than others. But it was fun to explore by car and see what there was to behold. All within a few short steps from the car.
Staying At Camp
I mentioned how we really like to explore and be active when we go camping. Well on this trip we mostly did….. “Nothing”?
The vast majority of the our trip was spent within our campground and more than that at our camp site. This is really new and different for us on vacation. We really don’t do relax well when we are on vacation. I think we get a version of FOMO and typically feel like we need to do as much as possible while we are on vacation.
It was time to slow things down.
The campground we stayed at included a large lake. We regularly went down to the lake to relax. Have a picnic. Or in my case take photos.
We spent a lot of time at our camp site. Sleeping, napping, resting. Also relaxing.
At the camp site we spent time sitting and enjoying time together. Petting our dog. Playing with the dog.
We played games. We have recently really been enjoying playing board games. I bought games specifically to play while we were on vacation. We tried to learn how to play the game GO. It did not go so well.
One activity I really enjoy is reading. But for me it is not often top of mind. It is also something I struggle with because I tend to fall asleep when I try to read. But on vacation if you are trying to just relax and you fall asleep reading you are doing vacation just right. I spent a lot of time reading. It felt like just the right way to spend a relaxing vacation.
My favorite activity is photography. When I think of my photography I think of exploration. Looking for wildlife. Trying to photograph nature in new and exciting ways. This trip really required me to bring fresh eyes to my photography.
I photographed some of the normal things. Waterfalls, Lakes, and scenic vistas. But I also did different things. I photographed the same locations at camp night after night at sunset. I walked around our campsite and photographed the trees and vegetation right near where we were sleeping. Trying to think of something different I photographed the tiny decorative LED lights hanging from our canopy. Those turned out better than I expected. On one of our last nights I stayed up and built a big fire. I sat and watch the flames. And I decided to see what I could create in a photograph of a camp fire. Those also turned out pretty cool
Mix It Up
On our trip where we had to adjust to doing things differently it was great to expand our definition of a fun vacation to include new options.
Don’t define fun by something that takes lot of work. Learn to enjoy the simple things.
Mix things up. Do things you would not normally do. Open your mind to new possibilities.
Travel during your travel. Go for the scenic car ride and see all you can.
Step off the beaten path, but maybe just a little bit. No reason to go so far to enjoy the wonders of nature.
Look through the lens differently.
Enjoy the freedom to relax.
In some ways I think I enjoyed this version of vacation better than the way we normally do vacation.