Monday, November 12, 2012

Season's End

Duffy, Mike, and I at the pond in Miami Whitewater Forest

Dear George,
Our tent camping winds up sometime around mid-November each year. September and October, because of the luxurious fall weather, are the most popular camping months in the Cincinnati area.  November, though, turns cold, dark, and more frequently wet.  We had a taste of Indian summer last weekend, so I took our sheepdogs Mike and Duffy for a final outing at nearby Miami Whitewater Forest.  Brief as it was, it was a pleasant two days.  Miami Whitewater has excellent hiking trails, a large lake with a marina, and a forested campground with lots of good sites.  It was about a third occupied, but, because there were mostly RV’s and few tent campers, I got my favorite campsite, set off the road with lots of space.  With the recent end of Daylight Savings Time, I found myself still cooking as the sun set around 5:30.  It dipped into the low forties at night, but I had my down sleeping bag, and the furry dogs, who enjoyed their own air mattress for the first time, slept soundly.  I seem to enjoy camping a little more each year.  It takes me back to adolescence when camping at Mason Park or Pig Island which meant getting away from home for an independent forest adventure.  I still feel that way.  I like packing my gear (mostly obtained at the thrift shop), setting up our eight-person tent, cooking and washing the dishes, gathering firewood, and drinking red wine at the campfire at night.  Camping requires a level of orderliness which fits my character as well.  I have an exhaustive checklist of camping gear, detailed computer-stored information about every campground in a radius of fifty miles, neatly labeled storage boxes, and a couple hundred camp food recipes.  I felt sad storing away my stuff in the basement when we got back, but it’s all perfectly organized and ready for taking out again next April.  The sheepdogs aren’t quite as enthusiastic as I am about camping out, but they are good companions, and they’re thrilled to retreat into the tent at night.   Here are a few pics from our expedition.

The lake at Miami Whitewater.

Campsite #116 is set well off the road. 

 Mike and Duffy got to have their own air mattress because of the cool night air.

They’d started to store the rental boats for the winter.

The dogs think of their pen as more like an open-air cave than a prison.  

Lots of doggie visitors came out for the balmy weather

Fishermen too.  

Taking a hike on the Badlands Trail.  

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-Donna D (11-15): Looks like so much fun!

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