Posts Tagged ‘camping’

On Monday, we left to go camping. It was a really great trip.

We went camping in Garret County, Western Maryland. Garret County, along with some other counties in Western Maryland, want to secede from the state of Maryland. We like Western Maryland much more than central Maryland and if we could move, we surely would.

Anyway, there were several state parks that we visited, but we ended up staying in Big Run State Park. There were three other places around us: Dan’s Mountain State Park, Savage River State Forest, and New Germany State Park. The area is near the Savage River Reservoir and Savage River, and as usual on camping trips, we fished quite a lot, this time in the reservoir. Also normal for us, we caught almost nothing, except for a two inch large mouth bass, a two inch brim (as far as we could tell) and a five inch catfish… which was a little weird.

While we fished, we noticed these little lizard things in the water. I think they were tadpoles, and they were nice to look at while we sat. Our dad actually caught one of those while bottom fishing. Luckily, he survived when he was released.

So obviously, we didn’t get to keep any fish, but that was fine, I guess. It was a nice place to go fishing, anyway.

One nice thing about this place is that there are hardly any people around. The area is not built up, the towns are really tiny, and they didn’t have any plumbing in the bathhouse (lower comfort station, as they called it). Mostly I think what was repelling people was the lack of phone service. Where we were, it was at least 15 minutes to an area with phone service, which is really cool to us. So there was absolutely nobody near us. That made the trip at least 52 and 7/19 percent better. Our visit was very peaceful and quiet.

Since there were a lot of state parks around us, there were plenty of hiking trails. We did hike a bit, and we also went on a snowmobile trail, which was a little less nice than the others. Overall, there are some very nice trails around Garret County.

Last but not least were the nights. As always, we made fires and roasted marshmallows and had some nice cookies (as Dink put it, camping brings out the health freak in us).

We had some heavy rains while there as well. Our tent held up surprisingly well, but we did get some bad leaking eventually, and we had to empty the tent because everything was wet, including our clothes; we had extras, thank goodness!

We also got to practice starting our fires with our flint and steel. We had dandelion fluff, wood shavings, and a cotton ball smeared with petroleum jelly, and in under a minute, I had a fire started, which was really, really surprising. The flint striker I have is really good; it is the Light my Fire one that we’ve reviewed in the past. That’s probably why I could start a fire so quickly, along with the petroleum jelly and copious amounts of tinder.

At Dan’s Mountain State Park we went swimming in their very clean outdoor pool with very relaxed lifeguards who never once blew an obnoxious whistle or hollered at someone to stop something. The fee for the pool was $4 per person. It was pretty large, with a nice fun water slide which we probably went down half a million times. A pool is really nice to have while camping, since you can cool off on a very hot day.

Next to the pool was a recycled tire playground. We played like children ūüôā

This whole area is a very nice place to go camping, and New Germany State Park also has cabins and houses which you can rent. We had a fantastic time, and I think from now on we’ll be going to this area to camp rather than our old haunts.

Goodbye, Susquehanna and Catoctin! You have served us well, but we’re moving on.

We like to go camping a lot. Last year, we managed to make a fire by using a flint striker. We wrote about that in our article called Making the Fire. We used a Coghlan’s flint striker the last time and it is a pretty good flint striker. John got a different kind for Christmas.

It was made in Sweden by the company Light My Fire. The flint rod measures roughly 4 cm long. It comes with a piece of steel for striking. It has approximately 3,000 strikes and it throws pretty good sparks, although throwing good sparks takes some practice. Once you learn, it is very easy to strike and starting a fire using a flint striker is very satisfying. Not worrying about your matches blowing out or getting wet is nice too. On a scale from one to ten, I would rate this product a ten and so would John. If interested, you can buy it here.

by Dink

We got today off from school so our dad took us camping again! We camp a lot, don’t we? Since we had to leave late yesterday, we picked a camping area that is close to our home. We got there pretty late and picked out a campsite. When we stepped out of the van, the first thing we noticed was that it was really cold, a lot colder than our last camping trip near the Susquehanna River. Actually, the reason it felt so cold was because it was quite windy in our campsite. We were on a hill, and our side was getting a lot of wind, which made it feel colder that it actually was.

We set up our tent, and then went fishing in a lake nearby. I decided to use a lure and a fish bit on the very first cast! It was big enough to eat, but we didn’t bring the things necessary for cleaning a fish, so we just tossed him back into the lake. We really didn’t expect to catch anything worth eating, and we weren’t prepared when the I caught that fish. I guess next time we go camping we’ll bring what we need to clean a fish. Our dad caught a fish a few minutes later, and then it got dark so we had to quit fishing.

We then went to eat at an Italian restaurant called Rocky’s Pizza that was in a town nearby called Thurmont. We usually bring our own food, but this time we decided to eat out. After we ate we went back to the campsite to make a fire, because it was really cold. Usually when we make fires, we just do it for fun, but this time we really wanted one.

We tried to make a fire with my flint striker again, but this time we couldn’t get it started like that. I think it was too windy and the wood was a little damp. Plus, we were mostly out of our dried morning glory vines and those are the best kindling I know of. In case you’ve never read our fire making articles, we use dandelion fluff and dried morning glory vines for our tinder and kindling. We finally gave up the flint striker and used matches instead. Even with matches, we barely got the fire going, but we finally did after several fails.

Today we decided to hike up to a place called Isabella’s Rock. We looked at a sign and found out that it was only a quarter of a mile away. But we went anyway and it was pretty fun. The hike up there was rather rough. It was a pretty steep climb and there were about three dense caves of briers and plants that were hard to get through without being poked with a thorn. When we arrived, we never really figured out which rock was Isabella’s Rock. There were about 5 large rocks and we couldn’t tell which one was Isabella’s. We stayed at Isabella’s Rock for a while and looked around, but eventually we started home (through the forest of briers). Then we went fishing again! Unfortunately, nothing bit this time, but we tried to use some different lures and things. We basically all started out with rooster tails, but I switched to a jitterbug after a while.

A jitterbug is a lure that might look like a frog to fish in the water. Unlike rooster tails, jitterbugs float. You can either let them sit, or you can reel them in as soon as you cast. Jitterbugs have a little metal plate on them that stirs up the water when you reel them in and some hooks. I guess that catches the fish’s attention and they bite it! Unfortunately, nothing bit my jitterbug. Dink eventually switched to an artificial minnow. It actually went through the water like a real fish, but nothing bit that either.

The second day of fishing wasn’t quite as good, but we went on a hike which makes up for not catching anything. After we went fishing, we had to pack up and leave. Although very short, this camping trip was very fun.

by Dink and John

When we went camping on Friday, we built a fire using a flint striker and we got some footage of that. We said what kind of tinder we were putting down during the video, but there was a lot of bugs chirping and other noises, so I’m not sure you can understand us. In case you can’t, we first lay down some small sticks. Then we put dried morning glory vines onto the sticks. After that we put down drier lint and dandelion fluff on top of the sticks and morning glory vines.

We cut out part of the video (about three minutes) when you couldn’t see anything, or when nothing really was happening, but it’s still pretty long. We hope you enjoy watching!

~Dink and John~

Since we’re going to go camping sometime this summer and we’re going to need to make fires, Dink and I decided to practice making one at home with our flint striker. We got it going good,¬†and after we had¬†the fire¬†pretty high, we proceeded to douse it with at least a gallon of water. The fire swiftly went out, but we knew that we could make a fire with a flint striker.

On a couple of other camping trips, we used magnesium and purell, but the fire Dink and I made at home was made without magnesium or purell. I think it was because we had such good tinder to start it with. We used dandelion fluff and dried up morning-glory vines. Both those things were very dry, and they made a very good combination. The dandelion fluff only takes a spark to ignite, and the morning-glory stuff only took a tiny flame to ignite. If you get a spark on the dandelions, it will make a tiny flame, which will ignite the morning-glory stems, which will hopefully ignite the leaves and small twigs you have laid out.

If your tinder is very dry, it will be very easy to get a fire going with a flint striker as long as you know what you’re doing. You have to know how to make the fire bed, and if you do, it shouldn’t be too hard. Now Dink and I know that we can make a fire as long as we have the right things. We didn’t lay the fire down in the normal way, as you can see from the picture, but it still worked. We gathered a bunch of dried morning-glory vines and dandelion fluff and put them in a sandwich bag for when we go camping. They will probably come in handy and we look forward to using them.

by John