This post should alternately be named “How to Make Your Husband Enjoy Camping”. 🙂 While I joke, I’m honestly still surprised that camping is a thing we do, considering Jody wasn’t the world’s biggest outdoors fan when we met. But, after two previous camping trips that could have been deemed a disaster, I’m grateful that he agreed to another camping weekend, and it was a good thing he did because this was our best camping trip yet.
We planned a fall weekend getaway, hoping to squeeze in as many fall festivities as we could muster. After some deliberation, we settled on a campsite at Cunningham Falls State Park, which is just on the eastern edge of the Maryland mountains. Located on Catoctin Mountain, there were plenty of hiking trails nearby, plus apple orchards and vineyards – the ideal combination for the perfect fall weekend.
Despite our late departure, causing us to get stuck in Friday afternoon traffic, we arrived at the state park at sunset. After checking in, we arrived at our site (Site 18 in the Addison Run loop) and quickly began assembling our tent. Grateful that it was a relatively seamless process, Jody got the campfire going as I set up the rest of our site. A short time later, we were nestled in our chairs enjoying hotdogs over the fire. We listened to the crackling of the fires, as well as the murmur of the other sites around us, before calling it a night and heading into our tent. Knowing the lows at night were to be in the 40s, I packed extra blankets and sleeping bags to ensure we stayed warm enough. We ended up not needing the sleeping bags, but I was glad to have packed the extra blankets!
I did wake up in the middle of the night, due to being a little cold, but was quickly awakened by the sounds of coyotes howling on the mountain! Even though we were in bear country, I (naively) wasn’t expecting to hear wildlife as busy and big as this campground was. Of course, we were sleeping in their woods, so I suppose it makes a little more sense!
The next morning, there was still a chill in the air, so as Jody got the fire going, I slipped on my boots and threw on a sweater, and pulled out the coffee and tea supplies. We spent hours sitting next to the crackling fire, sipping our hot drinks, and nibbling on pumpkin cookies, completely relishing in the perfect fall morning.
The sun eventually made its way through the trees, and as the temperature began to warm up, we got ready for our hike. There were SO many trails to choose from, including one within the Cunningham Falls State Park to the aforenamed waterfall. While that hike had great reviews, we opted for the 2.7 mile Wolf Rock Trail in Catoctin Mountain Park for the less-crowded path and top-of-the-mountain views. The hike itself was enjoyable, with parts more challenging than others, but the view was slightly disappointing – the view was blocked by the leaves at the top of the trees! We rested on the boulders for a bit before descending. Even though the view wasn’t what we hoped for, we were still able to admire the golden leaves that were changing around us.
Since we would be missing our annual apple picking trip to Carter’s Mountain this year, I found a local orchard for us to visit after grabbing a bite to eat at our campsite after our hike. Catoctin Mountain Orchard sat just a few miles outside of the park, so after a quick drive down the mountain, we boarded the wagon to take a ride out into the orchard. It ended up being hotter than we anticipated off of the mountain so we didn’t spend a ton of time in the orchard – just long enough for a bag of apples and a few pictures!
Catoctin Breeze Vineyard was directly across the road from the orchard, so we did a quick tasting before headed back to camp. For this evening’s dinner, we traded our hot dogs for pizza mountain pies. Admittedly, the final presentation of the pies was not up to par (think taco more than pie sandwich) but was still tasty nonetheless. Of course, no camping trip is complete without roasting s’mores!
On our final morning, we woke for more time by the fire, before enjoying a warm breakfast. We observed many of our camp neighbors got an early start on packing up their sites, but since Jody and I didn’t plan to leave until mid-day, we played a card game before walking through a couple of the camp loops near our site. We decided Sunday is the worst day of camping because we had to leave. It had been the perfect weekend redirecting our attention to practices important to us – quality time together, moving our bodies and soaking in the mountain air.
We very much enjoyed camping in the fall, and can hardly wait to go again, so much so that I turned on availability notification through practically the end of the season. Friends, if you have the opportunity to give camping a try, I cannot recommend it enough. Aside from recording the memories of our trip, I hope that sharing these camping recaps encourages you to get outside. I would be delighted to cheer you on! Here are recaps of our other camping adventures…