This past weekend, Josh decided to go for an unconventional birthday party and dragged four friends (and me) into the woods. We reserved a site at Big Meadows Campground in Shenandoah National Park. As a way of getting away from DC, hanging out in sweats all weekend with friends, and eating and drinking around a campfire, this was perfect. But as a way of “roughing it”, it was not. There were lots of RVs and kids running around.
The campsites were big grassy lawns with a driveway, fire pit, and picnic table. But we made the most of it. And, despite the mocking of the “Rent an RV”s and campers with iPads, we ended up spending almost every minute of it at our campsite. Laughing, playing cards, drinking, eating, singing (happy birthday), and cozying up in LONG sleeves and pants (best part of all).
Somehow the days got away from us before I even read the brochure we were handed by a ranger on our way in. Finally, as we headed home along skyline drive, I read about all of the hiking, swimming, and gazing opportunities in the park and was filled with some regret for not taking advantage of any of them. And then, when I discovered that we had slept within a mile of the Appalachian Trail, I decided that regret is a waste of time. So instead, Josh and I plan to return to Shenandoah and stay in a tents-only site in the woods. We will have at least two nights there so we can spend a full day hiking, finding the trail, taking pictures, and maybe even seeing some animals (just not bears!).
Don’t get me wrong, this trip was awesome. It was my first time sleeping in a tent since Ragbrai 2010 and that made me nostalgic. And it was yet another excuse to try and convince everyone in my tent to DO RAGBRAI 2012. Hear that Nikki? I’m talking to you! Even more than a weekend at Big Meadows, a week of biking across Iowa will be the experience of a lifetime!
Happy Birthday weekend to Josh and happy Appalachian Trail dreaming to me!