Sunday, June 15, 2014

West Virginia - Sunday night - Camp time

We leave the Dolly Sods area shortly after 4pm, basking in the air conditioning for the ride back to camp. We arrive back at about 5pm, having dodged a number of deer running across the road.

By the time everyone has showered and cleaned up, made an ice run to a general store just down the road, and settled into our camp chairs, it is nearing 6:30pm. The sun is dropping toward the ridge to our west, and the campsite is thankfully in the shade, or enough shade if we scoot our chairs closer to the trees. At some point during the weekend Leo comments that he thinks maybe he likes the camping part of these trips best of all. On thinking about it, I might very well agree. I do love the hikes, despite my griping about the climbing and there always being mountains in our trips, but I also really love the camaraderie of the camp time. We sit around the fire, have a few drinks over the course of the evening, and talk. Ted has heard about the same trick I had, which is that if you put an iPhone or the equivalent in a bowl or a coffee cup to play music, it serves as a makeshift speaker. This actually works pretty well, and a small bowl serves to help provide good music until "quiet time" begins at 10pm. Between 4 phones loaded with music, we have plenty of good stuff to listen to.
Camp time

I also enjoy good food, and like the challenge of eating well at camp. I ended up being the quartermaster and cook for this trip (I volunteered), and one of my goals was to try to expand our horizons a little bit. I have always been somewhat surprised that with all the car camping trips that these guys have done over the years, nobody has ever bought or brought a camp stove, and that all the food preparation they have done has always been over a charcoal grill or the fire pit. I've been wanting to try something different, so after some research I bought a Primus Profile two burner camp stove. It runs on standard 1 pound propane bottles (like the green Coleman one in the picture), and supposedly gets about one and a half to two hours use per bottle. Each burner puts out 12,000 BTU of heat, which is plenty to boil water relatively quickly, but also has the ability to simmer on a low flame when necessary. Other than testing it in the yard at home to make sure it would light, tonight's dinner would be its first real use.
New toy - Primus Profile camp stove

Knowing that we were planning a long day of hiking today and not being sure exactly when we would be back at camp (or how much energy we would have when we got there), I planned a simple dinner. I had made a batch of Cincinnati Chili at home during the week and froze it. It had been in the iced cooler slowly thawing over the last couple of days. I would make pasta in one pot on the stove while reheating the chili in the other. The stove worked fine, and we had a great dinner of Cincinnati chili over rotini pasta, sprinkled with shredded cheddar (and hot sauce), with an arugula salad on the side. One dinner isn't a comprehensive test, but I am thinking I am going to like this stove a lot. It opens up a whole new realm of possibilities concerning sauteed or steamed veggies to go with the usual protein-fest.
More Seneca Rocks

Everyone is tired. We watch the sun set on Seneca Rocks, talk and listen to music. Everyone is in bed by perhaps 10:30pm.

Tomorrow (Monday), Ted will be up very early and leaving as soon as he can. He will take some of the gear we no longer need, and drive back by himself to get to work in the afternoon. Leo, Dave and I will do a short hike in the morning, then pack up camp and head home ourselves, planning to be home around dinner time or early evening. With Ted having taken some of the gear, and with half of the back seat available, we will have plenty of space in the SUV.

Next...Seneca Rocks and Home.

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