solstice camping

We took a a somewhat spontaneous little camping trip over the mountain to Lake James State Park last Wednesday and Thursday.  It was our first time there and I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet and peaceful it was.  (I was kind of expecting Gatlinburg on water, for some reason... crowded, loud, crappy t-shirt shops..... but there was none of that)

We set up our laughably large tent and hung out for a while.  The overwhelming majority of our camping gear is for backpacking, not for car camping (or, 300 yards away from the car, as was the case here), and so our set up now is quite funny.  HUGE tent (as in, both of our other tents could easily fit inside with lots of room to spare) filled with nothing but two tiny 3/4 length ultralite thermarest mattresses.  We still use those along with our tiny little stove and headlamps, not having graduated yet to air mattresses, double burners, and a lantern.  I think the time has come to accept that, while our future most certainly still holds some backpacking trips for us, for now we are in a different place and perhaps it'd be a good idea to shell out just a few bucks to make our camping experiences a bit cushier.

We took the canoe out Wednesday afternoon and swam for a while in a little cove.  Claire was ridiculously cute in her life jacket and little flappy safari-esque hat.  I don't have a picture though.  I did not take my camera in the canoe.  Because surely, if I had, it would have ended up at the bottom of the lake.  (I'm clumsy like that)  Mike attempted to fish after we drove all over gathering the things he needed to do so, but it didn't go that well.  He was trying to fish from the campsite and his lines just kept getting tangled up in the trees.  Maybe next time he can catch our dinner for us.

After Claire fell asleep we stayed up around the fire for a while and I asked him if he knew whether the solstice was Thursday or Friday.  He looked on his phone (so connected we are these days, it's a bit ridiculous) and we discovered it was Wednesday.  So, we had our little solstice fire after all.

Sleep, shared with two other individuals on 2 very small and not-quite-an-inch-thick mattresses, did not come easily for me.  But there was some of it and when we got up the next morning we took it slow and lazed around a bit more.  We ate cold cereal and hot coffee for breakfast and we adults each got to do some reading while Claire played around the campsite making piles of sand and dirt and sticks.

We cleaned up our site and headed out in the canoe again for some more paddling and swimming.  I wondered aloud when she'd be old enough to take on a multi-day paddling trip.  I think maybe the answer is when she can swim.  That seems reasonable.  And safe.  Though I heard today about some campsites newly put in place along the French Broad river near us, so maybe we can give it a shot sooner.  I also heard today, from a friend, that Lake James "kinda creeps her out" because there's a town under it.  At first I was a little surprised, but then came to find that it isn't so uncommon to flood old towns when creating a lake.  (sadly, all of our lakes in NC are manmade)  I am now trying to think of this as being "neat" and "intriguing" instead of "weirdly creepy" because I want to go back and spend a few days there again soon, and it will be much easier to do so if I'm feeling intrigued instead of scared.

Happy Summer!  Here's to long days, ice cream, swimming, berry picking, and so much more~


  1. How fun!!!! What a wonderful way to spend the solstice!!

    1. it was a lot of fun, and now I'm planning out another camping trip in my mind. Soon, hopefully!

  2. LOVE!! Happy Solstice to you and your sweet family!!

    1. thanks, Nichole! And to you as well~ looks like you guys had quite the adventure!!


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~