Food quote of note

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience"…Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Great Outdoors Really Is Great!

So, I've been saying for a few years that I wanted to go camping....yes, you heard me right, in the outdoors with a tent and no electricity - that kind of camping.  I'd never been camping - so, it seemed like one of those things I needed to add to my repertoire.  After all - I like the outdoors!  I'm not really sure why (well, actually I am) but many of my friends were actually quite skeptical about the concept of me, a sleeping bag and the great outdoors - Oh Ye of Little Faith! 

Well, write it down - Hell has officially frozen over - and I, Crystal Leach, have camped!  As a matter of fact, I not only camped - I had a great time!  We went up to the mountains of North Carolina for a beautiful fall weekend at Montreat Campgrounds with our dear friends Susan and Lawrence - it was the perfect introduction to the wonderful world of camping. 

My best friend Susan with her husband Lawrence and son
Ladson - they are old pros at this camping thing, so they brought
most of the gear and, quite honestly, did alot of the work!

We had the perfect campsite - under a canopy of trees and right
beside a stream.  My husband Guy, of course, is right
at home in the Great Outdoors.

Here it is, our little home-away-from-home for the this really a 2-person tent?

I know - hard to believe - but, I did it!  This is me emerging from our tent on
Saturday morning - I even got a few hours of sleep on my
air mat and sleeping bag!

So - the great thing about being such a camping weenie, is that, quite frankly, I didn't really have to do a thing on this trip - everyone was so shocked that I actually made it camping that they cut me quite a bit of slack when it came to camping duties.  It worked out quite nicely for me - although I have this sinking feeling that I won't be so lucky on our next trip.  When I emerged from our tent that first morning, I was greeted by a roaring fire that my husband had made and the aroma of breakfast cooking on the Coleman Stove.   Susan and Lawrence have this camping thing down - they have all the equipement and a system for making all sorts of yummy camping cuisine. All that fresh air can sure make a girl hungry - and, lucky for me, the DuBose's were up and ready with a Cowboy Breakfast.

It appears my husband is quite good at making campfires - who knew?

Susan and Lawrence have mastered cooking in the great outdoors!

Ahhh...the smell of freshly pressed this is my kind of roughing it!

Our cooler was stocked with all of the camping necessities, including Diet Coke
and Pine Street Market Bacon!

YUM!! For some reason it just seems ok to eat a big-old-bunch of bacon when  you're camping...especially when it's been made in a cast-iron skillet.

After a leisurely and filling morning around the campfire, we headed into the nearby town of Black Mountain for the local Farmer's Market.  It was a gem of a market - filled with local artisans selling everything from flowers to goat's milk soap to cheese to eggplant.  I was especially thrilled to find some of the artisanal producers here at the market that I have encountered in some of Atlanta's food shops - especially the great folks at Looking Glass Creamery.  It was a beautiful morning - sun was shining and the leaves were just staring to turn - a great celebration of Fall in the North Carolina Mountains.  We strolled, sampled and bought some things to take back to our campsite.

We spent the afternoon enjoying the Great Outdoors - hiking just enough to enjoy the beautiful scenery but not enough to get really sweaty!

Susan opted out of the hike and took a nap in the hammock strung
between the trees - yes, I promise, she's in there!
We ended our day with a quiet evening around the campfire my
Nature Boy husband built for us.  Of course, marshmallows soon made an appearance.

On our second night we were awakened by this really loud sound - RAIN - yes, you heard me -- RAIN - pounding down on our little tent!! And, I'm not talking a little shower - I'm talking RAIN - loud, hard, and wet!  At first I was a little worried - but, thanks the magic of LL Bean, our tent held out the water and we made it through the night dry and warm.  While our campsite was a little wet in the morning, we were relatively unscathed by the rain and enjoyed our camping breakfast around the fire.   Hard to believe, but our camping weekend was over and it was time to pack up and head home.

So, I DID IT - I CAMPED - hard to believe, but it's true!  I know that much of the reason I had such an enjoyable time was that my husband and my camping sherpas, Susan and Lawrence, set me up for success.  All in all, it was a relaxing and enjoyable weekend - full of the beautiful sights and sounds of the North Carolina Mountains, shared with some of my favorite folks in the whole world - of course I had a great time!   


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  2. I am so jealous. It looks like you guys had a great time. Camping is something I have been wanting to do again, but there is no way I am going to do that here with the gators lol. There is nothing like waking up in the morning with the fire going and the coffee on...Miss you guys, hopefully I will be coming up to Atlanta sometime next year. Love you