Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Camping at Rocky Gap State Park

   Friends in my neighborhood gather every September to go camping for fellowship and fun in nature. For the past nine years, we have camped at a county park, Little Bennett. This park has beautiful nature, great facilities and is a half hours drive from our homes. Camping at this park allows us to participate in our kids weekend sports activities and be close to home for families who are new to camping. Each year, there are the regulars and some families trying camping for the first time. Two thumbs up for them! Sometimes camping for the new families has been successful and they have become regulars but others have packed up in the middle of the night to return home.

   This year on our tenth anniversary, the regulars decided to mix it up and change the location and duration. Instead of one night, we camped the weekend at Rocky Gap State Park. It is a gorgeous park tucked in the mountains of Western Maryland very close to the Pennsylvania border. The park offers an outdoor experience for the novice to the expert: a resort lodge to a campground and mountain bike trails.
I reserved six campsites on Lake Habeeb, each site with their own access and view of the crystal clear lake. We arrived at night to see a mystical fog hover over the lake in the moon light. The kids immediately had a blast exploring the trails to the lake with their flashlights. After hot and humid summer days, we experienced the crispness of fall. Something our bodies were not physically used to. We layered our fleece both morning and night to sit by a campfire and chill while the kids kept warm with a pretend game of Star Wars in the woods - boys against girls! Morning coffee never tasted so good. As the day passed, the sun peeked through the sky providing some warmth. The sun encouraged us adults to move. Some hiked the lake loop while others mountain biked it. To complete my outdoor adventure, I put on my wetsuit for an open water swim in the lake. Refreshing but chilly, as the sun descended over the mountains. As day turned into night, no camping trip is possible without roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire. Before quiet time descended over the campground, the kids lead us in song from yesterday and today.
   Living in a neighborhood with an "it takes a village" mentally is a true blessing in life; where a sense of community is real and shared by all. The gift is even great when the same sense of community can be shared in nature.