Surprise! We had to come back with a one-two punch, because what goes better with a maple syrup festival than camping?!
If you haven’t tried it yet, early spring camping can be a lot of fun. During our week-long road trip in early March, we spent almost as much time camping as we did sleeping indoors. Albeit our camping isn’t necessarily roughing it; the back seat of our van folds down into a bed big enough for the three of us (four when Cash curls up for a snooze). These were taken on the first morning in George Washington National Forest, just outside of Warm Springs, VA.
As you can tell, the morning air was
freezing crisp and refreshing, with a beautiful layer of frost and ice crystals covering every surface. So first things, first, Calder made some coffee in the french press while I wandered off to check out the scenery. Soon I was back at the van, grabbing my coffee, and encouraging everyone to get out and watch the rising sun sparkle on the ice.
As if the photos aren’t reason enough, do you want to know why we love camping at this time of year?
- There are no crowds. You don’t have to worry about pulling into the campground late at night. You’ll still have your pick of the prime spots.
- There are no bugs!
- If you go early enough, before the real spring rains pick up, the ground is still relatively dry.
- Camping in the heat of summer can be hot and sweaty. Camping in spring is cozy! Especially if you toss in an extra down comforter or two. We sleep with one under us and one on top.
- The warmth of the campfire fire and a hot chocolate are all you need to pass the evening.
- If you can’t car camp and are not sure about roughing it in a tent, this is also a great time of year to stay in a state park cabin or yurt. Demand is low, and often, so are the prices.
- There’s so much animal activity as the seasons shift. You may hear migrating birds or see bears just up from their long winter naps (stay back, of course!).
If you’re still not sure, would the promise of a hot spring change your mind? Seek out a campground that’s near other fun activities. We picked our campground specifically because we wanted to visit the nearby hot springs. So after eating breakfast at The Homestead, we hit up the Jefferson pools (or at least we tried).
If there’s one thing we learned on this trip, it’s don’t believe the signs. The pools don’t open at 10, they open at 11 (I think this is the one downside of off-peak travel). We showed up at 10 ready to take a dip, but were turned away. Debating our options, we walked around the outside of the buildings. This was the first vividly bright blue day that we had all spring, creating such a great backdrop for photographing the old structures with their lichen covered roofs.
While I was busy taking photographs, Calder was on a mission to give us our hot spring adventure without having to wait an hour. The same spring that feeds the pools continues to flow down around the side of the buildings, and it was perfectly steamy. Soooooo, of course I had to be convinced that we weren’t going to get in trouble, but then we put on our suits and took a dip. It was amazing. The blue skies, sunshine, warm water, the little and big company.
… and then the cops came. Someone called the cops on us! But luckily we were already out of the water and drying off, so they left us go without even a warning.
That was our first camping adventure of the year. What about you? Do you like cool weather camping? Are you going to scout out a maple syrup festival and turn it into a weekend adventure (minus the cops, of course)?