March 11, 2015
Spring has finally sprung in North Carolina, and warm weather has relieved us of winter’s arctic blast. The better weather came at the perfect time: the onset of Spring Break. To take advantage of the time off, my fiance, a friend, and I headed to western North Carolina for some camping in Pisgah National Forest.
Pisgah has a host of camping options, from crowded group camping areas, complete with bathrooms and hot water showers, to the more remote, roadside camping. As we didn’t relish pitching our tent ten feet from our neighbors, so we opted for the latter option, and drove and drove until the paved road turned to dirt and we had climbed significantly in elevation.
Our camping spot was perfect. A cleared space encircled by rhododendron, the site bordered a tiny creek that splashed throughout the night, providing nature’s white noise. We were far enough into the woods that other cars rarely passed, but had easy access to gear and food in our own car.
The day had been beautiful, with sunshine and temperatures that had climbed into the 60’s. But spring is a funny time weather-wise, and as we finished setting up the tent and our chairs the sun and the temperatures rapidly set. What had been a warm afternoon suddenly turned into a chilly evening, and an even colder night. I quickly donned my parka, knitted cap, and gloves, and scooted close to the slowly burning fire. Soon I could see my breath, and as the thermometer dipped below freezing I doubted whether we had really made a good camping decision.
There’s an old saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing.” Well, I had the jacket and knitted items, but I was still shivering. Luckily, I had also brought three comforters, two sleeping bags, and a fuzzy throw, and if my jacket wasn’t enough, then I would just add a blanket!
After wrapping myself in a blanket, eating some mac and cheese dinner, and adding an extra load of wood on the fire, I was feeling much better. We stayed up late, no cell phone signals or TV to distract us, and the rising moon cast added light across our campsite. I slept soundly, and the next day we spent fishing, exploring, and birding. It was beautiful, and a great way to start Spring Break!