This year has been pretty busy, what with Olivia getting married in February, defending in March, having a baby in April, moving in June, starting a new job in July, Portland in August, and Utah in October. So I can't really be surprised that by the time November rolled around we hadn't been camping, even once.
Fortunately (and you know I don't REALLY mean that), Hurricane Sandy rolled through causing an uproar about the New York Marathon and spurring me to cancel. Instead, I registered for Manchester City Marathon up in New Hampshire. Now, the northern part of New England is a lot different than Connecticut--much less densely populated, with hills and almost-mountains, and even a big chunk of forest service land in Western Vermont. So it is really the perfect destination for camping. We couldn't pass up the opportunity, even though a cold front was scheduled to move through that weekend, with nighttime
temperatures in the high 20's.
We drove up to New Hampshire on Saturday and stayed in a hotel that night. I ran the marathon on Sunday morning. It was a beautiful course, with a couple of sections of trail, a couple of picturesque lakes, and plenty of hills. It was also really windy--especially from mile 15 on. Let's just say I didn't run negative splits. Well, unless you count the last 200 meters where I was forced to sprint by a man behind me who was yelling at his wife "Come on! You can take her!" She didn't take me.
As a side note, I think that Alex got more notice than I did at the race, toting a 7 month baby, strolling a 3 year old, and controlling two large dogs. What a guy.
Directly after the marathon we hopped in the car and headed to Western Vermont where we found the perfect campsite. We were the only people within several miles, next to a DIRT road (unheard of in Connecticut), where the dogs could run free, and there were no stinking port-a-potties.
We made a blazing fire and ate some basic pasta with sauce for dinner. James wasn't super thrilled to be stuffed into his winter suit since it restricted his movement. But hey, he was warm. We hit the sack around 7:30. Early, yes. But we were all tired, including Abby who started asking to go to bed at around 7:00. I brought the memory foam top from our futon and the cushions from our
outside porch swing (mostly for the dogs). We put a few space blankets
under the foam pad, which we oriented sideways with the swing cushions along the bottom at our feet. Then we layered two fleece blankets under a down blanket
for me and James, while Abby and Alex shared our zipped-together mummy
bags on the other half of the pad. We were surprisingly toasty all night. I think Ella was in heaven, sleeping together with the whole family.
In the morning we were greeted with snow flurries and ice on our table. Perfect.