“I am up before the sun, and make a fire. The water boils as the sun ignites the peaks, and we breakfast in sunshine on hot tea and porridge. A nutcracker is rasping in the pines, and soon the crows come, down the morning valley; cawing, they hide among long shimmering needles, then glide in, bold, to walk about in the warming scent of resin, dry feet scratching on the bark of fallen trees.
…I walk barefoot in the grass, spreading my gear with ceremony: today, for the first time in weeks, everything will dry, a great event in expedition life. Then with my stave I prop my pack upright and sit back against the mountainside, my face in cold shade and hot sun on my arms and belly.
Pine needles dance in a light breeze against the three white sister peaks to the northwest. I sit in silence, lost in the burning hum of mountain bees. An emerald butterfly comes to my knee to dry its wings, gold wings with black specks above, white polka dots beneath. Through the frozen atmospheres, the sun is burning.
In the clearness of this Himalayan air, mountains draw near, and in such splendor, tears come quietly to my eyes and cool on my sunburned cheeks. This is not mere soft-mindedness, nor am I all that silly with the altitude. My head has cleared in these weeks free of intrusions -- mail, telephones, people and their needs -- and I respond to things spontaneously, without defensive or self-conscious screens.”
-- Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard (Viking Press, 1978)
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Now that spring has officially arrived, it won’t be all that long till the start of this year’s wilderness camping season. It’s not too early to think about making plans.
Our first camping trip of the year, our Memorial Day weekend trip in VA’s Shenandoah National Park (5/27-30) is already almost full, with just 2 spaces left.
In other words, if you’re interested in joining us, NOW is a good time to reserve, if you can. That trip could fill any day now, and we may soon have a waiting list.
After that, our next camping trip is July 4th weekend (7/1-4), where we’ll be camping near the spectacular Raquette River in NY’s 6-million-acre Adirondack Park. This trip may fill early as well (as occurred when we last had a trip to that location 2 years ago).
For descriptions of our camping trips, go to the Trip Schedule (menu at the top), and click on the 2016 Overnight Trip Schedule page.
Every year we have some beginners on our trips, along with long-standing wilderness enthusiasts who camp with us as often as 2-3 times each year.
If you’re a beginner who feels tempted or ready to “take the plunge,” spring is a splendid time of year to get started. Get in touch now if you have questions.
As many of you already know, the wilderness scenery in the eastern and northeastern US can be incredibly beautiful, and some of it’s truly spectacular.
And no other environment comes close to the wilderness in offering such rich opportunities for the excitement of adventure, but also relaxation and restoration.
In other words… few vacations are likely to be as memorable as a wilderness vacation. It can even be a life-changing experience. Will you be with us this year?
-- Charlie Cook