Camping in the rain - better known as "damping"
Jun
28
2013

Our recent weather has left a lot to be desired, but this year it still didn't stop me and the ladies I go camping with every year. As a matter of fact, this was our 14th annual! We become more and more creative when dealing with inclement weather and accumulate a lot of gear after 14 years. Luckily we usually have absolutely beautiful weather. This year was not the case, weatherwise. 

Buck Pond State Campground has become our destination of choice in the last few years. While I'm sworn to secrecy on the dates and site numbers (we don't want to make this place too popular during our dates), they ARE on the water and it IS early in the season so as to avoid the crowds.  Buck Pond has flush toilets and hot showers, so you can see why we like it so much. Many NYS Campgrounds have these amenities, making it much more attractive for the ladies!Buck Pond Campground

 

This year I arrived a day early so my husband could join me for one night before the rest of the girls arrived. The forecast was for showers and thunderstorms that afternoon and evening. We seriously debated not going and in the end decided to go for it around noon.  By the time we got there (about a 35 minute drive from Lake Placid), we were happy to find it didn't look at all like it was going to rain. While the sun wasn't out, it was warm and very calm around our campsite.  

We own a small 20 foot Winnebago, which is cozy and warm and can store a LOT of "stuff".  I had spent the better part of the previous month carting things from the house to the motorhome - the usual things and other things I figured we'd surely find useful over the six days we camp every year. (Husbands think we're crazy and the campground staff shake the heads at all our "stuff"!) We got set up quickly and erected a big tarp over the picnic table in case of rain, unloaded firewood, set up our cooking area and unloaded the kayaks, bicycle and the rest of the necessary outdoor gear.  Still no rain.

We finally launched our kayaks and paddled for quite a long time along the shoreline of the lake.  It was peaceful and just what I needed. I felt the stress of the earlier couple of months melting away. I needed this relaxation big time!  After a couple hours of paddling, we headed back to the campsite to build a fire and have snacks, cocktail hour and an early meal of hot dogs and coleslaw.  

After we ate we ventured back out on the water for a twilight paddle in the cove near the campsite. Everything was extremely green and lush around the water. Several Painted Turtles were basking on logs, although the basking was not in the sun for sure as it was still very overcast. As it got dark we paddled back and rekindled the fire, sat around it for awhile and turned in early. I needed to rest up for the onslaught of the ladies arrival the next day.

And arrive they did! My husband beat a hasty retreat right after the first of my friends arrived, as we have three rules - no husbands, no pets and no kids - which we enforce!  "See you on Tuesday" I called as he fled the scene.

 

We then embarked on the frivolity of our annual gathering. This year, however, the weather was rather uncooperative. It was cool, cloudy and rained several times over the course of the next five days (one day all afternoon). We made do.  At the main site on which we gather, we put up canopies, screen houses, and a big kitchen tent.  Despite the weather, we had a great time. We enjoy each others company, laugh a lot, eat, drink and be merry! We even have a craft project one day every year. The weather is really of no consequence to us, although it would have been really nice to see the sun a bit more than one day. It's just great to be out in the wild with "the girls".  This year we did a lot more eating and drinking than paddling, hiking and swimming, but we still had a great time even in the less than desireable weather. 

Lots of tents and rain gear

 

Shelter from the storm

We saw lots of wildlife - deer, ducks with newly hatched ducklings, witnessed a Snapping Turtle retreating from her freshly dug nest, several other Snapping Turtles wandering around the campground, a pair of Loons visiting daily, and a lot of birds. One night one of our group had a Barred Owl fly right in front of her and land in a nearby tree. She watched it for quite a long time with her headlamp, the owl seemingly undisturbed by her presence.  The rest of us were jealous as we all missed it. We later learned from campground staff this owl is a frequent visitor in that loop. 

Mother and six ducklings

On Tuesday with more big storms threatening, we packed up camp after yet another successful gathering and all headed in different directions for home. We now start planning for next year. Camping is a tradition you must experience if you haven't. Don't let inclement weather stop you. Damping is fun too!

 

Author:Sue Cameron
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