Monday, May 25, 2009

5-25-09: Camping in NH

The lady friend and I spent the weekend camping up in New Hampshire, and boy, what a time it was. It wasn't hardcore backpack camping, but was close enough for the long weekend.

We headed up on Friday morning. The three hour trip up I-91 ended upon our arrival at Northstar Campground in Newport, NH. I haven't really been "car camping" many times in my life, but I think a spot like Northstar is probably among the top. It was clean, well laid out, and had a lot to do. The lady friend and I found other things to do in the area, though, so we missed out on the big horseshoe tournament. I might have joined in on a horseballs tournament, though; even saw a couple playing it yesterday.

The campground is situated just 15 minutes away from the Mount Sunapee State Park, which includes Mount Sunapee and Lake Sunapee. We hiked on and around the mountain twice. Our first hike, on Friday afternoon before checking in to the campground, was more of a casual stroll straight up one of the ski trails, trying to find the Summit Trail, with no luck. It was still nice. Our second hike, on Saturday, went much better. The woman at the campground office recommended a trail on Mountain Road in nearby Newbury. We couldn't find it, but we did find the Lake Solitude Trail. Only two miles each way (the website errantly says 1.1; the signs said 2.0 each way and it certainly felt like 2 miles), the trail led you from Mountain Road up to scenic Lake Solitude. We were told that, according to local legend, the lake is bottomless. I'm not sure if that's remotely true, but it was a nice hike.

On Sunday, we rented a canoe for a few hours and putzed around Lake Sunapee. It was an interesting time. I had seldom "lake canoed" before, sticking mostly to rivers and streams and bodies of water with a current. It's definitely a lot more work. The way back in was quite difficult as it was into the wind, but we managed to get the job done. My arms, back, and ass (from leaning against the chair) are still a little sore. But it was also quite fun.

The best part of camping, though, is the campfire. We had some good ones. Our site didn't have any hook-ups (most of the campground had three way hookups, and people had quite fanciful setups going; the woman across from us used a microwave to cook dinner one night), but we had a hell of a fire every night. Burgers on the charcoal grill was followed by s'mores one night, then the next night featured marinated chicken and "baked" potatoes (the potatoes were attempted twice; the second time with much better luck) and, of course, more s'mores. Delicious.

Overall, despite the various bugbites and soreness, I had a hell of a time camping. Can't wait to go again.

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