Monday, November 29, 2010

thanksgiving at tyler state park

Hello friends! Instead of facing the fact that it's Monday and I'm back at work, counting down the days until the winter break, I thought I would instead share the photographic journey of our Thanksgiving trip to Tyler State Park. It was Calvin's first camping trip, the first real freeze of the year, and my first time experimenting with recipes over a fire. In other words: we had a great time. 

We arrived at the park around 3pm on Thursday, right after a thunderstorm swept through the area. Good timing! It was cold and a little damp, but once we got our fire going we warmed up. Our trusty box of wine might have helped. ;)

When we chose our site, we tried to pick one that was remote and secluded with minimum neighbors. We found the perfect spot and set up camp, only to realize after that we were site number 143 - which is code for I Love You. Say it with me, now: aw! 

Our little blue tent, which we inherited from Nathan's parents. It's at least twenty years old but gets the job done, and perfectly fits two adults and two large dogs.While we love hammock camping, we knew it would be cold and that the dogs would need to cuddle with us during the night. We were right!

Seamus has been camping numerous times, and the last year or two he has finally started to enjoy himself - once he accepts the fact we did not, and will never bring, a couch upon which to recline. He likes his comforts. Calvin was nervous the first day - afraid of the fire and worried about the drive to the park - but he loosened up fairly quickly. I think all the new smells helped. While Seamus is fine off leash, never wandering farther than the closest patch of sun, Calvin is more adventurous and had to stay tethered the whole time. Luckily, it was a long leash and he didn't seem to mind.

Camping is not camping without French press coffee and chocolate chip pancakes. Before we left, I mixed together the dry ingredients for pancakes so all I had to do in the morning was add almond milk, oil and water. Delicious, and definitely a treat made possible by the fact that we were car camping and not back-packing. 

After breakfast on Friday, we took the dogs hiking around the park. We walked about two miles of trails and then took a break by a lake. The leaves were finally turning and it was quite beautiful - lots of good photos and adventures, and I got such a kick out of seeing the dogs enjoy themselves. Puppy love!

Since it was a Thanksgiving camping trip, it goes without saying that food was a big part of our adventure. While we didn't have traditional holiday fare, we made due with some new twists on camping favorites. Hummus and crackers, tin foil stew and corn cakes, and vegan s'mores, with the help of a gift from my dear friend Kealy. The corn cakes were a hit, and the stew was okay, if a bit overcooked. I'm planning to post a recipe or two later this week, so stay tuned for that!

As I mentioned yesterday, the dogs were cold at night, forcing us to dress them in Nathan's extra layers. Seamus has worn hoodies before, but this was Calvin's first time getting dressed up. He did pretty well, until he accidentally peed on his shirt. Very adorable, up until that last, wet second. Oh, well.

We ended up coming home late Saturday afternoon, which was great - it gave us a whole day at home to reconcile ourselves to the reality of Monday. And now that Monday is here, and I'm off to conquer it. Wish me luck - I think I'll need it.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you go the traditional route or do something totally new and different, like we did? Even though I loved our little adventure, I did miss some of the more traditional aspects of Thanksgiving day - mostly the pie - but it was definitely nice to shake things up. Whatever you did, I hope it was happy!