Last weekend I had the opportunity to go camping in Virginia. There’s a place called Sky Meadows State Park where you can see more stars than we might otherwise see in central Maryland. That’s because there is not much light pollution there.

I had a great time, and I learned a few lessons, too:

  • It’s easy to overestimate your abilities. Sky Meadows State Park’s camping area is about a mile from the parking area, so campers bring in everything on their back, or on a wagon. I thought that because I walk at least a mile every day, doing that kind of walk with my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, food, and clothes on my back and in my arms was going to be easy. Turns out, since none of my equipment is considered light enough for backpacking, I was miserable during the hike in. But, I was happier once I had gotten my tent set up and gathered around a fire.
  • Time with others is invaluable. Gathering and catching up with friends, sharing food and drink, was a great experience. We don’t do it very often, so there was much to catch up on.
  • You can’t always get what you planned for. I had hoped to see the stars while we were chatting, but clouds blocked the sky all night. No stars for me!
  • Sometimes things work out better than expected. It didn’t rain the whole time. It wasn’t until it was time to go that the rain started. I was also able to tie the events of my trip to this issue of OutLook by the Bay.
  • One of my companions mentioned that the hike in caused his heart rate to go up. You can find an article about measuring exercise intensity on page 6.
  • I slept rather well in my tent, despite how cold it became that night. Read tips about restorative sleep on page 10.
  • Virginia is a state that has a friendly rivalry with us. You can read about its capital, Richmond, on page 26.

Here’s hoping that you can connect with others in the coming months! And maybe without having to carry your shelter on your back!

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