It feels like forever since we've been camping. While we love our easy Sunday excursions to some beautiful place, there's something magical about getting away overnight.
We decided to go to Berkeley Springs, WV, one of our favorite towns and one surrounded by forests and protected areas. We were pleasantly surprised to find the town in the midst of its Apple Butter festival, and took some time to check out the booths and buy some amazing apples.
But crowds are stressful for Fozzie, and pretty soon it was time to get ourselves to the woods. Green Ridge State Forest is enormous, and we drove for what seemed like hours on marginal, rutted, dirt roads until after dark, when we finally found a place to pull off.
We were in the van, so had a thick foam bed and a warm enclosure, but for some reason neither one of us had an easy time getting comfortable or falling asleep.
Still, as I lay there listening to the quiet, a tremendous feeling of well-being came over me.
Here I was in a van in the forest, alone with my sweetie and my dogs.
Far from civilization, my job, household tasks, or family responsibilities. No one knew where I was, and there was no one I needed to email, nothing I needed to do in the morning.
If I opened my eyes, all I could see was darkness.
If I listened, all I heard was crickets, Dahlia's snores, and an occasional, strange, very wild-sounding animal's cry. I have no idea what it was. Maybe a coyote?
When we got up in the morning, our backs were so stiff we could barely move. How is it possible that I used to stretch out my sleeping pad--one of those thin, hard, corrugated gray and black ones--on the side of the road in some wild and woolly corner of Texas or New Mexico, and wake up in the morning next to a drilling rig pumping away to a haunting rhythm, or a cow chewing her cud practically in my ear, refreshed and with nary an ache? I guess that's what 20 years will do.
In any case, though hardly feeling refreshed Florian and I knew that the best way to shake off the stiffness was to get moving. So we courageously overcame the challenge of bending over to tie our hiking boots then took off along the road again until we came upon a trail.
We'd actually seen a lot of hunters and other campers along the road, but in this area we didn't see anyone so we felt good letting the dogs run free.
Until it would occur to me that Dahlia is deaf, and so if she ran off somewhere with Fozzie I'd have no way of calling her, which thought would lead to panic. So I'd call Fozzie, and leash up the piglet when she came charging and humping down the trail.
But she never failed to charge and hump back in my direction every time I called Fozzie, and didn't seem interested in straying far away.
She sure does love her Fozzie.
Even with an entire forest to explore, she was most interested in being with him. And yes, usually humping him.
And Fozzie, as always, was such a good sport.