It’s almost September. The end of the summer is always a weird time, even after you’re out of school. And is it just me or do the summers go by faster and faster the older you get?
This is also my favorite time of year for camping. Going into the woods or on an island in the middle of a lake for a couple days or a week, sleeping outside, cooking over a fire, peeing behind a tree, jumping off rocks into the water. I love it. I love the naturalness of it. Another reason why I probably shouldn’t be living in Brooklyn.
One of my favorite places to camp is Lake George. I used to go every year with a group of guy friends, usually six to ten of us. This was before everyone reached thirty and became preoccupied with significant others, children, etc. We’d go the week after Labor Day, which is the best time to go, because the prices are slashed, all the families have headed back to school, the water is warm and the nights are cool. We’d rent out campsites on Vicar’s Island and nearly always had the island entirely to ourselves. It’s real camping–no bathrooms, no showers, you’re not even allowed to bring soap as it might get in the pristine lake. There’s a few picnic tables and a spot for building your fire. That’s it. It’s wonderful.
We spent our days paddle boarding, jumping off the ten-foot rock into the water (often fully-clothed–we referred to it as showering and doing laundry), drinking our weight in cheap beer, eating s’mores and pocket stew (canned vegetables, tomato sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper wrapped in tin foil and set in the fire–oh and the carnivores added meat) and feeding the fire. There’s no cell phone service, no electricity–we woke with the sun and slept with the dark. The stars there are some of the finest I’ve ever seen–you can see the entire sweep of the Milky Way from that island.
If you ever have the chance, go there. I miss this place.