Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Camping in the Catskills

Last weekend, we took a much-needed break from the big city and our busy lives to chill out in the Catskills. Pitching our tent at Woodland Valley Campground above Phoenicia, we went tubing down Esopus Creek, hiked a mountain and still managed to enjoy plenty of downtime at the campsite.

Friday night, Cassie cooked up what has become a camping tradition for us: mac 'n' cheese with chicken and Frank's hot sauce. The next morning, I cooked up my own camping tradition: breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese and avocado. The food highlight came Saturday night, when we grilled up some Beddar Cheddar sausages on the Smokey Joe. Yum!

The sites in the campground did not offer a great deal of privacy—many were right next to each other—but the place was unquestionably beautiful, a true "woodland valley." With a gang of college-aged boys drinking in the site next to us, we didn't get quite the peace and quiet we were looking for, but to their credit, they asked us to let them know if they got too rowdy—and they kept their word, quieting down when asked.

Camping in the Catskills
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On Sunday morning, we packed up our campsite and hit the trailhead at the end of the campground, intending to summit Mt. Wittenberg. Not long into it, however, we began to wonder if we'd bitten off more than we could chew. In a short 3.9 miles, we gained 2,500 feet of elevation in a steep ascent that included climbing as well as hiking. We finally made it, but two days later, I'm still feeling it.

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