June 24, 2008

Camping at Little Pond

I don't recommend camping just for a night - it's too much prep work to drag out camping gear, figure out food, pack everything up, set everything up, and do it all in reverse again the next day. But that's what we did anyway Saturday, as we found ourselves on a long drive up Route 17 to camp in the Catskills. We stayed at Little Pond Campground, a state campground that actually features a rather large pond with a beach, picnic areas, and hiking trails. There are even some campsites situated tranquilly right on the water, but those were already taken by the time we made our reservation.

The campsites were quiet and more secluded from each other than other campgrounds I've stayed at. Our site was bizarrely large, as you can see below.
Near dinnertime, I tried to grill potatoes in foil, but our fire wouldn't stay consistently hot. After over an hour the potatoes were still raw and hard. We have much to learn in the art of fire-making for our next camping trip. Our propane-powered camping stove is great for cooking, but I would also like to be able to harness the fire's energy for cooking like Liz.

After giving up on the potatoes and chucking them back into the cooler to be cooked later in the week, we turned to making the rest of dinner: burgers on homemade toast (made with local flour before we left) and topped with beer-braised swiss chard. We simply sauteed half a bunch of swiss chard in olive oil and then let it braise in half a can of beer for about ten minutes. It could have used some more spices, but that was all we had on hand and it worked. Then Jesse came up with the idea to put the swiss chard on the burgers, which was brilliant.

The burgers were grass finished black angus from a new Greenmarket vendor, Grazin' Angus Acres. Their farm in Columbia County uses wind power and they also raise chickens to provide the farm's nitrogen needs, inspired by Joel Salatin's sustainable farm described in Omnivore's Dilemna. I recommend taking a look at their website, which has informative information on the health and ecological benefits of grass fed meat. Not to mention that the burger was delicious. And of course, what camping trip is complete without cheap beer? I forgot to pick up tastier local beer, so Jesse's Bud is what I was stuck drinking.

It rained just as we woke in the morning, so we stayed inside the tent until the torrents passed. Unfortunately that meant we didn't have time to cook breakfast before we had to pack up and check out, so breakfast was at Roscoe Diner.

I don't recommend it unless you like institutional style food, down to the bagel that was toast in the shape of a bagel. As I ate it, I realized it's been years since I've eaten that poorly. Luckily, I wasn't a foodie back in the days of my Aramark-catered dining hall, or I don't know what I would have eaten throughout college.

The sun perked up during our long drive home to Brooklyn so I could fully enjoy the lush green landscapes of the Hudson Valley and cry a little inside about not living in the country anymore. Summer in the Hudson Valley is my favorite thing ever. We took a detour on the way to pick up my sister from my hometown and ferry her to the city.

While there, we also stopped at Rosner Soap in nearby Sugarloaf, a cute crafts village, so I could stock up on soap. They make my favorite soap - it comes in a multitude of flavors like lemongrass oatmeal and peppermint tea tree that smell heavenly, it lathers well, it doesn't contain scary chemicals like store-bought soaps, and at $4.50 a bar it's much cheaper than certain $8 Brooklyn-made soaps. Add to that their colorfully painted stores and beautiful flowers, and I get the feel-good buzz of supporting a local vendor.


liz said...

Beautiful pictures! It sounds like a great trip, even if it was short. That sucks about the potatoes, though ... Next time, try sticking them straight in the fire, next to the flame and turn them every so often. It may work a bit better?

Julia said...

thanks. good idea to stick them in the fire - i will try that next time.

Camping said...

What a very nice pictures. Thank you for sharing.