Last weekend, Mark and I welcomed August by camping overnight at Gambrill State Park, just a short distance from Frederick, Maryland. As we drove the short ten minutes from home to park, I couldn't believe that a place so quiet, serene, and woodsy existed just a tiny drive away. Abruptly, the suburban sprawl ends, you pass the last grocery store, and then you find yourself winding up a mountain road. Outside, the temperature cools as the mountain breezes begin to blow. Next thing you know, you've arrived in this nugget of wilderness just off the beaten path.
Deciding to camp overnight was a somewhat spontaneous decision. We both felt the need to "get away" but didn't have the time (or the funds) to go gallivanting off for the weekend. When Mark suggested camping, I thought "Hey why not? Smores sound pretty nice!"
One of our favorite trail-running and hiking haunts is Gambrill Mountain. On a whim, we checked to see if the area had a campground and, sure enough, it did. We scrounged our spare change for the site fee and packed our camping gear in the back of Mark's truck. Off we went!
There's something truly wonderful about camping, about going unplugged and unconnected. No electricity, television, cell-phones, iPads, laptops, or carhorns. Nothing to distract or stress you. Our only worry was keeping Solo away from the firewood pile. Apparently, pitbulls like to "help" by breaking and chewing all the firewood sticks. Re-positioning the little guy's leash solved that problem, much to his dismay.
We settled on the site's picnic table for a simple campfire meal. Around us, the woods sparkled with the pulse and hum of fireflies. I think that simple light captivated me as much as any Netflix show. I don't know that I've ever seen something so beautiful in its simplicity. "I could just sit and watch this all night," I remarked, mesmerized.
Our night was simple: frisbee, cards, dinner, and of course smores. We settled to sleep in our little tent and awoke the next morning to birdsong. You can't really go wrong with that, now can you?
Gambrill State Park
8602 Gambrill Park Rd.