For a weekend during my stay in the United States, my family and I drove to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to experience American camping at Mountain Lake Campground and Cabins. It was a four-hour drive from where my aunt and her family of five resided, in Stratham, New Hampshire.
We went up on the first weekend of October, when the autumn season was just beginning. The breeze was chilly yet bearable for someone not used to the cold; most trees were still completely green — only a few fading to yellow and red; and there weren’t any other campers around because it was the penultimate weekend that you could visit the campgrounds before they closed for the year.
Upon arrival at the campsite, the scenery and environment took my breath away.
It was refreshing to see and be surrounded by that many trees. Living most of my life in the heart of the city has kind of made me forget that places like this existed. The view of the lake was even more stunning, and we were lucky enough to have rented a camping space and a cabin that overlooked it.
Renting a site with water, electricity and WiFi costs around USD57 for two adults and two children aged 18 and below, plus additional fees for extra persons. Renting a cabin ranges from USD115 to USD200 plus tax. Ours cost USD185 because it was a waterfront cabin. Cabins usually have a minimum stay requirement, but if it’s off-season for camping the requirement is usually shortened.
This was our tent and the campfire we built from kiln-dried firewood and twigs scattered around the area. And when there’s campfire, there’s…
Because of the campfire, sleeping inside the tent wasn’t so bad. The warmth of the fire, plus the heater we had hooked up from the nearby outlet (yup, there are outlets everywhere!) kept us warm and toasty.
Cooking outdoors was also a fun experience. We cooked staple camping-in-the-woods meals — hotdogs, steak, bacon and eggs. We had to be extra careful though with food we leave out in the open or on the ground because as my uncle told us, if not picked up and thrown at the garbage disposal the trash might unwillingly attract wild bears to our campsite. Whether or not there really were bears in the area, I wouldn’t have wanted to know. (I would have liked to see one at a distance, though! Just like how I saw these wild animals):
A moose! (We saw this one on the way to the campgrounds. We stopped in the middle of the road to take a photo of it from a distance.)
Despite the cold weather, we braved the freezing water of the 30-acre lake to kayak and canoe.
It felt therapeutic, being out there in the middle of the water surrounded by trees, as if time slowed to let me relish that peace and quiet.
There was nothing much else to do at the campsite since most of the recreational facilities were closed due to the change in season. But merely walking around to take in the nature was enough to keep me preoccupied. How could I be bored with my surroundings? They’re gorgeous.
Got any tips for camping in the Land of the Free? Sound off below!