We refer to ourselves as “ST Triple C”, short-time, comfort and convenience campers. We pack up our minimal gear and head out on a Friday to a local camping and hiking spot, pitch our tent, get a campfire started and prepare to star gaze. The goal for us is just to spend some time outdoors relaxing in nature, hopefully returning to work a little more at peace. If you want to spend some time under the stars and you aren’t ready to “rough it” or buy a lot of gear, here are some things we have learned over the years.
With our limited time and equipment, we tend to choose WV campsites that will accommodate beginner or novice campers. We like to find parking at our site to make unpacking as easy as possible. For safety and protection (from bears?) we store our cooler in the car to help keep critters at bay. We look for campsites with a bath house that allows for cleaning up ourselves, and whatever dishes we might have. We ask if the campsite is shaded which eliminates the need for a shade structure. (some campsites have pictures of the actual site on-line). We usually don’t cook, opting to pick up a dinner, trail snacks (and often times breakfast food) then get a lunch and/or dinner at a local establishment or the camp lodge.
Organize the campsite “essentials” and personal items in containers to make the weekend adventure a little easier and more relaxing.
Tent, tarp and mallet go in a container with sleeping bags, pads, sheets (or liners) and pillows in a heavy duty lawn or garbage bag. Camp chairs are stored near the container.
Lantern, cooler loaded with meal supplies (plastic table cloth with clips, plates, bowls, cups and sporks), and a garbage bag. Keep a roll of paper towels and toilet paper in plastic bags as well as 2 cheap dish towels to use as napkins.
Have some “grab-and-go” containers with hiking/outdoor supplies (insect repellent, sunscreen, wet wipes, bottle/wine opener, matches, small flashlight and an inexpensive waterproof ground cover). These items are great for outdoor festivals as well – you can store them in a clear, vinyl bag or backpack which may be required these days of security.
We like to prepare for the terrain. West Virginia is heavily forested and dominated by the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian Trail – or simply the AT – runs through park of our Mountain State. There are trails in WV accessible for every skill level, from the hiker who likes flat and casual to those who brave the ridge top at Seneca Rocks (not us!). Find your trail at https://wvstateparks.com/things-to-do/hiking-trails/. Hikers should wear suitable clothing for the season and most importantly, wear a pair of sturdy, well-broken-in hiking shoes when you traverse the beautiful hill and hollow trails.
From Cabell County to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia’s State Parks are pleasant and plentiful, with consistent amenities yet something different at every stop. You can discover all the details at https://wvstateparks.com.