Camping with Gunther

I’ve forgiven Gunther for the Angel Hair Incident. To show him that all has been forgiven I took him camping this weekend. We went to the Wolf Gap campground in the George Washington National Forest with the NOVA Trail Dogs.

Camping 001

We arrived at the campground Friday afternoon, so I had to make something for diner. Maybe marinade some pork for Moo Ping over the campfire. Or cooking a steak caveman style directly on the coals.   Or maybe taking a Dutch oven and making chili.

What did I, a master of fire and grilling, end up doing?  Leftover Chinese takeout. 😦

The week got away from me. I didn’t have time Thursday to shop or prepare anything, so I just grabbed the Chinese on my way out the door.  That was something of a let down.

OTOH, Gunther had dog food for dinner, which he seemed to enjoy.

Friday evening/night we did the Big Schloss hike.

Big Schloss

Big Schloss is a 4.4 mile out and back hike with 1,000 feet of elevation gain. We left around 5:45 pm. It took about 1 1/2 hours out and just over an hour back.

The first .8 miles is up a 10% grade. That is steep enough to leave you panting and sweating, even in 45° F weather.  After that, the trail mostly levels out. The ground was rocky though and there was still a lot of snow in places, so footing was tricky. That made the whole hike challenging for us two-legged types.

Camping 002

The dogs had no such problems.

Camping 005

The moon was almost full so the plan was to hike up early in the evening, watch the sun set, then hike back by moonlight.

That didn’t work out so well.  It was very cold and windy on top of the ridge. It was also cloudy.  That spoiled the sunset and dimmed the moonlight.  I used my head lamp on the way back down.

Camping 004

Gunther and I have done many hikes with NOVA Trail Dogs. This, though, was our first camping trip.  Gunther was wary of tent at first. He gave me a “We’re sleeping in that thing?” look. I had to coax him into it at bed time.  He settled down quickly and slept peacefully the whole night.

What a night it was!  The temperature dropped into the low 30s. I don’t think it got below freezing, but it was close. The wind really kicked up around mid-night, howling through the trees and shaking the tent something fierce.  I managed to stay warm with my thermal long johns, down sleeping bag and a thermal bag liner.

Gunther managed to stay warm by being half Labrador.  I got worried about him a couple of times during the night, so I tucked him under his dog blanket.  Both times, he shook it off quickly and went back to sleep.

Around 3:00 am, the front that was generating all the wind blew over and the temperature climbed up to around 50° F. That made sleeping a lot easier.

Most of the rest of the group were there through Sunday. We only stayed through Saturday morning. This being Gunther’s first overnight, I was reluctant to commit to two nights. Plus I had some obligations with the kids Saturday morning.  Gunther and I got up around 7:00 am, broke camp and headed home.

Gunther must have loved the trip, because he refused to get in the car. I had to lift him into it so we could leave.

The Trail Dogs do several camping trips every year. This one went well enough I’m looking forward to a multi-night trip next time.

And on that trip, I’ll have all sorts of amazing camp food to write about.


About fzinger

I read and I write. I read a lot and I write when I can.
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