A few weeks ago we went camping with some friends (and Flynny) in northern Georgia, at the Three Forks campground, right off the Appalachian Trail. Located in the midst of the Chattahoochee National Forest, the camp grounds were gorgeous and was just a quick walk away from the trail up Springer Mountain. Springer Mountain is not only the tallest peak in Georgia, but also part of the Appalachian Trail---almost the southernmost part, actually.
We stayed two nights in the mountains, and spent all day Saturday hiking the 10 miles up Springer Mountain from Three Forks. The hike was perfect--moderately challenging and scenic from start to finish. We made our way through the forest along trails covered in red and gold leaves until we arrived at the outlook at the summit, where we ate lunch as we looked out over the Blue Ridge Mountains. The view was stunning, the air crisp and clear, and our legs were tired in the best way. The night before we had eaten on the road and arrived super late and gone straight to bed, but that night, after finishing our hike, we sat around a huge fire and cooked dinner and smores (duh) while sipping our fave bevvies and having a hilarious time together. Both nights we fell asleep while listening to the sound of the river flowing right next to our campsite, and our second night we all woke up to a wild thunderstorm in the middle of the night! Luckily our tents rocked, and we managed to stay dry and cozy.
John and I both consider ourselves outdoorsy, and have no problem roughing it, but this time around we knew we were not going to have to hike in our gear so we packed a bit more comfortably. Aka...we totally glamped, and it was awesome! Here is our list of essentials to take your trip from camping to glamping in a cinch.
1. Tent: We ordered this two person tent a week before our trip, and were so impressed with it. Talk about bang for your buck! It rained both nights of our trip, and this little guy never leaked. We highly recommend it-- just make sure you practice setting it up before you leave for your trip (spoiler alert: It's a piece of cake) in case you have to set up camp in the dark like we did!
2. Air Mattress: Did I mention we glamped? I laughed at John when he told me he wanted to get an air-mattress for our weekend, but boy were we glad we did! I mean, why not?! We brought this model in a queen and loved it, especially the rechargeable battery-powered pump.
3. Cozy Blanket: Sleep with it, wrap up in it after taking a dip in the icy mountain stream, use it as picnic blanket--it's practical and snug.
4. Flash Light: No brainer--no one wants to venture in the woods to pee in complete darkness.
5. Camp Stove: We brought this little one burner (along with a couple extra propane bottles) and it was so easy to use-- perfect for pancakes in the morning as well as burgers at night.
6. Backpack (Or slackpack, as John calls them): Essential for carrying water, snacks, lunch, dog treats, extra clothes, wine, you name it.
7. Complete Pancake Mix: Its as easy as add water and pour. No eggs, no oil, no measuring. Pancake breakfast? Yes, please.
8. Ground Coffee + French Press: This is sophisticated camping. No need to go without your daily fix. And besides, how lovely does waking up while taking in the sounds of a nearby stream and chirping birds while sipping a strong cup of Italian roast sound?
9. First Aid Kit: Unforseen injuries will ruin your otherwise perfect weekend. Come prepared.
10. Cheese + Crackers: Fireside appetizers? Yes, please.
11. Bevvies of Choice: Wine for the ladies, dark aged rum for the men, or whatever floats your boat.
12. Dry Firewood: Just in case it, you know, pours at some point and everything flammable is wet.
13. Cooler: A big cooler is perfect for storing meat, cheese, milk for coffee, along with any other perishables, and it doubles as extra seating.
What not to bring: Technology and a bad attitude. This is an adventure! Try to stay as unplugged as possible and embrace the wilderness and any curve-balls it may throw at you.
One final note: I cannot recommend camping in the Fall enough, especially if you can get to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The weather was cool, but not cold, and the foliage was surprisingly good. (I am a tough critic, being from New England.) Also, we loved Three Forks, and will definitely go back at some point--it was remote but accessible, and the camp sites were nicely spaced (you never saw your neighbors) and very clean.
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