Camping in the USA - Rain, Racoons and a bit of Fire | HandZaround

Wompatuck State Park, Massachusetts, 14th - 19th of June 2017

It's been raining 16 hours straight, without any break, and all our things were damp. We also discovered our tent had a little hole in the roof but after taping it with duct tape, we were relieved to see we were safe - at least for today we won't flood.


Camping supplies

It's been three weeks of our travels through the US with Zach's family. We booked our plane tickets back to Europe for 5 days after we say good bye to everyone in Boston. Little did we know that Boston is the most expensive city on AirBnB in US and even the little B&Bs or dodgy hostels would charge $100, if not $150 for a night...

Camping sounded like a good idea. We spent the last three weeks in the cities and each day has been busy and filled with visits to the museums, monuments or walking around the city centres. We craved for some quiet time, doing nothing and relaxing in each other's company. 

After buying enough pasta, rice, sauces and cans of soup and tuna for five days, we got a train out of Boston. It took us to the little town of Hingham where beautiful huge houses with white picket fences seemed to be a norm. Out of there we caught an Uber, which took us to the gates of Wompatuck Park. 

Obviously we've chosen the cheapest things we could find in the supermarket but we still couldn't believe how bad were the sausage-alike things in the cans and the bread whose expiry date stretched to over two weeks!

Obviously we've chosen the cheapest things we could find in the supermarket but we still couldn't believe how bad were the sausage-alike things in the cans and the bread whose expiry date stretched to over two weeks!


Local resident

We've been trying to boil water for over an hour now and our stomachs were growling in hunger. We tried putting pot in the coils, placing it on the grill over the big fire and using our portable water heater, which turned out to be broken after I burnt it last time we used it in Vietnam. Bad luck. Luckily we still had some leftover nuggets from the lunch we bought on the train station. 

Instead of cooking, we sat by the fire and stuffed our mouths with marshmallows. Something moved in the bushes on the empty fire pit nearby. 

We looked in his eyes as he froze, as if he knew that we busted him. His paws helplessly dropped to the sides. He turned around and quickly disappeared in the darkness of the trees. The sun was setting somewhere far away behind the forest. We would see this racoon again, in couple of days, stealing a bag full of food from a family with a campervan. We forgot to warn them.

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At home

The following morning we had a mission - boil the water. Otherwise we would go hungry and the nearest shop was 1.5 hour on foot. 

After breaking the twigs and crunching the newspaper, which we picked up from the train station on our way here, we were ready to start a big fire. An hour later our water was bulging as we hi-fived each other in accomplishment. Soon we could dig in into our pasta. 

We made ourselves at home. Each of us hung our hammock on the nearby trees, our electronics were charging from the socket next to the big wooden table and the towels were drying on a line hung between the trees. Our tent was way too hot to be in it, so we were snoozing in the hammocks to the sound of birds' singing and the wind swishing through the leaves above our heads. The sun shone nicely on our faces - it was exactly what we needed to be happy. 

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A step in the sun 

When our feet got itchy, we walked up to the nearby lake. The sun was setting down and walking through the shaded paths was pleasant. Next to the road we spotted a turtle which wouldn't move. We really wanted to help it but we realised it didn't really need our help - it was laying its eggs in a little hole it dug up with its leg.

We found some big rocks on the edge of the lake. They were bathed in sun and looked like a perfect spot to catch a breath after the walk. I walked up to one of them to find a good place to sit down, when suddenly something moved quickly away from my foot.
A snake! I got this feeling in my stomach, as if I was on a big rollercoaster, about to go down but the drop was so big that I couldn't even see the bottom. Luckily the snake just moved to another sunny hiding and I found other place to sit down, this time looking carefully where I step. 

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Snuggly corner

It started to rain just after we ate our lunch and prepared dinner for later. Lucky we also had bread and peanut butter because the sky looked as if the rain had no plans to stop falling down the sky anytime in the foreseeable future. 

It seemed that the rest of the day will be spent inside the tent. At least it wasn't too hot or too cold - the two of us created a perfect temperature to be cosy in our little temporary house. 

We weren't happy it rained but we were so snug in the tent. In a few hours it got dark and we turned on our little headlamps hanging from the ceiling and sat down to shuffle the cards. I won three times in a row now and my mood was great although I did try to cheer Zach up by not laughing too loudly. 

When we got bored with cards we snuggled up in our sleeping bags and watched the movie on Zach's phone. The rain was so loud we could hardly hear it but we felt so safe and cosy that it didn't really matter. We got temporarily worried when a little hole in the roof started to leak but it was nothing that duct tape couldn't fix! Slowly we drifted off to sleep. 


A bottle of wine later

When we woke up it was still raining. The toilet block was five minutes away but it seemed like one hell of a journey taken into consideration we had to get out of our warm sleeping bags and put on our muddy shoes and rain jackets on.

Finally after 16 hours of water dripping from the sky, someone turned the tap with the rain off. Now we just had to figure our how to make fire with wet wood and on the wet ground. We dreamt of something warm to eat. 

After some frustrations the rice was boiling over the fire. Our moods were much improved and we even decided to venture five kilometres out of the park, to the one and only minimart in the area, to buy some wine and beer. 

Four hours later we were back in the campsite with sore feet, sweaty backs, a wine and a six pack of beer. The fire needed a little push and it was burning again.

A bottle of wine later we warmed our hands near the big fire as the darkness around us settled in. There were just two of us and we had the best fun ever remembering favourite moments of our travels, talking about the friends, who we miss, and making plans for the future. Somehow between the laughs, beers, and eating marshmallows, we made it to the bed and the next morning appreciated the blue sky and sunshine from the comfort of our hammocks whilst the two little squirrels chased around us. 

There were a couple of moments when we wished we had booked our flight five days earlier. Tomorrow finally we'll be on the plane to Europe but we're so glad we got to know the other side of States - our own one, where we got to create the setting and entertainment ourselves, far away from the busy cities and crowded supermarkets.

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If you want to camp in any of the US State Parks, visit Reserve America .

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