Camp Area: Elizabeth Furnace Campground, VA
Time: Friday March 29th to Sunday March 31st.
Camping: Campside Style
Hiking Level: Easy to Moderate
Camping Update 3
March 25, 2013
Alright everyone, the day is upon us soon!
Are you prepared yet?
If you are unsure if you're ready, please ask me or post below.
The Park: Elizabeth Furnace State Park Campground Area.
♦ From the beltway, head into Northern Virgina going west on I-495.
♦ Find I-66 and go west for about 60 miles.
♦ Exit on to US-340 Winchester Road South/West (exit 6)
♦ Go across the bridge (it's a short distance) and turn right at West Strasburg Road (Route 55).
♦ Take this road for about 5 miles.
♦ Turn left at Fort Valley Road and proceed for about 5 miles. The camp site will be on your left.
View Larger Map
It's along Fort Valley Road. If you leave the tree canopy along Fort Valley Road and come to a very wide open clearing, you've gone too far from the site.
Frost Advisory: Temperatures will be hovering in the mid 30s for overnight lows. Camping is doable in this weather, but please be prepared.
Day time temps will be mid 50s to mid 60s.
A jacket will be your best friend at night. Unless you want to use your friend, that's cool too, just make sure your friend is also cool with it.
Bring gloves if you have them. Wear socks at night.
Also I recommend some hand warmers, you'll love these on a cold night.
This is a two day two night event.
Not everyone has to come at once! There are options.
If you can only come Friday night for the star party and have to leave right away, that's cool.
If you can't show up Friday and can only come Saturday, that's cool too!
If you only want to show up to hike with us for Saturday and don't want to camp, you can do that as well!
We'll welcome all visitors both days.
I'd like to keep track of who's coming and going though so we don't lose anyone. I really don't want anyone getting lost trying to get to the place or getting lost in the woods. You shouldn't get lost getting here though since there's only one main road in and out of the valley.
I was planning on heading out to the site by 11 and get there by 1PM.
We can meet there, the site shouldn't be hard to miss. It will be the second camping entrance. The first one is for group sites. the second one will be on the left and for tent pads. This is a first come first serve site, but for this time of year, we shouldn't have trouble finding spots.
We'll set up the tents as we get to the site. If you need help, I'll be happy to help show you how to set up a tent.
Daylight will last until 7PM
Stargazing portion: OPTIONAL
If you want to join Seeker's star party, we'll head out in carpools around 6:30PM. Seeker and I are joining the trips since they're both out door themed and he's pretty close by (about half an hour). This will also be his last weekend with us for a while so I thought to make it count by staging this as a sort of farewell for him as well.
Those who wish to stay at the campsite may.
After our star party, for those who wish to return to the camping site, we will return around midnight. You can stay at his house, but he will be outdoors all night and he will come to our site in the morning.
With base camp set up, we'll spend most of the day milling around the campsite. For those that want to go hiking, we'll begin around 10:00AM.
The trail map is located here if you haven't already seen it. We're at the right end of the Purple line (Mudhole Gap Trail).
If you decide to come hiking with us, please have some light provisions on hand. We'll probably eat lunch while on the hike, so bring whatever snacks you wish to eat for the day.
We'll try to return to the campsite by 4PM give or take an hour.
At night we'll make sure whoever isn't set up with a tent yet (for new arrivals) is set up.
We'll get the wood going and stories roaring.
Sunday I plan to have everything packed up and ready to leave by 10:00AM.
If you're comfortable with the camp area, you're welcome to stay longer however, I have plans that afternoon with family for Easter so I really can't stay much longer than that.
Camping Update 2
Okay, slight change of plans.
We will now be camping in Virginia at the Elizabeth Furnace State Park.
1-Campsite can accommodate our larger numbers.
2-Easier for us to park near our campsite allowing us to carry more food and gear.
3-I've invited Tavi and his Star Party to join our ranks because this will be his last weekend with us for a while and this location would be more convenient for him to get to.
4-This park is pretty awesome.
I apologize if this move inconveniences anyone.
It's pretty nice. Base camp is located right in the valley and there are trails galore that climb these steep old mountains. It's the best of all worlds, we can set up camp near our cars and spend the rest of the day hiking great mountain trails!
I'll discuss how we're going to meet in a day or two once I get one or two more answers from the Park Ranger.
Size Logistics / Costs
Since we have a lot more people than I anticipated, I wanted to pick an area somewhat more familiar for mobility and could easily handle our numbers. This state forest can accommodate 25 people on their group campground if we so desire.
There are smaller campgrounds on the hill to choose from, however they're limited to 6 people per site I believe. We can split us up 3 ways, but each pad costs $10 a night. (We would have had to pay similar fees in PA).
If we do a unified group camp, we can only reserve on Saturday Night. (Friday was already booked). It's $40, but split among us, that's about $2 a person.
I want to confirm something with the Park Ranger once more, I'll get back with details of the costs later, but I guarantee no one here will be expected to pay amounts more than $5 out of pocket. (Getting your own essential supplies is going to be up to you though)
Provisions and Supplies
Here is my masterlist. Go ahead and help flesh it out too! [Click]
Please fill out the appropriate sections if you are willing to share.
Feel free to add any new items to the list.
Below are some essentials that we should all carry with us to the trip (also included in masterlist):
Light breathable clothing for travel.
Thick, sturdy shoes. NO FLIP FLOPS OR HIGH HEALS
Emergency change of light clothing (underwear/socks)
Emergency Edilbe Boots
Light backpack with some provisions
1 or 2 bottles of water
Light Dry Snacks (Granola Bars, Fruit Roll ups, etc.)
Personal Medication (if you need it)
Warm, thick sleeping clothes
Sleeping Bag Flash Light (check it's batteries)
Prep for these items should begin now. Simply make sure you have them so you don't have to worry about where/how you're going to sleep!
If you don't have any of these items, go ahead and talk to me about it, I can coordinate something with you, no probs.
Let's go Camping!
It's camping. With you guys. Let's do it!
I've been gauging opinion's from fellow bronies for a while and there is a unanimous YES to this idea that we should all go camping. I for one would be happy to get out there with you all.
The pace of the journey is dependent on the crowd. The larger the group, the more likely it is we'll probably want to just do a simple campside thing. This would be a laid back option where little camping experience is required as, ideally, we'll park next to our campsite and have our supplies at our disposal from our cars.
If we have a smaller and more experienced group, we can go for longer treks and do some deepwoods/primitive style camping. If this is your first time, I warn this is not for the faint of heart. You will be carrying all your supplies and belongings with you (20-50lbs) for several miles at a time (don't worry, we'll stop and rest) and you need to prepare well in advance. That said, we're more than ready to help you with whatever you need.
If we get planning early enough, we can designate supplies (ie one person holds food, one holds equipment, one holds the weather gear, etc.) This distribution I found makes carrying the load easier since we don't have to get all fancy about packing.
Once we get settled, I'm open for doing short day hikes with a lighter load. We could do this no matter the size of our group.
I haven't settled on the campground yet, but Dolly Sods (WV) is a favorite and I'm also looking at Green Ridge State Park (MD). My friend recommended Lost River. I may even get him to tag along for this.
For this particular camping trip in the Spring I would recommend some of the more experienced campers since things will still be thawing and the nights will be cold. Those not used to the elements may have a harder time adjusting.
However if you do have reservations and you wanted to take an easier trip outdoors, I was planning for another camping trip in mid to late summer. I'd highly recommend many more to join that one since the weather is warmer, we can stay up later and it's much easier to coordinate then.
Just let me know how you feel about a spring camping trip and I'll get something more solid together.