Memorial Day Camping-An Adventure-One After Another!

By Elizabeth R. OuYang

It was an adventure! First you had to get there! With the bumper to bumper traffic, one would have thought all of New York was going camping in the Catskills!! The well maintained campsite at Mongaup Pond (minus the mosquitoes eager to greet us) was well worth the traffic jam! Hot showers, flush toilets, water pumps nearby, it was luxury camping at its best! In the afternoon, some went for a short hike led by Mason and others went canoing, with a few of us for an unplanned “dip” in the water from a capsized canoe! Liz blames “demanding” teacher Leo, teacher Leo blames “hopeless” student Liz! Nevertheless, everyone survived even though teacher Leo had to go barefoot for a day till his hiking boots dried! The evening capped off with a delicious gourmet barbecue organized by Nancy, of course. With Ben as chief cook, the slow cooked pork chops were out of this world-matched by grilled chicken wings, corn on the cob, garlic bread, soup, salad and more!! The highlight was the double surprise birthday cakes for Mandy!

The next day continued with unexpected challenges. The drizzle in the morning didn’t stop the two different hikes, a five mile hike led by Mason and a 12 mile hike led by Chung on Slide Mountain and canoing and fishing activities. Some of us went to the nearby fish hatchery where we saw fish ranging in size from your finger to 28 inch brown trout. Five year old Ethan was simply enthralled while Aunt Kelly tried to explain to him the “birds and the bees” as they relate to fish production! We told fourteen year old John if he doesn’t catch a fish today, he should cast his line here and nobody would know! The trip into the town of Livingston Manor was cute-country fishing stores you just can’t find in New York City! We bought the only sandals left in the town and saw a complete image of the sun through a telescope. It was bright orange!

With a thunderstorm predicted, on the advice of a ranger, the 12 mile hike was shortened to 8 miles. However, more challenging than the mountain peaks were the mosquitoes!! Back at the camp in the evening, everyone finally returned from hiking safely!! While enjoying a beautiful fire, roasted marshmallows, an exquisite moon, and a great spaghetti dinner, lightening suddenly cracked and a thunderstorm erupted leaving everyone scrambling. Rain poured and people were rushing to find shelter anywhere-in their tents, under the canapés or in their cars! The rush of the adrenalin to cover the food, grab the umbrellas, and stay dry in the tent was exciting. The sound of the rain pounding on the top of the tent was a steady “dramatic opera” throughout the night. We awoke, some with rain in their tent, others facing a “mess” to clean up outside! Yet as hard as the rain poured, it was remarkable that the torches remained lit. There really was “light” at the end of the storm!

Indeed, it was a great trip with a happy ending-watermelon and leftover tong shui! Thanks so much to Mandy, Chung and Nancy for organizing yet another wonderful camping excursion for young and older, new and experienced, to enjoy!