This past weekend Sydney and I joined a neighbor family for a four-day camping trip.
Even camping is more difficult during a pandemic. NY State Parks are not accepting new reservations at all and the the state has no national parks with camping and only one national forest. That leaves state forests, with first-come-first-served primitive camping.
Given my parenting schedule, we left Sea Cliff on a Saturday, which was not ideal. Arriving at Big Pond in the western Catskill Mountains about three hours from home, we found all the primitive sites taken. We checked in at the local state park, just in case, but were turned away. At that point, I convinced the other family we needed to just wander off into the woods to find a flat spot for the night. However, with one last search we checked the back side of Big Pond lake and found a perfect site, unoccupied because it was ten minutes from the parking lot.
The neighboring family consists of Katharina (from Germany), Jordi (from Spain), and their two boys Oriol (age seven) and Ovidi (age three). We are a good match in part because all the adults are transplants to New York. Sydney and Oriol get along great. We still limit our interactions to outdoors during the pandemic but have loosened on social distancing with this family, in an enlargement of our social “bubble”.
The camping was fun: no pandemic, no recession, no political chaos, no news in general, and no cell reception at all. Just swimming, exploring, cooking, card games, stories, and camp fire songs.