Tag Archives: camping

Weekend Hodgepodge—Hidden Falls Edition

I sit here swigging on green tea and Gatorade, recovering after a weekend making sure the little ones in my Girl Scout troops were drinking enough water, yet forgetting to drink enough myself. Despite neglecting to properly hydrate, I had a fantastic weekend at Camp Hidden Falls with 5 Daisies, 5 Brownies, 8 Juniors, and 8 Seniors. It was bright, sunny, and warm, with minimal tears or injuries.

Camp Hidden Falls

Camp Hidden Falls

Girls on Dock

The first night, just the Seniors came along. They quickly found their favorite hangout location on this dock at Sunset Lake.


Our first night’s accommodations were in a nice cabin just past the lake. We slept in these bunks. I got the top bunk, allowing me to feel tall for once in my life! We spent the evening snacking, talking, tie dying, playing games and making crafts- A laid back night before the arrival of the younger girls Saturday morning.


Saturday morning, we took a nice hike to the ranger’s station to pick up the young girls as they got dropped off at camp. Ferns are one of my favorite woodland landscape elements.


This turtle ducked his head in just as we passed by.

Hidden Falls

While we waited for the rest of the girls to arrive, the punctual scouts visited Hidden Falls, a quaint bridal veil waterfall not far from the camp entrance.


Near the falls, we saw these dandelion-like flowers with pretty rust colored edges.

Lake View Tent Site

We hauled our gear to the Lake View tent site, where all of the girls would spend Saturday night.

Two-Seater Latrine

The latrines were unlike what I was used to- Behind each large door was two seats with a partial divider wall … Awkward.

Buttermilk Falls

After a quick lunch and a discussion of Leave No Trace principles, we hiked out to Buttermilk Falls, completing a scavenger hunt along the way.


The girls had a great time exploring the falls, stream, and surrounding woodland.


The girls saw lots of critters, including toads, snakes, racoons, and millipedes. Fortunately, despite the presence of bears in camp, we didn’t cross paths with any of them.


These irises grew along the path back to our unit.

Board Game

After the hike, the girls made Sharpie tie dyed bandana (Sharpie markers & rubbing alcohol) and played this game the Seniors developed. After rolling dice to move along the game board, the girls had to find a corresponding number card hidden in the surrounding area.

Rock Doll

A symbol on the back of the number told the Seniors which task to have the girls perform before moving on. Tasks included creating dolls out of natural objects (pictured here), making toilet paper dresses, solving puzzles, hula hooping, etc.


While the girls played their game, I took a moment to check out the lake shore, and discovered these gorgeous Columbine blooms.

Campfire Cooking

After playing games, the girls got to work preparing dinner. The Juniors built the fire and made soup, the Daisies made baked potatoes, the Brownies made salad, and the Seniors made spinach and rice casserole.

Pot of Gold Soup

Pot of Gold Soup was tomato soup, loaded with nuggets of cheese wrapped in biscuit dough.

Spinach Rice Dutch Oven Casserole

The dutch oven casserole contained spinach, mushrooms, rice, cheese, and eggs. It was a big hit!

By the time we finished dinner, the sun had set, so we washed our dishes by flashlight and toasted marshmallows for smores before loading “smelly” items into the bear box and putting the younger girls to bed. Then, once the young ones were sound asleep, myself and another leader took the Seniors to the dock for some midnight stargazing. We saw shooting stars!

Sunset Lake

Sunday morning, the girls had “Jungle Breakfast” (where their bag of cereal and fruit is hidden in the woods), and we said goodbye to the beautiful lake. By 11am, we headed home to check for ticks, shower, nap, rehydrate, and get ready for the week (and another camping trip next weekend!)

Weekend Hodgepodge

Camping. Ah, sleeping outside, waking to the birds chirping and the sun beaming through the tent flaps, cooking over a camp fire … Or not!

Each winter, my co-leaders and I take our high school Girl Scout troop on a winter “camping” trip where they have no responsibilities with younger girls, no strict agenda, and indoor sleeping quarters. Basically, it’s a sleepover in the woods (with no hot water and latrines instead of toilets!), and it’s a ton of fun for the girls and the leaders.

Camp Mountain House

Friday evening, I headed up to Camp Mountain House to have a non-camping weekend with the gals!

Pine Cabin

We stayed in Pine Cabin, a cozy one-room building decorated with preserved leaves and mounted snake skins.

Friday night was full of giggling, a group trip to the grocery store and a chili pepper pinata. We crashed around midnight in order to get up for a full day on Saturday.

This particular weekend trip was exceptionally posh as the girls decided to earn their “Dinner Party” badge. It was the most sophistication my mess kit has ever seen!

Chick Pancake

Saturday morning began with some creativity as the girls fulfilled a badge requirement by experimenting with different garnishes and shapes for some fluffy pancakes. This little chick accompanied a menagerie of other pancake figures.

Breakfast Taco

I turned my pancake into a breakfast taco of sorts with granola, yogurt and berries.



After breakfast, some of the girls helped one of the adults on the trip with some Bigfoot "evidence" for a mock-umentary she is making. It was pretty hilarious.

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

What should have been a pretty simple lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup became a little more exciting when a misunderstanding led to the addition of sweetened coffee creamer in the tomato soup. Luckily, a bit of improv (lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper, etc) salvaged the soup, leading to rave camper reviews!

Girls Cooking

After an afternoon spent playing hide & seek in the woods, the girls began preparing the menu they planned for their dinner party. I was really impressed with the choices they made- The recipes were fairly healthy, included lots of veggies and fresh foods and really showcased different cultures!

They started with this punch, the classic concoction of Hawaiian Punch, ginger ale & sherbet.

Mandarin Orange & Pecan Spinach Salad

Appetizer, Group 1: Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges, Candied Pecans & Honey Poppyseed Dressing

Appetizer, Group 2: Lentil Soup

Appetizer, Group 2: Lentil Soup

Appetizer, Group 3: Filipino Lumpias filled with fresh vegetables

Appetizer, Group 3: Filipino Lumpias filled with fresh vegetables

Entree, Group 1: Farfalle with Lemon, Walnuts & Basil

Entree, Group 1: Farfalle with Lemon, Walnuts & Basil


Entree, Group 2: Indian Rajma (red kidney bean curry) with Cucumber Raita over Basmati Rice

Entree, Group 2: Indian Rajma (red kidney bean curry) with Cucumber Raita over Basmati Rice

Entree, Group 3: Beef Stroganoff over Egg Noodles

Entree, Group 3: Beef Stroganoff over Egg Noodles

Somehow, I missed taking a picture of the first group’s dessert: Fresh Fruit with Chocolate Fondue

Dessert, Group 2: Kheer (Indian rice pudding with cardamom & almonds)

Dessert, Group 2: Kheer (Indian rice pudding with cardamom & almonds)

Dessert, Group 3: Apple Cobbler

Dessert, Group 3: Apple Cobbler

After setting up one heck of a dish washing line, we collapsed in food comas for one more night in the cabin. Clearly, we really roughed it this weekend!

T-Shirt Rag Rug

Throughout the weekend, I used spare time to put together this rag rug from some discarded t-shirts. It's currently matching our 1960s aqua & black bathroom!

Trader Joes

Unable to settle in at home after a weekend in the woods, Kevin and I headed down route 309 to Trader Joes with a gift card in hand. We treated ourselves to a few organic goodies (like steamed pork buns!) and headed home to make some tasty homemade mac & cheese for dinner.

Tober is Bagged

Finally, home for the evening, we settled in and hung out with Tober (who loved the Trade Joes bags!) in the kitchen. What a fun and food filled weekend!

Weekend Hodgepodge

I probably could have used a weekend spent catching up on sleep in my own bed this week, since we just got back from vacation last Sunday night, but instead, I packed up a backpack and left on Friday night for a camping trip. I help to lead four Girl Scout troops, including Daisies (K-1), Brownies (2-3), Juniors (4-5) and Seniors/Ambassadors (9-12) and this happened to be their first camping trip of the year! I love camping and sleeping outside, so I really looked forward to the opportunity.

Friday night, I arrived at Camp Tohikanee for a night with just the oldest girls and my co-leaders—relaxing and laid back! Since we all arrive after dark, the girls decided to sleep in a building the first night. The camp is up for sale, and it was sadly a bit evident that not much effort was being placed into upkeep at this time, but it all worked out just fine. We spent the evening chowing down on chips and brownies and talking about all sorts of things, including photo ethics, since the girls are earning their photography badge.

Leader's Quarters

The somewhat creepy leader's quarters. I've never seen a cot quite like this before ...

Saturday morning, the younger children arrived. We worked on the Bugs badge, learning about bugs and making posters, building bug cages, taking a bug hike and creating bug crafts.

Tohickon Creek

Tohickon Creek, a stop on our bug hike.

Beehive Cupcakes

The 4th & 5th graders helped the younger girls bake cupcakes to decorate with honeycomb cereal like a hive.

Hickory Tussock Moth

One of the bugs we caught on our hike. This is a Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar, not poisonous, but it can cause skin irritation.

Egg Carton Caterpillar

Egg Carton Caterpillar

Saturday night, all the girls slept in tents, and braved through it much better than I could have expected. There was only one complete meltdown, and the high school girls were incredibly helpful!

Sunday, I arrived home just in time to go with Kevin to the Open Gate Farm Day at Keepsake Farm. We got to take a nice tour and sample some delicious products. The first generation farmers raise grass-fed beef and free range chickens, then sell meat and dairy products in an onsite store.



Chickens and Cows

Normally, the chickens and cows are separated by an electric fence, but they had "unplugged" it for visitor's safety today, so the animals comingled. Note the small calves to the right side, laying down.

We picked up some Keepsake Ferale, which is washed with a home brewed beer fermented with a wild “feral” yeast, smoked gouda, farmer’s cheese, bockwurst and pumpkin and vanilla ice creams. I can’t wait to share the recipe I created using the bockwurst, but that will have to wait! I can say, though … Farm-made pumpkin ice cream on homemade gingerbread—MMMM.

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