This past weekend I finally got out to Ottawa Lake campground for an overnight camping adventure. I’ve unsuccessfully attempted to camp out there 3 times in 2019. Twice I was rained out and snowed out the other.
I arrived at the campground on Saturday at 2:30 pm, set up camp and walked around the campground. Ottawa Lake Campground is a large facility with a beach and day area, as well as numerous campsites for tents and RV’s. Beautiful area to camp.
My campsite was in a valley of sorts but had a distant view of Ottawa Lake. After a long and nice walk, I cooked up some supper (Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage) and made coffee. LEARNING EXPERIENCE: my Coleman 1-Burner Table Top Butane Stove does not work well in temps around the mid-30’s. Luckily my Coleman Peak 1 worked or I would have been eating a lot of granola over the next 24 hours.
I finished cooking my dinner and sipped my coffee while watching the night approach. At about 8 pm, the temperature was 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Weather.com promised a low temperature of 24 degrees so this would definitely be the coldest camping I’ve done thus far. So what was my sleeping kit for the evening? See below:
-Sleeping cot about 30″ off the ground
-2″ air mattress
-Coleman 40 degree sleeping bag
I normally go to bed once my fire goes out so I ended up calling it a night around 10 pm. After using the facilities (a tree) one last time, I climbed into bed with my temperature gauge reading 34 degrees. I watched a Thich Nhat Hanh documentary for a bit (Thanks Netflix downloads) and fell asleep.
I woked up twice during the night. The first time was a bathroom call. I’ve read where you shouldn’t “hold it” during the night when winter camping because your body uses a lot of energy keeping itself warm. After using the facilities again, I got back into the tent at around midnight and it was pretty cold. My second awakening was due to an animal walking by my tent. I say they walked by my tent because the noise it was making (click HERE) started rather faint then increased and receeded again. It was definitely a raccoon coming to my camp to clean up any trash or food left out (sorry, buddy). Checking my watch and temperature gauge, it was 2 am and 26 degrees. I stayed warm the whole night. I didn’t wake up with my teeth chattering or body shaking. LEARNING EXPERIENCE: I think I need to purchase an air matress as I’m a side sleeper and toss and turn alot. The cot is nice but doesn’t work well with my turning all the time. The other thing is that a sleeping bag doesn’t work that well for turning. May look into a synthetic down quilt.
Got up early Sunday morning. I ate some breakfast (yogurt and granola) and hiked the Scuppernong Orange Loop, which was really nice. I returned to my campsite, packed up and headed home around 1:30 pm. All in all, it was a great time.