Camping and Trails At Watkins Glen

I can not say enough great things about this campground and State Park – I love it here.  This trip was not the first and certainly won’t be the last time I will visit.  The campsites are large with a picnic table, fire ring and room to park your car.  There are flush toilets, warm showers and electric in the bath house.

I brought my friend Cathy with – this was her first camping trip and she LOVED it.  We were driving up right after work so I called and told them we would most likely get there late.  They told us that wouldn’t be a problem, just to set up when we got there and check in in the morning.  We ended up arriving at 9:30 which meant unfortunately it was dark.  Setting up the condo (as my tent is lovingly nicknamed) in the dark is a pain – actually setting up the condo in the day time is sort of a pain because it’s so huge and old.  As we were putting it together we noticed one of the tent poles was missing the hollow metal end that fits into the peg attached to the tent – bummer!  We couldn’t find it anywhere so we ended up rigging that side of the tent up with extra stakes and the ring attached to the tent that the stakes go through and trying to jam the pole in the hard ground – hey it worked – even if it was a bit lop sided!


it held!

Continue reading


Don’t stand, Don’t stand so, Don’t stand so close to me – I kept hearing Sting singing this song as I went out in public right after getting sprayed by a skunk to get some things to combat the stinky smell – I’m pretty sure Sting didn’t write this song about being sprayed by a skunk, but still….

So it’s been 2 weeks since Jo and I got sprayed by a skunk….and everything still stinks.  Definitely not as bad, but the smell is just everywhere.

After my last blog post I ran to the grocery store to get hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to make the mixture everyone assured me would work.  I also ran to the pet store to get special shampoo and spray to get rid of the skunk scent – I was gonna try EVERYTHING!!  Almost everything I read online said the tomato juice doesn’t work and it makes a huge mess so I skipped that. (Dogs tend to shake off when they get wet and I read more than one horror story online about people putting tomato juice on their dog and then having to clean up the colossal mess after they shook it off.  I decided pretty quickly I didn’t want to deal with that mess also.)  As I was picking up everything to make the mix people around me kept saying “EW!” and/or “What’s that smell?!?”  yeah it’s, me…  :/

When I got home JoJo was still waiting for me in her quarantined area of the bathroom.  I mixed up 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1 cup baking soda, and a bit of dawn dish soap – put on some rubber gloves and scrubbed JoJo down.  After I rinsed her off, I put the dog de-skunk shampoo, scrubbed her down waited the recommended 5 mins and rinsed her off again.  Everything I used on Jo I used on myself as well – except putting the hydrogen peroxide in my hair after I got a message from my hairdresser strongly advising me to not do it.  She suggested putting vinegar in my hair and letting that sit.  We put bowls of vinegar all over the house as that is supposed to absorb the smell.  It is quite amazing how the smell just permeates through everything – gets in every little crack, even closed closet doors to stink up all our clothes – I am not kidding when I say it is everywhere.

Continue reading

Not My Usual Morning Routine…

Skunks are extremely active in my area this time of year – and JoJo and I got a not so pleasant reminder about that early this morning….

I was letting Jo out, opening the door to the back deck and BAM – the door hit something…what the???  I look and in the dim light I see a fluffy black body, tail straight in the air – the smell hit me before my sleepy brain could register what was going on – and also unfortunately before I could grab Jo… she burst through the door excitedly to meet the new visitor, and doing what every dog does when meeting someone new – went up to sniff it’s butt…

FYI: NOT what an actual skunk is like


Continue reading

Backpacking Blunders (part 3)

When you are taking someone backpacking for the first time, you want their experience to be pleasant so that they will want to go again.  When I took my friend Laura on her first backpacking trip, it was ANYTHING but pleasant….

I used my Backpacking Pennsylvania book to pick out an easy trail – I decided on the Pinchot Trail in Lackawana State Forest.  In the book it was listed as a 24 mile loop hike that is typically done in 2 days.  The loop also has a section of trail that goes through the middle in case you need/want to cut your trip short.

We set out in September of 2010 with my trusty side kick at the time Kira.  Kira was an adorable dog I adopted from the pound in 2001, she had a few emotional issues as she was abused before I got her, but as long as you played by her rules, she was perfectly fine – more about this later.

signing the trail register

Continue reading

Backpacking Blunders (part 2)

Back in 2008, after I saved up and bough some decent gear, I talked my best friend Jen into coming on a backpacking trip with me.

The pack I eventually ended up buying was an Osprey Ariel 75 – since my previous pack seemed to small to carry everything I would need, I was unsure about what size to get so naturally I bought the absolute biggest bag I could find – I figured it would be good to have the extra room and it had a ton of compression straps so that if I didn’t fill it up it wouldn’t be a big deal.  Unfortunately what they say is true about packs – if you have the space, you will find something to fill it up with – and boy did I ever.  Since this was my 1st backpacking trip I wasn’t sure what I would need – so I brought EVERYTHING, literally!  We planned on making it a 3 day/ 2 night trip so I brought a change of clothes for each day plus an extra pair and clothes to sleep in- all were cotton as I didn’t have any moisture wicking clothes.  I brought tons of extra batteries as that is what I read online, even though all my gear was new, my pocket rocket backpacking stove to cook food with and 2 fuel canisters as again I read you should bring a spare in case you ran out.  I hate to admit I even brought makeup, a razor, 2 books, a deck of cards, a mug, headlamp, flashlight, AND lantern, a pillow, plus the tent, food, and my sleeping bag – my pack easily weighed 55lbs – if not more.  It was packed to the BRIM with things – more than I would need for a WEEK on the trail, but again we had no idea and wanted to be prepared.  Jen ended up using the LL BEAN pack that I bought as that was the only spare I had.

If you look really closely I think you can see the kitchen sink I packed peaking out – HOW DID I CARRY THIS???

Continue reading

Backpacking Blunders (part 1)

So since there is going to be a tropical storm this weekend and our plans were cancelled, I decided I am going to write a short series about some backpacking trips that didn’t go as expected.  There has been some VERY interesting mishaps I felt I’d share!

I guess I should start with when I 1st tried to get into backpacking.  I’m not sure where I first got the idea to go, but I remember becoming obsessed with it about 10 years ago around about the time I got into hiking – the idea that you could CARRY everything you need to survive a night in the woods was fascinating to me.

I went from a kid who HATED hiking (I would complain and cry the ENTIRE TIME – why can’t I go home and read my book??) to an adult who couldn’t get enough of being outside.  I have no idea what happened, but I took every chance I could to go exploring.  I CLEARLY remember being a kid and my parents would take me out in my sweatpants with the elastic cuff at the bottom that were about 5″ too short, Keds canvas sneakers, and turtleneck – I would be sweltering to DEATH and they want me to hike up some dumb hill? For what?  Hiking to me when I was a kid equaled guaranteed sunburn, bug bites, and poison ivy – and heaven forbid if you got all of these things at the same time – TORTURE!!!  The ONLY thing I liked then about being outside was being able to see frogs.  I remember standing by a tiny stream of water and seeing a few hopping around and my dad telling me that it’s rare to see frogs because of pollution and stuff – and this was in the 80s!

I spent about an hour and a half searching for this picture – I vividly remember this day:

hiking - kids
looking for frogs and wanting to go home to read my book – my sisters and I (I am the in the white shirt)

Continue reading