Throwback to my First Camping Road Trip

I was a Girl Scout (gs) for twelve years of my life. Although it’s been over for a while, once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout, right?

In 2017, the summer after our freshman year at college, myself and two of my fellow Girl Scouts (Maria and Madison) decided it was time for an adventure. At only 19 we planned a week long camping road trip traveling throughout the New England area. Keep in mind, we were completely broke college students, but we were also completely stubborn college students. We ended up finishing out the trip only spending a total of $130 per person for a week of traveling :).

In a week, we traveled through several states, slept in a total of two, and explored four. We separated the trip into three “legs”. On the first leg, we went from Maryland to Inlet, New York, where Madison’s family has a camp. We arrived at 10:00 Pm; we were so excited that eight hours in the car felt like no time at all. We hung out in upstate New York for a couple of days, enjoying the lake and the small towns.

The next big step was driving out to Gorham, New Hampshire to camp at the base of Mt. Washington. That was quite the adventure…When we arrived, it was pouring down rain so setting up the tent was not a quick one, long story short we ended up eating a cold rice dinner in the car and going to sleep by 7:00 Pm (we were not happy campers). The next day we headed out to hike Mt. Washington at 6:00 Am.

As three Girl Scouts, we did our research on the infamous mountain before starting our hike. We had backpacks with food, waterproof layers, heat blankets, and lots of water. When we reached the checkpoint ranger’s station to determine if we were suited to continue to the peak, the ranger smirked and said, “Yeah, you three won’t have a problem.” Little did he know that I was going to freak out only 1/2 a mile from the peak (but I mean it was warranted…the winds had upped to 80 mph and the fog was so thick we couldn’t even see ten feet in front of us…and we were on rocks!). Thankfully a group of hikers behind us caught up to us and asked if we wanted to link onto their group to keep us on path (hikers are so kind). About a half hour later we were at summit and made it just in time. About an hour after we made it to the top the rangers shut down the mountain because the weather was getting too dangerous (ps. the uh snow, fog, our frozen hair and eyelashes…all happened in AUGUST). Once we got back to our campsite, we all stripped down into tank tops and shorts and sunbathed like fat cats. The funny thing is, I would do it all again. They say that on a clear day you can see the Atlantic ocean from Mt. Washington’s peak; I’m going to keep hiking that dang mountain until I see the ocean.

After Mt. Washington, we traveled down to Southern New Hampshire by way of the Kangamangus Highway (I dare you to say “Kangamangus” 10x fast). There are waterfall, mountain, and lakeside views all along the picturesque highway. The next day we took a short drive (2 hours became short to us) to Portland, Maine. We drooled over our first lobster rolls, walked the Portland coast, and even met up with some friends. On our last full day in New Hampshire, we went to my family’s old vacation spot, Little Lake Sunapee, in New London. It was surreal seeing our old stomping grounds ten years after leaving.

End of the dock at Camp Walalula on Little Lake Sunapee

Overall, I think we learned three big lessons on this trip:

  1. Never forget the camp stove
  2. Cuddle with your bear spray when you sleep
  3. If you laugh loud enough you’ll never have to worry about seeing big wildlife (Maria and Madison still blame me for never seeing a moose. Oops.)

I am forever grateful for this amazing experience because in addition to the above lessons, it also taught me how far I can go with a small amount of money, how quickly a mountain challenges and breaks a person’s ego, and how joyful being outside and writing makes me feel.

Dear Mads and Mar,
            When are we going on our cross country road trip? 🙂

Have you ever gone on a camping road trip? If so, comment where you went! If not, where do you want to go?

If you have any questions about our trip feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!

This article is just a wee introduction to a small series I will be writing on how to plan a cheap, efficient, and fun camping road trip.


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