At home in a tent

Jul 8, 2007

Back home in North Carolina now, and happy to be here. I left Cleveland yesterday afternoon and drove into West Virginia, where I stopped at Camp Creek State Park, where I got the last campsite. I pitched my tent and sat at the picnic table, Michael Ruhlman’s Reach of a Chef illuminated by a small book light.

As the sunlight faded and the lightning bugs pulsed throughout the camp, the families next to my campsite gathered in a circle to look at the stars, and then softly sang and chanted in Hebrew. I don’t know if they were praying or singing camp songs, but their voices made me feel as if I were in a kibbutz, and I felt safe. (In the morning, I learned that the families were related, with siblings coming from Atlanta, Israel and Washington, D.C.)

Before I left Camp Creek, I took a brisk hike on the Piney Ridge Trail, dwarfed by the tall trees and enveloped by the peace of the forest. This was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever taken.

Last week, on my way up to Cleveland, I overnighted at the Stony Fork Campground in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, the place I proposed to Erin back in 1995. And since I had the camping gear, we had an impromptu campout in the far backyard of the Shaughnessy home, joined by my brother-in-law and his children.

In a few weeks, when I return to Cleveland to retrieve the girls, we’ll return to Camp Creek. Just as I learned my love of outdoors from my father, I hope Anna and Malia enjoy sleeping in a tent in “wild and wonderful” West Virginia.

Anton Zuiker

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