The 2011 SSPBDT Mancation Camping Weekend
Caldwell County, NC
Friday, October 28th through Sunday, October 30th, 2011
Every October since 2005, the SSPBDT has invaded the Mortimer Campground for a weekend of camping fun.
The purpose of the SSPBDT Mancation is a once a year opportunity for us men to get away for a weekend without contact to the outside world and drink large quantities of FABs around the campfire. Unlike the SSPBDTSOCE, women are not allowed to attend the Mancation.
As usual, it was raining when I arrived at the campground Friday afternoon. I was please to see that the early arrivals had snagged our favorite campsites and had already erected our giant community tarp! As usual, I was quite impressed with the erection!
Steve and Scott M. got a head start on the weekend and arrived the previous day, while Jeff and Ron arrived earlier that morning.
I usually like to get a little hiking in after I arrive, but with a cold rain falling I instead spent most of the afternoon relaxing by the campfire with my buddies, drinking a few FABs, and listening to the rain fall on the giant tarp overhead. I did take advantage of one lull in the rain to set up my tent.
My tent and campsite (photo taken the next day)
Around dinner time Scott R. finally showed up making a total of six members attending this year's event. The campfire was kicked up a notch keeping us warm and our giant tarp kept us dry throughout the evening. At least until we decided to go for the midnight graveyard tour!
The graveyard tour is a tradition and the rain had slowed to a light drizzle. At least until we got to the graveyard when it started falling heavily again. Needless to say this was the shortest midnight graveyard tour ever. We quickly retreated back to the campfire to dry off and warm up! I didn't even get a chance to set up the camera and tripod for any nighttime graveyard shots!
For some reason, I don't remember much of what happened around the campfire after that!
The first nights campfire
The next morning it appeared that the rain was done, but it was definitely still cold. Unusually we don't bother keeping the campfire going throughout the day, but with highs not expected to get much above 40 degrees for the day we would keep it burning all day long! But would our wood supply last?
These next photos show some of our creative wood gathering techniques!
Some redneck engineering
Pulling down a dead limb
Ron and his big wood
Jeff doing some tree limb fishing
Scott chopping away
Needless to say there are now a few less dead trees and limbs at the Mortimer Campground!
Usually when I head to the mountains I like to get as much hiking in as possible. However, since this is about my 10th time camping here, I have hiked just about every trail in the area. This makes it much easier for me to resist the hiking urge and just be able to relax!
In fact, this would turn out to be the first time ever that I didn't do a single hike. I did do a few walks and a little exploring, but nothing long enough to even bother bringing the backpack!
Thorps Creek Falls
The Mortimer Graveyard
The campground equivalent of Super Walmarts
Ron's FAB of Choice
Ron Prepping the Ribs
Jeff and Ron putting the final touches on the Redneck Aluminum Foil Smoker
Jeff prepping the Chicken Wings
Our wood gathering throughout the day had paid off and it looked like we would have enough wood to keep the fire blazing throughout the night. At times a little grease from the fried chicken wings added to the blaze! It was a good thing because by nightfall, the temps had dropped below freezing and the only thing keeping us warm was that fire and plenty of FABs!
Jeff adding some grease to the campfire
Ron taking a nap
My "20-degree sleeping bag" was just enough to keep me warm throughout the night, but it sure was cold getting out. 27 degrees to be exact! We had just enough wood left to stoke the fire back up and take the chill off!
I packed up my tent and camping gear taking plenty of breaks to warm my hands back up at the campfire. There was actually a thick layer of frost covering the outside of my tent. I said my goodbyes to my camping buddies (at least the ones that were awake by 9:30am) and hit the road back to Spartanburg.
It was another successful and very enjoyable SSPBDT Mancation Camping Weekend!
The complete set of photos from our camping weekend is posted here: