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DIY Camping – George Washington National Forest

December 10, 2020

DIY Camping – George Washington National Forest

Written by Eljiah Stanley, Outdoor Adventure Manager

Greetings from Campus Recreation! Fall is upon us and that makes for perfect camping weather and beautiful mountain scenery. If you are looking for a quick getaway that will take you into rugged and beautiful forests, look no further than the George Washington National Forest.  This protected forest is only forty minutes from Liberty’s campus and is a camping and adventure paradise.

George Washington National Forest

George Washington National Forest holds a plethora of welcoming riverside campsites that are large enough to host you and your most adventurous friends. Hunting Creek Road in Big Island, Virginia is the best access to plenty of free, first-come, first-serve campsites that are neighbored by a gorgeous trout-filled river. Any vehicle can easily make the trip up the gravel road to the campsites, making it easy to unload and set up tents or any other camping gear. These camping areas are best suited for tent camping and most include a small fire pit.

Freeze-Dried Dinner

After you’ve set up camp, and you have started a fire, it is the perfect time to start dinner. Freeze-dried Mountain House meals are tasty, lightweight, and packable entrees made just for camping. We have been using them on our trips this semester, and we have really enjoyed them. My personal favorite is the chicken & fried rice entrée. They are so easy to use — all you need is some boiling water! Simply bring two cups of water to a boil, pour the water into the meal container, stir, and wait for five minutes. Then, your delicious fireside meal is ready to enjoy! Mountain House meals are ideal for any outdoor adventure and offer a variety of options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The most ideal way to heat water for your Mountain House meal, your coffee, or tea is the Jetboil personal cook system.

The Jetboil is a safe, easy-to-use system that is made to boil up to one liter of water in a surprisingly short amount of time. Just screw in a propane source to the bottom and press the ignition. Within minutes you will have boiling water to make your ideal fireside meal. Jetboils are lightweight and efficient, making them a practical piece of gear that every camping enthusiast should look to acquire. But, if you aren’t quite ready to buy your own, we have some available to rent at the Hydaway Outdoor Center!

Campsite Fishing

Now that dinner is taken care of, what’s next? Perhaps you and your friends would be interested in wetting a line in the clear, trout-filled water of Hunting Creek. If you have a fishing rod, you’ll definitely want to add it to the packing list. Merely feet away from your campsite is a premier brook trout fishery. Fishing this stream makes for a fun after-dinner excursion.

As you wrap up your evening, take a moment to stargaze the immaculate view from the George Washington National Forest. Fall nights in the Blue Ridge mountains can be frigid, so always remember to prepare your gear accordingly. A down sleeping bag with a low-temperature rating is the ticket to staying warm when camping in the mountains. Also, remember to pack lots of layers as the fall weather in Virginia can change rapidly. With the proper gear, clothing, and the best of friends, you will be ready to enjoy a secluded weekend of fireside chats and gorgeous scenery. As we near final exams, a weekend getaway will be the remedy to your academic induced stress!