Daily Archives: July 14, 2012

A patriotic visit to Pawtuckaway


Tuesday, 03JULY12 through Wednesday, 04JULY12


July 4th in the United States has a few basic requirements: Explosions, Beer, Burgers, and maybe some more Explosions. Ohh, and preferably some camping. The explosions I wasn’t too worried about – campfires sort of count, depending on how close you get, and the city of Boston would provide the real intense display of American destructiveness the next evening. Burgers and beer, along with camping, were up to me to find. And so, I headed into Boston, met my buddy Mike, and set out from his place to begin the patriotic search for camping, burgers, and beer.

Our adventure started by stopping into Chile’s for dinner – what’s more American than spending money on grossly over-sized portions of food? Between bouts of random science talk and some rather entertaining babbling from Mike (the waitress enjoyed every second of it, if you can believe that) we put down a burger, two plates of Quesadillas and a few drinks. Yep. On our own. ‘Merica. Respect.

From Chile’s we headed up the long and lonely road to my favorite campground in southern New Hampshire – Pawtuckaway state park. The last time we tried to go camping here a fallen tree had blocked our path. Now, all that was in our way was a small gatehouse with an attendant looking like he was about to die of boredom.

He waved us on through when we asked if we could just pick a spot and pay in the morning. Simple, relaxed, and efficient. I love it. We pulled into one of the first spots that we could find, and I immediately went about the key action of the evening – starting the hottest and most unnecessarily large fire that I could make.

We had picked up a few bundles of wood from the nearby grocery store, but I supplemented that with a nice helping of pine-needles and other scraps from the woods around the site… this was key, because as every camper knows, pine-pitch burns. And it burns well.

So, our fire was set. It went from a lazy little ember to a roaring and popping inferno in less time than it took me to set up my hammock… and that’s saying something, because I can set that thing up pretty damn fast if I say to myself. But either way, soon enough we were relaxing around the fire – Mike strumming his guitar and me nursing a beer or three.

It was relaxing… even when a random guy came up, claiming to be a forest ranger. He said that they’d gotten a noise complaint about us, and that we needed to bring it down a notch or two. We complied… but I felt a bit strange about it: the guy wasn’t wearing the uniform that the gate-keeper had on, and he hadn’t driven up in a ranger truck or anything… instead, he’d simply walked over, as if he had been at the campsite next to us…

Campers impersonating rangers aside, the night was amazing. Mike and I joked and drank. We alternating between him playing rather stellar renditions of Red Hot Chile Peppers songs, and me discussing my new theory on what motivates me and what makes me happy. Even though I don’t smoke anymore, the conversation devolved rather rapidly into something a stoner would have thoroughly enjoyed.


I don’t really remember when we finally headed to bed, but the next morning broke far too early for my tastes. I had gotten up at some point that night to fix the rain fly on my hammock, and it seemed that the fix hadn’t really held… the rain had pooled in a massive lake sitting directly above my head, waiting to explode down upon me.

I left my warm hammock with a frown on my face, fixing the hammock and debating heading back to try and rejoin my previous dream. But fate proved that it knew what was up, and within 10min of waking up I was met by another random guy walking towards our camp.

This time, he had an official note. Not a noise complaint, but a note saying that he’d bought and payed for our campsite. And that we needed to leave. Like, now.

I was able to talk them into giving us half and hour to pack and get the car ready. Mike was none too happy about it (nor was I, to be honest. I was looking forward to a slow morning) but we had everything together quick enough, and soon we were back on the road again.

The night had claimed a few pottles of blueberries, a sack of almonds, and far more beer than two people should have been able to drink. The cure for this set of indulgences? Clearly a massive diner breakfast. And so, we started driving back towards Boston, planning on stopping off at some random exit and finding ourselves both some breakfast, and maybe some adventure…