Best Camping Tips You Will Read This Year

Once the weather gets warm and drowns out the chill from the winter air, I am ready to go camping! I have only discovered my love for camping in the last two years, but I can’t get enough. I love the smell of a fire pit, roasting marshmallows, and the sound of nature, along with the fresh air. So I’m going to share the best camping tips you will read all year.

I will admit I have an air mattress and a small battery-operated fan I take with me. I can’t help it, the ground is hard, and I like sleeping with a fan for the light noise and to help keep it cool inside the tent.

Let’s dive into the best camping tips you’ll read all year. Some of these tips are from me – who is pretty much a beginner, and my boyfriend, who’s a veteran when it comes to camping. Keep in mind these are tips for tent camping. Once we get the truck bed camper remodeled, then I’ll make a post about that (which I can hardly wait for either).

The Best Camping Tips You’ll Read All Year:

  1. Waterproof your tent – Mother Nature can throw a few surprises, and it’s best to have everything you need while you’re out in the middle of nowhere. So, you never know what the weather will do. It can be a sunny 75 degrees one minute then pouring down rain the next. Spray your tent with a silicone sealant while spraying top to bottom and left to right. Don’t forget about those zippers too.
  1. Take advantage of campsite amenities – Now, I know it’s camping, but you’ve got to have a few amenities to make it enjoyable instead of miserable. I can’t go without a shower, so a bathhouse is a must. It’s also great when you’ve got to head to the restroom; this comes excellent when you’re there for a few days or a week like we usually go.
  2. Find level ground to set up your tent – It’s no fun to try to relax or sleep in a tent that isn’t level. Sometimes in some campgrounds, you can’t help but be a little crooked, but most of the time, you’ll find spaces to accommodate tents. 
  3. Make camp-friendly meals – I can’t express this one enough. It’s so easy to find recipes for easy meals even when you’re camping. I’ve got an entire Pinterest board dedicated to it. It’s also fun to have a good meal but don’t get me wrong-a sweet peanut butter and jelly sandwich will do a lot of the time.
  4. Pack Snacks – When hitting the trails, you’ll need your energy, especially if you’re camping in the mountains (my favorite!). Water and trail mix bars are perfect for having space and being easy to carry. No one wants to lug around a ten-pound backpack while hiking to 5,000+ feet. 
  5. Line your backpack with a heavy-duty trash bag – This will help keep the things you put in your gear dry if you get rained on.
  6. Firestarters – did you know hand sanitizer works great as a fire starter? I know, right! You can also use paper towels or toilet paper rolls stuffed with lint or paper towels to start the fire. If you bring along trick birthday candles to help light the fire, these will help from burning your hands while trying to keep the lighter lit.
  1. Make a grommet – if your find yourself with a torn tarp from where the eyehole has torn out, you can use a heavy rock. Secure the stone with a rubber band or zip tie to keep it in place.
  2. Make your lantern – if you find yourself without batteries, you can make your lantern until you get a chance to make another run to civilization. Strap your headlight to the bottom of a transparent bottle or jug for all the light you need. We’ve done this plenty of times, and there’s enough light to fill the campsite.
  3. Don’t forget the utensils – when cooking, you’ll want a fork, knife, or spoon, but you leave them behind, you’re stuck with your hands. it sounds simple, but when trying to pack everything, something is bound to be forgotten.

Here are a few photos from our favorite trips:

I hope you’ve learned something from this post; it’s always fun to share knowledge and learn from others. Getting a different perspective is always good.

I’d love to hear your about your camping trips! Where did you go, what did you see, what was your favorite? My boyfriend and I love to travel, so that we might end up there on a recommendation.

Lewis Ginter Gardens Lego Exhibit

Since all you hear about is Covid and it’s a little hard to travel I’ve decided to post about an adventure I had a year 1/2 ago (I was just starting my blog and wasn’t an “adventure” sharer then). This place was amazing and beautiful!

There was a lego exhibit that I couldn’t wait to get too. I know, I’m a big kid at heart. Who doesn’t love legos!? ..unless you step on one..

I decided to take my mom so she could tag along. We love going on adventures together, not only do we see neat stuff but we also get to spend time together.

The garden that hosted the LEGO exhibit had a map like a scavenger hunt for the LEGO masterpieces. There were so many and scattered around the garden, which was beautiful in itself. 

The exhibit we scheduled was in August and it was HOT, we in fact had 2 snow cones in one day! Hot weather and I are not friends, HATE the hot weather. During the winter at least I can bundle up and take off layers when I get hot but that’s frowned upon when you get too hot. 

I’d been working on my freelance business a lot and I felt I needed a weekend away to recharge, so I even left my laptop at home! Yes, left it at home. Miracles do happen. 

As I remember we walked around 6-7 miles in a couple hours in this hot weather. I hurt my knee a few years ago running a marathon (my first so far) so it really gave me problems when we got back to the hotel room and were relaxing watching the I.D Network (if you’re not familiar with the I.D Network it’s a network that only shows crime scene, FBi, and other forensic shows.), what can we say – we love catching killers.

The 3 days we were there checking things out we were exhausted to say the least so when we got back to the hotel room we ordered DoorDash (which I love by the way). We weren’t being lazy but it was dark and we didn’t know the area so we didn’t really want to get out and get lost even though ya know GPS. Don’t judge, ya know.

The exhibit findings and other gorgeous photos, I actually took these with my iPhone. I was impressed with myself. ☺️

You can tell Lego photos because they look pixelated, another thing I think It looked pretty cool. The geek side of me is showing!

I hope you enjoyed this little venture as much as you could. We had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the gardens too.

Luray Caverns, Luray Virginia

We had such a good time checking out Luray Caverns. I’d never seen one myself and it was just breathtaking really.

It started on a whim that the boyfriend and I decided to take a weekend trip (which turned into 4 days of adventure in Virginia & West Virginia but more on that later). I wanted to explore, discover, and get out of my comfort zone.. then I found the Luray Caverns!

Luray Caverns, Luray Virginia

I enjoy learning so it was neat that it was a self guided tour around the cavern. There was even a wishing well all the way under there!

I’d like to share a few things that made the trip more manageable, these are my favorites to take along on any outing. They’re comfy, convenient, and practical.


You can see more pictures below this post but I wanted to share a little information about the caverns, so consider this your history lesson for the day ☺️

4 Million Centuries in the Making…

Luray Caverns is the largest caverns in the eastern United States, yet walking through feels more akin to an unearthly experience.

Paved walkways lead visitors through cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10-stories high, towering stone formations, and natural wonders at every turn.

Wishing you were here?

Enormous chambers are filled with towering stone columns, shimmering draperies and crystal-clear pools. The National Park Service and the Department of Interior designated it a Registered Natural Landmark.

This is the largest body of water in the caverns. However, its deepest point is not more than 18 to 20 inches. This sparkling lake reflects a myriad of fantastic forms and creates a mirror image of the abundant stalactites hanging from the ceiling.

You Won’t Believe Your Ears

Can stalactites sound as unearthly as they look? They do at Luray Caverns. The Great Stalacpipe Organ is the world’s largest musical instrument. It literally makes stalactites sing by gently tapping them throughout three acres of the caverns. It’s a musical masterpiece that can’t be found anywhere else in the world … or under it. Hear the organ playing here.

More photos from our adventure!

August Goals: I’m Coming For You August

May-July goals were a complete bust with the lock down, social distancing, and masks. So I’m not even going to try and report those, as there wouldn’t be hardly any thing there to write.

With a little more lenience I can deal with wearing the mask (I got really cute ones from Ken and I love them, you can even get a filter! I picked up this one and this one, so cute!

I’d like to do a little more traveling around local or near to local places but the friend and I are spontaneous so I have no idea when or where we are going. We have had a few adventures like trail rides & rock crawling plus a grueling hiking trip to Catawba Falls waterfall.

August Goals: I’m Coming For You

Miles: To hold myself accountable I want to track at least 10 miles (it’s in the triple digits here and all I’ve got is my neighborhood since the gyms aren’t open. I’m hoping to break that 10 mile mark though

August goals

Books: I hope to read at least one book this month. With all this free time you’d think I’d use it more wisely – I’ve watched a lot of I.D Network & Dr. Phil. I’ve got about 2 books I want to knock out by at least October.

Yoga: I’ve done a little but not as much as I should. I want to practice everyday and it’s not like it’s hard. I’ve just fallen out of practice, maybe explains why I’ve been so moody lately 🤔

Self care: I did get a manicure and a pedicure 2 weeks ago with my best friends whom we haven’t seen in months. With this pandemic it’s been hard to get out to do anything plus the salons were closed. I haven’t even taken a bath with a bubble bar in a few weeks, I’m running low on bubble bars but don’t want to hit up the mall and be around a bunch of people.

Mental health: This is one that’s really taken a hit! My bipolar triggers are through the rough so I have rough days instead of one or two days. Some days I’m so anxious I feel like I’m crawling out of my own skin while other days I’m so depressed I can barely get out of bed (would explain the lack of blog posts).

August goals

Social media/blog: I really would like to build my following, I’d love to make money from this blog one day. After I get back into the swing of things I’m going to offer sponsors for $5 a month, I’d love to have you! More info on that as it gets closer.

 

There you have it, my goals I’ll be setting out to accomplish given in this pandemic no one really knows.

I just want to get your perspective as a reader on a few things though:

  1. How’ve you been during this entire thing?
  2. What are the blogging secrets you use?
  3. What would you like to see on Balanced Mochas?

Chasing waterfalls

I know TLC told us not to go chasing waterfalls but but but.. they’re so beautiful!

Last week there was a few adventures, a friend and I had a few days off so we decided to make the most of those days.

We packed our bags and headed 4 hours to Asheville in the western North Carolina Blue Ridge mountains.

Chasing waterfalls: Beautiful Waterfalls Of NC

I love Asheville, it’s such a vibrant city. There are trading companies, chocolatiers, old factories that house local artists, historical architecture, and the beautiful Biltmore Estate (very intriguing couple with an 800 acre estate).

These waterfalls are gorgeous but the photos don’t do them justice. I’ve decided to break them up into two different posts as there is a lot to be said about each beautiful fall.

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First up we have Catawba Falls, which is my favorite!  Catawba Falls consists of two different falls but is one collective fall. There is a hike up to a second waterfall at the top of the mountain.

The 100 foot tall Catawba falls is located 26 miles East of Asheville. In 2012 the U.S. Forest Service opened a parking lot for hiking the waterfall trail in Pisgah National Forest.

There is a footbridge so no rock hoping is required to access the waterfalls allowing visitors to enjoy the falls even when the water is high.

There is a dam and stone fountain that was used as a power generator in the 1900’s but from the trail you can see a waterfall as well as the dam.

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Upper Falls of Catawba

The hike is not for the faint of heart though. The hike to the top is only about 2 miles but you use 3 points of contact (both hands and at least one foot engaged on a root, rock, mountain side or anything you can grab onto to keep you from falling) pretty much the entire time. This falls is very dangerous if you’re not a skilled climber or hiker.

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The trail leads to the 100ft lower falls, with many spots to rest and take photos of the lower falls from different angles and points of views.

This trail is only half a mile but it’ll kick your butt as there are step rocks, slippery mud, narrow trails, this beast wall, and not to mention completely uphill the entire way in high altitude.

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I got a little road rash myself, it happens when your sliding down a narrow trail in fear for every bone in your body, ya know it happens?

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Once you’ve reached the upper waterfall after a strenuous hike (with a few cuss words sprinkled about) you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

The water is so cold, pure, and crisp when it touches your skin it sends chills down your spine. Once you get use to the coldness of the serene water pooling from the rushing falls above you’ll enjoy yourself.

We took a little time to enjoy the scenery, take in the smells of nature, and even splash around. We built a few rock structures that we were proud of too.

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I decided to take a breather so I sat my butt i front of this huge boulder rock for a bit. A friend decided he was going to Jenga our rock formations while I relaxed. I saw something slithering out of the corner of my eye to turn around to see a snake swimming 4 inches away from me! I’m deathly terrified of snakes, point blank, end of story!

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After shaking and trying to catch my breath for What seemed like forever I finally got it all together, however I didn’t see where the snake went so I didn’t get back in the water on that side.

We had a lot of fun and slept great that night. If you find yourself in Asheville, at least check out the lower falls unless you’re an experienced hiker then definitely check out the upper falls.