Penrose Point State Park was one of the new campgrounds I tried in 2021. It was a late birthday present to myself, as I was sick over my birthday and had to reschedule my 3 nights into the later-available 2 nights. By this time, I was really looking forward to it: work was hectic and a getaway sounded like just what was needed.
Pictured: View from the Point!
I was leaving from work - and I think that's a mistake :) I got away late, and I realized I'd love my half-day on the first day of the shortened trip, and even more, it would be close to dark when I got there and I'd be setting up camp in the waning light. I was chatting with my mom on the way, and she suggested grabbing dinner along the way. I needed some ice anyway, so I took her advice and hit the deli for chicken and salad. Mom knows best, this made for a much more relaxed evening and food ready when I was hungry.
Pictured: Just pulled into my sweet little spot
Pictured: Camp all set up! (I find I often move the picnic table to suit my site set-up needs)
I launched into unpacking and set-up right away... there was a burn ban on, but my mom, hearing of the last time I'd had a no-campfire solo camp, was having none if it, and had gifted me with a portable propane fire bowl, which IS allowed during all but the most rigorous burn bans. (Check it out in my Gear Reviews!) This was its maiden voyage, and I unpacked it and set it up with such gratitude that I would get my fireside time this trip despite the campfire restrictions. And smore's. I mean, C'mon. :)
Pictured: My little nest is ready as the night falls
Pictured: My firebowl~ love it! Check out my gear review on this. You'll want one!
Pictured: Whipped up some Mac & cheese on the 2-burner, added to the deli stuff~ Voila!
I slept in the next day, but thats QUITE alright - I don't tend to pressure myself when I solo-camp... I don't look at the clock, which is part of why a few days solo camping often feels like a week away. Pancakes were calling me, and the addition of a fresh peach I had was a good experiment - these were next level! Sausage on the other burner, another cup of French press coffee, and breakfast fireside was perfect.
Pictured: Peach pancakes in progress!
After some morning reading, which is one of my loves while camping, I decided to set out and explore my surroundings. There are great walking trails here that go to the shore, and through the woods out to the point. It was fun to see both the sights around me, and the trailside flora and fauna.
Pictured: View from a walk in the forest path along the beach that begins at the day-use area
Pictured: All the sights big and small along the trail ~ and me, enjoying it all!
This is not a walk for someone unsteady on their feet - the beaches are rocky and muddy, and the trails often have a lot of roots growing across.
Pictured: The trail is not for the unsteady in many places
It was a lovely, warm day meander hiking, and I got back to camp a bit tired and famished. Now, something I can eat at any time of day, at home or in camp, is a grilled cheese sandwich. You can vary bread, cheese... add protein like ham or bacon, even fancy it up with brie and fig jam. So long as you have bread and cheese, you've got a warm melty toasty feast (look for it in Camp Classics recipes.) This trip, I had sourdough, medium cheddar, yellow mustard, and some thick-sliced ham. Perfect!
Pictured: Ham and cheese Grilled Cheese in the making~ Let's hit the frying pan!
After lunch, the dappled sun through the trees, a bit of cool shade, and my book were calling me. There are LOTS of hammock trees about, and two were at the periphery of my site. It didn't take long to string it up, add my pillow and a light blanket underneath, and settle in for an afternoon nap-read.
Pictured: One thing you have to be okay with camping is dirty feet. They just are.
Before it got dark, I did a bit of scoping out other campsites and writing down the numbers of ones I'd like to try another time. This is a typical pastime of mine when I find myself in a campground I might want to repeat. This is such a one. I REALLY hoped to add a day on the end of this one, as I'd arrived late the first night, and before I got sick, I'd had a 3-night reservation, and doggone it, it was my birthday... I'd tacked a note up on the reservations list at the ranger cabin that, if the person coming after me cancelled, I'd love to stay. But no such luck. So I had to come to grips with this being both my second night, and my last night. Still, when I am solo camping, a weekend seems like a long time away, and I feel disproportionately renewed, which is a great by-product.
Dinner was easy - one of my favorites, Lloyd's BBQ. It comes in a tub, beef, pork or chicken, all cooked and sauced and ready to heat and eat. I freeze it before I head out so it lasts well in the ice chest, and warm it up on one burner while I boil water for corn-on-the-cob on the other, and if I can watch it carefully, a bun thrown over the fire. Since it was a burn ban night, and I was using my fire bowl, I just warmed my bun at the stove, loaded it up, and dug in. (I like cheese and red onion on mine.)
Pictured: Lloyd's BBQ is fine camping fare on a bun!
I'd been gifted gourmet marshmallows and stroopwaffles from my sis, and it was definitely time to break them out as night fell, and craft a very, very high-end s'more. I needed tums after, but it was *worth* it.
Pictured: Before and After on a gourmet s'more
I broke out my origami solar lantern on this trip, charging it up while I was walking the trails, and it is now a trusted piece of equipment. Provided a great glow, enough to read by and in the tent, enough to get ready for bed, and continue to read. Definitely a keeper (see the gear review!)
Pictured: Solar Helix Origami light, in action
The next morning went by fast - I woke to the sun glinting through the top of my tent. My typical oatmeal and lingering with my coffee by the fire bowl turned into taking camp down before I knew it. I left rested but feeling a little shortchanged~ Penrose State Park has a lot to offer, and I only scratched the surface. It's a come-back destination, for sure.
I will surely be back to Penrose Point State Park ~ 2 nights and 1 full day was NOT enough!