We went on the third annual Birthgiving cold camping trip (celebrating Thomas’s birthday), which always falls the weekend before Thanksgiving. The weather was a surprisingly mild 50 degrees during the day, dipping into the 30’s at night. Since I am still on crutches recovering from knee surgery, Kurt and I decided to drive up with River for just one night (as opposed to the typical 2 nights we usually spend at Kettle Moraine South). It turned out to be the perfect length of time, as my knee didn’t ache too badly and I was able to sit comfortably by the fire with everyone.
The Thanksgiving meal, as usual, was excellent, with an array of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. We enjoyed shepherd’s pie, vegetarian curry, sauerkraut with Neuske’s bacon, pumpkin cheesecake, and more, all washed down with plenty of New Glarus beer. As the sun set, we circled around the fire and played Cards Against Humanity until well after dark. The crisp air and warmth of the fire felt great on my knee, keeping it loose and limber while staving off soreness and swelling. River, always an enthusiastic camper, got to show off her new hoodie sweater and dig for tasty worms in the autumn leaves.
Sometimes I think I actually prefer the woods in late autumn, when the days are short and the bare tree branches are so stark against the sky. There’s something very peaceful and still about it. The animals are hibernating for the winter, the birds have all flown south. I like the feeling of transition as the world prepares for the winter months. Or maybe it just reminds me of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One. Either way, it’s one of my favorite trips of the year.