Anthony and I have recently upped our camp game, so we turned to Hipcamp in search of a nearby private gem to test out all of our gear. Hipcamp is kindof like Airbnb except for campers. Within a few clicks, we came across Cedar Creek.
It was only two-ish hours away, which was perfect for a quick overnight trip. We skipped on down to Medford, New Jersey to a crossroads. We recounted an email from Tim the land owner: “Take Jackson Rd. South til you hit the dirt road. Follow dirt road 2miles. Stay to your left at fork in the road. You will see split rail fence and a brown gate. Wild Boy rd. That's us.”
With the windows down and sunroof pulled back, we filed down the forest-lined dirt road.
With the windows down and sunroof pulled back, we filed down the forest-lined dirt road. On our left we finally reached the gate. It hung crooked yet displayed the hand painted letters proudly, "Wild Boy Road". We took a sharp left and Anthony hopped out of the car and swung open the gate.
Weaving through the woods for five minutes we reached the mouth of the road. It spit us out into a wide open field drenched with sunlight, nestled next to a brilliant lake. There was a weathered dock that reached out over the water. I thought, for a moment, about how many people have dove off it, impaling the perfectly still water. We parked the Caliber alongside the forest’s edge and began to set up camp. Cedar Creek was definitely primitive. We were surrounded by trees, land, and the lake. It made for a perfect real camping trip.
We dug out our fire pit and Anthony got to hacking up some dead trees. This seems to be the unwritten agenda when we camp. I get the hammock and chairs set up while Anthony gets the fire prepped. The skies were clear, and the sun shone bright. We regrouped after a short time to pitch the tent together. Luckily the forecast predicted a clear night, so no need to break out the tarp. Although the heat that day was brutal and a summer rain storm might have been refreshing. Inside the tent, I laid out our sleeping bags and pillows. I hung the lantern at the peak of the tent, and zipped it up real tight with every effort to keep any creepy-crawly bugs out. I wouldn’t be so bothered by bugs if every time they bit my legs I didn’t swell up to a size borderline calling for an epipen.
Side by side we watched the flames dance and ate our fire cooked meal with such satisfaction.
On our way down from Brooklyn, we stopped and stocked up our cooler with some franks, some fixins, and some beers of course. As we approached the late afternoon we oiled up our 60 year old cast iron pan and tossed in some sliced onions and peppers. Once those cooked down a bit, we threw down the franks and let it all sizzle.
Side by side we watched the flames dance and ate our fire-cooked meal with such satisfaction. There’s something nice about hearing the crackle of the toasted baguette between your fingers and then wiping your greasy hands clean on your jeans.
As the evening wound down, the stars began to pierce through the night sky. The coals turned from a radiant orange to a dark black and our eye lids felt heavy. We wandered a few paces over to our tent, ready to collapse from our outdoor activities. We both laid on our backs and just listened. The nightlife at the lake that evening (and probably every evening) was extremely chatty. I thought about how the frogs, crickets, and ducks had gone unnoticed during today, but at last they'd come to life. Soon enough we both drifted off to sleep thinking about that special oasis and wondering where we'd venture to next.