I love camping. There is just this feeling I get when I sleep outside in a tent that I don't get anywhere else. I'm not a backwoods camper, I like at least a pit toilet to do my business in. Squatting is just not my thing. With this in mind I tend to look for state parks for camping. I knew absolutely nothing about state parks in western New York when I started planning this trip. I went to the book store and picked out two National Geographic books, one about national parks and one on state parks. I knew I wanted to be within a two hour drive of Niagara Falls, but that was all I knew.
Finding Letchworth State Park was a fluke. It was in the National Geographic book about state parks. It was within the distance to Niagara Falls that I wanted, so I booked us a site.
The day after the rainball game in Pittsburgh, we started out for Letchworth. It was about a four hour drive, almost due north. The sun seemed to be thinking about peeking out. I hoped it would be kind and grace us with its warmth at least part of the next four days.
It was still cloudy, but not raining when we reached the park. It looked as though it had recently rained, but sunshine started poking its way through. We got the tent set up and still had a few hours before dark. We started to wander about.
The park was even better than I had hoped. It apparently had been voted as the number one state park in the US according to a readers poll in USA Today. We were starting to see why.
Letchworth has the largest gorge east of the Mississippi. It has even been called the Grand Canyon of the East. I have never seen the Grand Canyon personally, but judging by photos I've seen, that may be stretching it a bit.
The gorge has been cut out by the Genesee River. We were there when the area was in a drought, so the river seemed quite calm and unassuming. There have been floods that filled the canyon area. It was a almost impossible to believe that entire canyon could become filled with water, but it has, many times. Happily, for us, that wouldn't be an issue over the next 4 days.
We got back to camp and built a fire to start dinner. We don't own a camp stove. I probably should have one for days when it is raining and we can't get a fire started, but I don't. In all my times camping as an adult, we have never gone hungry from not being able to build a fire. Ok, I always have back up lunch meat for sandwiches, just in case, but rarely have to use it. The lunch meat is usually for lunches, and pop tarts and cereal for breakfast. I don't want to spend a lot of time starting and putting out fires when I could be exploring. I suppose a camp stove would come in handy for those. Pop tarts are still easier.
Honestly, I love cooking on a campfire. The food gets a flavor that you just can't get any other way. To me, it is a lot more relaxing, too. Although, the food can get away from you and start burning before you realize it. Or the fire will never get hot enough and never cook the food at all. Yeah, I find that relaxing. Don't ask me why, but I do.
After dinner we sat by the fire. The best thing about camping in October is the campfire. The sun goes down earlier, and the air is crisper. The campfire's warmth and beauty kept me mesmerized. I wouldn't have traded it for the best TV in the world.