I'll let you in on a little secret...
…You don’t have to pay for campgrounds in order to go camping.
For example, there is amazing state-run land on the eastern side of Lake George which is completely free and somehow has been unaffected by the budget, or the lack thereof.
Shelving Rock Area is a bit rustic and just has the bare essentials, but I have made some amazing summer memories there.
This was my second year going to this wildlife area, as part of one of my friend’s annual party called Campingpalooza (and I’d say the name pretty much sums up the frivolity of the weekend).
The sites are just well-known enough, mainly to locals in that vicinity, that you may need to start camping on a weekday so you will have a better chance of getting one of the 12 sites. My friends this year got there on Tuesday to secure site #12 for our group for that weekend.
It’s not exactly a drive-up and camp type place, though. There’s no indoor plumbing, no electricity outlet, no paved road, no running water (well there was a stream and a little waterfall), and no KOA gift shop.
But, in my opinion, it was an even better experience without all of that stuff.
The parking area was large enough for about eight cars. Then there was a short trail, maybe 100 yards or so, that led to the site where we were then able to fit several tents for our group. This particular spot had an upper level with a large fire pit and then there was a lower level near the stream, short waterfall, and small pool of water. There was also a nearby outhouse.
The pine trees growing in the area acted as natural shade and air conditioning during the humid weekend.
Then, when the midday sun started to come in through the trees, we drove my boyfriend’s truck just a little more than a mile down the dirt road where there is access to Lake George. We went swimming and sunbathed on the rocks. I also took advantage of being in the open water and practiced for my whimsical goal of eventually swimming the English Channel. But instead of swimming 21 miles, I swam out to the nearby island which also has state-run campsites.
Eventually, I’m hoping to check out those island campgrounds as well. But, that will have to wait for another time and another blog entry.
For more information on Shelving Rock, go to http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9194.html