Grand Central Camping

Aug 15, 2013 | 0 comments

Two weekends ago (already!), I went on my first camping trip of the summer. I guess this kind of surprised me because last summer was FULL of camping in the backcountry, sometimes several times a month. This year hasn’t been quite as exciting in that regard, so after work on Saturday my coworkers and a friend from town headed about 50 miles up the road into the mountains for a night under the stars.

Or rather, the cloudy skies.
My tent with a view

We set up camp at Salmon Lake, a local BLM campground near Grand Central Valley, an extraordinarily scenic location. It was cloudy for sure, but the rain held off all evening, as we sat around a damp, smoldery campfire into the night, talking, swatting at mosquitoes, and roasting s’mores.

Pumped up for camping!

Seemingly as an ode to my first backcountry camping trip last summer, I packed the same one-man ultralight tent and hoped it wouldn’t rain too hard or get swept away in another windstorm.

In fact, the experience did turn out far more comfortable, and I slept like a baby all warm and cozy in my long johns and sleeping bag, listening to rain pounding on my canvas cocoon.

We got a late start the next morning, waiting for the rain to subside, but it never really did. Eventually we cooked up a wet breakfast on a little backpacking stove, broke down camp, and headed to Grand Central Valley for a hike before heading back to town.


Though the rain refused to let up, it didn’t wash away our high spirits. We trekked a few miles into the valley, clambering through thick willows, and stopping along the way to pick salmonberries and blueberries from patches of bushes hanging heavy with the tart, juicy fruits.

Biggest mushrooms I’ve ever seen

There were many edible mushrooms around as well. These are known as Boletes, and actually taste pretty good (I tried one a couple weeks ago after my coworker finally convinced me it was safe!).

Flooded trail
The trail was sopping wet and my shoes and socks were soaked within minutes of setting out, but the scenery, wildflowers, and fresh air were too good to pass up. 
Dramatic skies
We hiked for a couple hours before heading back to Nome, but it was a fun trip overall, despite being so wet. Hopefully I can get in at least one more camping trip this summer before the weather starts getting too cold again.
The rain ruined our group photo – but not our fun time!


Leave a Reply