Updated: Jul 28, 2020
It’s a surreal experience to greet new guests at Dirt Road Camp without a handshake or seeing their smiles, solely due to social distancing and requisite masks. We appreciate the respect shown by these strangers-soon-friends, especially when we later run into each other on our mountain, healthy and hiking, sporting big grins, sanity restored.
2020 has been one for the ages. Virtual check-ins are now the norm here, as is a consistent flood of campers at Dirt Road Camp, which is pretty amazing to us as we are only entering our 2nd year in business! Campgrounds nationwide are universally enjoying (and admittedly struggling with) an influx of people seeking the great outdoors and fresh air. This is both welcome and challenging, because we rank cleanliness our #1 priority (especially with Covid-19 concerns) so every outhouse, cabin, public area, “Merry-Go-Fire”, you name it, gets wiped down between guests. This takes time and patience, and our campers have been incredibly responsive and respectful, texting us precise ETAs and feedback. We thank you!
To fully grasp how many people want to go camping, this recent article is pretty shocking: www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/11/camping-glamping-coronavirus-americans
Here’s a very helpful trick for first-time campfire starting: Take a small cardboard box (an empty 12-pack of beer or soda box works best) and stuff it with dry kindling, sticks and paper, then flip it over (open side down), leaving an inch or two under for airflow. Light the paper inside and this “hot box” works even in the worst weather, rain or snow! Simply add fresh logs and sticks against and atop the box as it slowly burns inside and you have a sweet starter campfire!
Know-how, adaptability, and diversity are essential in life, and simply givens up here. Through our new naturalist friend Ashley at Forever Wild in Margaretville (www.foreverwildcatskills.com) we hosted Tyrhee Moore and Marlowe Rogers (and dog Moses) from Soul Trak Outdoors (www.soultrak.com) based out of Washington D.C. A non-profit organization that “connects communities of color to our planet’s green spaces” Soul Trak practices what it preaches, and our Lean-Too cabin gave them a rustic spot to relax and plan. Come back soon, and send other good folks!
We continue to expand high up here, molding a new campsite named “Nook” along our main road for easy access, while adding vintage wire-spools to serve as tables at every site. Given the increasing number of adventure bikers and regular campers returning so often, we definitely needed another site and places for them to relax, place a cold beverage and/or put their feet up.
More sites and services are in the works, but first we had to address our greatest setback: On December 2, 2019, our Davis wall-tent at our popular Peak site was buried by a serious snowstorm. Heavy wet snow for days did their damage, and the frame of the wall-tent collapsed, sealed beneath several feet of snow then solid ice for months. Anyone who has stayed at Peak can attest to how upsetting this was… Given months of planning, we are now incredibly proud to reveal our refortified Peak site, with the wall-tent bolstered by a serious “exo-skeleton” of solid supports and thick beams. Who knows what Mother Nature and these notorious Catskills have in store, but Peak is now ready for the worst —And at last open for campers to enjoy once more!
Needless to say, our first year in business has been full of lessons, good and bad. To celebrate, we now have t-shirts! Super comfy unisex V-necks with our logo on the back and “Catskills off-grid” on the front, these are now for sale, onsite and online. Grab one and wear us proudly! https://www.dirtroadcamp.com/product-page/dirt-road-camp-v-neck-t-shirt
Summer has only started, our 2nd year in business fully underway, and we couldn’t be more focused and ready. What’s next, who knows? Just know that we’re here to greet you, with a handshake or none, smiles hidden behind masks, and a full mountain to explore and enjoy!