Occoneechee State Park – November 2014

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Occoneechee State Park is a great park in a system of great Virginia State parks. Named for Native Americans who lived in the area for hundreds of years, Occoneechee is on the John H. Kerr Reservoir, better known as Buggs Island Lake, and is popular with anglers and boaters. Facilities include cabins, campsites, an equestrian campground, picnic shelters, an amphitheater, a playground, boat ramps, and a private concession offering boat rentals and snacks. Occoneechee Marina offers a fuel dock and boat slips with water and electric service for annual rentals. Six slips are available for rent to overnight camping and cabin guests. The park also has 20 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The visitor center and museum introduce visitors to Native American history and the indigenous Occoneechee people.

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Providing 24-hour access Virginia’s largest lake, three boat ramps open the door to 48,000 acres of fishing, boating and aquatic recreation. Forty-eight campsites are available for tent and RV campers. Some sites are right on the shoreline, providing easy fishing and boating access. The park also has 13 cabins that allow guests to enjoy the comforts of home as well as beautiful views of the lake. An equestrian campground with 11 sites and 11 covered horse stalls offers easy access to the park’s trail system. Occoneechee also has picnic areas near the lake, a playground, boat rentals and a lakefront amphitheater.

This was my first adventure out on the mule, so I packed everything up.

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IMG_0035As you can see, I had a pretty hefty load.  The camp chair is a standard camp chair you find at Walmart (ie. heavy as hell) and before I purchased the Helinox.

IMG_0208The camping was wonderful as I was right on the lake’s edge looking west.  Most of the campground sections were closed, but the section I was in was full.

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I was crisp outside, ranging from a high of 45 to the high 20s at night.  The campfire wood is provided by the park (for a fee – about $4/bundle) and I think it was soaked in flame retardant because it was hard as hell to burn.  There was plenty of driftwood for the taking, which at least allowed the fire to burn.

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As I was just getting into camping again, I was trying out some other new gear (which I will review later).  The  Etek City Stove is tiny (about 4 cubic inches when folded up), but works perfectly.  As you can see it uses Power Gas cartridges, which provide a base for the stove.  The UCO Candle Lantern burns for hours and provides just enough light to see your way.  I would hang this lantern in my tent as I was preparing to sack out.

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