Trip to Rapidan Camps

In October, Jennie, our dog Hope, and I went to my favorite place on Earth – Rapidan Camps. The Rapidan Camps are located on the Rapidan River in land adjacent to Shenandoah National Park in Syria, Virginia.

The Rapidan River, which is a pristine cold-water mountain stream tumbling over large rocks, flows adjacent to the site, which is 100 miles from Washington, D.C., or 4 miles from Big Meadows along Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail.

The 4 original cabins were constructed in 1931 by the U.S. Marine Corps on private land as an extension to Camp Hoover (the predecessor of Camp David) which is one mile up river. When the land was not purchased by the federal government, it was purchased by a cooperative located in Maryland.Rapidan Camps is a cooperative camp, consisting of approximately 100 members from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. It is owned, operated, & maintained by the co-op members.

The last 30 minutes of the trip up the mountain are very treacherous; there are large rocks, ditches, and bumps. Though I have taken cars up to Rapidan, we rented an SUV because it just makes things easier. Good thing, too, because the road is much worse now than it was the last time I was there in 2011. The way up the mountain was nerve-wracking for Jennie. The way down the mountain was much better for her because I went much more slowly than I did on the way up.

The camp consists of 5 cabins; 4 sleeping/living space cabins and one community cabin (Cabin 2) which can be used by anyone staying in the other cabins. Cabins 2 – 5 are a bit rustic.

Cabin 2

Cabin 2 Common Area

Cabin 2 Eating/Game-Playing Area

Cabin 2 Kitchen

The original Cabin 5 was burned down by vandals in 1991 and was rebuilt (larger than its predecessor) in 1992. The original Cabin 1 was destroyed in a summer 2005 fire of unknown cause. The co-op hired a contractor to complete the foundation and framing, & the membership completed the cabin in 2007.
Cabin 3

Cabin 4

Cabin 5

Cabin 1 is newer and much nicer, and that is where we stayed.
Cabin 1
Deck of Cabin 1
Off Deck of Cabin 1

Off Side of Cabin 1 Deck

We had a wonderful time. We had the door open, so we could hear the river clearly as we hung out in the common area of the cabin, which has a fireplace. If I was awake, there was a fire going. I was a girl scout, and not surprisingly, love starting, and attending to, fires.
Fireplace, Cabin 1

Common Area, Cabin 1

Dining Area, Cabin 1

Hope on the Deck of Cabin 1

We cooked, roasted marshmallows, and ate more s’mores than two people should ever eat in one weekend. Jennie had some visitors in her room; she slept with a variety of stink bugs on her bed every night that were dropping from the ceiling! I was oblivious to this, of course. I didn’t have that problem in my room. I am very proud of Jennie for how she handled her first “roughing it” experience. The “city girl” even enjoyed herself!
Jennie in the Uni-bomber sweatshirt I got for her at the Culpeper Walmart. I had to go back down the mountain to get her warmer clothes – the poor dear didn’t pack warm enough clothes!
Chair on the deck of Cabin 1

Some more photos are below. If you are interested in staying at Rapidan Camps, you can make reservations and read more about the Camps here.
Hope Enjoying the Mountain
Fire Pit, Cabin 1
Common Area, Cabin 1

Common Area, Cabin 1

Common Area, Cabin 1

Cabin 1 Kitchen

Cabin 1 Master Bedroom

Cabin 1 Master Bedroom

Master Bath

Master Bath

Master Bath

Bedroom 2, Cabin 1

Bedroom 2, Cabin 1

Bedroom 2 Bath, Cabin 1

Bedroom 2 Bath, Cabin 1

(I took a video of the entire camp, but WordPress wouldn’t allow me to insert it because of the file size.)

 

My Bipolar Disorder

Some of you reading this know that I have Bipolar Disorder II. I was first diagnosed in 2004, when I had a hypomanic (a mild form of mania, marked by elation and hyperactivity) episode that caused me to stay up all night, clean obsessively, watch t.v.s in two different rooms, and spend money recklessly. Once I learned about what hypomania was, I realized that I had been experiencing it for many years. I used to have hypomanic episodes often when I traveled. I thought that my lack of sleep, hyperactivity, and high energy level was because I was staying in an unfamiliar place and was revved up because I had to speak in front of a group.

My illness has progressed over the years, and I am not the person I used to be. I have limitations today that I did not have in the past. I left my career of 14 years in 2007 and have been receiving disability ever since because I am unable to work. It has been hard to accept that things I used to do without thinking I now have difficulty with. I often have trouble being in crowds, so I don’t go to concerts, etc. very often. I am happy overall, and I have learned how to work with my limitations and recognize that I am not my illnessI have an illness. My medication needs tweaking a few times a year, and during the phase where my current medication is not working I go through a period of depression. But I have learned to view it objectively, telling myself it is just chemical, and remind myself that “this too shall pass”. I don’t allow my distorted thoughts to win out – I challenge them with facts.

I read an excellent article in the New York Times called “The Problem With How We Treat Bipolar Disorder“. It is very well-written and interesting and I could relate to a lot of it. Though my condition isn’t as severe as hers (I’m not delusional, I don’t hallucinate, etc.) I could really relate to the parts regarding grieving for our old self.