The autumn season officially begins 10:29 p.m. EDT Monday. For Mike Aiken, Regional Manager of the Cobb County Public Library System’s Mountain View Region, the new season means it’s time to gear up for outdoor adventures as leaves turn colorful and the air cools.

Mountainscape Black_Rock_Mountain
Mountainscape before the change of seasons, Black Rock Mountain State Park (Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites)

I like camping, any time of year. But the fall is the best. It’s great to be outdoors, sharing food and campfire memories with your best buddies, the smell of wood smoke, the courtly conversation, quietly contemplating the stars as the night sky spins overhead.

Ah, the joys of camping! But then there’s the preparation, and the planning, the discussions with the chief campsite coordinator, buying food for twelve, transportation to the chosen campsite, invitations, etcetera, etcetera. It’s a bear of a burden.

Where to start? Well, choosing a campsite naturally comes first. Cobb libraries have excellent resources in this regard. Consider Johnny Molloy’s The Best in Tent Camping in Georgia, available either as a paperback or online electronic edition, to get excellent and proven recommendations of some of the finer locations across the state. Another choice might be Beach and Coastal Camping in the Southeast or even The Best in Tent Camping in Colorado by the same author. If this doesn’t suffice, check out one of the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites ParkPass  kits from the library, which not only contains an informational brochure and map of all the state parks, but also includes a money-saving parking pass for your trip.

OK, you’ve chosen your destination, now, what will you eat? A properly planned camping menu takes advantage of your outdoor kitchen capabilities, considers the sometimes finicky tastes of your co-campers, and how long you’ll be out in the wilds. The library has countless cookbooks with mouth watering recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, many adaptable to camping. Want to try cooking like a pioneer? Maybe it’s time to try cooking with a Dutch oven: check out Dutch Oven Cooking  by John G. Ragsdale. Bringing the kids along for their first camping trip? Look for Camping and Survival by Jeremy Evans, or The Kids Campfire Book by Jane Drake and Ann Love, both in the children’s department.

You’ve made your menu, bought your foodstuffs, set the date, sent out invitations by email, what’s next? You need to have a tent, sleeping equipment, personal essentials, a “home away from home.” Back to the book stacks we go: Camping:Have fun, Be Smart by Jacqueline Ching or Camping Made Easy by Michael Rutter fill the bill. Maybe slip over to the magazine racks and look at a recent issue of “Backpacker” or “Outside” to see what the latest, hippest trends are in camping and backpacking. The two magazines are also now in the Cobb Libraries’ Zinio digital magazines collection of the E-Library.

Ready at last, you and your friends gather for three days of peace, music and fun in the Great Outdoors. See it wasn’t so bad, and your doctor says the poison ivy and bug bites will go away within a week or two. Congratulations! You’re a camper!

— Mike Aiken

September is Library Card Sign-up Month. Get a Cobb County Public Library System library card for your backpack! With the Cobb library card, you get to check out up to 50 books and free access to Digital Downloads: eBooks, eAudiobooks, complete digital magazines and more and the E-Library: Databases, Research Tools, and other resources. To learn more about what your Cobb libraries offer, visit www.cobbcat.org or any of the 16 Cobb library locations.

‘Fall is the Best…It’s Great to be Outdoors’
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