Camping at Blydenburgh County Park

Hi, this is Brandon.  I’m 10 years old and this is the first post on 1Quest2theNext that I’m in the Primary Editor of.  I’ve been asking my dad to take me camping and fishing for awhile.  When we lived in North Carolina we used to go to Holly Point to go camping and would get a lot right on Falls Lake.  I caught a catfish there when I was younger (see below):

Caught my 1st fish at Falls Lake in NC years ago

Caught my 1st fish at Falls Lake in NC years ago

We decided to try camping at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown; only a few minutes from our house which is funny!  Blydenburgh is 627 acres total, of which 100 acres are Blydenburgh Lake; also known as New Mill, Weld’s or Stump Pond.  It is known for having really big dog runs for small and large dogs.  You wouldn’t even go more than a short while without seeing a dog.  Fed by the headwaters of the Nissequogue River, it is one of the least developed and most picturesque ponds on Long Island (I got this last sentence from the internet).

Right next to the greek yogurt and eggs in the fridge

Right next to the greek yogurt and eggs in the fridge

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We filled a cooler with ice, milk, hot dogs, drinks and more.  We took our tent, a small charcoal grill, flip flops, hiking boots and regular sneakers, a bunch of clothes, some small battery operated fans, camping knives and tools, a hammer for our tent and lots of water.  We had lots of gear from our trip to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks this summer.  We picked a campsite without too many trees, but there was enough shade and the ground had level spots for our tent.  It had running water and 2 picnic tables.  We setup our tent, put on bug spray, hats, our hiking boots, filled our hydration backpacks and took off for a hike around the lake.

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We hiked the blue trail; there was blue paint blazed on trees along the way.  To continue on that trail there were trees with an extra blue mark pointing in the direction of our trail.  They do this so you don’t get lost.  We saw lots of dogs on the trail; greyhounds, labrador retrievers, rottweilers, terriers and many other kinds.  There were also horses that use the trails so you have to watch where you step 🙂

There was a big mudpile and a thin log running across it but it was loose.  Both me and daddy slipped off the log a few times and got lots of mud on our boots.  It didn’t matter because we have good boots and our feet never got dirty or wet during our camping weekend.  We went off the blue trail for a little while without realizing it and came to the Greenbelt (white) trail and hiked that for awhile.

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When we were at 3.3 miles completed on our hike, we reached an old mill, an old light-pink colored house.

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Then we went up steps towards the Greenbelt Visitor Center, which includes the Weld House, a blacksmith shop and an old kitchen house.  We also met the caretaker of the house and he told us all about the tours that he gives on Saturdays and also around Thanksgiving where the blacksmith lets kids wear goggles and hammer the iron that is burning hot, you can cook things like Apple Turnovers and then eat them and you can take a tour of the visitor center.  It sounded cool and I want to go.  The caretaker was really nice and talked to us about hikes along the Long Island Greenbelt Trail.

Recharging at the Greenbelt visitor center

Recharging at the Greenbelt visitor center

We came back down near the mill and we met a fisherman named Igor who lives in Brooklyn but comes from Russia.  Daddy was talking to him about where he lived in Russia (in Minsk, the capital of the ‘state’ of Belarus) and daddy said his great-grandfather and great-grandmother came from Belarus (city of Babruysk) in Russia too.  Igor liked to take pictures too and told us cool things to take pictures of.  He showed us on the side of the mill house there is an old window with an American flag inside it that was cool.

American flag at the Mill

American flag at the Mill

Igor said he and his wife caught 4 bass fish already and he was wearing a fishing suit so he could go in the lake.  He told us he is going to Montana soon on a road trip and we told him that we just got back from Glacier National Park in Montana.  We told Igor about our website and he promised to keep in touch (the next day Igor wrote to us through the 1Quest2theNext site)!  We finished the hike finally and it was 6.5 miles long!

Our Blue and White (Greenbelt) Trail loop around Blydenburgh Lake

Our Blue and White (Greenbelt) Trail loop around Blydenburgh Lake

My longest hike before this was about 3 miles in Glacier National Park.  Blydenburgh Lake is only about 5+ miles around – daddy ran it last year – but our hike was extra because we did some of the Greenbelt Trail besides the Blue Trail.

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We went camping Saturday, Sunday and Monday and hiked a total of about 12 miles!

We made Ballpark hot dogs for dinner on our little charcoal grill.  They were so delicious.  I had 2 and daddy had 3.  We were going to make Smores but all the chocolate melted really bad so we roasted marshmallows instead and that was fun.  We had sleeping pads and sleeping bags and we had brought a little DVD player.  We watched Percy Jackson but the battery didn’t last so we read a bit.  I read “The Magician’s Nephew” by C.W. Lewis and daddy read “Suttree” by Cormac McCarthy.  Then we went to bed.

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On Sunday we were going to have cereal but when we went for a ride to the fishing shop we stopped and had breakfast at the Candlelight Diner in Commack.  We go there a lot and I got chocolate chip pancakes.  Then we went to a fishing shop in Kings Park and had our lines re-spooled and got some new hooks and nightcrawler worms.  The worms are from Canada.  We went to Blydenburgh Lake and rented a rowboat and took it out for a few hours.

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birds

On our boat trip we saw swans, ducks and a bunch of really cool birds that we have to find out what they are called.

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There was a lot of seaweed or other kinds of weeds in the lake so it was hard to row for a little while until it cleared up.

What kind of bird am I? Send us a comment

What kind of bird am I? Send us a comment

Then we started fishing but we didn’t catch anything.  We went back to the campgrounds and played some basketball on the court and some nerf football.  Then we bought hamburgers and chocolate from the supermarket and then went back to the lake to fish from the shore.  We did better with the nightcrawlers from Terminal Tackle than the worms from Walmart and we caught a Pumpkinseed Sunfish.  It was so awesome!  We were yelling across the lake to another fisherman and talking about our catches.

trail

We ate burgers and had so many Smores at night and then had a football catch in the dark.  Then we went to bed and got a lot more sleep than Saturday night.

On Monday we got up and went fishing at another sandy spot on the side of the lake less than a mile from where we rented our boat the day before.  We practices casting our lines because we wanted to get better.

fishing

We talked to another fisherman and then a lady came with her retriever and we watched him swimming and playing fetch.  The dogs name was ‘Mayes’ or something like it in Spanish.  Then two people on horses with a small dog came into the lake and walked around on their horses.  They were really nice and the dog was so hyper.

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horses

After fishing we went by the dog runs to check out the dogs.  At different times during our camping trip we saw at most 15 dogs in the large dog run and they were all playing nicely with each other.  It is almost more a dog park than a people park!  Then we packed up our stuff at the campsite and went home.

I thought it was a really fun camping trip at Blydenburgh Park and I like the lake and when we went fishing.  The other campers and fishermen were really nice – even though the people camping next to us played Christmas music Sunday night!  If you read this you should go there if you like the outdoors.  Thank you for reading my blog post!

– Brandon, 10, of Smithtown, NY

Notes:

Please make sure your dog is trained to interact with dogs of all sizes and with human beings also!  Please clean up after your dog…

Fishing for pumpkinseed sunfish, large-mouth bass, perch and bluegill is permitted at Stump Pond between sunrise and sunset

Admission and Hours: Sign up for the Green Key Card.  It’s only $24 and your spouse can use it too.  Camping is $15/night.  Boating is a $10 deposit and are available daily from mid-May through Labor Day, 8am-3:30pm.  Check with the park for specific rental fees.

Veteran’s Memorial Highway, Smithtown
Park Office: (631) 854-3713
Camping: (631) 854-3712
Greenbelt Trails Conference Office: (631) 360-0753
Camping Reservations: (631) 244-7275

For high resolution versions of these photos and additional pics of Blydenburgh County Park, please follow this link to the associated photo set on Flickr.  If you would like to use or purchase any of the photos on this site or on Flickr please click ‘Contact Us’ at the top of our site:

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And don’t forget to add comments about what you like at Blydenburgh Park; my dad and I are excited to see if you like this quest!

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