Katie S.
Huntsville , AL
Joined April 2019
Kayaker, dog mom, vegan camp chef
Ranger Review: Grub Stick Deluxe Kit at Fall Creek Falls State Park

Campground Review: Fall Creek Falls State Park is located in Spencer, TN. This is one of the best state parks I’ve been to- gorgeous waterfalls, miles of hiking trails, a great lake for kayaking, and multiple swimming holes are just a few of the offerings. We stayed in the B section, sites B50 and B51. Each site can accommodate at least 2 tents and 1 RV. Sites come equipped with electric hookups, fire rings, and water. The campsites are full of trees perfect for attaching hammocks and enjoying the shade. There are bathhouses with showers and toilets(some of the cleanest I’ve ever seen at a campground) located throughout each campground area, so all of the sites are close to a bathroom. The camp check-in office sells ice and firewood, but unfortunately the firewood they sold us was wet and we had a hard time getting a fire going. That was really the only negative experience we had- everything else was wonderful. There are far too many activities to try in one weekend, so we chose to hike the trail down to the base of Fall Creek Falls(the main waterfall). This hike was a little more intense than I was expecting, but it was beautiful- I’ve included pictures with the review. Warning- it’s very slippery, especially while being pulled by a very excited puppy! We also went to George Hole, a fantastic swimming hole right by the camping area. The water was pretty cold while we were there, but if you visit later in the summer I’m sure it would be perfect. Other highlights of our trip were kayaking at the lake, where you can rent canoes or kayaks or use your own($5 fee), and the awesome but scary swing bridge behind the nature center. I absolutely recommend visiting and camping at Fall Creek Falls State Park! 

Gear Review: Grub Stick Deluxe Kit 

As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I sometimes get gear to review on my camping trips. For this trip, I reviewed the Grub Stick Deluxe Kit. The kit comes with 2 Handles, 2 Forks, 1 Grubcage, 1 Burgcage, 1 Grubtube, 1 Grubpocket, Silicone Trivet, Release Tool, Bacon Clip, Grabber, and a really nice bag. I like that the kit comes with 2 handles, as it allows both my husband and I to cook at the same time. We cooked several meals- hot dogs on the forks, bell peppers in the grubcage, pinapple rings in the burgcage, marshmallows on the forks, s’mores in the grubcage, crescent roll dough on both the grubpocket and the grubtube (which we filled with pie filling), and our favorite, barbecue tempeh in the burgcage. For those unfamiliar, tempeh is a fermented soybean patty that you can marinate and cook using countless methods. I steamed the tempeh for 10 minutes at home before our trip, and put it in a ziplock bag with barbecue sauce(homemade or store bought- whichever you prefer). We then cooked it over the fire using the burgcage for about 5 minutes on each side and it was absolutely delicious! Our other favorites were the pineapple rings and the bell peppers. Cooking the whole s’more, which Grub Stick has demonstrated on their Instagram, didn’t work out so well- the cracker burned, the chocolate melted everywhere, and the marshmallow didn’t roast. I recommend using the fork attachment to roast marshmallows the old fashion way. The only negative experience we had was with the burgcage- after a few uses the clasp where the cage closes became too loose, and we sadly lost a pineapple ring. I tried to squeeze it tight again with the gripper, but I think it will require pliers. We love our Grub Stick and definitely recommend it. It’s super lightweight and portable. I look forward to using it on future campouts!

Ranger Review: GCI Outdoor Pod Rocker with SunShade camp chair at Tomahawk Primitive Campground

Campground Review: 

Tomahawk Primitive Campground is located near Cullman, AL right off of Highway 278. The campground is primitive, and has no electricity or water pumps or hookups at the individual sites, but there is a common room area attached to the back of the owner’s house that has a clean bathroom, a coffee maker, and electricity. There are 3 campsites with fire rings as well as a large, open field at the main campground area, and additional sites by the creek, about a 10 minute walk from the main area. The trail to the creek-side sites was partially cleared, but there were a few fallen trees blocking the path that could make it difficult to carry gear to those sites. My husband, puppy and I stayed at one of the tent sites in the main campground area. If you are staying in a tent, I highly recommend air mattresses for this camp. While the ground has been somewhat cleared, there are still large stocks sticking one or 2 inches out of the ground that would make sleeping without an air mattress very uncomfortable. However, the bigger issue making sleep difficult for us was the road noise from the highway, which stayed busy throughout the night. I assume that if you are in a camper you won’t notice it as much, but in a tent it made us feel like we were camping on the side of the highway and not at a camp. Another problem that we ran into, unfortunately after we set up camp, is that our site had a ton of fire ants. I’m not sure if this is a problem at all of the tent sites or if it was just ours, but I advise caution when choosing your site and where you set up your tent. Our favorite part of this campground was the creek. It was beautiful and clear, perfect for our dog to play in, and had good locations to set up a hammock and enjoy the peaceful creek sounds. If we were to stay at this camp again, we would bring gear that could be hauled to the creek-side campsites. 

Gear Review: GCI Outdoor Pod Rocker with Sunshade 

As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I sometimes get gear to review on my camping trips. For this trip I got the GCI Pod Rocker with Sunshade camp chair. I LOVE this chair, and so did my husband and dog. The chair comes in a durable carrying case, which is great because I’ve had many camp chair bags fall apart after just a few uses. The chair was a little confusing to set up/take down at first, until I realized that easy-to-follow instructions are attached to the bag. The chair is larger than most camp chairs and provides more support. The sunshade is adjustable and can be moved in several positions as well as completely collapsed. The only complaint that we had about the Pod Rocker is that the included cup holder is a pouch that doesn’t seem like it would actually prevent your drink from spilling. For me, the benefit of having a camp rocking chair far outweighs this one detractor. This chair was wonderful for camping but would also be perfect for outdoor sporting events and concerts. I highly recommend the GCI Pod Rocker with Sunshade! Here is the link for the GCI Pod Rocker with SunShade:  https://www.gcioutdoor.com/rockers/pod-rocker-with-sunshade/

Camp and raft

Rafting on the Lehigh with whitewater challengers was amazing. The campground is definitely great for Girl Scout or school groups, but if you are looking for a peaceful campground look elsewhere. There was a movie shown at night, as well as music played late Into the night.

Beautiful campground and great town

One of the best places we have stayed. The campground was spacious and while it was likely full, it still felt secluded. Beautiful lake beach and canoe and kayak rentals. There’s much to explore in the town Jim Thorpe and beautiful hiking close by.

Dog friendly campground

We stayed here because it was the only dog friendly campground in the area. We would have loved to see the wolf preserve at the camp, but dogs weren’t allowed in that part of the camp so we missed it. Campground is close to the AT.

Great secluded location

This campground had easy access to excellent hiking trails. Woodstock, NY was about 30 min away and we enjoyed exploring the area on our non-hiking day. Very dog friendly.

Gorgeous wilderness, no amenities

This campground has very few sites and they don’t allow pre-bookings. It’s very rustic - there is a bathroom with toilets but no showers. The campground is walking distance to Joyce Kilmer memorial forest and a boat launch on lake Santeetlah. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever camped.

Great camping experience

Standing Stone is a great place to camp. The park has spacious campsites, a beautiful lake, and lots of great hiking trails. I would definitely go back.

Gorgeous Views

Monte Sano has great, easy hiking trails with beautiful views of the Tan valley. The Japanese garden is not to be missed.

Beautiful but crowded

Joe Wheeler campground is beautiful but when we went in early June it was packed with RVs, and most of the campsites around us had multiple vehicles/people at each site. The day use lake beach is wonderful. There were several places to launch a kayak, and the views on the river are hard to beat in the area. I don’t think I’ll camp there again, but I would definitely kayak or go to the lake beach on a day trip.