02 June 2010
Adventures in Camping: Part 3
Part 3, you say?? What about Parts 1 and 2?? Well, since you asked...
Part 1 took place in 2002 at Devil's Den State Park in Arkansas. It was our 5th wedding anniversary, pre-kiddos and we were all gung-ho to go camping. We had a cool *camping* vehicle~a 1970 International Scout, a small tent and an air mattress. But there were issues: We couldn't get a fire started to save our lives (Vince had refused to let me bring charcoal~he wanted to build one *from scratch*) and it rained. So we had only part of a meal~the part that didn't have to be cooked~and we were pretty damp by the time we got up and left the next morning. Somehow that didn't dampen our enthusiasm for camp though, we continued to add to our camping gear little by little, knowing that camping was an activity we wanted to do as a family.
Part 2 didn't come until the fall of last year (7 years later!!). We were going to be traveling through Kentucky and decided to camp one night with the kiddos at Mammoth Cave National Park. This time we had a big truck, a big tent and a little more gear. And we also bought a bundle of firewood. But there were issues on this trip, too: we couldn't get our fire to stay going (thus no s'mores), there was a burned finger and it rained. And rained. And rained. For 6 straight hours. I had to keep getting up through the night to drag the kids' beds to a drier spot (notice I said drier, not dry). By the time daybreak came we were all surrounded by puddles. We packed up quickly and headed home. Yet even though our camping trip record was looking wet and unsuccessful, it only made us want to succeed at camping even more.
So now for Part 3: Because we are apparently gluttons for punishment, we decided to take yet another camping trip. I'm telling you, people, we were determined to succeed!
We thought about camping during Memorial Day weekend, but Vince was guest speaking at a church on Sunday morning in our area, so we needed to stay home. Plus there was the whole forecast issue. I had already made up my mind that there was no way we were going if there was some chance of rain anywhere near. So after checking the forecast for three days for three different state parks, downloading an ebook all about camping (Thank you, Molly!)and grabbing some last minute supplies we took off on Monday for Mt. Magazine State Park in Arkansas.
And can I just say... perfect!! We had the best camping experience! There was no rain whatsoever, we were successful in building a fire and keeping it going (Go Vince!), even more successful in cooking over the said fire, there were no injuries, the bathhouse was great, going to sleep while gazing at the stars was amazing...I could go on and on.
We finally know what a good camping trip is like. I knew there was a reason we kept trying to do this. It truly was a great memory-making time for our family. Can't wait to do it again!