Monday, July 14, 2008
a little camping trip
We returned yesterday, late in the afternoon, from our first-ever family camping trip.
I must concede that camping is a bit nutty ... we trade our comfortable, clean home & all its conveniences ... for a dirty, cramped tent (where you usually don't sleep very well) & increased difficulty in accomplishing some of the simplest tasks ... like washing your face or prepping vegetables for supper. You enter your abode through a rather tight, zippered opening ... then leave your shoes outside or at the edge of the tent to hopefully prevent the sand from gettting all over ... and finally, you skillfully maneuver towards your sleeping sack. (By the way, my sleeping spot was nothing like my sleep number bed. The king-sized air mattress my husband picked up at Menard's didn't work too well for us. I always felt like I was about to roll down a hill ... and my husband's side had a leak so he'd wake up a couple times a night and blow it up some.)
Furthermore, camping is a lot of work. It's a lot of work to get all packed up and get to the park, it's work to set up your camp, it's work to take down your camp and pack up again, and it's work when you get back home too. There are items to air out, things to hose off, and big bags brimming with dirty laundry. As I grab items from the laundry bags in the mud room and carry them to the washer ... the floor gets speckled with grass, sand, leaves, even a couple of bugs. The kids' shoes really need to be washed as well ... and as for their socks ~ I brought fairly old ones ~ they're ready for the trash. Everything is damp and dirty.
The centerpiece of this camping weekend was supposed to be the fantastic beach at this state park ~ but the weather made that impossible. We went to the beach the first afternoon ... and it was downright chilly! The kids jumped in and were ready to call it quits in under a minute. The second afternoon, when we tried the beach again ... it was incredibly windy. When I set up my folding chair, it immediately toppled over. Sand was flying nonstop. Conversation was nearly shouted. Thus, the swimming was ever so brief again ... and we hastily retreated to a calmer spot on the side of the building that houses the restrooms and dressing rooms. We had a lovely afternoon anyway ... snacking and visiting and watching our kids run around.
The weather report ~ it rained a whopping five times during our sixty-six hours there. It rained the first night shortly after we got all tucked in ... it rained and thundered heavily the first morning (my husband and our friend Mark were working to erect a canopy over our table area during this ... Foofie & I were in the tent waiting for clothing for over an hour). Later that morning, a gal from our group stopped by to tell us that most everyone was headed into town to eat lunch at Pizza Hut and see the new Disney movie ~ she invited us along. I replied with a smile, "Ummm ... our family is camping." The rain did let up that afternoon ... but it was very gray and overcast ... like a damp, dreary, fallish day. That evening, the rain returned with vigor. Mark and family came over to make and eat supper in dryness with us ~ and we were all thankful for the canopy as we supped underneath. The second full day was much like the first. Rain in the morning and more rain in the evening ~ later this time though ~ around 7:30, and we happened to be indoors at the Pavilion (a meeting hall at the park). Our last morning there was dry ... but still cloudy and cool.
On Saturday night, there was a program at the Pavilion that many in our group attended and also some campers we did not know. The program was this old, white-bearded, accordian-playing man who sang a couple songs (like the Ladies are Pretty ... the Liquor is Sweet) and told a few stories (one about an old logging camp). It was a bit hard to hear him and difficult to understand most of what he said. The whole event was a bit goofy. The sad thing is that this guy is probably paid to do this with tax dollars. Following this, a few families went to the nearby gas & convenience station for ice cream ~ we'd had our fill of marshmallows the first two nights. The temp was 54 degrees ... so we stood outside the gas station and shivered while we ate ice cream cones.
Although camping is dirty and difficult ~ and the weather can be disappointing ~ there is still something alluring about it ... about working and playing and sleeping right in the midst of God's incredible creation. All in all, we had a good time. We enjoyed much laughter, pleasant conversation, friendly neighbors, and tasty eats ~ such as homemade pancakes, sweet corn on the cob, yummy grilled chicken, and hobo hamburger.
Posted by Dana at 10:13:00 AM