Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tent? Check. Sleeping Bag? Check. Coffee? Check. Marshmallows, Chocolate Grahams & Chocolate? Check.

Last weekend, we went camping and by "we", I mean Bob, me and Sam. My parents came too and we were near some folks from church. Needless to say, I was a tad nervous about taking Sam camping. I mean seriously, he puts everything in his mouth, he can move pretty quickly tends to wander off and there are just lots of opportunities for a nearly-one-year-old to get hurt, i.e. fire, rocks, yellow jackets, snakes (gasp!), marshmallow toasting sticks... You get the idea.

Well we're back and there were no catastrophes. In fact, we all had a great time. Sam loved the freedom of being able to roam and explore new turf. He stayed fairly close to our campsite and we really only had to restrain him once, while we were packing up. But that was for our own convenience.

There's something refreshing about camping. And it's not the fact that you're surrounded by a bunch of people who may or may not have showered in the last couples days. I think it's the community aspect of it. Nobody thinks it's weird if you just stroll over to their campsite to visit. There is an open invitation. Everyone shares food like they were planning on it. For that matter, people will share just about anything. You're out of fire wood? Check with your camping neighbor...they may be headed out and leaving some unused. Forget your graham crackers? No doubt someone has a whole box they're just dying to share with you.

I love camping because I grew up doing it. Honestly, my family was able to travel a whole lot more because we camped. (My #1, most favorite camping trip was the 2 weeks we spent in Alaska!) A trip becomes a lot cheaper if you're paying $10-$20 a night instead of $100-$200.

Here are a few important things I've learned over the years:

It is much more comfortable to camp while it's cold than while it's hot.

If you are lucky enough to camp while it's cold, wear a hat to sleep but still expect to have a cold nose. Sleeping bundled up and still being a little cold is part of the deal.

You can see a gazillion stars when you're out in the woods away from the city lights. This is a great reminder of how small we are in the big scheme.

It's pretty smart to keep a flashlight and a pair of shoes at the tent door, oh, and some toilet paper.

Always keep your tent door zipped shut.

If your tent isn't waterproofed, waterproof it!

Every meal tastes better when you're camping.

Are any of you campers? Any bits of wisdom you'd care to add?


Camille said...

My family camped a lot growing up too and I have some wonderful memories of those trips. Breakfast, hands down, was the best time of the day - everything is all dewy, the sun is coming up, and my dad would be making scrambled eggs and sausage on the camp stove. Once he even fried homemade doughnuts using a dutch oven - omg so good!

Looks like y'all had a wonderful, perfectly fall trip!!

(and I'm way jealous of the chocolate graham idea - why haven't I ever thought of that??)

Where in the World are the Powells said...

I have to agree...we camped a lot when I was young...guess having a dad that is the boy scout master has its only suggestions is to not forget the essentials-once my brother forgot his sleeping somehow I got to be voted the one to share mine...which in turn meant he stole mine and I slept on the ground (it was late November).

Make sure you're ready to sing, be still and listen, and just may be dirty afterwards but it is so worth it!

Alicia said...

I'm amazed and inspired! One question. Where did Sam sleep...sleeping bag, pack n play...?? Shiloh usually does not sleep well when not at home in her crib. For that reason the thought of camping with her at this age is very intimidating! However after viewing your pictures I kind of want to take her camping right now!
It looks like you all had a great time!

Greta said...

Camille - camping breakfast DOES rock! (and homemade doughnuts??? deee-licious!)
My mom introduced us to the chocolate graham. I'm with you, why didn't I ever think of it? They are great! Way better than regular.

Grace - big bummer about having to sleep on the ground. Where's the chivalry?!

Alicia - don't be too impressed. Sam did NOT want to go to sleep at night. We put him in his pack 'n' play annnnd he hated it. I basically held him until he went to sleep (which I NEVER NEVER do). However, when your kid is cold, alone in a tent outside and everyone around you can hear him screaming his head tend to bend the rules ;). He woke up during the night too (which is also odd) but again, it was "chilly", so I just put him in my sleeping bag (I didn't get so much sleep after that - it was great). I would totally go again though!

Shannon said...

okay I'm proud of you for getting your post up. I have my pictures on my computer but need to upload them. It was great getting to spend some time with you guys. Def need to do again. My girls loved it and that is what I grew up doing too :). I have some pics for you too. I'll email them to you