Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Last weekend was Bryon's 41st birthday and our first tent camping experience as a family. Bryon had been a few times since Grace was born but this was the first time in about 5 1/2 years for me to sleep in a tent.
Bryon and I have spent countless nights camping in tents in the nearly 19 years we've been married, but when we finally bought a 30 ft. pull trailer and slept in a real bed with real air conditioning, I have to say that was pretty sweet.
Of course the thing WAS 30 ft long, low to the ground and we got about six miles to the gallon pulling it so it cost us at least $100 in gas if we went to Bennett Springs, Pomme de Terre or Taneycomo, so this year we decided to sell it.
We had gotten a GREAT deal on it and ended up selling it for $250 more than we paid for it four years ago. You can't beat that. We decided to save the money from it for my trip to Italy next summer and Bryon's trip hunting...somewhere...when he decides where.
So the next problem is what now? We thought we might just rent cabins for the few times a year we actually GO camping now, but a cabin at Bennett was $119 a night. What? That didn't really make much sense to us to spend that much money to sleep a half hour from our home so that left tent camping. The only problem was that the only tents we own are backpacking tents. One sleeps two, the other is a bivvy that sleeps ONE. Bryon thought we could make due with the Walrus and our queen size air mattress until Grace climbed in bed with us one Saturday morning at 6 am and he headed for the couch. No room.
We got a great deal on a Coleman tent from some Boy Scouts who had gotten them from FEMA somehow and tada ... $30 family tent. It's 10x14 so it's like a nylon bedroom in the woods.
Grace was so excited to go camping she could not hardly wait and asked every day if THIS was the day. She told everyone she saw that we were camping for THREE NIGHTS. She did great and could have stayed longer. She already wants to go again.
Tent problem solved but the next problem was what to take, what not to take and where to draw that line. It turns out it takes a lot of stuff to be a Medley in the woods. We packed and repacked, stuffed and poked and stored until we had a truck bed full. Actually MORE than a truck bed full and I was afraid we'd have to take two vehicles which of course would have totally defeated the purpose of paring down and getting better gas mileage.
Here's what we ended up with...
It was a LOT of stuff, but it ended up being a nice camp which was pretty sweet. Ours is the blue one in the back on the left in the picture at the top of the page.
Grace fell off her bike first thing and scraped her knee the tiniest bit. Then Grandpa fell off my bike and scraped his some more. Here they are comparing camping injuries.
Being the fabulous mother that I am, Grace and I even signed up to become Junior Naturalists and went to two programs at the Nature Center at Bennett Springs. The Friday program was on bears. Saturday I saw there was one on snakes. I do NOT like snakes. At all. I thought about just not saying anything to her because of course she can't read so she'd never even have known, but as Junior Naturalists we have to attend four programs. We went to the snake program. Nana went too (she came down for the afternoon). Grace had more fun making fun of and teasing me because she KNOWS how much I hate snakes.
There are several other things we have to do to earn our badge such as 3 hours of service for the parks (ie pick up trash etc), help a Naturalist (ie pass out flyers or clean up after a program), learn to identify 5 things (two birds, 3 plants or trees) and show them to a Naturalist. We can do it! You can complete the program as many times as you want and after you earn your first official badge then you get a gold star patch for each additional time you complete the program. One lady started when she was sixty and had completed the program 63 times already. I'd say she's a Senior Naturalist by now.
Our friends the Huggler camped with us and we all really had a good time.
It was the perfect weather weekend for camping and despite the fact it was free fishing weekend (Yikes!) and packed to the gills. I just popped in my ear plugs and slept pretty good all night.
I might have a different opinion in July or August but it was a pretty swell weekend all and all.
Get your camp on.