Well, I know it isn’t exactly a transportation post, but, it is about family and camping, which requires a vehicle to get there, Namely, my truck. So, there, I made this a transportation article.
On Friday, April 28, 2017, I took my three boys on our first camping trip of the year. This is something my family does every year, throughout the spring, summer and fall. We don’t take a camper or pop-up, we don’t rent a cabin, we pitch a tent.
Now, this particular event was for Friday evening through Sunday morning and included the men from our church and their sons. There was 8 men and 8 kids, ranging from 3 to 17.
We all pitched a tent, in total, we had 3 sites with 5 tents pitched. We chose the middle site for the fire and the cooking area, which consisted of 2 EZ Ups, a picnic table and 2 folding plastic tables. We were pretty spread out, but, all of our social stuff was in 1 location.
Friday night was no more than set-up, prep and dinner. (Hot dogs over the fire) All of the tents went up prior to darkness setting in and the firewood was retrieved, (They require that campers get their wood from the park, not allowed to bring in outside wood.) The kids enjoyed roasting marshmallows and making S’Mores while the guys sat and relaxed.
Friday night, after we were in bed, sleeping, a storm rolled in. The lightning was bright and the thunder was loud. You could hear the wind in the top of the trees and you could sense there was rain coming, but, it really never hit. (A couple of small showers was about it.) However, my youngest boys are easily startled by storms. My youngest usually cannot calm down during a thunderstorm, but, by God’s grace, he slept right through this one, however, my middle son could not.
I woke up to the sound of thunder, seemingly right next to our tent, and I rolled over to find my son standing over me. This would not have been as bad, except that a lightning bolt went through the air, right behind him, lighting his silhouette up at the same time. I flashed back to every horror movie you can imagine where the main characters are camping, or in a storm. I almost screamed, then I realized who it was. I finally convinced him to move his sleeping bag to my side of the tent and go back to sleep.
The next day was pretty relaxing. We got up and had breakfast, which was a feast. Understand, we had several instruments with which to cook and plenty of tables. Also, with it being under the canopies, it was easy to just gather there and pitch in.
One of the guys had a single serve water heater, run on Butane. It was amazing. I can’t tell you how much it saved us. All of us drink coffee, or tea, in the morning, so, when we found that we didn’t bring a pot for hot water, or a coffee pot to boil water over the fire, we thought we would have to deal with headaches and angry old men, then we saw his heater. He used it more on Saturday morning than he had ever used it before. You can get one here, I highly recommend it. They are quick and work wonders. I was amazed at how easily it stored, as well.
After we cleaned up from breakfast, we decided to go fishing. Yep, many of us, including me, decided on Friday to pick up our Maryland fishing license so we could fish with the kids. It was fun, we caught several catfish and at least one small rockfish. We chose not to keep them, because, quite honestly, there were too many of us for the small amount we had. However, the kids had a great time, (Well, so did the adults!) and when we finally went back, several hours later, everyone had just about been fished out.
The rest of the day was filled with walks along the trails and a game of four square that lasted for several hours as people went in and out of the game. We even managed to get other campers involved and those who traveled by the game would watch and enjoy.
Finally, the evening meal came and we had tacos, (over Frito’s!) and some other small things and the fire was started. By this time, I can tell you, we were all tired, but, everyone just kept staying out and enjoying. The fire finally went to embers and we found sleep. (However, I really wish I would have set up our air mattresses, I may have actually slept!)
Sunday morning was early, as we all had to break camp, clean up and head to church. (The Pastor was with us, so, he had to get cleaned up for the sermon.) Clean-up took a couple of hours, as you can imagine, but, we were not going to leave a mess. We got it all packed and the place looked a bit better than when we had gotten there.
All-in-all, I think it was a successful camping trip. My tent, which is getting old, didn’t leak, but, the boys hadn’t done the best job getting the floor dry before we went to bed the first night. We had a little water left from when I had put it up in our yard to “dry-out” and it got wet. Since I packed it back up about an hour before we left to go camping, I had the boys go in and dry the floor. They got most of it.
Basically, all of our stuff is in good shape, still and we will be camping more often. I do think we may be looking for a new tent for next year, though.