MC and I dream of one day having a pop-up or small trailer but for now we are happy with our tent. This year we even have 2 tents–one for us and one for the kids. We always try to scout out a site that’s near water (preferably a river) and that has hiking trails. Those 2 things will bring hours of entertainment for all of us. And if that isn’t enough, MC invested in a wrist rocket for the kids to practice their target shooting. It’s basically a sling shot that we use to shoot BBs. We save our empty soda cans and use them as targets, and the kids can then indulge in glorious visions of stalking villains and taking them out with a single shot. I wasn’t too sure of this activity at first but it turns out it’s pretty fun. And it makes me a whole lot less nervous than the kids’ other favorite way to pass the time–playing with the mini ax. They don’t actually “play” with it, they just get to use it to chop up firewood while Daddy closely supervises and teaches them proper use, but it still puts me on edge. When they pull out the ax I retreat to the comfort of my tent and escape into my book, praying that I will never have to whip out my “I told you so”.
Our Nintendo DS comes along on the trip but it’s reserved for the drive there and back, and then it’s kept in the van for emergency use only. Otherwise, it’s an electronic-free weekend. The kids bring lots of books, we have cards and games, and we all do some exploring. We have lots of fun just sitting around the campfire talking. That’s the best part in my book–just hanging out and enjoying each other. And the more time we spend around the fire, the longer that smell will cling to our clothes when we get back. I always hate to wash our things after a camping trip because then I will no longer have that smoky campfire smell in my nose.
If you haven’t been camping, you are missing out. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to sleep on the ground and we’re usually limited to Port-a-Pottys for the weekend, but the benefits are so worth the inconvenience. We wake in the morning and the only sound is chirping birds and maybe the sound of a nearby river. No traffic, no alarms, no TV. Without electronics we have to rely on each other and Mother Nature for entertainment. This means hiking, playing in the river, exploring our surroundings, playing cards and games, and talking with each other. Novel concepts indeed. We breakfast on bacon and eggs cooked up on the propane stove or cereal and milk in front of the fire. We dine on hamburgers, hot dogs and soup. But really, dinner is just a stepping stone to get to the real treat–s’mores. No camping trip would be complete without making your own s’mores. I don’t really like marshmallows but even I can’t pass one up. Instead of the usual graham cracker, marshmallow and Hershey combination, we will vary it up a bit. Sometimes we substitute Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for the Hershey’s, or we might use chocolate graham crackers instead of regular ones. Either way we end up with an ooey gooey concoction that is bound to send us into diabetic comas. Or at the very least, leave us with really sticky fingers.
This year, Bubba has stated that he’s no longer interested in being outdoors–he’s more of an “indoorsman”. But we are going to drag him along anyway. It’s really not about the outdoors. It’s about spending one on one time with your family and making memories that will last a lifetime. And that is worth any inconvenience.