This past weekend, my little family took our first camping trip in our very own camper. I spent a better part of the preceding week readying us, the camper and all the stuff you need when you camp...food, bedding, clothing for all types of weather, things to cook with, things to eat on, games to play (indoor & outdoor), books to read, hiking boots, bike helmets, extra batteries, marshmallows, basically one third of the contents of our home. Whew! It took a whole week to get ready and I still forgot some things. Nothing that ruined the experience, but just would have made it a little more enjoyable...like all the ingredients for two of the three dinners, a really good can opener and Tabasco. The Tabasco wasn't specifically for all of us, just my husband. But if I hadn't heard, "This would be really good with just a little Tabasco" during every meal, then my weekend would have been just perfect. It's the little things that make us all happy.
My hubbie did a great job driving the truck and towing the camper. That's a manly thing and I wouldn't be able to do so well, I am sure. The place where we headed is a straight shot west of us, just under two hours away. You might not know this but Western Maryland is very hilly, bordering on mountainous the farther you go. The "hills" have long ascents. And obviously on the other side, very fast descents, especially when you are being chased by, I mean, pulling a 2 1/2 ton camper. I can be a nervous traveller, but usually only for air travel. The meter of my nerves is located in the palms of my hands. By that I mean, my palms sweat. This pretty little feminine quality strikes during landings, take-offs, turbulence, when the plane flies circles over the runway too many times, and while listening to vague, cryptic announcements coming from the cockpit. Just look at my hands to see if you should be nervous too. They glisten with sweat. And I can't control it. But we weren't in a plane. So everything should be grand riding along in the extended cab, right? Right, until I notice the palm sweat. Then I realize we are careening down Sideling Hill with our weekend home barreling down right behind us. No one else seems to mind these circumstances, just my palms. My heart rate is normal. My breathing stable. I was actually singing along with the radio at the very moment when the perspiration gates opened. As I said, I can't control it. Once the road leveled out, the hand-sweating stopped and all was grand again in the extended cab.
On to the camping part of the weekend. We arrive to a heavily wooded, picturesque state park surrounding a beautiful lake. There is a slight fall chill in the air. We set up camp, take a short hike around the lake, explore a bit, have the one dinner I remembered to bring, roast marshmallows over the fire, go to bed listening to crickets and bull frogs. Wonderful. Skip forward to 2:00 a.m. I wake to the sounds of crying and falling rain. Who's that? Oh, my oldest son, disoriented and burning up. Yep...fever. And it's raining. Tylenol gets us all back to sleep. But when we wake, it's still raining...hard and my son still has fever. And they, the rain and the fever, continue all day. We spend the entire day, all four of us, in a space significantly less than 150 livable square feet. And you know what, we had a great time! We played cards and games, read books (aloud and to ourselves), napped, snacked, dosed with Tylenol every four hours, built Legos (okay I didn't do that) and generally had a super relaxing, enjoyable time.
And guess what else? We got to do it all again for much of the next day. Yep...it was still raining the next morning. We did get out and hike again because it wasn't raining quite so hard and the fever was down. By mid afternoon, the sun came out. The sky was that bright brilliant blue that comes just as the last of the rain clouds are blown away. We spent the last few hours of daylight sitting on the lake's beach watching the boys make sand volcanoes, dams, and trenches. Wonderful, again.
We all agreed that our first camping trip was a success. The conditions were far from ideal. One of us was sick. The meals weren't the sumptuous, fire-kissed morsels I planned. The weather was cold and wet. But we all loved it and can't wait to go again!