Some of you may remember that I have NEVER gone camping. Not even in the back yard with hubby and the kids.
We were invited to go on a camping trip over Memorial Day weekend with a group. I said yes right away and figured that I would worry about the rest later. I want my kids to get as many fun experiences as possible and I don’t want to stand in the way of them building great childhood memories.
I knew my husband had been camping and would be able to guide me through what I needed to do to survive. One of my closest friends had been on this trip the past 2 years and I knew she would hold my hand as well.
Between her and my husband, I had a few shopping lists to go from and a good idea of what supplies to gather.
The kids got home from school just before 1:00 on Friday (early dismissal). Hubby took a half day off from work and was home before the kids and I was well on my way to ready. By 2:30/3:00 we were all loaded up and pulling out of the neighborhood.
I was a little nervous about the whole event…
Things I worried about…
Too many icky bugs
Meeting so many new people at once (overwhelming)
Being the new girl who doesn’t know what she’s doing
Being a downer for others
Not having enough to do (I need to ALWAYS be busy)
Less than 2 hours after leaving our house, we were pulling into our campgrounds.
The group had reserved three group sites. The first two sites were side by side and made a big open area. This is where the majority of the families were and the “kitchen” was set up. The organizer of the group did the shopping, meal planning and most of the cooking for breakfast and dinner. Each person (family) was on their own for lunch.
I know this is not typical for most people when they go camping. It was part of what made this trip a good first camping experience for me.
About 30 feet of woods and then there was the third camp site. A smaller site with room for about 4 tents. Here is where we were along with two other families. One of which we are very close friends with and the other family lives in our neighborhood. We have met them a few times so this all helped ease me into the experience.
The kids were off and running, Mama still a little nervous.
We walked over to the main site and started mingling. We enjoyed dinner and I started to relax.
The first few hurdles to over come…
1. Setting up systems or routines for the kids (and me). Getting them to understand taking shoes off outside of the tent, no dirt into the tent, and how to open the tent-get in–and close the door to keep bugs out.
2. Not having the comforts of home. The camp facilities were quite a distance away. Not something you want to have to travel to in the dark and not a trip you could make urgently. (I’ll spare you the details but some things don’t function well when traveling. This can make a person cranky.) Thankfully hubby didn’t listen to me when I protested the idea of a portable potty for inside the tent. I thought the idea was gross but it proved to be a godsend.
Our first night was upon us. I got the kids ready for and tucked into bed. I lay down still unable to be far from them, I was not comfortable with going back to the main site for socializing. Hubby went to sit by the fire and chat.
After dozing off I was awakened by my middle child. All three kids had been struggling with a stomach virus the week prior to the trip and this was her night. Again I’ll spare you the details but lets say there was some serious clean up needed.
A familiar family whistle and I managed to get hubby’s attention from the next camp site over. He grabbed a flashlight and came to our rescue. The running inside the tent with his shoes on threw me off for a second. Then I had to realize that going home that instant was not the best plan. Ok, regroup. Clean up, find some new blankets, get my girl into clean PJs and get my yellow haired butterfly settled back into bed.
We all made it through the night and she slept well into the next morning. Our friends also had a mini “kitchen” set up in our small camp site so we woke to coffee and a quiet small group of people we knew.
We had breakfast at the main camp site where I repeatedly reassuring those folks that I was ok and not plotting my escape.
My little goldie locks seemed to be bouncing back rather quickly so we continued with the plan fort the day. Rafting down a nearby river.
We survived a 2 hour adventure and came back to swim at the camp ground pool. Night two was far less eventful (whew!!!). The next day we showered the kids, had a very nice church service and then got ourselves bathed while our friends watched the kids. Then we all headed out for a trip to Laurel Caverns.
On the way back to the campgrounds, we stopped at a local winery. We did some tasting and then purchased several bottles. (Woo Hoo) One we grabbed was chilled so we could enjoy it once we got back to the camp.
Another peaceful evening and night.
Things I could have done without…
Stomach virus (but it was manageable)
Bathroom facilities not like home (nothing you can do about that when camping…I lived)
Bugs (I looked like I was performing an African tribal dance at time in an effort to get them off me!) (Again, I lived)
Things that made it great…
Someone doing the meal planning and cooking
Hubby helping me enjoy the trip
A great friend at my side
Fun activities to do during the day
Coffee in the morning and wine all day ;-)
All said and done… It was a fun trip and my kids made some wonderful memories!!! They had a blast and I can’t ever ask for more than that!!!