Typically, a group of about 10 of us go camping together in the summer. Some years we have a couple extras. One year we had as many as 22. This year though, we couldn’t find a weekend that was suitable for everyone in our regular crew. Too many other things happening. Babies being born and weddings in other countries being attended and so on.
It seemed as though we’d miss out on our annual camping trip this year. And in some ways we did. But not in all the ways. Our rag tag army of 4 decided to brave the elements and take it on by ourselves.
Camping on a good day is a lot of work. It’s worth it. But it’s a lot of work.
Add to all the normal work that we chose to book a weekend in late-ish October AND hadn’t checked the weather report before heading out. Maybe it was a good thing that we hadn’t checked because had I known a storm was going to pass through I may have pulled the rip cord and spent the weekend on my couch.
We arrived at the site around 8pm on Friday; which is later than we normally try to get set up. I mean, setting up in pitch blackness can be a little tricky. None-the-less, we got the tent up, made a fire, hung out for a little bit and then went to bed without any problems.
Let me just say – Thank the heavens we had brought a space heater. It saved our lives when the temperatures dropped in the night. Even with the bit of warmth, no-one got a good nights sleep however. It rained pretty hard and the air mattress Shaunie and I were on, lost air steadily as the night progressed. By the time we “woke up” the next day, we were feeling hard ground beneath us.
Oh well. All part of the fun I told myself.
Saturday was a great day. The kids made a hot dog breakfast on the open fire and Shaunie made eggs on the one burner propane stove we had. We toured the site and found that it was quite nice. It sits on a river which I’m sure would be fun to swim in, in the summer time. They had a basketball court, a bouncy thing for the kids to jump on and a game arcade (which we didn’t actually use). Back at our site, we played board games and Jay threw rocks into the river. At one point he tried walking down a hill but he slipped and ended up going down the muddy slope on his butt. It was pretty funny and he took it like a boss.
In the afternoon there was a costume contest (since it’s so close to Halloween) and also there was trick or treating. The boys ended up with 2 bags full of candy. I snagged a snickers bar and some vampire teeth. We had no idea we were supposed to bring candy to give away but it was ok; All the regulars (who clearly knew the deal because they came PREPARED with legit decorations) made up for it and there was more than enough to go around.
When it got dark, we went for a walk on a haunted trail (also set up by the camp site) and it was really good. I think Ace was the most scared out of the 4 of us. But he made it all the way through and I was proud of him.
Saturday night was rough since a storm came through. Really heavy wind and rain lashed outside and our little tent was swaying a lot. It also got seriously cold. The space heater helped for sure, but it didn’t come close to making us warm. Poor Ace got so scared by the wind that I ended up moving to his air mattress and cuddling him all night.
We all woke up exhausted on Sunday and even though the sun was out, it did not help to warm us up at all.
We packed up and left the site at around 11:30.
All in all, I think it was good that we pushed through and did it. Shaunie may disagree with me. But the kids enjoy it and I think it’s good for them to spend time “roughing it”. Plus, I am all about having family traditions and this has become one of ours.
See ya again next year camping equipment. In the summer though.