Growing up, my family was never a “camping family” (or at least they hadn’t been since I came along in 1986). To my knowledge, the last “real” family camping trip we had taken was all the way back in 1987 when my parents attempted to take their five kids (me being a baby at the time) on a trip to Yellowstone with most of the members of the extended family on my mom’s side.
Apparently that trip was pretty stressful/hectic/crazy, because we didn’t go camping again until last week.
Now, before any of you people who came from avid camping families start feeling too sorry for us, I want it to be known that all of us kids went camping plenty of times through girls’ camps and scout camps and campouts with friends. In other words, it’s not like we’d consider ourselves deprived of the blessed experience or whatever.
(And you wanna know something? I’m actually not a huge fan of camping anyway, mostly because I pretty much never sleep well, so I was totally okay with the idea of a little deprivation from it every now and then.)
But now that my mom’s six children aren’t so small anymore (and many have families of their own), she thought it was time we started becoming a camping kind of family again. Who knows? This might even become a post-4th-of-July tradition.
The fact that we hadn’t been camping in so long came with its own set of issues. For starters, some of my mom’s camping equipment was so ancient that it literally took eight people almost 45 minutes to set up that tent you see there. (One benefit of having somehow become the Official Family Photographer of Everything is that no one complained while I sat back and took pictures of them all while laughing my head off. Drawbacks to my new title? I’m basically in hardly any pictures myself, I am often told/asked/commanded, “Why aren’t you taking a picture of that?”, and I somehow became responsible for getting the photos of every event out to everybody via Snapfish or Facebook or some other medium. It’s a tough job, but apparently I’m the one to do it.)
Eventually though, we got the gear up and ready, the campfire going, the s’mores out and roasting, and we had a good time out in the wild or whatever (despite the fact that the first night I almost drove home– we were camping only about 15 minutes away–because our air mattress had a hole in it and I kept waking up almost sitting with my knees nearly touching my nose thanks to awkward distribution of air).
All in all, in the 45 or so hours we spent at the actual campsite, we managed to keep the kids out of the fire, the sunburns off of our skin, and our bellies reasonably well-fed.
It was a camping miracle.
Now on to the photo dump:
Here’s my last word on camping—I kind of hate planning for it (and the idea of it never exactly thrills me beforehand), but I’m always, ALWAYS glad I went in the end.
And that’s what’s important.
Any tips on making camping less stressful to plan for? Or more conducive to a full night’s sleep?