Camping was such a fun experience. As fun as it was though, its taken me an extra day to get back into the swing of things because we came home and, bam! the schedule began again with the 4:30am rise for swim and of course the meet last night.
Back to the weekend though … Other than the temperature, which to be perfectly honest we got very lucky on because it was really only a high of about 85, we had a super time. I say only 85 because this week the highs are in the 90s, and I am just not someone who enjoys sweating. I mean, there is a really good reason we are a family of swimmers. I remember when Abby was little, like 7 and she was making noises about quitting swim and taking gymnastics instead (which was fine with me), but when she found out how sweaty gymnastics is, she decided to stick with the pool.
The humidity was fairly high as well, which causes a stillness in the air, especially inside a tent that has a rain fly over it, but every now and then we would get a breeze, like a softball lobbed from God as a reward for our perseverance. Even Lucy remarked about how peaceful it was to watch the trees from her bunk (when we were able to take the rainfly off), although she wasn’t a fan of the sleeping arrangements in general.
I learned a lot of things about us as a family though …
1. We actually CAN unplug. For a little bit at least. We are a family of iPhones and iPads and it is hard to let go. They would take pictures of their food for Instagram, they took pictures of stuff in the woods, they took pictures of each other by the lake, but the rest of the time, the phones were plugged in charging and they played Monopoly and Harry Potter UNO and Disney Headbandz. Abby entertained everyone with her card magic tricks and they told their scariest stories. Only at night in the sleeping bags did they watch Supernatural on Netflix on their phones … together not separately, or read or listen to music.
2. We actually CAN go on a family hike, and enjoy it. There is a trail called the Iron Hill Trail that leads straight from the beginning of the campground, through the mossed and fluffy ferned woods, around and through the peninsular fingers that stick out into the lake. It is a four-mile mountain bike trail so for two hours, up and down hills groomed with pine straw or gravel, over bridges and ravines, we walked in a long line. Abby, Mollie and Lizzie led the way, followed by Husband and Bennett, then Lucy and Emma, and finally Mary dressed in her Batman costume holding hands with me as I safeguarded her cape and mask, lest it snag on a branch. One lady we passed smiled and said, “I didn’t know we’d meet up with Super Heroes in the woods!” That made Mary happy because she insisted on bringing a costume despite my arguments. Mary’s little legs walked twice as much as anyone else, and so for the last mile or so Lucy and Dad alternated carrying her on their backs. There was grumbling toward the end as the younger ones got tired and hungry, the pancake breakfast a distant memory in their tummies, but overall we did it.
3. There is actually a DECENT shower at the campground, and I can do just about anything – and so can Lucy – if I have a clean and nice shower. After the hike, I prepped the lunch for Husband to cook while Lucy and Abby and I went north one exit to Cartersville to refill on supplies. We needed more ice and more charcoal, chocolate and bananas, and beer of course. As we were leaving the campground, I took a good look at “Comfort Station #1” because it seemed newer, cleaner, brighter than the other stations dotted throughout camp. I told Abby that on our way back, we would stop for reconnaissance and she could investigate. As the outside promised, the inside was clean and touch free, tiled and creepy-mildewed-grout free. It was also frog and bug free. All WINS in my opinion, and I promised that after dinner I would drive everyone back up for a good scrubbing shower. I can make things happen as long as I’m not completely grossed out by … humanity’s use of a public bathroom.
4. Food tastes better after cooking it over a campfire. We had hot dogs the first night (vegan dogs for Lucy), with potato salad. Blueberry buttermilk pancakes, bacon and eggs for breakfast. The Chicken Sandwich for lunch (chicken and vegetables and cheese cooked in a foil packet and smeared on bread – I’ve done a post about it before), and burgers for dinner with pasta salad and watermelon. Sunday morning breakfast was bacon and hashbrowns and scrambled eggs (Poppy Eggs – eggs the way my dad taught me), with strawberries and raspberries before we packed up and moved back home. Coffee tastes better done in the French Press, too … did you know that? Treats were English chocolate biscuits and marshmallows and of course, the banana boats cooked in the coals with marshmallows and chocolate chips. We ate foods we don’t typically eat, like soda and bacon and thick, cheesy burgers, and loved every second of it.
Overall, even with my citified girls, we had a great time. There was very little bickering (although it wasn’t nonexistent) and a lot of laughter. It was relaxing not to have a schedule or a TV or anything in particular to do. I will say, next time we go camping it will have to be cooler. Cool night air goes a long way to better sleep, although the second night was better than the first of course. We will also have to get a bigger second tent so that Husband and the little ones can be a tad less cramped. I took notes on stuff that other people did so that when we go again, which will be in October for Cub Scouts, we will have the coolest camp in the camp.