Today dawned early with the rustling of chipmunks outside of our two man tent. I could hear them scurry through last falls leaves, over the cooler, and up the neighboring tree. Not long after a ‘good morning’ text chimed from my North Carolina son (oops, I forgot to silence my phone.) Next thing I know foggy brown eyes are looking at me from across the tent. “Mom, let’s make breakfast so we can go fishing!” ….he is always on the go.
Bringing a touch of wonder into our “Groundhog Day” summer, (1993 Bill Murray movie where he relives the same day over and over again), has become a must. Yesterday afternoon my daughter, youngest son, and I departed to a nearby state park to add a smidge. I haven’t tent camped in years; unless you count last summer’s overnight tree house adventure in the back yard. I’ve certainly not “roughed it” without a guy to split wood, start a fire, haul water, etc. I think I liked the idea of the challenge. Okay-so we’re not exactly back woods roughing it. There is a paved spot to park, a nice even place for the tent, electricity, and water across the drive….but I’m used to a trailer with running hot water, a shower, stove top, and a pillowtop mattress.
Cooking over the fire in my cast iron pans has been a good challenge but I did precook our breakfast sausage at home, just in case. We wouldn’t starve if I couldn’t pull it off. So far we’ve achieved Mac-n-cheese in a Dutch oven to compliment last night’s brats, and eggs in a skillet to go with our warmed precooked sausage. Mission accomplished.
After a brief breakfast cleanup we were off to the fishing pier where I promptly lost a bobber and hook to a field of lily pads. Last night’s sleep had been interrupted by strange noises, which became quickly apparent as someone’s little temper reared its ugly head. My sarcasm returned with “like I did that on purpose”..and “As if you bought them in the first place. I’ll buy you another.” Oh I had to shut it down fast before the ‘wonder’ of camping became nothing but a bad memory. Four little fish were caught before we decided to head to the trails. A mile hike was rewarded with a close encounter with a deer and a new, better, view of the lake. Maybe we will try that lily pad free spot tomorrow morning.
Next we’ll head to the beach front where many heat tortured locals find solace. I’m currently avoiding that by sitting here writing in the shade of towering oaks. I’ve sent my tired dirty boy to the tent to read a book in front of a fan.
Sure, we could’ve done this at home. We could’ve popped the tent in the yard, cooked from our fire pit, drove to a lake (swim and fished), and we see deer everyday from a distance. But it’s just not the same. Our swimsuits are haphazardly strung across a makeshift line. A calm lazy feeling hangs in the air. Food out of a cooler is just different; besides just tasting waterlogged and questionable.
Somewhere down the line, maybe in twenty years, my son will remember this outing while a campout at home would likely be forgotten. My daughter had to leave at dusk last night so she didn’t have our overnight experience, or today’s adventures. I think we will have plenty of stories to tell the rest of the family later.