Through the years I have discovered that my absolute favorite outdoor activity is camping. I especially love tent camping unless, of course, it is raining. This can make it a little uncomfortable unless you are savvy about how to set your tent up to avoid leaking.
My family started camping many years ago. We had friends who were given the use of a camper for a period of time every year and we would go camping together. We would go to different places around the State of Wisconsin and set up camp. We did make a long trip to Arkansas camping along the way. These kinds of trips always create fun and interesting stories. One story was while entering Arkansas we camped at a campground which gave us the creeps. It felt like a segment in the movie Deliverance. When we set up our campsite we had a bad feeling. There was a very fast-flowing stream rather close to our site, the weather was threatening, and flood warning signs were posted. We decided to leave and ended up at a Mobile Oil Station parking lot. They were actually set up for such events in their parking lot as flash flooding happened often. Well, we just missed being totally washed out. This required the men to sleep in the car and seven of us to sleep in the camper. No tenting that night.
I feel there is nothing like waking up in the morning in your tent and realizing that you are just a little bit of fabric from being totally outdoors. You realize how little you really need to survive. Shelter, food, and good weather. We started camping with a very large orange and green tent (graduating later on to a three-room tent). It was always fun setting up the campsite as we would have to set things up so we just about had all the comforts of home in a rustic sort of way. First of all, my tent had a living room in the center, a bedroom on one side, and an extra bedroom or kitchen supply room on the other side. This may sound terribly OCD, but my living room had two chairs, a camping end table with a light, and a rug on the floor. It was very comfortable to sit and read, especially on a rainy day, or have the grandkids play with toys in comfort. Then when camping with my entire family, we would rent two sites preferably on the water, side by side. We would have two to three tents, a screened room, a camper, a kitchen area, an awning, and chairs around a fire pit. We would consolidate our work area to include a very large awning that covered two picnic tables, and combined two kitchens to create a washing station and cooking area. Let’s not forget the Tiki torches for atmosphere and, of course, the little white lights. Our campsite was quite impressive I might say. My husband took note of a campsite next to ours where there was a tent, two chairs, a cooler, a picnic table, and two bikes. He wondered why our camping experience didn’t resemble this!
We usually didn’t have to deal with mosquitos as we would prepare the campsite with some ingredients to deter these troublesome pests.
I have to mention we have one special object that is a must on our camping trips. It is a handmade kitchen made by Art. It has a certain wonderful smell to it and is a must-have to complete our camping experience.
At night we would always have a campfire in which we would all gather around and sing or just tell stupid stories. On occasion, some serious debates were also taking place. All in all, this was the favorite part of our day.
I love being outside during the summer. It never felt like summer to me until our camping trip. At home, there were always indoor chores, which kept me from truly enjoying being outside. Being in nature is so invigorating to me and just makes me feel alive. I think everyone should try this experience if they haven’t already.
I love camping so much that we now own a cottage. Go figure!