That Time We Almost Went Camping


Benjamin BaerI’ve always enjoyed camping; we used to go all the time when I was a kid. Of course, it was a different setting growing up in Florida compared to the mountains of Virginia, but regardless, camping has always been a favorite summer getaway of mine.

When my daughter was born almost 3 years ago, we decided it was probably necessary to take a break from camping. I’m sure there are plenty of families out there, braver than I, that take an infant or toddler out into the woods and sleep in a tent and all, but I just felt I’d make up for those years in the future when she was older. She’ll enjoy it more and actually know what’s going on, and I’ll definitely enjoy it more. Well, how quickly time passes! I guess she’s older, because a few weeks ago we got a wild hair and spontaneously decided to pack up and go camping for a night.

We went to Sherando Lake, which is a state park about 30 minutes from our house. The park was awesome. I had heard of it, had never been, but I’m now in love. The camp lots were perfect, cleared out and nice and flat with a picnic table, a fire ring, and tons of surrounding trees to hang a hammock and give you a little privacy. We got there that morning and had a great day. Set up our tent while PKB hung out and played with her shovel and bucket, and then unpacked the vehicle. Once we had everything set up, we all walked to the lake to hang out for a while. It was ridiculously crowded, but PKB loved it nonetheless. We got on a float and went out into the water, and she thought it was about the coolest thing ever. I think she was equally fascinated with being out in the water on a float and watching all the kids running around having a ball.

Afterwards we went for a walk, taking in the sights of the wilderness and the lake, and then headed back to the campsite to relax and hang out in the hammocks. We took the easy route for dinner and just grilled hot-dogs over the fire, followed up with roasted marshmallows. Everything was going great, but the real test was going to be putting her down for bed.

We started talking about bedtime around 7, how I would put her down and read her a story, but then I was going to go back outside and she was going to go to sleep. Around 7:30 we climbed into the tent and started reading our goodnight book. Once we finished, it was quiet time; we laid in a pretty warm tent, me trying to be quiet and her, apparently, thinking it’s time for the PKB social hour as she decided she wanted to talk about anything and everything.

Do you think the deer is outside? (we had seen a deer near the camp spot a little earlier.)
No, I think she ran away.

4/15/2020 11:11:07 AM

what a GREAT story!!! and so well told. I could picture the entire thing - especially since my parents took all 4 of us kids camping all the time, including when my baby sister was about a year old.. and my husband and I took our 7 year old camping for the first time. I can totally relate to your experience

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