We just got back from camping for 4 days. We went to High Falls State Park down in between Atlanta and Macon. There was a ‘pond-dipping’ field trip that Teresa and the homeschool sisterhood wanted to take the kids to, but it would be a long trip for just a field trip. The result was a 4-day camping odyssey.
Saturday through Wednesday Teresa and I wrote down everything we thought we needed. Teresa made a menu and Tuesday cooked and chopped and prepared all sorts of food for the weekend. We went over our checklists like 42 times, meal by meal. Milk / Cereal / Bowls? Check! Eggs, bacon, sausage, electric skillet? Check! Sandwiches, tortillas, hot-dogs? Check!
Tuesday night I loaded most of the nonperishable stuff in the van. I have no idea how we’re ever going to survive without this van. Wednesday morning we finished stuffing it, and convinced Harley to stand on 3 feet (there was no room to set the 4th one down) for the trip. We dropped Bingo at our new neighbor’s (expecting him to be way too barky for a campground).
Since this was a camping weekend I decided that taking a laptop was probably an exercise in futility and left it at home. Julie and Dave got there Tuesday night, and had a hard time finding sites together. Wednesday on our way down Bev and Dennis arrived, and called to tell us "THEY HAVE INTERNET!" Bah, I grumble. What would I have wanted to do anyway? Play poker? Yeah, I suppose.. if I remember camping trips right, though, there usually isn’t much time for that ‘sit still’ type behavior. I talked myself out of worrying about it, and then the word came, "it’s just at the registration office." Oh, phew.
We got there and set up, hearing about how cold it was the night before. We didn’t leave a single blanket out of our camping gear, so I hoped we were prepared. Tyler and Cameron set up their personal tents, and planned on sleeping by themselves. And did! Tyler said the next day he was warm, but Cameron needed more help layering his blankets.
After we finished setting up, Tyler and I fished for a while… and the kids played in the water on some rocks in a shallow area of the river. And by ‘water’ I mean they got wet and then dragged themselves through the mud.. First day there and Cameron, and later Tyler went through two pairs of clothes each. We had been so busy with our meal and camping supply checklist I don’t know that either Teresa nor I checked their bags.
Thus started the cycle for the weekend… the pretty standard events were that the boys would wake up, eat breakfast, and all but disappear until we made them eat dinner. We had Harley so most of the time someone had to stay at the campsite, or take Harley with them. He didn’t like being that close to the road with all the people walking their dogs. Next time we have to work harder to shield him from that.
The exceptions to this were the field trip and a hike on Friday. Thursday I stayed behind and did nothing but read a magazine, a sweet luxury that I didn’t realize was unique. The Friday hike could have doubled as training for that show ‘Survivor Guy’. I think it’s some sort of wilderness test. Usually the official trail is marked with trees marked a certain color. In this case it was red. At one point we stood in one place in a fork in the official trail and could see red marked trees in three different directions (not even counting the one we came from). The website calls it a ‘hike to the remaining grist mill foundation’ but I never saw a foundation. We did see a lot of big rocks that the kids played in, on and around. This made me nervous, because all that I could think of was the sign at the beginning of the trail (below, and note the word ‘fatalities’):
This sign sure could use the phrase ‘Have a Nice Day’ somewhere on it.
But typically at the campsite the kids would run off, come back soaked or muddy a little bit later, change (sometimes), run off, come back soaked or muddy a little bit later. And then when it got dark play at a fire (sometimes our fire, but usually Dave and Julie’s, since that’s where most of the kids were hanging out). Overall they had a blast. Tyler said he loved camping because there was so much to do, he didn’t even think about video games. We started calling Cameron ‘Cameron Richardson’ because he stayed at Dave and Julie’s site so much.
Teresa and I got very little sleep for various reasons. Wednesday night Aurora slept with us. She has corners and knows how to throw an axe-kick in her sleep. Thursday night we put Amanda and the girls in the sound-proof (lol, so we thought) van, and Aurora had nightmares, and got into that half-asleep delirious / hysterical stage. Friday night had thunderstorms and Harley’s insistent pleas to ‘crawl inside [my] skin’, as Teresa put it. He would tremble so bad it would shake the entire air mattress (which could be pretty great, if there weren’t a hairy, frightened dog between us). Saturday night we got the most sleep of the trip, and I felt downright chipper this morning. It only lasted until we closed the van doors with everything loaded up.
Over all it was great fun. We’re all thoroughly exhausted, but made it home in one piece. And as soon as we did, Harley took off down the street. I didn’t even have the strength to run after him even though he was in sight. I got in my car and drove down to pick him up.