Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Earthy, soul enriching, character building camping.

"Whatever form it takes, camping is earthy, soul enriching and character building, and there can be few such satisfying moments as having your tent pitched and the smoke rising from your campfire as the golden sun sets on the horizon--even if it's just for a fleeting moment before the rain spoils everything."
-Pippa Middleton, Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends

When camping there is always one important factor you have no control over: the weather. You check the forecast each day leading up to your departure, oooohing in excitement if the rain chances dwindle from 50 percent to 30 percent, grumbling if it's the opposite. After arrival you scour the radar, watching the varying colors march across the state, wincing as your particular area is engulfed in a storm watch. And if it's not rain, it's below average frigid temperatures in May, or the breath-sucking, clothes-dampening humidity monster in July. Sometimes you're so very lucky to get all of the above weather in a single weekend. But sometimes--although rare, in our circumstances, it would seem--you actually spend an entire camping trip basking in glorious weather, where you're free to romp around the campground sans mud, 3000 applications of deodaurant and sunscreen, and the air you breathe isn't the muggy, soul-sucking stuff born of humidity.

As it happens, our last camping trip with my cousin and her family gifted us with both high humidity heat and a rain storm. But, on the bright side, at least the rain chased away the humidity and we were wet from the muddy puddles in the campsite instead of our sweat-damp clothes sticking to all our bodily crevices.

We arrived Friday afternoon, left to set up in that breath-stealing muggy heat, where your energy is zapped from the mere thought of moving your body a single inch forward. The babies contented themselves in the kiddie pool set up under a canopy, and the boys jumped into the little creek along the outside perimeter of our campsite as soon as they traded shorts for swim trunks. As the sun fell, the air lightened enough to enjoy the night outside, but even the smallest fire still produced too much heat for comfort.

Saturday morning brought the rain, ushering us inside the camper to eat breakfast. We fled to Cabela's to waste time as the rain continued to saturate the earth; and then we ate lunch at McDonald's, where the boys could burn off some energy in the play area. We returned to the campsite early afternoon to puddles and sogginess. We retreated to our campers for naps, emerging hours later to sunshine and breathable temperatures. The remainder of the trip was spent enjoying the optimal weather for park play, bike rides, swimming, train rides, a fish fry, and a campfire that didn't leave us sweaty.

A highlight of the weekend was my surprise early birthday celebration my husband concocted with my cousin. Cards, cupcakes and champagne--a winning combination that left me surprised and grinning.

Camping may not come with picture-perfect weather, but it certainly provides the occasion for lots of memory making. Still, I'd like to request that our next trip be a little less weather-dramatic, if you know what I mean.

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