Sunday, October 4, 2009

The rains came down, and the floods came up ...

on our first family camping trip!

Other titles I thought about included:
It rained and poured for 40 long days-ies, days-ies
It's raining, it's pouring, the mommy's not snoring
When it rains, it pours (and then the tent leaks)

So, as you might guess from those clues, our little family went on its first camping trip together this weekend. (Steve and I had each been with our parents as kids, but even we hadn't been camping together yet.) We went with some other families, and really had a great time. The weather started out beautiful! We got to the state park on Friday and set up our tents (after finally finding two suitable sites side-by-side). The last family got in after dark, so after they were all set up we grilled some hot dogs and s'mores over the campfire. My guys had done that before, but they still thought it was special with their friends there. That night was kind of chilly, but it really was great for camping.

The next morning we got up (somewhat leisurely) and a couple of the parents took all of the kids to a program at the park to learn about night creatures. Some of the older kids were a little hesitant at first, but they all had a great time once they got there. After lunch (and the next family arrived) we all went fishing. We went to a kids' pond and caught some kid-sized fish and a couple of turtles. Most of the kids caught at least one thing (though most had the help if an adult). The kids thought it was great and it was Evan's favorite part of the trip. Evan caught the first turtle (which made me very sad because I helped him do it and because we didn't get the hook out of the turtle), and he reeled in a baby catfish. Joel caught a little bream (or something).

We started getting a little concerned about the clouds that afternoon and evening. We went ahead with dinner preparations, and the food finished cooking about the time the rain started. Our campsite had chicken packets and bread cooked on sticks. The other site had shish-kabobs and corn. One of the women also made a peach cobbler which we all shared. We all shared the fire, too, because by that point it was the only one still going. We were all gathered around that fire together anyway, talking and "chillaxin". We ate together (10 adults and 10 kids) around a picnic table and under a canopy.

The rain stopped after a while, and we decided to tough it out. One tent was leaking and most of that family went home because almost everything inside the tent was soaked. Everybody else decided to stay, hoping that the rain would hold off. it didn't, and every tent ended up leaking or having water seep into the bottom. We broke camp pretty quickly this morning and headed for the nearest McDonald's.

That might sound like a disastrous first camping experience, but I have to say that it was really pretty good. As someone else first pointed out, everyone's spirits remained pretty high throughout it all. All of the kids did really well (and we are talking kids as young as 2), and we all worked and joked together to get everything loaded up and headed home. The kids had a great time playing at McDonald's and we enjoyed getting some hot food.

It was nice to get home, but now we are trying to decide what to do with our wet tent. We would put it up and let it dry out, but the forecasts are predicting rain every day of this upcoming week. We did get the clothes washed and dried. We also had a nice hot dinner (thanks to Steve). We even enjoyed some indoor s'mores since the boys went to bed before we ate some last night.

Steve has commented that this experience has given him a new sense of compassion for those who don't have shelter. I have to admit that I had not thought about that until he said it, and it has made me think. We are so blessed! As he pointed out, even though our tent was leaking it was large and we were able to avoid the wet spots and stay dry and out of the rain. A lot of people don't even have that. Then we were able to come home, shower, wash all of our belongings, cook hot food, sleep in comfy beds, etc. We (I) do take these things for granted. I hope that I will be able to have more compassion for people who don't have these luxuries - or even basic necessities - in the future.


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