I had a tent once

16 Oct

I asked for it for Christmas when I was in middle school. Looking back on it, I’m not sure why I wanted it so much. It was a two-person tent that I spied in the J.C. Penny Christmas catalog at my Grandma’s house. I got it and set it up in my room for the longest time. I would “camp out” in it – surrounded by my stuffed animals and other necessities like my cassette tape recorder. I remember once being brave enough to ask my mom to camp in the backyard. The campsite was so close to my house that I was able to stretch an extension cord from the bathroom window outlet to the 13-inch black and white tv that I used to watch the Muppet Show on when I was even younger. Not really camping. More like – a dare fulfilled.

That all changed this past weekend. Our familyfriends (so close they are like family), the Heidels, have been asking us to join them in their camping adventures at Camp Enota in the Georgia mountains and we finally could. This was not the backyard. This was up a windy and steep mountain that made me giggle with whee but made Nia’s belly turn upside-down and then inside-out before we arrived. Poor Bean. She tried so hard not to get sick.

There she was. Quick change on the side of that stomach-flipping road. Bottles of water and shampoo from the necessity bag grabbed to help clean Bean. Whoops, those are Nate’s jeans, not Nia’s. Creek water to help clean out the car. Nate patiently buckled in his seat and waiting, concerned for Nia and factually stating, “I didn’t get sick.” We’re glad, bud.

She was all better after that and we finally arrived. It was gorgeous.  The Heidels were excitedly waving for us and showing us around our site.

Camp Sun

The beautiful valley spot was surrounded by hills of fall colored leaves. Two creeks met there. They made the most relaxing sound. We had a swing to watch them merge and then rush down the mountain. We had a picnic table that they had already table-clothed and made it feel homey. The kids ran to the nearby playground and in-ground trampolines while the adults talked about what it was like to get there (our aforementioned mess and it took Ginger, Lee and Camille seven hours), set up our tent and started on dinner for that night. The kids couldn’t wait for roasted marshmallows. Unfortunately, our first few attempts at fire fizzled out. We had enough for them to heat a few ‘mallows but it was getting late and a chill was in the air. After the youngest campers hit the air-mattresses for the night, Ginger, our fire goddess, finally was able to beat that misbehaving fire-pit and we got some decent flames for us to enjoy good conversation, adult beverages and toasted pepperoni rolls.

Friday’s sleep was a breeze compared to what Saturday’s would hold but Saturday morning brought warm coffee for moms and dads and hot chocolate for kids. There was delicious bacon, eggs and grits and a day ahead that included more trampoline jumping, creek exploring, a hike to a beautiful waterfall complete with a picnic lunch, petting zoo sights, relaxing, grilled meat dinner (ka-bobs) and an AWEsome fire perfect for making the best s’mores ever. Another cherished camp memory: looking at the stars with the kids and counting shooting stars. Then came time for bed on Saturday night. Brr is not even the half of it. Freezer. With a side of slap in your face freeze. (Specifically, lows in the 30’s, not enough blankets and the kids and I cuddled on one full size inflatable mattress because I was worried they would be too cold without mom. Nate’s “I love you, mommy” when I warmed him confirmed it.)

As soon as the Sunday sun was in sight, we were all up and packing up. Restaurant breakfast sounded delightfully warm.

All a part of the adventure. And I would do it again. I will always remember falling asleep on Saturday night and thinking to myself, “This was fun.” I will hold on to that thought. Kind of like childbirth or tattoos, I believe you forget some of the owies you go through when you’re experiencing it. You remember the joy/pride you feel in the accomplishment.

I camped. I was 33-years-old when I first camped. The kids were 8 and 5. Andrew has camped out as a soldier more times than I can count. I guess  that makes us all experienced now.

Thank you, Heidels. I don’t believe I would have braved any of it – thus enjoyed it – if it wasn’t for you.

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2 Responses to “I had a tent once”

  1. Adriana October 17, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Fantastic! Gave me goosebumps thinking of the good old family fun! We ❤ camping! The pictures are darling 🙂

  2. Ginger October 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    I love this Nicole! And I’m so happy you took the leap of faith and were courageous enough to join us. I love camping, and you’re right, there are almost always “adventures” both good and bad. Thankfully the good ones usually outweigh the bad (although it was awfully nice to sleep in a warm bed last night – I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from how freaking cold it was Saturday night!). Loved hearing about your only other “camping” experience too. Glad we could turn you into a legit camper!

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