Camping with Yogi

This Labor Day weekend, we packed up our gear and went camping with another family.  This trip started two years ago over dinner.  “Do you guys like to camp?” one of us asked and the conversation took off from there.  Next thing we knew, we had picked a weekend and pitched some tents in our backyard.  It was a blast.  The kids were “pack and play” little so this was a good warm up session.  We had so much fun we did it again the following year.  At that point he gauntlet was thrown out that if we were going to do all this work for one night it would be a lot more fun to stay for two nights so we ventured out of the backyard and into a real campground.

The campground we chose was a safe bet.  It was only an hour away from home and had a large photo of a fiberglass Yogi Bear on the website.  We might be away from home but we were not in the wild by any stretch.  After countless e-mails back and forth about who had what gear and how much food and beverage to bring, we were ready for our big outing.

It was great!  We had adjoining sites with a shared fire pit not too far from the bathroom.  It reminded me of staying at one of those hotels with the double door in between.  There were plenty of families just like us with kids making noise just like ours.  We felt right at home.  The kids jumped on their air mattresses, wore out the batteries in their flashlights and got filthy dirty (all within the first twenty minutes). We swam, we fished, we ate s’mores and did everything you do on these camping adventures. 

There is so much goodness wrapped up into camping.  It starts with the anticipation and the preparation for the trip.  It continues as we set up the gear and explore the grounds.  We do this for ourselves to get away from it all but we also do this for the kids.  They get so much from these trips.  Everything is so different to them from sleeping in sleeping bags to walking down the path to get drinking water to using battery flashlights.  They love the gear as much as we do.

I kept having flashbacks during the weekend to my camping adventures as a kid.  We always went with another family to some far reaching state park.  I remember our blue station wagon so packed to the gills that mom had to unload the gear around us anytime we stopped for a bathroom break.  This was also helpful in keeping my brother and me from fighting during the long car ride.

Grosch crate in background

The other reason for all the nostalgia was because half of the camping gear we were using was from my childhood.  Mom packed her “kitchen” in a wooden Grolsch crate.  Remember those green beer bottles with the porcelain swing top closure?  This crate has remained the camping crate ever since.  I’ve had it in my possession for a handful of years but finally got a chance to use it this trip.  I started to look through it on my dining room table when I thought I saw something move!  I slammed the lid down and ran it outside where I dumped it out on the lawn.  False alarm, no mouse!  Phew!  The contents were just as I remembered them.  All the kitchen necessities circa 1978 less the kitchen gloves and lemon scented Pledge.  We were good to go.  Thanks Mom.

It was a great weekend.  I am so thankful I had these experiences growing up and I am blessed to have a husband who wants camping to be a part of our family history.  We are also so grateful to be friends with another family who shares this enthusiasm.  It makes for double the fun and double the memories – so thank you!

The kids were half asleep coming out of the bathtub tonight and I can’t see the floor leading to the washing machine but I’m already looking forward to doing it again.  See you next summer.