The conditions were probably the worst I could imagine. The temperature was in the 30’s, the wind was icy, it was raining the whole drive up the mountain, and when we got to the campsite the ranger mentioned that it might snow during the night. The map by the ranger station suggested that each and every campsite was booked for the night, but as we drove through the campground, we saw only three other campsites with people.
The fog was deep and thick and so were my spirits.
When we got to the campsite our friends the Dennis’ were already there but they hadn’t started setting up any of their things yet. They commented that they were waiting to make sure that we were really all committed to this. 6 families with 19 kids total…and temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s.
“Are we really going to do this?” Julie asked me, “Man, this is COLD. I don’t know.” I responded. We looked at our guys. Daniel said, “Let’s do this.” So we set up our tents in the fog and mist, praying for the rain to hold back until our shelters were ready. God answered.
As all the other families arrived we barely said more than 3 other words to each other, we kept our heads down and set up everything as quickly as we possibly could. Rob later said that is was if we were all playing a game of chicken with each other that Friday night, if anyone said they were going to bow out, we all would have quickly followed. Much to our surprise, the courage was high and determination won out.
Saturday morning when we woke up the temperatures were up to the 40’s. We made a fire and breakfast, shared sleep woes and some laughs.
Before we went camping I reminded Daniel that camping to me has never been about comfort. If you want to sleep well or be comfortable, you don’t look for those things while camping. Camping is about adventure and making memories. This camp trip was full of a lot of really sweet, sweet memories.
Here are a few of my favorite:
- August had to sleep in my sleeping bag with me both nights to stay warm. I have a mummy bag. We snuggled all night long and I woke up many times, looking at him, watching him breathe. Sometimes I had to sing him back to sleep. Comfortable? No. But my heart swelled up so big and it felt so beautiful to hold him and sing him worship songs all night. He is growing up and heaven knows that I will probably never have to snuggle and sing to him all night ever again.
- Bash spent most of Saturday hanging out with older boys, admiring them, taking in their every move. He bombed around in his new rain boots, rode a scooter, drank a lot of hot chocolate to keep warm, kicked up dirt, threw around a football, watched the other boys play soccer. He is only 3, but over this trip he felt much older. He was so independent the whole time and having a blast being around all those boys and people. He was a happy happy camper.
- Dayla, true to herself and her likes, spent the whole weekend in a tank top and a skirt. She spent most of Saturday by the fire drinking hot chocolate, but as the sun came out and it got warm she played board games, colored, and read Highlights magazines with her friend Tabitha (who in her words, “Likes the same things I do”).
- Sunday morning Dayla taught all the kids two songs that she had learned in Girl Scouts. Such was such an amazing teacher, but the real catch was that she lead all the kids in a show for the parents. There have been many shows before with all these kids, but Dayla usually bows out. She usually sits with me in the audience and watches all the other kids preform. Paralyzing stage fright. This camping trip however, she not only performed for all the parents, she LEAD the performance. Our girl is growing up! To see her with so much leadership and confidence after years of shying away, well to say the least, Daniel and I were smiling ear to ear.
This camping trip mostly consisted of trying to stay warm by the fire, a lot of hot chocolate, a couple small nature “hikes” with the kids, scooters, books, laughs, stories, and most importantly a lot of time with good friends.
Comfort? No. But adventure? Yes. Good memories? Oh my yes.
And best of all my sweet husband said he is excited to go camping again! I have it written down in my Mother’s Day card. 🙂