MODERN DAD | By Jon Show
September 9. The first time I went camping, I was 25 years old. It was on a rafting trip with friends and I bought a two person tent and an inflatable sleeping bag and I slept maybe two hours total because of the terrifying noises in the dark .
I camped for the second time a year later with the same group of friends on a rafting trip in northern Georgia, where we were woken up and searched by police in the middle of the night for reasons that I never fully understood.
Given the experiences of my first two camping trips, I decided that perhaps the camping life was not for me.
Once our kids were deemed old enough to go camping and about 15 years had passed since my previous camping trip, we decided to take them camping at a place called Honey Bear Campground in Boone.
It was unusually cold for the season this October weekend and the Blond Bomber wandered around the campsite in nothing but a layer. I bought Future Man his first knife and he dropped it in a hole in the woods.
Choose a level site
The tent mat was on a 15 degree slope and had big roots underneath. At night the temps dipped into the 30’s so I gave the kids my sleeping bag for extra warmth and nearly froze to death.
A year passed and we decided to go camping again, but we stayed closer to home and went to Lake Norman National Park.
Again, off-season temperatures dropped into the 30s at night. One of the children peed in his sleeping bag and nearly froze to death.
Another year passed and we returned to Lake Norman State Park. When we arrived our campground was flooded due to drainage issues which the park ranger said would be renovated next week.
Sleep in the car
The kids behaved terribly and at one point I went to the car to be alone and watch TV on my phone.
A father and his two adult sons occupied the campsite closest to us. They stayed up most of the night talking about their feelings and singing really bad songs while one of them played the guitar.
A dog barked all night in the distance.
I woke up at dawn, inhaled smoke trying to start a fire in a damp hearth, and on the way home decided again that camping life was no good. – be not for me.
That, combined with sports and the outbreak of COVID, clouded any chance of camping for two years and we kind of got out of the habit of going there, until the blonde bomber girl asked me about it. take me camping last December.
Determined to avoid the pitfalls of our previous camping trips, I rented a “glamping” site on a farm near Blowing Rock that came with a giant tent, bed, couch, woodstove, table /chairs, a compostable shower and toilet.
The trip was much better than previous attempts, but the first night the temperatures dropped to 30°C and the Blonde Bomber nearly froze to death because we had run out of wood for the stove.
The day we left, I dropped her off in the farmyard paddock to pet the pigs she’d been feeding for two days and bit her on her hairy boot.
At this point, you’re probably wondering why I kept camping, and all I can tell you is that I have a problem.
The opposite of awesome?
In my brain, I convince myself that something is going to be awesome, but it ends up being the opposite of awesome.
Enough time passes and I forget why it wasn’t great and then it’s all going to be great eclipses the memory that fades and I go back to square one thinking something is going to be great.
So cut to last month and the Blonde Bomber and her friend, the Fruit Ninja (she eats a lot of fruit), asked me if we could go camping before school started so…we went camping.
This time we planned to go to Stone Mountain State Park as it is close and has slippery rock, waterfalls and rivers to swim.
The forecast had been spotty all week, but when we woke up the morning of the trip it seemed clear, so I booked a campsite and set off.
Clouds looked threatening all day, but no rain fell until 10 p.m., when light rain turned into a torrential downpour that lasted eight straight hours, totaling 2.75 inches of rain .
The funny thing, though, is that the rain didn’t really overshadow anything about the trip.
Dogs and other good things
The girls loved the slippery rock and the waterfalls. They loved our tent mat and hammock. They loved the campfire and the grilled chicken sandwiches and the s’mores and the hot chocolate and the snacks and the giant Gatorades and Capri Suns.
They loved the walk we took after dinner where we met all kinds of dogs and checked out all the fancy campers.
They loved the film I put on the back of the truck. We watched Goonies and ate Sour Patch Kids.
The rain started at the end of the movie and it was bedtime anyway so we finished watching it in the tent which kept us dry as a whistle all night. The rain stopped around dawn and we woke up to sunny skies.
A week later, I asked the blonde bomber what she remembered most from the trip, and she said a dozen different things. You know what she didn’t mention at all?
Maybe the camping life is for me after all?
Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, whom he calls “The Mother of Dragons”. Their 13 year old son is “Future Man” and their 10 year old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber”. Their dog’s name is actually Lightning.
#Camping #dark #Cornelius #today