I started camping when Jack joined Boy Scouts. We bought a tent and sleeping bags and usually partnered with Georgie on camping expeditions. The first trip we took was to Big Bend between Christmas and New Year’s.
It was really too big of a trip. The tent was an enormous, drafty thing and the sleeping bags were more the slumber party type. I felt like Lucky in 101 Dalmations: “…my tail’s froze and my nose is froze and my ears are froze and my toes are froze.”
It was amazingly fun in the daylight when the temperature rose to mid-60’s and we went hiking. We laughed at the advice on how to discourage a mountain lion attack (stand your ground, don’t run, make yourself look big, shout, don’t bend over) until we saw the size of a stuffed mountain lion at the ranger station. They are big! I had a bobcat size in mind. I’m not sure I could have stopped myself from running. And shout? We’d have been screaming down the mountain.
I ended up donating the tent to Goodwill after a spring time camping trip with Jack when a late norther brought 3 inches of rain in 1 hour. That tent was not made for rainfall. It was the coldest, wettest night I’ve ever spent. Jack and I slushed through the mud and skidded out of the campgrounds at the first light of day.
My older granddaughters, Nina and Savanna, came with us on several camping trips. On one trip their suitcase blew out of the truck. We didn’t discover the loss until we were several miles down the road. A slow search of IH 37 near Mathis didn’t yield their clothing so we ended up having to resale shop it. It so traumatized Savanna that I haven’t been able to convince her to go camping again. (“Hey, Savanna! Want to do something this week-end?” “What?” “Camp up near Georgie’s.” “Oh! I forgot! I’m busy…”)
Over the next few years, we accumulated better equipment and visited state and private parks throughout central and west Texas. We camped at Fort Davis one year when it was so cold the saline solution in my contact lens case froze.
Georgie got to be a proficient dutch oven cooker. Thanksgiving 2003 found us cooking dinner under the coals of a campfire. We had smoked turkey and smoked dressing with pineapple upside cake for dessert.
MA and Gerald have joined us for several camping trips but we had to ban them after Easter 2009. It was the 3rd trip that they joined us on and the 3rd time that we were
pounded with torrential rain. Coincidence? I think not. I think they did a rain dance before they came.
There’s something amazing about waking to the sounds of nature and being away from the electronic world that I so rely on. When I’m lucky, the other campers are of a like mind and I don’t have to listen to their taste in music. If I’m not so lucky, I end up dancing to hip-hop or Latin rhythms or country songs. I may not like the music but I like dancing around the campsite.