Friday, September 30, 2011

The great outdoors

We bought a tent about 4 years ago.  Camping with the family sounded like so much fun.  Our first camping trip, though, was not exactly the fun we were hoping for, disastrous is probably a better word…..

We went to Orlando and decided to “rough” it at Disney’s Fort Wilderness “resort”.   We are not that adventurous and, e-a-s-i-n-g into the whole nature thing seemed like a good idea.  We arrived in the late afternoon.  After, pitching our tent and carefully arranging our air mattress, sleeping bags and pillows, we headed out to explore the campgrounds.  We checked out the huge pool, the horse corral, the restaurants, and the “general store”.  It was all so nice and clean and so Disney.  We heard there was a nightly campfire with Chip and Dale the chipmunks.  Along with a  beautiful big campfire there would be s’mores and campfire songs.  It sounded great to us!  So that evening, we anxiously arrived at the campfire ring a little early, excited for the festivities to begin.  But before Chip and Dale arrived, the rain did.  Lots and lots of torrential rain, pouring down in sheets, as we sat under a shelter by the pool.  Chip and Dale would not be coming-- instead we got a little old lady dressed in plaid with a guitar, who would lead us in camping songs.  Unfortunately, she was having a bad day.  She informed us that it was the anniversary of her brother’s death in Vietnam and she could not help but dwell on it.  I’m pretty sure if Walt Disney would have known what a breath of fresh air she was that day, he would have made sure to have given her the day off.  With all the rain hammering down around us, we were stuck.  So we listened to her sad story and watched the rain come down, down, down for about two hours.  Finally, the rain slowed, then stopped.  Finally, in the darkness, we gathered up the kids and set off for our campsite, catching drips from the trees but trying to make the best of things.  On the way back we got turned around and lost.   Hopelessly lost.  We wandered in the cool, wet night with our (then) four young, tired children wondering if we would ever find our way back.  We did, eventually.   Not surprisingly, the tent was soaked.  Everything in the tent was soaked.  Our sleeping bags, our pillows, our p.j.’s --dripping , sopping, wet.  Puddles collected in the corners of the tent.  After a quick snack of raw s’mores (from our own supplies) we put on the soggy sleep clothes, climbed under the soggy covers and laid our heads on the soggy pillows.   We lay shivering in our tent wondering what else could go wrong, when the frogs started.   It sounded like thousands of frogs, all surrounding our tent, singing and croaking loudly all night.  As we shivered and listened to our amphibious serenade we also sunk, deeper and deeper.  No, not in the various tent puddles exactly, but into the slowly deflating air mattress.  After a few hours, Tim decided we’d be better off just deflating the thing ourselves so he pulled the plug.  The rest of that long, cold, loud night we spent on the hard, gravelly ground.   It was a long night to say the least, but we survived, and amazingly, with our sense of humor in tact.  We all agreed that though pretty much everything that could go wrong did, we still had a good time.

On our second camping trip we were practically blown away by blustery winds, and just missed another rain storm, that hit full force in the morning, as we were pulling out of the campgrounds.

On our third, I was recovering from a bout of stomach flu so we cut things short and headed home to sleep.

Our fourth was cancelled at the last minute because of my grandfather’s death, and I spent that weekend at a funeral instead of in a tent.

We did have one successful, uneventful camp-out last February.  Two nights of family fun and games and lots of great memories.

This weekend we will attempt another trip to the woods for s’mores, scary stories, and sleeping among the wild animals. 

I guess, as it turns out, our family does have a spirit of adventure, or maybe we are just crazy…either way, we are ready for more.  Bring on the adventure!


  1. Wow! What a story and what perseverance you all have!! You must be a very good sport too! I'd actually like to camp, but hubby would rather get a cabin, which is actually fine with me!! we can still do the campfire thing!

    Memories and time spent together, that's what it's all about!!

    Hope you all have a wonderful time this weekend!!

  2. Oh my goodness! I would have thrown the tent away at Disney :) Hope you have a wonderful time this weekend.



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