Summer Camping Adventure Weekend

“I’m sure there will be many stories that come out of this trip. Even if it rains on us, bears eat our food, and we come back with ticks and a horrible case of poison ivy….it will make a great blog post, right?”

1. It rained on us, a lot.

2. No bears, but raccoons tried to eat our food.

3. We came back with 1 tick…so far.

4. Thankfully, no poison ivy.

It was quite an adventure, and the weekend didn’t disappoint as far as stories go. We came back with so many great stories. I think that may be the point of camping after all. So that the next time you camp, you can say, “remember the last time when…….”

Here is what we will remember.

Going camping takes a lot of preparation. You have to think about every little detail, every thing you will need while you are IMG_1217gone from clothing down to dish soap. The frustrating thing is, you need all of that weather you are going for one night, or one week. We packed more food than we needed, and were on our way.

FYI…it’s important to have a few empty bottles with tight fitting lids in the car when traveling a long distance…especially when traveling with boys. I’m just saying.

We arrived at Juniper Springs Campground at around 5 pm. It had been clear on the entire hour and thirty minute drive, until the last 20 min when it started raining. Of course it did. When I pulled up to check in, I tried not to read into it when the ranger asked me what other adults where with me. None, I said. You are by yourself with the kids? When I said yes, she gave me a long drawn out Oh-kay…like I was crazy  or something. Did she know something I didn’t?  I was thankful when she suggested a different campsite than the one I had reserved. One that was less flooded and mosquito filled. Why, yes, I think we will take it.

We found our site, close enough to the bathrooms for that middle of the night trip, but not too close to smell or be bothered by other campers coming and going. There was still a slight drizzle, but it wasn’t too hard to keep us from setting up camp, so I put the boys to work on the tent.

We probably should have checked the tent before we left home considering it was missing some important things like the instructions and…..the rain cover! They figured out how to set it up, but we had trouble figuring out how to keep the rain from coming in the screen roof. The rain wasn’t stopping, and the tent was getting flooded.

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When all else fails…sleep in the van. The boys actually had a blast. We cleaned out the back and threw their sleeping bags down. 

The intermittent rain forced us to get resourceful. We left all of our gear in the van, cooked burgers over the grill instead of building a fire, and ate dinner in the van when the rain returned.

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I still had the illusion of a peaceful, restful two days in the woods….listening to the sounds of nature, possibly reading a book, and just enjoying the creation around me. That was before THEY came.

They, were a huge, multi- family group from Miami that took up all the sites around us. They rolled in about two hours after we did, latin music blaring. Home base, which happened to be the site right next door to us, was a huge travel trailer with a very noisy generator. They partied until late into the night, woke up early hollering for each other at the other campsites. There went my peace and quiet. That first night I was a little frustrated to say the least. Well, watch this and see.

Even though we woke up early, thanks to our Miami neighbors, and found that some sort of critter had tried to steal our food (without succuess, thankfully), the trip improved from it’s rocky start. We checked out the springs and found them to be cold, but beautiful. We even saw a rare white squirrel on the way!

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The boys swam, but not for long. I was able to live out my fantasy of sitting with a book, but only for about 20 minutes. Then they were ready to go back to camp. The little people were hungry. What? You mean those pop tarts didn’t satisfy you? Geez. Oh well. My book would would have to wait. Like the pioneer women before me…..I had to build a fire to feed the children.

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The fire proved to be a little difficult to start since all of the kindling they had gathered was wet from the rain. Thankfully, my  dad drove over for a visit and just happened to have a bunch of old files headed to the shredder in his trunk. They made a perfect fire starter, and he was able to destroy whatever evidence he was trying to hide. (Just Kidding) We decided to go ahead and roast marshmallows to make smores right away since we had no idea if it would rain again that night. It seemed like a logical idea.

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We prepared for rain by bringing along some board games. They took advantage…in the van, of course.


They were hardly ever “bored” though. They brought their skateboards along and spent almost all of there time boarding around the campground. Apparently, our loop had some pretty awesome hills that were perfect for shredding down. Is that the right terminology? I’ll have to ask my oldest son. We only had one casualty. One of Owen’s friends “accidentally” took out of the kids from the Miami clan. Like a bowling pin. Of course I felt…bad. What?

The only other injury was mine. You know those mosquito sticks the size of a cigar that burn like incense? You light them and they smoke to keep mosquitos away? Yeah, well I backed into one of those and it took a minute for me to realize my skin was melting off.

On our second night, I woke up to the sound of rustling around our picnic area. Determined to capture our food swiper red pawed…I snuck out of my tent, flashlight in hand. I saw two bright eyes glaring at me, so I glared right back, and whispered in my most intimidating voice…GO AWAY! That little bandit scurried up a tree, but then stopped long enough to stare at me and pose for this picture.


We really did have a great time. It was a lot of work though. I think when I have a desire to go camping….I remember camping as a kid, when my dad did all the work and I was the one who got to have fun and relax. Camping as an adult, especially with kids, is a different situation entirely. I don’t mind the challenge though. Even though we had the loud family reunion, the loud generator, the rain, and the useless tent…..we still had beautiful scenery, birds waking us up, time together, no electronics, no killing people on T.V., time to think, laugh, tell jokes, take walks, and just enjoy each other’s company. I’d say it was a successful trip.

Here are a few more memories from our trip.

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