I have a small dream. I dream that our little family will fall in love with camping. And that we become skilled and efficient campers who breeze into a campsite and effortlessly set up camp. Then we go off to frolic in the waves or hike a mountain or ride our bikes to the camp store to buy bubblegum.
My family camped when I was young, but not so much from kindergarten on. I did a couple weekish long backpacking trips in college and Peter and I have spent a handful of nights under the stars, but I wouldn’t say that we are avid campers, yet. This summer we spent a few days camping in the Finger Lakes and we have just returned home from a long weekend at Salisbury Beach State Reservation.
It seems the only way to get to ‘easy living camping’ is to just get out there and practice. We’re in a funny place somewhere in between having all sorts of great camping gear and knowledge and not having either at all. We’ve cobbled together some new gear, some hand-me-down stuff and a bunch of memories of camping. Add to that some tips from the internet and advice from Mom and Dad and you have a couple of ambitious, but somewhat clueless tent pitchers. We’re learning quickly, though, and had a good time spying on the other campers to see what gear they had and how they were doing things.
Despite our novice camper status we had a fantastic weekend. The weather was cooperative, we cooked some meals on the grill, did some swimming, beach walking and lots of digging in the sand. We brought a crate of books, art supplies and notebooks and they were much loved during our stay at 24 Y Street. We also set our tent up atop a medium size rock (which, luckily, didn’t end up disturbing our sleep), fumbled with the charcoal grill (making the wait for meals far too long) and, yet again, found ourselves without a working flashlight.
Each experience was a lesson. A lesson in exploring the world, being a family, being observant, learning to buy quality, and enjoying life. We had wonderful conversations with Catherine that were sparked by the many new things and people she was seeing. She learned what a ‘striper’ is. She made new friends. She dug a ‘car’ in the sand, complete with shifter, and drove herself and her Papa to the ice cream stand. Esme was thrilled to the core each time a sea gull flew over head or dove close to the ground. She happily followed her sister around camp desperately trying to learn the ways of the ‘big girl’. Both girls sat fascinated on the dock watching the fishing boats being towed out of the water on their trailers. Everyone fell fast asleep quickly at night.
As with so many things in life, this journey has its own allure separate from the destination. As we hone our camping skills (in pursuit of the ‘expert camper’ title) we’ll enjoy the togetherness that comes with the territory. We’ll make each new site our own, starting here with site Y24.
[all our photos from the weekend can be found here in our gallery]