As a matter of fact, we just returned from another successful family fun fest not three hours ago. How do I measure success, you ask? Well, we left with six and we came back with six, and it's even the same six, and no one got gored, stung, bit, broken, or lost (though that last one was close). So in the spirit of archiving Family Fun Time, I thought I would share my favorite things about camping.
The Top 10 Things I love about camping.
1. Tents - I enjoy putting them up, taking them down, and I love sleeping in them. Especially when it's late at night, and the coyotes are out chewing up whatever it is they've caught that night. I love the crunching and tearing noise that accompany their evening meals. I also enjoy the subtle grunting noise of the armadillos that come rooting around the tent. It reminds of the fact that there is but a thin wall of canvas between me and all that wonderful wilderness.
2. Bathrooms - To be fair, I could be camping without flushing toilets, so I shouldn't complain. However my favorite part of camping bathrooms is that no matter where we camp, we always manage to be as far away from the bathrooms as possible. This makes my two to three nightly pee breaks so much more convenient. I love waiting until my bladder is ready to pop before I will leave the tent (because there are armadillos out there).
I love scrounging around in the dark for a flashlight, keys to the van (because it's too late to walk), my flops and my glasses and then stumbling around a minefield of bodies hoping not to step on anyone's face as I feel for the tent door. I love running to the van because I caught a glimpse of a pair of shiny eyes, and I'm afraid they're gonna get me then breaking the placid silence when I start my car. I love walking into the park bathroom uncertain of what creatures will be waiting there to greet me. Then I perform the routine in reverse, only now I can't get to sleep because I finally understand I am sleeping with animals in search of Oreos and they know we have some. And I always have to go multiple times, because I can't cut my fluid intake or I'll dehydrate in God's vast wilderness, Texas.
3. Air Mattresses - I love my air mattress which goes into the tent nice and fully inflated, but somehow always manages to be half an inch tall the next morning, while my husband's stays firm and fabulous. I also love the smelly sleeping bag that leaves me either too hot or too cold, but also puts another inch between me and that armadillo, so I'll crawl inside it anyway.
4. Cooking - I love camp cooking, especially when some peckerwood helps themselves to my groceries, because there's a grocery store in the next town over (forty five minutes away) so it's no big deal. I also enjoy the fact that even though we place all of our foodstuff in Ziplock bags there's always something that gets waterlogged and gross, and for some reason it's always the cheese.
5. Swimming - I love swimming in whatever swimming hole is in the park. Sometimes there are sandy beaches, and sometimes the sandy beach is four feet long and three feet wide. Sometimes the water is so clear you can see all the way to the bottom. Other times the water is black. Sometimes there are fun little minnow, and sometimes there are alligators (side note: if there are alligators then we don't swim no matter how much the children beg.)
6. Fishing - Well in theory I love fishing. I've only ever caught one teeny tiny fish, but I keep hoping.
7. Hiking - I love hiking with four kids and two dogs in the blazing heat. It seems like a good idea until it becomes apparent that it was not.
8. Dairy Queen - Every time we go camping we stop on the way out and the way back. It isn't a camping trip if we haven't gone to Dairy Queen.
9. Bugs - They are everywhere. In the van, in the tent, in the bathrooms, on the trails, hanging out over the water, up my nose, in my ears. EV-E-RY-WHERE.
10. Going home - I love packing the car up to go home, shoving garbage bags of dirty clothes into the back of the van, stewing in our stink the whole way home then falling out of the van to kiss the sweet concrete of our driveway before taking a nice hot shower in civilization, which I appreciate so much more when I get home.
We went to Cap Rock Canyon this weekend, which is near the panhandle of Texas. Even though it's been pretty hot the temperature there was very pleasant and a cool breeze made up the difference. It was very tranquil out there. Also, there are bison. Lots and lots of bison. Since people tend to get stupid around wildlife, the park made sure to post warnings everywhere. EV-E-RY-WHERE.
And here we are also being stupid: