We've just returned home from a week-long camping vacation. It's the longest we've ever camped, and the first time we've camped without more experienced friends. We had a great time, and learned a few things too. I don't think we can be called "rookies" anymore, though I know we have a lot left to learn. Here are just a few notes I made during the week:
You can't tell the gnats from the pepper unless they move.
"Clean" is a completely relative term.
You actually do need a fire when it's warm out, and especially if it's humid (it's a great way to dry towels).
Rookie "mistakes" are par for the course - you will find your groove in a day or two.
Eating off of "real" dishes, while nice, does mean that you spend a bit of your time washing them.
Cooking "real" food, while nice, means that you spend a bigger bit of your day cooking. And usually means even more washing up. Using paper plates for a meal or two is certainly acceptable.
Cooking over the campfire and cooking with a cast iron Dutch oven are both pretty cool ways to put dinner on the table!
Kids are great helpers when it comes to the washing up - and you should remember this when you return home!
A creekside site means great sleeping for you (after the first night), but perhaps some earplugs would have been helpful for your spouse.
Even if you are an adult, your mama will still worry if she can't easily reach you. So, on one of your trips into town to replenish the ice, email your parents to let them know you are safe and having a good time.
During the week, we came up with a short list of nice-to-have items for our next camping trip (because yes, we will do this again!). We learned from some more experienced campers that this isn't at all unusual. We are starting our list of Christmas and birthday ideas now!
We also spent several hours doing one of the things Big J and I enjoyed in the years BK (before kids) - reading aloud. This year's picks were Little House in the Big Woods and Harry Potter 1. We haven't finished either one, but I know we will very soon!
We came home from this vacation rested - even though we hiked and played in the creek and hauled our food in and out if the mommy-van many, many times. I guess you could say that unloading the cooler and non-perishables for every meal meant that unloading it all at home didn't seem such a chore. Yes, there's still a lot to do, but it's so much easier to take it all on after a truly relaxing week.