with the cool kids

Friday morning, my daughter-in-law texted: Random ask, would you and John like to go camping with us this weekend?

The last time I went camping was at church retreat, probably around 2008 or 2009, but that wasn’t really camping since all our meals were prepared — we were just sleeping in a tent at retreat. And before that, my family went camping at Dolly Sods.

When I was a teenager. 


In other words, camping isn’t in my comfort zone. It’s not even really comfort-zone adjacent, either.

But I said yes almost immediately because here’s the thing(s): 

1) When young adult children ask you out, you go (in the middle years, a big part of parenting involves making the switch from leader to follower). 
2) All the cool kids camp and I wanna be cool. 
3) Doing uncomfortable things makes me feel good.
4) It sounded like fun!

The kids borrowed a 2-person tent from a friend of theirs and loaned us one of their sleeping mats. We split meal responsibilities — they took supper and we took breakfast — and I baked a batch of granola bars and filled baggies with green peppers, dried mangos, almonds, coffee, and granola. My husband printed out a camping list and checked off all the (relevant) things.

I had no idea how it would go. I wasn’t sure where we were headed or how far we’d have to walk, but it turned out to be a low-key, easy sort of camping trip. The walk to the campsite was super short, and the creek we had to ford several times was low. 

We set up camp, went on a short hike to the middle of some stinging nettles (oops), took a dip in the creek, played Rook, roasted hot dogs, visited, and went to bed when the sun went down. (Almost as soon as we got there, I became weirdly nauseated. After I napped, belched a bunch of times, and started to feel better, we figured out that my nausea was probably due to blowing up the mattress pad.)

My husband and I slept only moderately terribly, and the next morning I labored far too long over a few cups of disappointingly weak coffee, though no one pitched a fit. Probably because we were too tired to much care.

And then it started raining, so we packed up our stuff and moseyed back to the van.

photo credit: my daughter-in-law

The rain let up as we neared town, and when we passed the pickleball courts, they were empty!

They’re almost never empty, so we decided to jump on it: we quick swung by their house to pick up rackets and use the bathroom before heading back to the courts for several games, the last of which my husband and I (finally!) won.

Back home, my husband and I unpacked, showered, rehydrated, ate big plates of groundnut stew (vegetables!) and chicken, and then curled up on the sofa with our laptops to research camping supplies.

You know, for when we go on our next venture….

This same time, years previous: a fantastic week, fried, the end, damn good blackberry pie.


  • Thrift at Home

    Oh, I am impressed! I did that kind of camping once or twice before my babies were born and then I told my husband I am not sleeping on the ground (or a floor) again if possible. So now we go camping in cabins at a campground with mattresses! and walk to a toilet and cook over a fire, hahahahah

  • suburbancorrespondent

    Kudos to you – backwoods camping is a whole other ball of wax I do not care to explore. I really like toilets.

    One of those bumpy sleep mats works really well – it will take your sleep from “moderately terrible” to “almost okay.” Hammocks are also awesome – some come with rain flies, so you stay dry even in wet weather

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