My parents liked to take my brother and I tent camping a couple of times a year when we were kids. We helped pitch the tent, gathered firewood, overused the bug spray and waited and waited for Dad’s infamous beef stew to be ready. Another tradition was that we always went for one night because that was all that Mom could handle roughing it. Until Dad convinced her to try two.
We had planned on camping at a state park, but it was Memorial Day Weekend and we didn’t have a reservation, so we kept driving. Eventually we stumbled upon a campground on a lake – it was mostly RVs but that was okay, we were just happy to have found a place. So we pitched the tent, gathered some wood, and the wait for the stew began. After dinner we retired to the tent for ghost stories.
Slowly we heard a pitter patter on the top of the tent. It was raining. The pitter pat turned to a violent deluge. My brother and I worried aloud if the tent would hold. Then came the thunder, and the lightening. Did I mention our campsite was on a lake (which I had always heard was the worst place to be in a lightening storm)? YIKES! Crack, bam, HOWL (the howling was actually my brother and me)! Then a big BOOM – the tree next to our tent had been hit! A branch broke off, fell to the ground barely missing us!! We huddled together, crying and praying we would make it through the night.
The morning came, the rain stopped and we survived. However the tent was a mess, completely flooded, and our sleeping bags were soaked. Instead of enjoying the next day, we drove to town and spent it at a laundromat drying our sleeping bags, pillows, and clothes before returning to our now dreaded tent for night two.
So I guess Mom was right – tent camping is best experienced as a one night adventure. I insist on this when camping with my husband and kids. At least if we have a bad night, it will be over and time to return to warm and dry home sweet home!