Last night, along with people across the country, we took to our tent for the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout. We joined the Chattahoochee Nature Center‘s group, pitching our tent at their registered campsite along with a slew of other families with young kids. Here’s how our inaugural family camping experience went down…
We arrived promptly at six in the evening in separate cars (should I need to take the baby home) – radio flyer and cooler loaded to the brim – to construct our abode for the night. By some miracle, we got the tent assembled without a hitch, and in only about ten minutes. The moment I stood back to marvel over our handy work (I totally expected for us to be the family that couldn’t get their tent up without professional assistance) a tremendous clap of thunder boomed over head. Seriously!?!? I literally checked the weather as we were walking out the door and rejoiced in the ZERO percent chance of rain. We had enough time to throw all of our belongings into the tent (suddenly it made sense why everyone else brought their gear in large plastic tubs rather than Vera Bradley totes) before the downpour.
During the brief rain shower (that actually served to cool things off), the naturalists (as CNC employees seem to be called) herded us into the gym for a large raptor presentation.
Afterwards, we dined on a delectable picnic of what I like to call Ham & Swissers (ham, swiss and a poppyseed mustard butter on Hawaiian rolls), fresh fruit, Publix’s new bakery granola bark (that I promptly threw in my basket about one second after the sample crossed my lips) and chocolate chip cookies. Supper time entertainment consisted of the naturalists roaming the campsite with a sundry of impressive snakes. Appetizing, no?
The sun had set by the end of our hike and the night culminated around a camp fire, lounging on blankets, toasting marshmallows for s’mores and singing silly songs a la Mother Ginny Bird and Go Bananas. After making quick work of the sweets, the littles darted about the meadow playing flashlight tag and catching fireflies while Honey and I laid under the stars soaking it all in. Nights like this are what being a carefree kid is all about.
Had I been privy to the escapades that would fabricate my adult life – smelling wild animal urine, handling dead rodent-like marsupials and sleeping in a damp, hot, smelly sticky tent – I would have been incredulous. Yet, day in and day out I find raising these boys a harrowingly intoxicating calling!