I’m not an avid camper, but I do like to camp out with Meka and Daniel. We do it about once a year. A few weekends ago, we joined the Cub Scouts in a trip to Rock Cut State Park. It’s just north of Rockford.
I was a little dismayed at first. We had to drive through a police checkpoint to get into the park. The normal campgrounds were packed with RV’s. I’m not sure why they call it camping. One had a flat screen TV set up outside next to a grill that was bigger than our kitchen stove. I’ve found that location is very important to a successful outing. However, we passed the campground area and turned down a long path to the “Youth Area”. It was an isolated area at the edge of a large lake. There were a lot of Cub Scouts there and their families, but we had plenty of room to spread out and set up our tents.
We all shared a common cooking area by the fire pit. Cooking on the fire is a great camping tradition. We tried grilling up some soy burgers, but soy doesn’t sizzle or even turn brown. In fact, it doesn’t do much of anything except get hot. Despite this setback, the burgers were only seven points and we had plenty of room in our diets to have s’mores. The campfire is also an important key to a good camping trip. The kids cooked marshmallows and the adults sat around relaxing as it got late.
The kids had a good time. We went on a hike in the woods (actually more of a forced march) and they acted out skits from camp and played with glow sticks. Daniel threw his up into a tree and it was visible all around the campground as a dim green star in the darkness. We called it a night around 10:00 and slipped into our tent for our first night of camping together.
We awoke at dawn to the sound of thunder. We stumbled out of the tent and quickly packed up. The storm passed by without raining directly on us, so we relaxed and had breakfast. The kids fished in the lake. Many kids caught fish. Only one caught another kid. The Scoutmaster moved up the flag ceremony so we took off our hats and took pictures as Daniel and the other Bears took the flag down, folded it and marched off into the trees… literally. Bam!
Everyone said their goodbyes, grabbed their kids and took off towards civilization. Probably the most important key to a successful camping trip is to end it before things get out of hand.