Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Great Outdoors

In an effort to fill our last days of summer with memories, we went tent camping as a family for the first time last night. We packed our smores and hot dogs, borrowed a tent from our friends and set up camp at the 'Cheapskate Park' located ten feet behind our house.
In the picture you'll notice the circle of dead grass where the park's above ground pool was this summer. Our park even had wild animals walking about as you can see the small black bear (Liberty) snooping around the deck.

I know we didn't travel far, but we saved a lot on gas. Even though we were in the backyard, we still had trees, a bonfire and sleeping bags. I even lit some tiki torches for some 'Survivor' ambiance. Lady Di and I were hoping it would cool off a little since our tent was sitting in the sun and quite warm. The kids had their own two person tent and were excited to start camping.

I got the bonfire going and we started to roast hot dogs. When that was done Lady Di and kids asked, "What's next?"

"I don't know. I guess we just sit around the fire until dark. Camping, right?"

We watched the fire until dark and then headed inside our tent to watch a movie on the portable DVD player. Just like our pioneer ancestors.

When the movie ended, the kids got into their tent and we went to sleep in ours. I woke up about an hour later with frozen ears and nose. The temp had dipped down around sixty degrees and we only had one blanket because it was so warm before. As I went into the house for another blanket, I checked on the kids. Their little pup tent was toasty and both were snoring in their sleeping bags. When I stumbled back into our tent, Lady Di said that our dog, Liberty, was shivering in her bed so she snuggled between us under the covers.

Let's just say the rest of the night went better for the kids than for Lady Di and me. Inflatable mattresses are not very helpful to my back. Thankfully, around six AM, Sweet Pea woke up and said she had to use the bathroom. So I walked her into the house, making sure to carry my pillow with me. When she was done I asked her (tried to convince her) if she wanted to sleep in her room until breakfast time. She looked at me with a bewildered (what are you talking about) look and said, "No. I want to go back to the tent."


I went back upstairs to get my pillow to follow her out, but on my way to the back door, Number One Son and Lady Di were coming in the house to announce that camping was done. Both kids whined a little but didn't fight too much and got into their beds for another hour. Aside from the sleeping arrangements, I did have some fun. The campfire was nice and I got to see stars in the night sky at 1am. The kids had fun sleeping outside and actually did some playing and reading in their tent most of the afternoon.

Even though we didn't really rough it too much, it was enough for Lady Di and myself. I'm sure we could have prepared a little better, but we didn't think we had to in our own yard. Lesson learned I guess. We know that we need a little more room in the tent for all of us and we need to pack warmer clothes, even in August. I think we will probably try this again but we will definitely include a few more comfort items next time. (blankets, TV, fridge, X-Box)


The Father of Five said...

That's what I'd call a "medium sized bear"...

Scout camp calls the campsite mice "Mini-bears"....



Sounds like a great time was had at Campground "Cheapscate"..
(great name!)

Russell said...

Good for you! Whether it is in your backyard or Boundary Waters, sleeping outside is sleeping outside!

I can relate to the aching back and air mattress... I think people get used to it but I have never camped enough to get used to sleeping outside, etc. But I have lots of respect for people who are good at it.

Looks like you have a great home - I like the patio and yard a lot.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of fun despite the sleeping issues. When we braved camping a while back we purchased a huge tent. I can't stand crawling around in them to dress and stuff. It was amazing how much crap we took with us! Packing light is not easy.

We took our DVD player for M! We had too!
It is good to be back and hearing how you and the family are doing.

Casdok said...

Glad you all had a good time. Super photos.

LiteralDan said...

I say do it again and have fewer comfort items! Except for the bed... just go ahead and drag your mattress out there.

Camping in the backyard is great, and it makes packing way easier-- glad you guys had a good time!

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.