Summer instantly brings to mind outdoor adventures, water sports, sunshine and camping. My favorite summer activity includes all three. I love to go camping near the water, fishing from a lake or ocean and sleeping under the summer sky with the stars shining overhead. Can you think of a better way to spend a warm summer day?
The first time I went camping I was 9 years old. We went up to Lake Pokegama in Minnesota and spent the weekend at my grandfather’s cabin. Though there was not a tent in sight, we spent all day outdoors in the fresh air, swimming, fishing, playing horseshoes and badminton. At night, we slept on the enclosed sleeping porch. There were no glass windows in the porch, just screens with large shutters to keep out the rain. The screens were so big, it was at if we were sleeping outside as we could hear all the sounds of the birds, lake, and mosquitoes but did not need to worry about any woodland creatures getting inside to nibble on our toes. I loved it at the lake and weekends at the lake is a very favorite childhood memory for me.
When I was a teenager, my father and his friends decided it would be fun to go camping in the desert with dune buggies. After a few months of building a dune buggy in our garage and the purchase of a camper shell for his Chevrolet pick-up truck, my dad packed us all up and over the mountains we went to camp in the desert. It was spring break the first time we went so the weather was warm during the day but chilly at night.
Again there was not a tent in sight, but we spent the day playing in the sand, riding around in the dune buggy and as the sun began to set, we had a campfire for cooking hotdogs, sausages and of course, marshmallows. I am proud to say, I learned how to drive in the desert, where there was nothing to hit and we had a roll cage to protect us, just in case we lost control of the dune buggy. If we weren’t in the dune buggy, we had other hobbies to keep us busy, such as rock collecting, bug collecting and drawing. The deserts of southern California are a great place to go camping and if you can forget about the sand in your underwear ‘” it brings back great memoires of adventure.
When I became a parent, I wanted to share with my son the fun of camping. Joining the Cub Scouts when he was in in first grade brought us lots of opportunities to go camping. I learn that there were many places in the city limits where we could go camping. We could drive to our campsite, set up our family size tent, roll out the sleeping bags and then spend the afternoon fishing, doing crafts, taking short hikes and all types of camping activities and hobbies. Camping with the Cub Scouts showed me that sleeping in a tent was just as safe as sleeping in a cabin or camper. As my son got older, we went back to the desert, sleeping in our tent, building our campfires and watching the moon rise over the mountains.
Camping is a great summer activity. If you are brave enough,and have the right supplies, you can camp in the winter too. It just requires a different set of equipment and expectations. I still bring our plastic tote filled with cards, dice, and portable games with us whenever we go camping, because you never know when a sudden storm will trap you inside the tent for an afternoon. If prepared, you will enjoy the unexpected weather changes, holding out until the sunshine returns. Camping will show you a side of yourself you did not know existed; take a leap of faith this summer. Go camping with someone you love.