Camping with the Kids

The weekend before last, Kathy went to Virginia to visit her sister and brother-in-law there. (Hi Karen! Hi Jeff! Hi Kids!) Though she took Maggie with her, I had charge of the elder three while she was away. The kids and I had a conference beforehand, and decided that the one thing we should make a point of doing during our weekend was to go camping.

I researched nearby state parks, and came to the conclusion that Bastrop would be the ideal park for our adventure. Of course, I also displayed my usual procrastinatory planning, and didn’t get around to making reservations until Friday morning, with the result that Bastrop was all booked up. After much desperate last-minute calling, I secured reservations at Palmetto instead.

Now, my history with Boy Scouts was an on-again, off-again affair from which I took away more dislike for my fellow scouts than I did actual camping knowledge. (Ask me about the time I went camping in the Adirondacks for 3 days with no underwear. No, on second thought, don’t.) As a result, I was very happy when it turned out that my friend Kelly Hendrick, a former Eagle Scout, was interested in coming along. He got off work early on Friday, and we loaded up the car with canoe, kids, and gear, setting off about 5:00pm for our camping adventure.

We were checked in by a park employee with the single longest surname I’ve ever laid eyes on. Not only was it hyphenated, but it seemed an odd combination of nordic and slavic compound words that probably meant “son of him who was implicated but never convicted in the great government cheese scandal of ’83.” He was nice, though, and set us up with firewood and a map.

Thanks to Kelly’s presence and expertise, we had a fine time. Because the grocery store was out of normal-sized marshmallows, we roasted miniature ones until late in the evening. The kids managed to avoid poking each other with flaming sticks, and in spite of the temperature dropping to 35° or so during the night, we actually got some pretty good sleep.

In the morning, we went for a paddle around the lake in the canoe, which we had found at a garage sale last summer but were only now getting into the water for the first time, and took a short hike down to the river, finally wrapping up and heading home around noon. All in all, it was a fine trip with a minimum of mishap, and made missing the rest of the family a bit easier to bear.