Last weekend, Jody and I spent part of our weekend camping at a state park for the first time together. I had gone camping with my family when I was little, but it has been years since we’ve been so admittedly, I was a little nervous about how this was going to go. We aren’t the biggest outdoorsy people (ahem, spiders and snakes), but we genuinely like spending time outside hiking and relaxing. However, 48 hours before our reservations, the forecast changed from low 80’s and sunny to mid-90’s with a chance of severe storms. Nonetheless, we packed up the car for our night away with the realization that this experience could go really well, or really bad where we would probably never find ourselves in a tent again.
The park where we camped is only about 30 minutes from our house, so after lunch, we headed to the park to set up camp. We first decided to tackle the tent — it was what I was most nervous about setting up. Thankfully, our Ozark Trail tent was the perfect tent for beginners! It only took about 15 minutes to set up, and the most challenging part was hammering the stakes into the ground under the hot sun.
After we got the tent set up, we walked around the loops and started to explore the campground to find our bearings. We then decided to hike the Pondside trail, a 2.6-mile hike with a number of scenic lookouts around the pond, before we started to get ready for dinner. We wandered through the woods and enjoyed several breaks to take in the beauty of nature. We were thrilled when we completed the trail, partially because it checked one of the spring activities off of our bucket list, and partially because it gave us a sense of accomplishment. We had successfully set up our tent and campsite and completed a hike in hot and humid weather, all with a smile on our faces!
When we got back to our site, we relaxed a little before lighting the fire for dinner. I decided to do something easy for our first night “roughing” it, so we made hot dogs over the fire, pasta salad I had prepared at home, and chips and dip. I used my picnic basket, which has a built-in cooler, as well as places to store cups, utensils, and plates. Being able to keep all of the cold food together with the serving utensils made dinner a breeze!
Shortly after we started dinner, we began to hear rolls of thunder in the distance. As I checked the radar, I received a notification that we were under a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch. By the time we had finished eating, the wind had begun to pick up and blow through the trees. We began to quickly pack up all of our picnic supplies and put it all, with our chairs back into our car. I was hoping the storm would blow through quickly and we would be back to our camping adventure in no time.
Once the rain started, it pretty much never stopped. We stayed in our car to wait out the storm, partially to make sure we didn’t lose our tent (or the things in it) and partially to have a quick getaway in case things took a turn for the worst. Thankfully, the threat of a tornado never came true, and after two and a half hours of lightning and some serious thunder, most of the storm had passed, so we finally made our way to our tent.
I was incredibly impressed that nothing in our tent was wet. Especially after how hard the rain was coming down, I was sure our pillows and blankets would be drenched. Once we made it to the tent, the exhaustion from the day had finally caught up with us and we called it a night.
The next morning, I was awoken by rain bouncing off the sides of the tent. While the storm had passed, the rain did not. We ate cereal in the tent while we waited for the rain to die down. We had planned to leave early anyway since it was Mothers’ Day, so knowing there was supposed to be a short break in the weather, we wanted to take advantage of it as we packed up our campsite.
As sad as we were that our quick getaway was over, we couldn’t stop talking about the next opportunity that we will have to go again. We were honestly surprised by how much fun we had, despite the storm that cut short our night. We figure if we had that much fun in the humid, muggy, stormy weather then we are bound to have an even better time when we actually are able to have s’mores by the fire. 🙂
Have you been camping before? What do you like to do when you go? I’d love to hear some ideas so we can have a list for this fall when we go again!