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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lessons From a Backyard Campout

When we bought our tent two years ago, we had every intention of taking it camping in all sorts of places. We have never made it any further than our backyard. When we are ready to go camping, it doesn't even cross our minds to take it anywhere else. Oh, I'm sure one day we will, but so far, we are content.
There are, as you can imagine, a few advantages to camping in the backyard.
1. Since we are familiar with all of the animals and bugs in our own yard, there are no surprises with what might wander into the camping area.
2. There are all sorts of strange sounds in the middle of a dark night spent outside. They are, however, not so strange to us since we live here!

3. The bathroom is never far away, and we don't have to squat to use it.

4. Because we are so close to the house, we can take LOTS of things to the tent. We have our board games, chairs, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. We have a very comfortable home away from home.

Believe it or not, along with the advantages there are a few disadvantages to backyard camping.

1. Yes, we ARE familiar with the animals and bugs in our yard and do not expect any surprises. However, this also means that the fat, hairy spider that I killed under our garage earlier in the day manages to make its way into my imagination every time I close my eyes to fall asleep.

2. It is comforting to know every sound that comes out of a dark night in our own yard. However, when you know every sound so well, a new one can cause you to conjure up all sorts of sources as to where it came from!

3. The bathroom is never far away, and we never have to squat to use it. Sometimes I wonder if we are missing one of the key ingredients of a true camping trip!

4. While I agree that it is super cool to have all of those fun things in the tent, I must also admit that it is a pain hauling it all back into the house when it is over. Suddenly, what seemed like such a short trip the night before can start to feel like miles!! Perhaps it's the change in our energy level after staying up half the night...perhaps it's only because the fun is over!
As a little extra, I will throw in two new lessons that I have learned"!

1. A tent with three rooms is, in fact, one room with very thin dividers, which means that you and everyone invited to the campout, including any animals that you were brave enough to bring along, may as well be sleeping together as if you were all piled into one bed. There are no walls thick enough to keep out the sleep induced sounds of those around you!

2. The trains that you no longer notice every night inside your house will sound as if they are stopping at "tent depot" to pick you up every time they pass by on the nearby railroad track!!!
With all of the advantages and disadvantages of back yard camping, some things remain a constant. Waking up to a thin layer of moisture covering everything, weighing you down, yet filling you with a refreshing newness. The kids pouring out of the tent ready to start the day playing. No one has any desire to retreat to the house or remain inside the tent. They are already outside and plan to make the most of it...not willing to let the adventure end too soon.

Breakfast always taste better when it is cooked outside over an open fire, as the flames are brought back to life after a night of rest. The paper towels are wet with dew and the drink cooler is watered down from the previous evening's ice. It all feels used and tired until the frying bacon spreads its thin layer of aroma over everything, bringing it to life again.

Everyone may be tired from attempting to hang on to the day before too long, but the new day has arrived...not stale, but instead full of life and promise.
Where you wake up is it a new scenery each day or a home away from home, well, at home. It is what you make it.
Home Sweet Home!


Blogger Lisa said...

What fun!! I love your little stove thingy you have!

Oh, and, EW EW EW EW!!! about the hairy spider in your garage! It gives me shivers just to think about it!

7:09 AM  
Blogger Rhonda said...

I so enjoyed looking at your backyard camping photos! Except for the spider. (shivers) We do the old fashioned tent camping in the fall. We always camp along a river somewhere and we experience the same things you do while camping. The wet tent in the mornings, the bugs, the noises, packing up afterwards. We also have the sore bodies after a night on the air mattress. It is all worth it when the smell of bacon, eggs and coffee fill the morning air and it brings on a new day. The kids piling out of the tent, grabbing their fishing poles, going on a new adventure out in the wilderness just makes me smile...and then I remember...Oh no, I forgot the toothbrushes! LOL! I loved the blog hon. It was great reading.

4:49 PM  
Blogger carrie & troy keiser said...

That spider ... eeewwww! I hate spiders! Sounds like a fun camp in the back yard time!

5:28 PM  
Blogger JP's MOM said...

It is so fun to let loose and camp out in the back yard.

We are hoping that next year when our kids are 7 and 4 that our back yard camp out will last longer than 2 hours...and you are soooo right abouot hauling everything back in the house!

Loved the pics.

8:17 PM  
Blogger School for Us said...

OK. I might have to try a backyard campout. I'm just not much of a camper! I like the comfort of a bed. Maybe we'll just campout in the living room and I can use the couch. :-)

9:00 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I'm not much of a camper either, but I sure loved reading about YOUR experience! I also love the train picutre.....we live just about that close to a RR track too!

9:24 PM  

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