It may not sound wise but I committed to go “real” camping before school starts which turned out to be last weekend in July.
Georgia, scorching summer, camping – go figure! Despite planning of warnings, we went for it!
After extensive research of all the various parks/various sites an not knowing what pioneer camp is vs. campsite with walk-in – I booked us to a campsite at Cloudland Canyon State Park, 2 hours north of Atlanta. Once loaded, our car looked as if we were moving an army to a beach for a week – so not exactly lite camping. 2 tents, 5 chairs/sleeping bags/mats, bag of clothes, dishes, lights and food – just everyday stuff, you know. I really thought we were lite until I looked at the packed car…. whale expedition!
3 hours later, we enter the park in the dark and look for a spot. Mind you, camping in the US is way more civilized than Czech one – so basically a nice parking spot with water plug, a little platform from concrete and sand (not on the grass) – and right next to real bathrooms. The boys have been camping before so this was the first time “the girls” joined – which Mia and I were reminded of many many times! The tent building exercise turned out to be relatively painful (wow for REI tents – even kids can do it!) Nothing like my Czech tents 25 years ago which took 3 hours of scientific research, followed by full collapse in the middle of the night and rain storm. It used to be a balanced dance to sleep in a tent so we don’t take down the whole structure – and prayers if there wasn’t a perfect sunny temperature (which there never is in the CZ).
Tents up – it is dark, oops, there are no lights! Hunt for the wood so we can see each other around the fire. Get smoked out, attempt to cook hot dogs then my effort to teach kids some Czech campfire songs which turned out to be a lesson in American civil war – because somehow all Czech campfire songs are actually translated American folks songs – which I realized in 2018!!!
Survived the night – achy parents, perfectly fine children. Out for a gorgeous hike, followed by fishing in a pond which especially Lucas was very excited about. Let’s just say it turned out to be an unpleasant lesson in patience – because the fish wasn’t cooperating and the fishermen were painfully impatient and expecting large fish to wave and jump into our bags with smiles. We failed in step 1 as our bait never even made it to the water – it flew all over so we ended up feeding the fish. Fishing in natural ponds – fail even though we did catch 3 small fish (well I did which made the boys particularly mad – girls caught something?!)
All in all, success, glad we left Ruby at home as she would be giving us eyes as to “whaaatt sleeping in the woods?”. Impressed with the state parks and their upkeeping, including the clean bathrooms/showers and playground for the kids. Glad there was no rain and no heat – perfect weather – because otherwise it would be a challenging night. No insects encounter which was especially a big success for me. Lots of realization that comfort of a home is REALLY nice and that we can survive without technology (even though the ipads helped us find my Czech/American folk fire songs 🙂 and convince everyone I wasn’t making it up (see for yourself !)