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Posts Tagged ‘Camping’

We all Came Back

Ok, so my son Aryeh had a really cool idea.  Literally!  He suggested that our family take some of his friends camping in the winter weather.  Well the good news is, we all came back.  And each of the seven participants returned home with 10 fingers and 10 toes too.  So, I’d say it was a good trip.

Now if you asked each person how the trip went, you would hear a completely different story or experience.  But in the end, the trip was brief and successful, we learned some amazing lessons and we were able to gain some insights for what will help us the next time we take such an excursion.  And we will be going winter camping again, perhaps not with Dovi, our youngest son, but we will try again.  Too many lessons were learned to waste it for the sake of an education.  🙂

So below are some of the rules we learned and why:

  1. Borrowing “the right” camping gear helped us tremendously and allowed us to consider what it is we really need to purchase if we hope to winter hike and camp more.  Thanks Schecter/Curry Family.
  2. Don’t assume everything you read.  Check out the information on a website with a human person before assuming that the website for a campsite is speaking truth. 🙂 Because I loved Gifford Pinchot State Park, we were trying to camp near there.  Well that WAS a good idea.  The good news is that Michael found a park ranger that suggested that we camp at another state park nearby that had camping in November.  We ended up going to a fabulous location near the Appalachian Trail, Pine Grove Furnace State Park. We will go back too!  BTW, I am so proud of myself for not sharing what I was thinking when I realized that Michael didn’t think to double-check our plans with a human being.
  3. Don’t bring anyone that isn’t prepared for the excursion.  We did tell the teens, Aryeh’s friends, what to bring, but one of the kids so didn’t listen to our advice or follow our advice once we realized that she wasn’t prepared.  I, not trusting the teens to bring what they needed, brought a bunch of extra scarves, non-cotton socks, layering shirts, and fleece sweatshirts.  The person in question would not take the offerings.  Next time we take teens camping, we will double-check that they have what they need early enough to send them packing or to gather what they do need.
  4. Loved the state park campgrounds!!! Next time we won’t even consider a privately owned campgrounds.
  5. Every experience that I have ever had with a park ranger has been fabulous!  Ranger Fox at Gifford Pinchot State Park was a kind and generous guide as he made suggestions for the remainder of our trip.  Don’t you love the name Ranger Fox?
  6. Slavery is underrated.  Every capable person has to be making the camping trip work!
  7. 24 hours for our first winter camping experience was pure genius; we learned so much and next time we will be able to do it even better!
  8. We could have done with a lot less supplies and better quality layers to stay warm.  Did I tell you that some of us were really cold?
  9. Our schedule for packing up and getting out of the house left a lot to be desired.  Next time, we will:
  • Pack up in the daylight the day before.
  • Leave early in the morning.
  • Plan to set up camp before noon if at all possible (just to make sure we can take advantage of the day better and also be prepared too.)

One of my favorite moments in the entire experience was when Aryeh came into our tent at about 3 AM. Yes, I do know I am somewhat sick for thinking this way.  Aryeh had really pulled some muscles while chopping up the firewood earlier in the evening.  I was so happy that he was in pain, not head pain, just normal discomfort.  I LOVE NORMAL!!!! After three years of watching Aryeh live with traumatic pain, I was celebrating until I realized that this was the first time in about 4 years I didn’t bring Tylenol, Ibprofen, aspirin, and narcotics with us.  Fortunately, I had a little motrin in my first aid kit.  In spite of what my friend Jerry thought, I was prepared.  J

Another precious moment came while Dovi was suffering from the cold weather.  Cold weather has never been good for Dovi.  I was really hoping the camping trip would be different.  In any case, at one point, Dovi went into the tent to go into a sleeping bag and try to warm up.  It worked only marginally.  Well after a while, Aryeh came in and helped me rub Dovi’s feet and hands.  The love and kindness between the brothers made my heart soar!  And after awhile of rubbing, it was Aryeh that got Dovi to come warm his feet/ body near the fire.  Brotherly love at it’s best.

Within an hour or two of returning home, Aryeh and I were off to REI to browse now that we knew more about winter camping.  We found ourselves looking at better quality layers of clothing, new shoes, a sleeping bag for Aryeh since he is a little taller than the bags we borrowed could accommodate.  And Aryeh never goes to REI without looking at knives.   Now that he knows more about camping, he is looking for his next camping tool! What kind of mother let’s their child play with knives?  🙂

Our camping trip was definitely COLD, a new experience, and filled with moments of insight and sometimes fun.  But perhaps the most insightful wisdom came from Dovi when somewhere in the middle of the night, he turned to me and asked, “who’s bright idea was this?” When I told him it was Aryeh’s idea to go camping, he responded, “NEVER listen to Aryeh’s ideas again.” 🙂

As far as another winter camping trip goes; most of our family will try again.  And, all of us agreed that a springtime campout is worth looking forward to.  YEAH!!!!

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