• Debra Berry


My first night camping was simply an attempt to save money and not have to pay for a motel.

My spouse and I had packed a tent, a few blankets, and a couple of pillows. Long story short, we slept on the ground and it rained all night. Needless to say we were wet and miserable in the morning, and we never went camping again.

It was nearly 20 years later before I made my next camping trip. This time, I was single and determined to do it right.

I bought a tent, a tarp, an air mattress, a sleeping bag, a cooler, a camp stove, a grill, and few other items I determined were essential. I even planned a menu which included three days worth of breakfast, snacks, and dinner. I even planned my clothing needs. It started raining the first night, it rained the entire second day and night, however I stayed dry! I even managed to cook my meals in the rain. As the years passed, I became wiser about camping and added to my camping paraphernalia.

Most of my camping experience has been in a tent. For a few years, I had a pop-up camper, but eventually I went back to tent camping. I never did master the art of backing that camper up,

and after sticking it in the sand on one trip, I said,

“Enough, where’s my tent.”

I have three grandchildren and started taking each camping with me when they were four years old. Some of my best memories with them are from our camping trips. My eldest grandson and I shared a salmon fishing adventure on one of our trips. My granddaughter and I forgot our air pump one year and had to blow up mattresses without it. Our cheeks and lips were sore for a couple of days from all that blowing. My youngest grandson and I camped in the backyard during the pandemic, we did not want to miss out on camping.

We have all laughed together when a big long motorhome rolls in next to our campsite, puts up the antenna for their TV, and starts their air conditioner. We even saw a big screen TV mounted to the outside of a motorhome, so our camp neighbors could gather around their camp fire while watching TV. So Now is that really camping? Sometimes we imagine having a laser gun and shooting out campers with TVs and air conditioners.

I’ll admit, almost every time I am planning a camping trip, I think about all the work involved just to get ready, load the car, drive to the campsite, unpack the car, and set up camp. Then I reverse that list and head home exhausted. However, it’s the days at camp, living in and enjoying nature, the disconnection and absence of technology (none allowed, at least on my site), and precious time making memories with family and friends.

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