Camping Adventures! A modern American family fares well in the woods.


My oldest daughter reminded me several months ago that we had never been on a camping trip.  I immediately sprang into action and put a date on the calendar.  My wife pretty much handled the rest.  When we shipped off this past weekend, there had been a few minor changes in plans.  First, the location which we had selected near Auburn, Alabama for its waterfalls - was experiencing torrential rain.  So, Jessica found a place near Niceville, Florida - where the weather was to be more cooperative.  Showed up there and encountered a gnarled old grump of a Ranger.  I always assumed park rangers were in touch with nature and thereby happy, spiritually centered people.  Proof that I am incorrect quite often.

Turns out the place in Niceville was full.  So we headed to Torreya State Park, which is just west of Tallahassee.  Jessica and I had been there several times in our early dating days and we knew it well.  What should have been a one hour drive turned into a five hour expedition.  We arrived in time to quickly set up camp and eat dinner.  On the good side, Jessica had provisioned us well enough to support a company of Marines.  The evening ended with a curious looking serpent slithering near my feet.  Despite repeated calls by my troop to execute the beast with a swift and fatal blow (he was about the size of a spaghetti noodle), I encouraged him to go back in the woods.  We finally got to bed to only then be awoken by a raccoon  rummaging through the trash.  My oldest daughter and her friend were quite amused by the raccoon.  Jessica was not so amused and was not enjoying watching the critter climb up and down a tree not far from our tent.  My exhaustion implored response to the raccoon had been, "who cares!"  Half asleep, I finally dispatched one of the kids to run off the raccoon.  My wife observed later that this might have ended not so well had the raccoon made a rabid attack. Such are the joys of camping. There were also general references to the fact that we could probably have been cast well for "National Lampoons Camping Adventures ... "

Jessica woke up somewhere between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. and let it be known to me and anybody else awake at that hour that she could not sleep.  I was eventually able to doze back off.  We got up and ate a breakfast fit for kings and did a short hike along the Apalachicola River.  Several hours later, we were back home and glad to be in the air conditioning.  But the torture continued when I made Jessica sit with me for a partial viewing of Lawrence of Arabia.  I suspect she might just prefer camping over old movies.  It was great to be outside and with my family, mosquitoes, raccoons, and all.

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