Thursday, March 12, 2009

One with Nature

We have been gone a few on our very first family camping trip! I love camping and did quite a bit of it before getting married. When I got married, my husband and I went out and bought this huge tent and most of the basic supplies in hopes of getting back to nature......several years later, the camping gear still sat dormant from the day we brought it back from the store.
It is prime time camping time here in Florida, so we began looking for open sites and I stumbled across a site at Tomoka State Park outside of Daytona Beach. Our little tornado boy was SO excited about his first camping trip. Having SPD, camping could be a total wash or a really thrilling experience, so we held our breath in anticipation. I will try to set the scene.....we get there around 5:30pm or so in hopes of setting up our giant tent in the normal time it took us to set it up in the backyard during our trial run...hahahahahahahahaha is all I can say. Of course the silly thing wouldn't go up without a huff! We worked on that thing for quite some time as we watched the sun start I asked dear hubby to get out the lantern and set it up...another HAHAHAHAHA. We hadn't done a trial run of setting up the new lantern that was still in the box. So here is the hilarious scene...a family struggling to set up this tent that is being SO the dark! Finally we have VICTORY..sort of..the tent is up but not 100% correctly. By this time it was too late to cook dinner so we all ran out for the best camping dinner...Wendys.
Oh - did I fail to mention that we also picked the camping weekend during the last weekend of Bike Week in Daytona? We were pretty much the only family in the campground and the super sweet rangers kept checking in on us to make sure we were doing okey dokey. The campsite site and park were SO incredibly beautiful. The huge, magestic trees dripping with spanish moss. Birds everywhere. It was stunning. Little boy was SUPER excited about sleeping in the tent for the first night. It was a wee bit chilly and we were all snuggled under many layers on the blow up mattress and he was one happy camper - literally! He would ask about the noises outside the tent which were predominantly motorcycles but as the night went on, things quieted down and you could hear nature. It was so soothing to hear the animals making all their nighttime noises. Little tornado boy fell asleep with no problems at all. We all woke to the glorious sound of birds chirping and woodpeckers going about their business. You could feel the stress melt away.
We spent the next day exploring the state park and we went on a 2 hour canoe ride that he loved. We tried our hand at fishing and caught a Sheepshead and then finished up the day with some geocaching. We got to cook at the camp stove (there's a fire ban in florida so no fire ring) and we were just having a blast. I broke the camping rules and left some food out near the forest entrance by our tent window so we could maybe catch a glimpse of an animal. As we all snuggled in the tent, we heard little critter foot steps and we got to see the most enormous Possum gobble up our offering. Little boy's comment was, "ooooohhhhhh, he is SO cute". He was tickled pink to have seen the possum. Another nice sleep and a pack up in the morning. We went off to explore the Children's Museum in Daytona - which was a huge hit! In the pic above he is holding a creation he made with nuts and bolts. Followed up with a surprise visit to the Daytona Raceway. This thing is just HUGE! They let you in for free to check out the grandstands and tornado boy asked if he could come see one of the races in July.
It was an amazing family vacation that made us really appreciate being able to get out to nature again. Sometimes in our insane lives, we just seem to forget that there is this beautiful, big, world out there just waiting to be explored. Getting back to being one with nature was exactly what this family needed and we are already looking for our next camping weekend.

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