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Camping Memories

By Dylan (Katie's better half)

I don't know how my dad did it...

Our first family camping trip. Hudson 4, Fletcher, 2, Shepherd 5 months.

Join me as we head to Cheney State Park! Our first family camping trip that brought back so many memories from my childhood camping trips.

I created a starter pack of camping supplies that will come in handy. I recommend all of them, well #18 is optional. :)

The boys were so excited to go camping and fishing!  The trip began at the house. Here we are filling our mini-van and I mean FILLING the mini-van.  Why is it that we are primitive camping, yet we pack more for this trip than we do for trips back home to see grandmas and grandpas?!? Filling the mini-van brought back memories... 

Back in the day, my dad loaded all the camping gear into his white & blue full-size van. The type of van that parents tell their kids to stay away from.  I can't remember if it had windows, either way, today it would scream, kids beware! That being said, oh the memories we had camping with that van. One time, the van lost it's brakes while driving on the highway. I don't really remember it being scary, but it must have made an impact on my dad, because he still talks about it to this day. Could you imagine going down he highway with no brakes & having your kids in tow? Wow!

How did my dad manage do it? All five kids (myself and four siblings) camping? Back then we would meet our uncles and cousins at the Wapsipinicon River, (The Wapsi), in Iowa. We camped on private land, so we didn't have any other campers around us. My mom would spend the weekend shopping with her sister and mom. Looking back, we survived a weekend with my dad!  I would love to crawl into his mind at the time. What was he thinking?!?!  Was he stressed? Were we annoying? Now that I think about it, what was my mom thinking leaving us kids with dad!? Those of you who know my dad, you know what I mean (nothing but love for you dad). :)

Back to our camping trip, late in the evening, right before dusk, I asked Hudson and Fletcher, "Will you come with me to get more firewood".

I was surprised to hear Hudson say, "It's okay dad, you can go get it."

In other words, he didn't want to join me.

I asked him, "Why don't you want to go with me?"

His response, "It's spooky out there dad". Pointing to the woods. He thought there were tigers and bears in the woods and he wasn't about to go out there when it's getting dark.

That brought back a memory. I remember being terrified to walk out of sight of the campsite. I played a game, it was a game no one else knew I was playing. The game consisted seeing how far away I could walk from the campsite without getting too scared and turning around. I never did make it too far.  As I got older, I could drive the moped out of site, but never for too long. I blame my uncles for that.  They would always tell scary campfire stories.  They even made "bear claw" marks with a pocket knife in the tree by our campsite and walked us over to the tree. They would say, "Yep, these are fresh bear claw marks. He must have walked by as we were sleeping."

There are so many more memories that I could write about. The rope swing across the river, jumping off the sand bar, fishing, huge camp fires, four wheelers, good food, and great memories with family.

I will end with this...

Yes, it's a ton of work.

Yes, we filled up our entire mini van for one night. (We didn't pack enough clothes for the boys! Imagine that, an entire minivan full, and not enough clothes) FYI - boys get REALLY dirty while camping.

Yes, it's more work than staying in a hotel.

Yes, when you get home the camping stuff stays in the middle of the garage floor for a week.... okay, two weeks.

Yes, a bed is more comfortable than the ground.

All that being said, you need to know... Yes, it is worth it!

Go camping! Go hiking! Make memories! It's worth it!

Read more blogs by Dylan by clicking on the photo below:

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