So, how did I come to be an avid camper? What’s so great about it? And why should you care about my camping stories and experience? Because I’ve had many experiences with all types of camping and even the scary ones end up being exciting and fun (and most memorable) and I would highly recommend camping to anyone!
As I said in my intro, I didn’t really camp with my immediate family growing up. However, I did have several summer camp trips with my favorite Aunt and Uncle and clearly remember how much fun we had. First of all, my Aunt and Uncle are a blast to hang out with and they always had a good group of friends/family that made it a very fun camping group! I was lucky enough to go to Shasta Lake on several occasions with them and absolutely had a blast. The camping group would all chip in and they always rented the biggest houseboat (see picture) and we would boat and jet ski all over the lake. Once we found a good docking spot, us kids would get to set up tents on land. The bravest of the kids would sleep in the tents (I was not brave) while the adults enjoyed the amenities and luxuries of the houseboat! That is, until the bears raided the campsite at night and then all the kids were right back in the houseboat too! These are my earliest memories of camping that really helped to build the foundation of my love for camping outdoors.
Fast forward to my late college years and meeting my future husband, Rigo. As college graduates just out of school and broke, we decided that camping would be a great, affordable vacation. And we were right! We bought our first 4-man Sir. Edmund Hillary tent, a Coleman propane grill, a cooler, some sleeping bags and we were set! Sequoia National Park, here we come! We spent a wonderful 5 days in the park at a campground called Stony Creek.
It was just the two of us, fresh air and nature. We also didn’t realize that when you go camping mid-week, that you pretty much have the campground to yourself. It was nice, but VERY quiet! Quiet enough that you heard the banging of pots and pans from neighboring campsites who were trying to scare the bears away! Each day we enjoyed fishing, hiking the “potholes”, swimming in waterfalls and even seeing an animal show from the local park ranger. We had a great time and would enjoy many more trips like that.
We enjoyed many more camp trips using our camp gear and have many wonderful memories, both in California and in Nevada after moving to the area in 2004. We then had a long break from camping that started in 2008 with the birth of our son, Lucas. We finally ventured back out to the camping scene in 2011 when he was three years old. We figured that would be a good age to start introducing him to camping and a much easier age for us to start taking him to the great outdoors (no diapers or bottles to worry about).
The three of us ventured out to Blue Lakes with our friends Joey & Jamie. It was during this trip that in the middle of the night, we heard a LOUD noise coming from the bed of my husband’s pick-up truck. Keep in mind that at this campsite there were NO bear lockers at the time and we were in the heart of bear country! From within our tent, I nestled deep into the sleeping bag with our son Lucas and as my husband peers out the tent window, he sees a black bear standing up along the side of our truck, ripping the tarp that was covering our coolers full of food. Lucas and I sprang up and were sitting in the dark in our tent and even in the camping darkness, I could see his large, scared, dark eyes! He quickly laid back down and in his three-year-old little voice said, “Quick mommy, lay back down!” We eventually scared the bear off, luckily, with no damage to our new truck and in the morning assessed the damage to our food supply! Lucas was very mad at the fact that the bear got all of his fruit snacks and Chips Ahoy cookies! Further evidence was found about 100 yards from our tent site!
Upon returning home from the exciting weekend, we recounted the story to my parents whom promptly stated “You need a trailer if you are taking our grandson camping!”.
The following year, in 2012, we bought our used travel trailer and the adventures haven’t stopped and have gotten even better!
So, how do you camp? What are some of your stories and experiences? Please share them below!
What’s ahead: Getting Started and Supplies Lists