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I grew up doing a lot of camping. Tent camping. My parents took my sister and I camping when we were babies and we continued this tradition until we got into high school and college, and life got really busy. All of those childhood camping trips usually had 2 other families with us; my dad’s sister and family, and my dad’s brother and family – and the big group of us would go to different campgrounds all over the state. We have tons of memories, funny stories, and some horror stories of those trips. Some of my favorites include when a little 3 year old me put a toasted marshmallow on a camping chair, and my aunt sat on it. When she went to sleep that night, she brought that marshmallow with her into her sleeping bag. Oops! Another story involves a mishap with a little kiddie toilet inside one of the tents. Jessy and I are sorry for that one, Joe! 🙂 How about the marshmallow that was on fire that went flying in the direction of my uncles nose? Ohhhh, we had so many adventures on those trips. Rock climbing, picking blue berries, bike rides, s’mores, tin foil dinners, my uncle’s famous bacon and eggs breakfast. As life got busy when we grew older, those camping trips were harder to plan and then they eventually stopped happening.
This past winter, my sister and I were talking and we decided we wanted to go to Jay Cooke again. That was our favorite campground and we thought it was about time to start a new family tradition. I am married now and so is my sister, so the 6 of us including my parents were going to visit Jay Cooke again. It was decided! We picked the weekend, I blocked it off as reserved, and then waiting for it to arrive.
Suddenly, it was the Wednesday before and I hadn’t packed a thing. I think I had forgotten how to camp! When we were little, we didn’t have to do anything except put our clothes in a bag and bring it out to the pile to be loaded into the car. Now, we had to take the initiative to pack our own stuff, to buy some of our own food and to all around get ready to leave for the weekend. I was a little rusty as I tried to remember what I might need. I didn’t check the forecast but my mom mentioned it might rain, so to bring layers and a raincoat. Check!
On Friday, I drove to my parent’s house and loaded my gear into the van. Then, I did what I used to do, and slept on the drive up. Old habits die hard, I guess! My sister and Tony weren’t going to be able to join us until later in the evening, once Tony’s work day was over. Matt was called to a mandatory muster for the Marine Corps in North Dakota so he wasn’t going to be able to join us until Saturday night. Better late than never. When we pulled into Jay Cooke, I felt myself remembering pulling into the same parking lot all those trips before. We found our site and started the unpacking and setting up process.