I used to Love camping when I was a kid/tween. My cousin Rachael and I would travel around to various state parks and KOA campgrounds. And spend days relaxing, fishing, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, and just getting to know each other better. There is nothing like camping to get closer to family and friends. My grandfather would usually bring two tents, one for Rachael and I and one for grandma and him, outfitted with camp cots, lanterns, sheets, blankets, pillows and plenty of food and stuff to do. We would sit around the campfire at night doing metaphysical things (grandpa was a Rosicrucian and had to indoctrinate us a little) like changing the color of the fire with our minds (which really worked – one person would change the color and the others would shout out what color it was as soon as they saw it – they were more often right than wrong) and telling stories. Rachael, who was boy crazy, would drag me along as she scoped out the camp for cute boys. It was a blast. I Loved to camp.
This Labor Day weekend my family and I went camping with a group of friends at Mohican Adventures, which is directly connected to Mohican State Park in Loudenville, Ohio. The country in this part of Ohio is beyond beautiful; hundred year old oaks abound, along with conifers, ferns, wildflowers, and all manner of wildlife (we were continually pelted with caterpillars that were falling from the trees which kept the children endlessly fascinated). Directly across route 3 are many canoe liveries where you can rent rafts, canoes, kayaks, and intertubes and spend the day moseying down the Mohican River, which, again, is breathtaking. There are usually a lot of people on the river in the summer and a spirit of fun and friendship abounds. This isn't white water rafting or adrenaline junkie stuff; this is family fun, lazy days, and meandering waters.
If you feel so inclined, there is a treetop tour that involves rappelling, ziplines, and rope bridges, as well as horseback riding, mountain biking, and lots of hiking. Loudenville is a charming little town with boutique stores, one of which carries a huge selection of American Indian crafts, turquoise, vases, etc.
So I used to love camping. And I still enjoyed kicking back with friends, watching the children explore the wilderness and have a Fantastic time, sitting around the fire, all of that stuff. But I gotta tell you that when you are nearing 40, have fibromyalgia, the weather starts off at 100F (37.7C for my metric friends), it rains for an entire day, and then dips to the 60s (15.5C), you spend a day fighting your husband who is in some sort of finish line competition on the canoe trip, camping can be quite sucky. Did you hear the large sucking sound coming from Northeastern Ohio? That was my screaming body which could barely move after trying to sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag that has long since lost its loft.William kept on begging not to sleep in the tent house but the brick house with the beds, which would be our house. By the second night, I had retreated to our car, which at least had some padding, even if it doesn't offer the most ergonomic sleeping environment. By the third night, Collin, William, and I were all sleeping in the car just to get out of the wet air. Which I guess goes to show that I am not a tween anymore. And we desperately need an large air mattress. And a camp site with an electric hookup for a fan. Which Mohican Adventures does not have.
So will I become an intrepid camper? Maybe. As long as the aforementioned air mattress is involved. And good friends and food come with the price of admission.