We went camping this weekend.

It was supposed to be a birthday present for me, or that’s what I told myself. Now that I’m officially Very Fscking Old, I am too old for Things – yes, even knitting or spinning things – and am giving myself (and asking them from others) experiences. One of my favorite experiences is getting out to the middle of nowhere and hanging out for a couple of days. Outside.

I’ve been camping for most of the summers of my life. We started when I was 2, when my dad first started teaching and found himself with 6 weeks off every summer (one of the feew perks to being an associate prof in the 70s). We had lots of time but very little money, so we went on camping trips. Lots of them. My folkie parents built a homebrewed camping van in the back of a Ford Econoline, and off we went. My sister and I both have fond memories of driving cross-country (some of the memories involve what books we read in the car, but fond memories nevertheless). For our honeymoon, Dad Goth and I went camping in the Smokies for a week. We both love it.

We went here. It’s a place we’ve gone to quite a lot since we first moved here a long, long time ago. There are some beautiful trails, soome not-too-shabby fishing, and some great camping spots. We didn’t get our favorite spot, but we got one that would have been very nice except for the bears. We didn’t see any – I’ll explain in a minute.

This was Anabel’s* first overnight camping trip in a proper tent, with just our family. She went on our family trip to Grand Teton a couple of years ago, in a “tent cabin”, and had a pretty good time. So we thought we’d try at least an overnight with just us. And the dog.

Short post: it was great. Not a lot of actual knitting or spinning time, but still great. Longer post: some of us had a greater time than others.

Anabel had a great, great time. At least she said she did. She also fell asleep before either of the adults in the group and slept through the night, so I’m guessing she really did have fun. Once again, s’mores work their magic. So did her first rock scramble with Daddy.

Dad Goth had a not-so-great time. The fishing was okay. Running all of our food up and down a bloody great hill several times a day – not so okay. There were bear warnings posted all through the campground, so it was safer to store all the food in a locked car with the doors and windows closed and locked. We did. Poor Dad. He made up for it by scaring the sh*t out of me after dinner (did I mention a rock scramble?).

We had a campfire that night. Dad Goth built his usual Huge Fscking Blaze. We had hot dogs and s’mores and cocoa (some with schnapps, some without). We sat around and told ghost stories; laughed about A’s school librarian’s worries that some kids horror series were “too scary” for her, and wound up telling stories that were far more gruesome. With weirdly happy endings.

We went home the next day. Dad is still grumpy and whining about his back. A was so excited to see a couple of friends on the way to school, who got to hear about her big camping trip. Even though I didn’t get any knitting or spinning time in at all, it was still a good time.