Did someone claim that camping is stress-free fun? I don’t think so. It was an adventure and definitely enjoyable but not totally stress free. I suggested that Jamie and I go for a little camping trip about a month ago. Primitive camping. You know, the whole tent and sleeping bag and camp fire scenario. I thought that a little trip like that would be a good ‘get-away-from-it-all’ reprieve from the daily grind. Well, a four day trip turned into two which ended up becoming a one night trip into the wilderness, mostly because we decided not to leave on Friday night when we’d both be tired and irritable from work. Mind you, even knowing that it was going to be one night, we had a list almost as long as the notebook paper I wrote it on. The closest I’ve come to roughing it was sleeping in a tent in the wooded area across from a friend’s house in high school. Her parents could have heard us if we’d have yelled. We told stories around the campfire, freaked each other completely out, and all three huddled up together in the humongous tent and slept like babies surprisingly. It’s a nice memory. Anyway, my previous experience with primitive camping wasn’t very realistic, and I really didn’t know what to expect.
We left late because both of us didn’t go to bed early enough on Friday night. It was after 9 a.m. before we left the house. Tishomingo State Park is over two hours away, so it was around lunch when we got there. After we found a nice camp site in the primitive camping area, we headed on over to the Swinging Bridge to check out the trails, the 62 ft. rock that climbers often climb, and the waterfall that the ranger told us about.
me and Jake on our hike
Jamie and Jake
huge rocks scattered the trails
the Swinging Bridge
After hiking and checking out that particular trail, we headed back to set up our camp and get our fire going. The tent was very easy to put up and so cute and cozy, just what I wanted. After a little drama about sleeping bags and Jamie’s trip into town to get us some better ones while I stoked the fire and made coffee over it, we chilled out, cooked some hotdogs, and made yummy s’mores with Ghirardelli dark chocolate. I want one just mentioning it they were so good! Jake even got a marshmallow. It got dark and chilly quickly. The moon was full and bright. Since we only had the fire and some chemlites, we decided to snuggle down in our tent and watch a dvd, so we turned in early. Yeah, I know, really roughing it! *lol* The ground was kind of hard and uncomfortable, but it was tolerable. The cold was an issue at first, but after getting down in the sleeping bags, I got pretty warm and was satisfied. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it’d be.
At about 4:30 a.m., I awoke to Jamie’s snoring, and since there were other campers somewhat near us and because I couldn’t sleep for it, I nudged him and told him to turn over. As I was laying there trying to go back to sleep but too awake to do so, I heard what sounded like something being knocked over. It could have been in a neighboring camp, but I wasn’t sure, so I kept listening. Shortly after, I heard a growl. It wasn’t Jake or Jamie. They were both breathing softly in their sleep. It was deep but short and quiet. I sat up to listen harder. I heard whatever it was growl again, but this time, it was two short almost snort-growls, like something was sniffing the air. Thoughts of bears flashed through my mind, but we had cleaned up all of our food and put it away. It could have been a coyote or dog, I guess. I don’t know, but I was scared. Jamie realized I had sat up and asked me what was going on. I told him what I’d heard. We sat there for a few minutes trying to hear it again, but we didn’t. Jamie was far braver than I was and grabbed the flashlight and slowly unzipped the tent. He looked all around and could see nothing, so he took Jake out and walked around our camp. Soon, I was doubting myself and wondering if I’d just heard Jamie’s belly rumble with hunger. When I was sure that nothing was going to come back and have us for a late night snack, I dozed back off. I awoke a couple of times to the sound of drops of water hitting the top of our tent. I assumed it was dew dropping from the trees above and went back to sleep. Eventually, I awoke to rain hitting our tent. It is such a soothing sound! We napped for a while, trying to wait out the rain and hide from the cold. We had planned on doing some more hiking Sunday morning after the chapel services, because the rain wasn’t supposed to arrive until the afternoon. We weren’t so lucky, though. During a break in rain, we quickly packed up the truck, loaded up Jake, and headed home (after finding a Waffle House for some coffee and a much needed late breakfast).
It was an interesting trip. We learned some things to do and not to do. For one, we probably won’t take Jake again. It was fun to have him along, but it’s kind of a hassle to take him hiking when he wants to stop for other dogs and people along the trail. Did I mention that he is terrified of the rain and of thunder? He slept at our feet most of the night, but when it began to rain, he crowded us by getting under the sleeping bag with us!
Also, I think we might bring an air mattress next time. The hard ground is just not for me. Taking a lantern would have been nice, especially when I thought there was something sniffing around our campsite. We also found out about a canoeing trip they do daily up there on Bear Creek from April through October, so next time we’ll leave in time to try that.
Well, I think I’m off to go make a few more s’mores, this time over my stove in my nice, warm kitchen!