Enjoying the Great Outdoors / Miguel’s First Camping Trip

Last weekend we got to enjoy a four-day camping trip with new friends from our church, Red Mountain Christian Center. It was the church’s Annual Family Campout, and I’ve been excited about going since the day camp details appeared in our weekly church service handout more than a month ago.

A few things almost prevented us from going.

We found out days into camp start that there would be no electricity, no running water (i.e., NO showers), and only vaulted toilets at camp. The non-adventurer in me nearly just called the whole thing off (how can we possibly survive without showering for four days???). If it weren’t for the convincing powers of our friend, Tom Walcott, and his wife Rebecca, we really would not have gone.

Contrary to what a few people might think of me at first glance, I LOVE going camping. I’ve enjoyed it almost every year while we still lived in Jersey. On some years it was with our family and fellow church members, on others it was purely with friends–a different experience than going with your youth group, but equally as (if not more) fun.

But I’ve been a spoiled camper all those years (I realize that now after being on this trip). Except for one year, we’ve always had flat grassy grounds to set-up our tent in. There was always electricity, so we always giddily brought an appropriately-sized electric fan (for the hot days) and/or space heater (for the cold nights) in our tent. We’ve always had decent shower and toilet facilities within walking distance (with outlets you can plug your hair dryers into). On one occasion, there was even a pool nearby that we could take a clean, refreshing dip in on a sweltery day at camp.

I couldn’t imagine not having all those facilities for four days.

Terrence’s excitement got me convinced most of all, and with just mere hours before camp, we were at our (thank God!) 24-hour Wal-Mart buying (or more like spending a little fortune on) last-minute camping gear (a spanking new propane-fueled lantern and a just-the-right-size camping chair for Miguel) and new necessities (a solar shower and large water containers) in addition to (a whole LOT of) camping food, including fixings for s’mores (which we didn’t even get to eat because of the fire restrictions for Coconino National Forest that took effect the day before we left for camp).

Despite the lack of campfire (because c’mon, what camping trip is complete WITHOUT a campfire???)…we made the most of the whole trip (toilet or no toilet–which by the way, we had two. But they were those non-flush, bottomless pit kinds. Let’s just say I tried to hold all pee and poop inside of me as long as I could…)

But you know WHO had the MOST FUN the whole time we were there?

This little guy…

…who looks not-so-little anymore (especially in this pic).

…who got to spend some quality time with his Uncle Tedi.

…who chilled in his little camping chair part of the time (but mostly rolled around in the earth and made little dirt mounds like it’s no one else’s business).

…who met the ultra-playful dog, Kimber.

…who went hiking with Mommey and Daddy,

…got quite tired from all the walking and the sun,

…and then rested on a tree trunk.

…who had nature as his backdrop for some outstanding photos.

…who tumbled on the air bed (and would have bounced off the walls if the tent had them).

…who stayed in this tent.

…who saw these trees through the tent windows by day, and a million-and-one twinkling bright stars in the deep black sky at night.

…who had long restful naps in the solace of fresh forest air (and somehow missed the loud coyote cries his parents and the rest of camp heard at night in the not-too-far distance).

…who made a new friend.

…who may be too young to remember that one weekend in late June, he had the ultimate time of his life with these people on his first ever camping trip.

And that’s why I’ve re-lived most of the weekend for him in this post =)

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