I Went Camping... and I Lived.
This is not a shocker to those who know me, but I have never considered myself the outdoorsy type. Don't get me wrong, I do like some things such as rainbows, sunshine and butterflies. I love the ocean (although I don't dare get in it - Jaws lives there), flowers and cocktails on the patio, but honestly, that's about it, which is ironic, because I do love being outside. Spring and summer are my favorite seasons. I am just not an adventurist nor do I like being "one with nature". In fact, just the opposite. I hate being dirty, therefore, not a big fan of dirt. If a bug lands on me, I promise you I will scream. Don't do that bugs... really. I don't do outdoorsy activities like water skiing, swim in non-chlorine bodies of water or hike up mountains. In fact, I don't do anything that could result into death by bear, snake or other wild critter. Nope. I am perfectly happy in my safe environment.
So it's kind of funny that I decided to go camping this weekend, although technically not my idea. In fact, if it wasn't for KyTasteBuds, I never would have agreed to go. As we've stated over and over, the purpose of KyTasteBuds is to get out of our ruts and go places, do things we never have before. By the time we get to midlife, we have established a pretty lengthy list of don'ts, some of which are justified, some inherited, but most are decisions based around our comfort levels. Ain't nothing wrong with that until we wake up one day and question why we're bored. Could it be that we've spent so much time defining who we are that we have forgotten to explore who we can be? That's what I think, at least for myself, which is why I said yes to an activity I was pretty sure I wouldn't like. It was an experiment, so to speak. And let me tell you what I learned.
The weekend started off establishing a base camp at the Pulaski County State Park located on Cumberland Lake in beautiful Nancy, Kentucky. I knew something was wrong when my boyfriend Steve showed up with a truck bed FULL of "supplies" and there I was with a mere back pack. Coming from a girl who took 5 suitcases on a cruise, I really should have been better prepared. I knew he was bringing the essentials like tents, sleeping bags and food, but what the heck was all this other stuff? As I helped Steve unpack the truck, I had many "aha"moments that Steve patiently shed light on. It sounded a little like this:
1. Flashlights - To see at night. Oh yea, that's a good idea.
2. Bug Spray - Duh? You'd think that would have been item number one in my survival backpack.
3. Hatchet - In case we needed to chop wood for the bonfire. Or... if I had to kill a bear.
4. Speakers - I do like to listen to music in the outdoors. Next time, I am bringing a mic for karaoke. Did I just say next time?
5. Toilet Paper - Wait, there are no bathrooms?
6. Chairs - True. Standing all night might get a little tiresome.
7. Pillows - For sports shops everywhere, you should make a sleeping bag with built in pillows. Preferably, Tempur-Pedic.
8. Tennis Shoes - For some reason, I thought we'd be sleeping on a beach so I only brought flip flops. The blonde hair is real, my friends.
9. Games - Only so much time you can spend looking at one another before the fun runs out.
10. Hand Sanitizer - to get the dirt and bug splat off your hands before dinner.
Once we unpacked and erected the tent, which btw, I was of no help - we headed for the lake. A beautiful day of sunbathing on a boat sounded great to me. I will say I discovered many 'o things that afternoon. For example, I will actually swim in a fish-infested lake when it's 96 degrees outside. In fact, I probably would have swam in a vat of anything liquid-ish that day. It was HOT! Oh, and when using sunscreen, don't mix and match techniques. Spray or lather but not both. Results will vary. Also, tubing is not like being pulled by a wagon. My butt is still hurting from the 6-foot-in-the-air bounces off the water (okay, maybe just six inches). Jet skis are not as cute as I thought. They are fast, deadly speed machines. Warning: do not ride behind boats, my friends, unless you want to tempt death! There's this thing called the wake. Lastly, everything is truly better with wine. (Okay, I already knew that one.)
I will have to admit, the day was so much fun, more than I even expected, and seeing my daughter laugh and have fun in a way she doesn't do at the movie theater or the mall, was well worth the outdoor affair. By sunset, we cruised back to shore and I helped dock the boat. By helped, I mean I handed Steve the car keys. We headed back to camp and grilled out hotdogs and s'mores which is honestly in my top favorite foods of all time. I was so hungry I actually picked up a stick and cooked my goodies on it. A stick guys... like from a tree. We then took a stroll by the lake, gazed at a flock of ducks, (they fall into the cute critters category) and took pics of the sunset. We headed back to camp, sat by the fire and played music. We talked about the fun things that day and I spent a lot of time bragging about myself and the progress I had made. Somebody's got to do it! It came time for bed, and after one final bug check, we zipped ourselves in the tent. I laid down on the most uncomfortable surface ever and fell asleep in 2 minutes tops. I did wake up to critter sounds that I later found after thorough investigation, were just falling leaves landing on the tent. I also took a midnight potty break, minus the potty. Not my fav moment, but it did give me a chance to stare at the stars and my, my, were they gorgeous. Breathtaking. It's not every day I see that view. It prompted me to say a little prayer, thanking God for the beauty surrounding me. I felt lucky, and for a brief moment, I was officially "one with nature". And you know what? It felt pretty good! Kentucky beauty is like no other.
Well, I sweated the rest of the night because it was like a sauna in our tent. But the good news is, I lost five pounds. And even though I didn't get a wink of sleep, the morning sunrise over the lake was well worth the sleepless night. After a morning walk, we packed up the tent and gear, and this time, I am proud to say, I knew how to dismantle. I watched; I learned; I grew. I was as dirty as Pig Pen in the Peanuts comics; I was tired, hungry and craving my bed, but I smiled the whole way home. It was fun. Not all of it, but most of it. Yea, I did it!!!! My daughter's pic below sums it up best.
I actually loved it.
(Okay, I really, really liked it.)
And I can't wait to do it again.
Thanks to the Gibson family for a great weekend!