Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Trip That Started it All

I don't even remember how I got the idea to take my 5 year old camping. The girls and I visited Leesylvania State Park for the first time in 2012 where I heard about the nationwide program called The Great American Campout put on by the National Wildlife Federation. I had camped before having children and it sounded fun and it cost only $25 so I thought we would give it a try.

My mom, who was still alive at the time, wasn't sure if camping was safe or not so she wanted my littlest to stay home for the night so our first trip was just me and my 5 year old.

Once we arrived, Ranger Genevieve took us on a walk near the Potomac River and started our campfire. She made starting a campfire look very deceptively easy. 

At some point in the evening I realized that we were the only campers at the event. Finally I asked Ranger Genevieve if there were other campers coming and she confirmed we were the only ones. I was shocked and she must have realized it from the look on my face. She reassured me that she had camped many times at Leesylvania and that the chief ranger lived at the park and she was quite sure we would be safe. I was tempted to go home but we stayed.

Look at that teeny tiny backpacking tent that I had from my earlier days!

The music from Tim's Rivershore across the Potomac filled our tent until 2:00 am at which time it promptly shut off and woke me from the shock of the sudden quiet. There, at 2:00 am, with my child sleeping beside me, I was alone in a big field. It was kind of terrifying but nothing bad happened. Nothing bad usually happens. The night was peaceful and beautiful and we were in a protected state park, not in the backcountry. We survived.